Return to "Happenings!" index September 5, 2018     
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Happenings!
    Supporting the caregiver.  Remembering the cared for.

 In this issue:
  • 2018 Annual Golf Tournament - Are You Ready?!
  • UC Davis Lecture Series - "Brain Health:  Looking Back to Move Forward"
  • Info for Caregivers:  After the Caregiving Ends
  • What is "Happenings!"

2018 Annual Golf Tournament - Are You Ready?!

The 15th Annual Alzheimer's Aid Society Golf Tournament is ALMOST HERE on Friday, September 14, 2018 at Teal Bend Golf Club.  Get together with your friends and plan for a great day!  You can register ONLINE!!  Or download and print the form and mail in a check.

Not a golfer?  Then come for the banquet at about 3:00 p.m. for only $20.  Dinner will include TriTip, BBQ chicken, salad, grilled asparagus, and garlic mashed potatoes.  Applaud the award winners for Longest Drive, Closest to the Pin, and Putting Contest.   Get in on the auction and raffles for fabulous prizes!   

A big "thank you" to our title sponsor, Atria Senior Living.  Other sponsors include Praire City Landing, Pioneer House, Healthy Living @ Home, Lifetime Solution, Bristol Hospice, Carlton Senior Living, and Summerset Senior Living.  Questions?  Call Max Perry at (916) 996-7202.

UC Davis Lecture Series - "Brain Health:  Looking Back to Move Forward" 
The September Lecture will be "Brain Health:  Looking Back to Move Forward" by Dr. Rachel Whitmer.  Dr. Whitmer's presentation will focus on modifiable risk factors over the lifecourse and how health in early life impacts cognitive aging.

Dr. Whitmer is a Professor and Division Chief of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of California, Davis (UCD). She leads the Population Science of Brain Health Laboratory. Her research seeks to reduce inequities in brain aging in racial and ethnic minority groups, those with diabetes, and individuals living beyond age 90.

The event will be held on Thursday, September 6, 2018 from 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. at the UC Davis MIND Institute Auditorium, 2825 50th Street, Sacramento, CA 95817.  Event Flyer (pdf),  Although the event is free, you must pre-register at Eventbrite or call (916) 734-5728.

This lecture series is offered by the UC Davis Alzheimer's Disease Center for the Sacramento Metropolitan Area and communities throughout Northern California. The theme of this year's series is healthy brain aging and prevention. The last lecture will be "The Aging Mind:  A Look under the Hood" on October 11.  Check out the Alzheimer's Disease Center website for information on future lectures and see videos of past lectures


Info for Caregivers:  After the Caregiving Ends 
Caregiving can last for many years. As a caregiver, you have set your life aside to care for your loved one. When that person dies, you have to figure out what to do with your life now. There is no "how-to book" for this transition. Generally you are so busy caregiving, and life changed so long ago, that there has not been time nor energy or even the psychological will to think about what comes next.  Here are some helpful thoughts from an article at the Family Caregiver Alliance by Donna Schempp, LCSW.  

LOSS:

Grief - It is normal to feel sad, angry, hopeless, bereft, devastated. Our society says you should get over it in a week or two. Actually, it often takes one to two years. Allow yourself these feelings. They are normal and appropriate. (See FCA Fact Sheet Grief and Loss).

Relief - Many caregivers feel relieved that their ordeal is over and that the care receiver is no longer suffering. This is not something to feel guilty about. It is one of many feelings that people have when caregiving ends. Grieving may have started many years before with a gradual letting go process, particularly with dementia.

Forgive Yourself - Caregivers often feel guilty about every time they were not the perfect caregiver. There is no such thing. Everyone was impatient, angry, frustrated, unkind at some point during their time as a caregiver. It's OK. Don't second guess yourself with "what ifs." You probably couldn't have done anything else, even though you are thinking you could have. Celebrate how  well you did this job!

Sleep - Often, one of the first feelings caregivers have is exhaustion. Now is the time to sleep. You need to renew your energy. Sometimes you need to stay in bed for a day and cry or just pull the covers up and watch TV. You deserve to take a break. You might enjoy the quiet, the doing nothing.

Confusion - Caregivers have put their lives on hold in order to be a caregiver. Now you are out of the job that you held for the past several years and you might have to redefine your purpose. It's normal to feel adrift as you try to find your place in the world and figure out who you are now.

RE-ENTERING

Time - What to do with it? Time was structured for you while you were caregiving. Now you have to figure out what to do each day. You learned good time management skills while you were a caregiver. Use these skills now for you to achieve new goals. Celebrate having time to reflect and make new decisions. Thinking about the future can be scary. Take one day at a time.

Loneliness - There can be an emptiness/void that comes from not being needed in the same way anymore. Since caregiving is so all consuming, caregivers often end up isolated. When caregiving ends, you often have to re-build a social network. Make social engagements when you feel you want to but also allow others who invite you to do things back into your life by saying yes.

Activities - Take small steps in re-entering into life again. Identify activities or hobbies that you enjoy and energize you. Volunteer - many caregivers find their skills can be used to help others. Exercise. It may have been a long time since you were able to focus on your needs. Your body now needs attention. Your mind also needs exercise. Take a class, read a book or even the newspaper

Take care of YOU - Exercise, get enough sleep and eat right. The three things we all have to do. But now you can. You had to be strong for someone else, now you can be strong for you. But you can also now let down and express your vulnerability. You have the right to the full range of emotions, now you can feel them. Caregivers' financial situation often changes when caregiving ends. Make sure to pay attention to finances, whether your situation is better or worse than before. Get help if you need it. Seek counseling if you need support or to just talk through all that you have been through and continue to go through.  (Alz Aid Note:  Initially, you may want to continue to attend your caregiver support group.  This will help you and it will help others to hear about your experiences.) 

Embrace Life Now - Appreciate the skills you learned while caregiving and find a way to use them. You did things you never thought you could - appreciate your strength. Create a new focus for your life. Maybe find a new job or a new interest. It's OK to enjoy life again, to laugh and play. It's not being disloyal to your loved one. Realize that you have to invent a "new normal" from what you've been doing. Make your home your own again. Depending on your situation, you might want to start dating or looking for romantic relationships. Take it slow. It's ok to get guidance from friends and professionals to help you navigate this new world.

You are in a time of transition. Donít expect to know all the answers or every step.

What is "Happenings!"
"Happenings!" is the our monthly e-mail newsletter for the Alzheimer's Aid Society.  We send it at the beginning of the month so you can stay up-to-date on events and news in northern California.  We will also include tips for caregivers and highlight new scientific research.  Recent issues are available on our website.  You can print the e-newsletter online to include details on links.  Do you have a comment or feedback?  Please reply to this message - we would love to hear from you. 

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    Alzheimer's Aid Society of Northern California
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