The Promise of Better Selfcare in 2022

It’s the time of year for resolutions, where we reflect on positive changes we want to focus on in the new year. One of the best New Year’s resolutions family caregivers can make is one focused on their own wellbeing – selfcare. Our blog is dedicated to helping you keep the promise of better selfcare in 2022.

Better Selfcare

Since many caregivers seldom consider their own needs, it’s important to realize that selfcare is not selfish. In fact, it’s vital. Think of it this way, when you pay real attention to your own wellbeing, you are considering the needs of your loved one. Practicing selfcare ensures you can be the best version of yourself for those who need you most. Without it, it’s like taking your car on a road trip while the gas is on “E”. So, let’s say it again – selfcare is far from selfish.

As you make the promise of better selfcare in 2022, key selfcare practices should focus on the mind, body and spirit. Here’s tips on how:

1. Mind

Our mental wellbeing affects every aspect of our lives and impacts our physical health. Practicing mental selfcare can bolster our energy, happiness, physical health and psychological well-being. These simple steps can help improve your mental wellbeing.

  • Practice Gratitude. When caring for a seriously ill loved one, it’s hard to see beyond the burden of the disease. But focusing on what is beautiful, good and hopeful in your life can really help. Gratitude is powerful. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, improves their health, and helps them deal better with adversity.
  • Meditate. Meditation can provide immediate relief, no matter what the stress or anxiety. It can help you regain a sense of calm, peace and balance. And the benefits don’t stop once you stop meditating, they carry you through the day. Try and find time every day to meditate, here’s a great guide by the Mayo Clinic on different types of meditation.
  • Reconnect with Nature. Researchers have long been touting the benefits of nature on mental wellbeing. Studies have shown being outdoors lowered levels of cortisol, a hormone that’s a marker for stress. Spending time in nature has long term mental and physical health benefits. You don’t have to hike the Andes, you can do simple adventures like visiting your local park, taking daily walks or spending time on your patio.

2. Body

Caring for your physical health is crucial for you to be able to care for someone else. Too often caregivers forgo their own health needs to care for their loved one. Maintaining your own physical wellbeing is protecting your ability to care for your loved one. These simple steps can improve your physical health.

  • Don’t Forget Your Preventative Health. It’s important to make sure you get your preventative health screenings. If you missed these last year, this should be your number one resolution in 2022. This is a gift to yourself and your loved one.
  • Get Some Sleep. Sleep plays an important role in your physical health. Sleep affects our immune system, appetite, breathing, blood pressure and cardiovascular health. Make a promise to yourself to take the time to get some good rest.
  • Exercise. Exercising more is the top New Year’s resolution. No wonder, exercise is powerful medicine. Not only does it play a key role in health and disease prevention, it’s a great stress buster. When you exercise regularly you feel more powerful and have more energy to care for others. Make 2022 the year you get moving.

3. Spirit

Caring for your spirit is just as important as caring for your mind and body. It actually has a direct impact on our physical health and mental wellbeing. Caring for our spirit empowers us. These simple steps can help you uplift your spirit.

  • Reconnect with Friends. When life overwhelms we often give up time with friends. But friends are important. Good friends bring connection and happiness into our lives. They enrich our days and make us feel part of something important. Don’t isolate yourself in 2022, give yourself the company of good friends.
  • Build Your Nest. Environment matters. Your space impacts your mood. Creating a peaceful, beautiful space for yourself can lift your mood and happiness. An appealing space is inviting and offers a respite to unwind. Spend some time building your nest, it’s your safe harbor in a storm.
  • Do Something Uplifting. What uplifts you? Many find joy in attending their favorite church, others find joy volunteering or helping a neighbor or friend. Find what uplifts you, it will nourish your soul.

A new year has long been the symbol of new chances and new beginnings. Making your selfcare a priority is not selfish, it’s the best resolution you can make, for you and your loved one. And remember, if you or your loved one needs an extra layer of support, we’re always a call away. Learn how ViaQuest Hospice cares for the mind, body, and spirit.

Keeping a Loved One with a Serious Illness Home for the Holidays

Keeping a loved one with a serious illness home for the holidays

To many, the holidays represent special time with family and friends. The holidays are about being together no matter if it’s celebrating with a few friends or joining a huge family celebration. Celebrating with those around us is what gives the holidays meaning and joy. As the song goes, there’s no place like home for the holidays.

Unfortunately, seriously ill patients are often hospitalized during the holidays for health issues that could have been prevented through better end-of-life care. A hospitalization is stressful and unwanted any day of the year, but during the holidays, it can be even more emotionally challenging.

ViaQuest helps keep your loved ones with serious illness home for the holidays. Our expert care coupled with protocols that identify patients at high risk for hospital readmission can help keep your loved one out of the hospital.

How We Can Help Keep Your Loved One Home for the Holidays

Disease Specific Care. Our team specializes in advanced illness and provides the disease specific care that controls the symptoms that often lead to rehospitalization.

Out of Hospital Care. Often patients with a serious illness bounce back to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged. ViaQuest offers a seamless transition into the ViaQuest Hospice Program which focuses on symptom management, pain relief and improved quality of life. This extra layer of support helps avoid crisis situations and provides the optimal care that reduces rehospitalizations.

Individual Plans of Care. Each patient is unique and so is their plan of care. ViaQuest creates individual plans of care tailored to each patient and their specific serious illness. Patients receive ongoing evaluation and plans of care change as the disease progresses and symptoms change. Our patient-focused care helps ensure early identification and assessment of any changes in health status.

Medication Education. Of all medication-related hospitalizations that occur in the USA, 33%–69% are the result of medication noncompliance. Medications can be confusing and difficult to manage. ViaQuest educates and empowers patients and their family caregivers to understand their medications and their benefits. We help reduce complexity and put measures in place to alleviate misunderstanding, confusion or forgetfulness.

24 Hour Support. Distressing symptoms can often result in calls to 911 or a trip to the ER. With ViaQuest you have round-the-clock access to nurses, who are one phone call away.

We understand how much it means to have family and friends together during the holidays. We’re here to provide the care and support that will help your seriously ill loved one stay home safely this season. We all deserve the chance to build special memories this time of year. Accepting an extra layer of care this year may be the first step to yours.

Traveling Home for the Holidays

Many of us missed traveling home for the holidays last year due to safety concerns over COVID-19. Those who live far from aging loved ones may have had to rely on phone calls, Zoom, or FaceTime conversations to keep connected.

Traveling Home for the Holidays

With vaccines now available and travel restrictions easing, more individuals are expected to travel this holiday season. ViaQuest urges those planning to travel to follow guidelines from the CDC to ensure both their own safety and the safety of loved ones. These guidelines include maintaining six feet of social distancing at all gatherings, sitting outdoors, or using a window fan for indoor parties.

The Reality of Traveling Home for the Holidays

This holiday season, ViaQuest is also encouraging adult children to use this opportunity to check on aging loved ones they may have not seen in a while to determine how they are really faring on their own.

This year, as adult children return home for the holidays, maybe for the first time in two years, they may be surprised by the reality of their loved ones’ well-being. Often, adult children will return home for the holidays and realize their elderly parents are not doing as well as they have been led to believe. For children who live far away or weren’t able to visit in 2020 because of COVID-19, this realization can be alarming. Last year’s FaceTime and Zoom calls may have provided only a glimpse of your parents’ reality, even while they reassured you that all was well. If so, it is likely their goal was not to mislead you, but only to keep from burdening you. Another reason for misleading reassurances is that older parents often find it difficult to admit that they may be declining.

If you have not been home for a while, take advantage of going home for the holidays to perform a reality check on how your parents are really doing. It may be distressing to realize that your parents are more fragile, less mobile, and weaker than they have led you to believe. They may have missed or put off doctor visits during COVID-19, and not received the care they needed for a serious or chronic illness.

Indications Your Loved Ones May Need an Extra Layer of Support

Here are some things to look for that can be good indicators that your loved ones may need extra support.

Check medications

Make sure elderly loved ones have been taking and refilling any prescriptions. Check to make sure prescriptions are in date and that refills are available. Take time to make sure your loved ones understand the instructions for their medications and are taking them as directed.

Ask about doctor appointments

A recent study published in JAMA showed that more than 40% of people surveyed skipped doctor appointments during the early months of the pandemic. Check in with your loved ones about doctor appointments. Did they miss appointments last year? Are they still missing them now? When is the last time they were seen by their physicians? Are they getting their routine wellness checks, as well as care needed for any chronic illness? It may be a good time to schedule follow-up appointments during your visit or even a short Telehealth appointment to check in with their physicians. This can help you ensure that your loved ones have been getting the care they need, and also give you an opportunity to connect with their providers.

Scrutinize your loved ones’ appearance

Are they well groomed and generally clean? Are their clothes clean and weather appropriate? Is hair washed, neat, and combed? Any evidence of personal neglect could be a warning sign of dementia or issues with their ability to care for themselves. Also, keep an eye out for any unexplained and noticeable bruising, as this could indicate balance and mobility problems.

Examine the overall state of the house and the yard

Any signs of neglect, including spoiled food, piled-up mail, rust or obvious mold, or even just a general impression of uncleanliness could mean that your parents have become unable to complete basic household tasks.

Pay attention to how your loved one is acting

Are there any signs of cognitive impairment? Some indicators of this could be consistent memory lapses, rapid mood swings, the inability to continue a conversation, or apparent depression. Any of these behavioral changes could be an early warning sign of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia.

Look for a change in habits

Do your parents seem less engaged or less playful with the grandkids? Are they sleeping more, or spending more time in a favorite chair? Did any favorite holiday traditions change? Do they seem less themselves? How are their appetites? Are they eating less? Are you noticing a marked weakness, or a loss of stamina or strength? Do they seem unstable or need support when they walk? Any of these can be signs of declining health.

Sometimes, a holiday reality check can be an alarming wake-up call, as you realize that your parents are not doing as well as they have claimed and may need some additional help. Ultimately though, it can be beneficial to realize this, so that you can get your elderly loved ones the proper care that they need.

This holiday season, we encourage you to perform a holiday reality check on your aging loved ones to ensure they are living safely and comfortably — and, if not, to determine a comprehensive and beneficial plan of action.

If you do decide that your loved ones need an extra layer of care, ViaQuest can bring an extra layer of care and support. Our care is focused on sustaining and maintaining your loved ones’ quality of life in their home — keeping them safe and comfortable. ViaQuest Hospice can help determine if such care is appropriate for your loved one. Call us today to learn more: 855.298.1722.

5 Tips to Live Better with Serious Illness

September is Healthy Aging Month, a month ViaQuest focuses on ensuring seniors have the support they need to live as fully as possible. The national dialogue around Healthy Aging Month focuses on encouraging seniors to take charge of their well-being by aging with a healthy body (physical health) and a healthy mind (mental health).

Taking charge of our well-being also includes focusing on ways to improve quality of life for seniors living with chronic or serious illness. Living with a serious illness can feel life-altering, overwhelming and sometimes hopeless. But taking positive steps to cope with the stress and life changes of illness can help improve quality of life and feel empowered.

Here are five tips on how to live better with illness:

Understand your Condition

They say knowledge is power. Understanding your illness allows you to prepare for managing symptoms and lifestyle changes. It also allows you to work toward acceptance of a new reality by redefining your goals. Gaining knowledge will help you feel more in control vs. overwhelmed by your disease.

  • Talk to your doctor. Ask for resources for additional information that they find reliable and helpful.
  • Research national organizations. Most chronic or serious illnesses have national organizations dedicated to improving quality of life. They can be a resource for education, insights, connection to others and support.
  • Consider joining a support group. Support groups offer connection with others going through similar medical problems. It can be a supportive place to gain tips on how to cope and insights from shared experiences.

Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude may sound like impossible advice. It’s difficult to consider anything positive connected to a serious illness. But it can be done. Often people with a life-limiting illness refocus on what really matters. They shift perspectives to live with renewed purpose centered on the most important things in their lives. To remain connected to what’s important try practicing a “three things of gratitude” daily mantra. One easy way to do this is to end or begin each day with saying out loud three things that make you grateful. Researchers have found that focusing on gratitude greatly improves mental health and empowers us to deal better with life’s struggles. Reminding yourself what’s still worthwhile and positive in your life can help you remain emotionally strong.

Remain Connected

Illness can make you feel isolated and less connected to family and friends. After all, they’re not going through what you are. How can they possibly understand? You may worry that your relationships will change. The negative voices in your head can get really loud: they will treat you differently; you will become a burden; they want you to remain positive; you can’t share your real emotions. Don’t let yourself retreat into a shell. Relationships are vital to quality of life. Staying connected to others and participating in social events will booster your mental health. Time with true friends and close family can boost happiness and reduce stress. Friends relieve stress, provide comfort and joy, and prevent loneliness and isolation. Especially during those times when we need them the most support.

Pursue Joy and Purpose

Illness can rob our sense of identity and purpose. Life becomes the disease. But it doesn’t have to. Life can still bring you joy and purpose. Life can triumph over illness. Pursue activities that bring meaning, value and purpose to your life. These are the things that will shape and define your identity separate from your illness. If your medical condition has limited your ability to pursue some of the activities you previously enjoyed, pivot, and adjust your sails toward a new direction.

Travel virtually. You might have traveled the world and miss flying to far destinations the across ocean. Exploring the world can happen from your living room. Travel documentaries, movies, travel destination shows, and novels set in far away places can help you satisfy that wanderlust.

Do the “I wish I had”. There’s always that one interest we wished we had pursued. Maybe you played guitar in high school but gave it up. Or you’re an avid reader and always wanted to write a novel. Or the easel and paint brushes are still in the attic. Pursuing a renewed interest can help give you a new purpose and renewed joy.

Create something to pass down. What are you known for – cooking, jokes, stories, crafts? Write down your recipes, write a joke book, commemorate your stories, teach a loved one your crafts. Create something your family will treasure.

Support a cause. When you support a cause that is important to you, you not only help them continue their vital mission, you improve your emotional wellbeing and regain a sense of purpose. You can find great value in what you do for others.

Connect with nature. Studies have shown that spending time in nature is an antidote for stress: It can lower blood pressure and stress hormone levels, reduce nervous system arousal, enhance immune system function, increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and improve your mood. You don’t have to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan, it can be as simple as spending time in your yard, picnicking in a local park, walking your dog, gardening or going fishing.

Find Extra Support

There may come a time when you need more help than friends and family can provide. If you have a family caregiver like a spouse or adult child, you may want them to simply be your husband, wife, significant other or child again, not your caregiver. Help is available. Research community resources like Meals on Wheels, senior centers, Area Agency on Aging, Aging and Adult Services or Facebook Groups dedicated to your illness. ViaQuest Hospice can also provide an extra layer of support. Our care focuses on improving comfort, easing the stress and burden of illness and enhancing quality of life. ViaQuest offers real support: expert medical care from our nurses, CNAs and volunteers who share caregiving duties, chaplains who offer spiritual support

and social workers who align community resources. If you have questions about gaining extra support we can help determine care that best meets your needs. Reach out to us today for options and answers.

ViaQuest is a Sponsor at the 1st Annual VetOHIOExpo

PICKERINGTON, OH—September 2, 2021—Regina Rembert, U.S. Army (Retired) is proud to announce that her Non-Profit–BuyVet.org is sponsoring the inaugural VetOHIOExpo being held on September 9, 2021, from 3pm-7pm, at The Wigwam Event Center, 10190 Blacklick-Eastern Rd NW, Pickerington, OH, 43147. The Expo is designed to showcase Veteran-Owned Businesses who want to reach a combined audience of Veterans and Civilians. The premise is to encourage business owners and individuals to ‘Think Veterans First’ as they make purchasing decisions regarding products/services for their family, home or business. There are a combination of 40+ Sponsors & Exhibitors who are either Veteran-Owned Businesses or companies who are passionate about serving Military Families.

Sponsorships & Exhibit Table opportunities are filled for 2021. 40+ Sponsors & Exhibitors are participating. They will be promoting their products and services on September 9th, 2021. This years’ Sponsors include BuyVet, Kemba Financial Credit Union, ViaQuest Hospice and The Columbus Radio Group (Qfm96).

The amazing Exhibitor list continues to grow with the inclusion of the following companies—Advanced Engineering Consultants, Assisted Living Locators of East Columbus, Beautiful Smiles & Sounds Photobooth, Dedicated Senior Medical Center, Design & Renew, LLC, First Merchants Bank, JDog Junk Removal & Hauling (Reynoldsburg), Renee Bobb Training, Reynoldsburg Youth Human Trafficking Coalition, USA Benefits Group, & Zeno’s Activewear.

Attendee Registration is OPEN via https://www.vetohioexpo.com/attendee-tickets/ General Admission is only $6.00 per person and tickets are available online ONLY. Due to capacity restrictions–there are NO TICKET SALES AT THE DOOR. The first 150 Individuals to ARRIVE will receive a FREE SWAG BAG to commemorate the inaugural event!

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