Compose Your Life Song: Planning Your Final Years, Part II

ComposeLifeSongLogoThey say every moment in your life represents a note in your personal life song. If this is true, what does your life song sound like and are you happy with it so far? Are you ready to compose the final notes? In a recent survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., 85 percent of North American seniors who have made plans for their final years agree that planning is a way for them to control how their life song ends. It’s important for seniors in Minneapolis and the surrounding communities to not only plan their retirement years, but also for the time between the active retirement years and the last days on earth. It’s never too late to enhance your song and make it an even more beautiful work of art.

To encourage conversations about loved ones’ wishes for their final years of life Home Instead Inc. has launched their latest public education campaign, Compose Your Life Song℠: Planning Your Final Years. This program will reinforce the role Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis plays in helping seniors live their final years where they choose – in their own home. The Compose Your Life Song℠ public education program offers free resources that encourage seniors and their family members to have the difficult conversations about plans and wishes for their final years, while also exploring end-of-life options, including finances and getting their affairs in order. This program also provides insurance, care and funeral planning resources.

Watch as Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis’ co-owner, Kathleen Stuck, explains what the Compose Your Life Song℠ program is all about:

5 Misconceptions About End-of-Life Planning and Hospice Care

Not many topics of conversation bring on misconceptions as end-of-life planning and hospice care do. Clearing up the confusion and recognizing the myths that often surrounds a loved one’s final days and years actually helps the family members fully understand how the senior loved one want to live to the end. Here are 5 common misconceptions:

  • I’ll think about it tomorrow.
  • It’s best to avoid uncomfortable end-of-life conversations.
  • Developing and end-of-life plan is a one-time event.
  • Hospice services should not be discussed until death is imminent.
  • Hospice care is more expensive.

Understanding each of these misconceptions and working through the myths of one’s final years and the decisions that surround that time will empower the family caregivers to help their loved ones make necessary choices and tough decisions together. It may even spark the conversation for their own plans which will benefit their children in the end. To learn more detailed information on each misconception, click here.

Final Years Planning: Where to Find Assistance

If all of this seems overwhelming, you are not alone. Communication is key when developing a final years’ plan for your loved one and talking with professionals and family members will help ensure the important aspects of the plan are in place. Following are the key aspects of a plan and the professionals who can help:

  • Consult with an attorney
  • Find a financial planner
  • Locate a funeral director

Read more tips as well as detailed information for each one by clicking here. You can also read Financial Planning for Your Final Years: 7 Questions to Consider. This will challenge you to reassess your life situation and the priorities which are important. By asking and answering these questions on a regular basis it will help to understand how your loved one’s life song will play out.

This article expands on the Compose Your Life Song℠ campaign, click here to read our first blog post.

Learn more about Home Instead Senior Care’s public education program along with free resources and tips to help guide you through the important conversations and planning for your loved one’s final years by visiting Take action and own your destiny so your final years can be a song everyone will want to listen to. Start composing your meaningful life song today.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress that working family caregivers face and offers a wide range of in-home care services, including respite care, personal care, 24-hour and live-in care and Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The loving and experienced CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offer friendly, responsive care for seniors right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community, as well as support for the family. To inquire about any of our senior services available or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

Daughters in the Workplace

Between advances in medicine and living healthier lifestyles, many seniors are living longer and more productive lives, which is causing the ‘sandwich’ generation to emerge. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents while caring for their own children simultaneously. Studies over the past few decades have shown increased support for women who are juggling their careers as they raise young children, but much less attention and dialogue focusing on the unique challenges that come with navigating a career while caring for aging adults.

DaughtersWorkplace2To help working family caregivers feel empowered to talk to their employer about their needs and to help employers understand what their employees need as caregivers, Home Instead Inc. has launched their latest public education campaign, Daughters in the Workplace℠. This program offers free resources to working family caregivers while also identifying caregiving support that may be available.

In a recent survey conducted by Home Instead, Inc., a majority of the North American working family caregivers responded stating that caregiving has put a strain on multiple aspects of their lives including, but not limited to:

  • Finances (60%)
  • Physical health (74%)
  • Mental health (81%)
  • Career (81%)
  • Ability to manage a healthy work/life balance (83%)

You value your job and don’t want to jeopardize your position, but may need flexibility and understanding at times. It’s important to work with your employer and be honest with your boss when caregiving becomes difficult and you’re struggling to keep up with your workload. Home Instead’s Daughters in the Workplace℠ campaign offers support and resources for all parties involved during these unique challenges.

Conversation Starters: How to Talk to Your Employer About Your Caregiver Support Needs

What’s the best way to discuss family caregiving without the fear of jeopardizing your job? Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis believes that suggesting ideas that work for both your employer and you are best. Also, continue to work with your employer to make sure any changes to your work schedule or job are, in fact, working for all involved. To help you get the conversation started, Home Instead Senior Care offers some examples:

  • “Do you know I am taking care of my dad? I would love to tell you a little about him and what I am doing to care for him. I am looking for ways to ensure I am always doing the best I can at work and at home.”
  • “I hope you know how much I value my job. That’s why I would like to make sure that my work is covered in the event of a family emergency. I would love to learn about any services our company has that could help me. And then, it would be great to work with you to put together a plan.”

Read more examples. 


Consider 5 Ways Eldercare Could Impact Your Business

As the employer, you may believe you can’t afford to offer a family-friendly business setting, but in reality, the latest research shows that perhaps you can’t afford not to address these situations. Learn ways eldercare might be impacting your bottom line:

  1. Increased Absenteeism
  2. Decreased Productivity
  3. Loss of Talent
  4. Interruption of Sevices or Work flow
  5. Declining Morale

Five Signs That Caregiving Could be Putting Your Employee at Risk:

Being aware of signs that may be putting your employee at risk is important. Family caregiving is stressful business, especially when a person is also managing a full-time job and caring for their own family. This will eventually take its toll on your employee, which in turn may affect work productivity and even risk losing an otherwise excellent worker. Watching for these signs and using available resources will help reduce this risk.

  • Stress and depression: In a survey of working family caregivers, 42 percent report caregiving making them depressed.
  • Vulnerability to illness: In a Gallup study released in 2011 of working family caregivers, findings showed caregivers are 50 percent more likely to experience daily physical pain than non-caregivers. Working caregivers also reported a 25 percent higher incident of high blood pressure.
  • Fatigue: Although you cannot control your employees’ sleeping habits, recognize that fatigue is a common challenge facing many family caregivers.
  • Inability to focus: Fatigue and stress together make it difficult to focus.
  • Guilt: The guilt of constantly feeling spread too thin and not being able to give 100% to anyone leaves working family caregivers frustrated.

Learn more about each of these signs along with ideas and tips to help your employees stay physically, emotionally and mentally healthy by visiting Also, take a quiz to see what you know about the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other benefits you may have access to when you are working and caring for an aging loved one.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis understands the stress the working family caregivers face and offers a wide range of in-home care services, including respite care, personal care, 24-hour and live-in care and Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Our experienced CAREGivers at Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offer friendly, responsive care for seniors right in your Minneapolis, Minnesota community, as well as support for the family. To inquire about any of our senior services or becoming a CAREGiver, call us at 763-544-5988 today.

Wanted: A Caring Professional Looking for a Unique and Rewarding Career

Caring for seniors is a labor of love that requires a special person with a loving personality and just the right touch. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis is looking for dedicated CAREGivers who share a passion for caregiving to provide in-home care assistance to seniors and their family. Could that special person be you?

Advances in medicine and healthier lifestyles are leading to many seniors living longer and more productive lives. This is causing the ‘sandwich’ generation to emerge, which in turn is demanding a greater need for caregivers. The sandwich generation refers to the age group who are caring for their parents and simultaneously caring for their own children. Many Minneapolis families are trying to find the balance of managing a demanding job, raising children, staying on top of their own family’s daily activities, as well as caring for their aging parents. It doesn’t take long before a family caregiver drops one of the many balls they are trying to juggle daily.

Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis Client Care Coordinator, Lori Leigh, explains why this growing field is so important right now and provides a glimpse of what is involved with being an in-home personal care assistant (PCA):

As the New York Times reports extensively, more than 1.3 million new paid caregivers will be needed by the year 2022 to meet the demand of the aging senior population. This demand for caregivers in the workforce is at a critical level, causing caregiving to become the largest occupation in the United States in the next 5 years. A recent report by the Minneapolis Star Tribune echoes the growing demand, stating that healthcare is a gold mine right now with an expected growth in Minnesota by more than 40% by 2022.

So, exactly what does it mean to be a caregiver? As a Home Instead Senior Care CAREGiver, you can help these Minnesota families restore the balance, order, and peace in their lives once again while allowing their aging loved ones the ability to continue living independently at home. The responsibilities will vary depending on the client’s needs, but generally, you will be expected to:

  • Provide companionship and conversation
  • Prepare meals
  • Perform light housekeeping tasks, including laundry
  • Provide medication as needed
  • Assist with errands
  • Accompany senior to appointments

Other responsibilities may be asked of you, but most importantly and rewarding is the joy you bring to a senior’s life and the value you provide to the family.

Leah Beno with Minneapolis KMSP Fox 9 Evening News featured our own Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver, Rebecca, and her client Liz, highlighting their very special bond.

If you believe you are that special type of person who enjoys working with seniors and wants make a difference in the lives of older adults and their families, being a Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis CAREGiver might be the career for you. Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis offers industry leading CARE Training programs that will equip a new caregiver with the skills necessary to provide the best care possible to the senior client. Home Instead also offers training for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

Home Instead Minneapolis serves the communities in Minneapolis and western suburbs, including Excelsior, Plymouth, Minnetonka, Golden Valley, Shorewood, Wayzata, St. Louis Park, and Lake Minnetonka area. Flexible work hours, a competitive salary package including health insurance benefits, as well as overtime pay and paid travel time between client appointments are just some of the benefits our employees enjoy. Our CAREGivers are bonded and insured and are provided with on-going training and support. We offer this and more through a holistic approach – caring for our CAREGiver’s mind, body, and spirit. We truly believe when we care for our CAREGivers, they are better equipped to have a meaningful relationship with their clients and the families they support.

Becoming a paid home caregiver is a unique job with many rewards, as well as responsibilities and challenges, both physical and emotional. As a Home Instead CAREGiver, you will have the opportunity to meet wonderful seniors in our Minneapolis communities, build fulfilling relationships, and make a difference in the lives of our aging clients. Contact Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis today to learn more about the home care career opportunities by visiting the Careers tab of our website where you can also apply online or contact us by calling 763-634-8247 today.

Care for the Caregiver to Prevent Distress

cargiver - overwhelmedThe responsibilities and challenges of caring for a loved one in their Minnesota home can place significant stress on the family caregiver. In fact, this stress can build up to actually cause caregiver distress—a situation where the caregiver may become more susceptible to other health risks such as such as ulcers and weight loss/gain or even more chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease. home care mn As we noted in our June blog, there are many risk factors including being a woman and caring for senior with Alzheimer’s Disease. To prevent caregiver distress take the Family Caregiver Distress Assessment, adapted for Home Instead Senior Care Minneapolis to learn how to deal with the stress of caregiving and balance the varied emotions that so many family caregivers struggle to understand. The reason this “self reflection” method is so important is that repressing emotions takes a terrible toll on family caregivers.

Research conducted by the Home Instead Senior Care® network reveals that caregivers who hide their emotions are 2.3 times more likely than other caregivers to have experienced depression since becoming a caregiver. Why is it so common for caregivers to hide their emotions (and don’t say it’s a Minnesota Norwegian thing)? As we noted in last month’s blog post, some don’t recognize that they are a caregiver. Others have difficulty processing their emotions and many don’t have an outlet for expressing or sharing their emotions. “It’s difficult to admit feeling angry or frustrated when it comes to caring for your parents,” said Dr. Amy D’Aprix, a caregiving expert. “The uninformed often give disapproving stares if you’re a family caregiver and say you’re feeling frustrated…It’s great to free up caregivers to express their emotions as just that – their true feelings about what they’re going through on their caregiving journey.”

Hear more from Dr. D’Aprix in this video.

Dr. D’Aprix recommends the following process to help caregivers come to grips with the rigors of caregiving.

  1. Acknowledge feelings. It’s OK to feel conflicting emotions as a family caregiver. Perhaps 30% of your emotions are anger-related and 20% are guilt but 50% is love. Try to hang onto that 50% of your heart that knows you’re doing the right thing.
  2. Manage the situation. Oftentimes there’s no other way around it: Caregivers need help. If you can’t find support with family, go to trusted friends, faith community or consider speaking to a home care provider.
  3. Release the feelings in a safe way. Journaling is one effective way that family caregivers can get their feelings out. Talking to other caregivers at a support group or talking to a therapist might also help.
  4. Find solutions. Relaxation is one option. “Make a list of things you enjoy doing to reduce stress,” Dr. D’Aprix advises. Reading, watching a favorite television show, attending a faith service, exercising, visiting a museum, meeting friends and listening to music are all activities that many caregivers enjoy…”

Once you re-discover activities you enjoy, Just 15-20 minutes here and there each day when you can focus on yourself will make a world of difference in managing your caregiver stress.  According to a new Home Instead Senior Care survey, 55% of family caregivers that employed professional caregiving services appeared to have above average or significant levels of stress as they came on board.

home_care_mnThese tips are recommended while taking care of an aging loved one:

  • Work out: Exercise and enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week. Consider learning a stress-management exercise such as yoga or tai-chi, which teach inner balance and relaxation Minneapolis was recently named one of the top healthiest states because of the vast opportunity for exercise.
  • Keep your medical appointments: Make sure you get your annual check-up. Being a caregiver provides many excuses for skipping your necessary check-ups, but don’t do it. A healthy you is worth more to your aging loved one than a sick, weak you.
  • Meditate: Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as “quiet” as possible whenever things feel like they are moving too quickly or you are feeling overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a caregiver. Many times you will feel like you don’t even have a minute to yourself, but it’s important to walk away and to take that minute.
  • Take a break: Consider respite which is full time-short term care that others can provide (family, friends, volunteers or professional caregivers) while you get a break. Take single days or even a week’s vacation. And when you’re away, stay away. Talk about different things, read that book you haven’t been able to get to, take naps, whatever relaxes you and makes you happy.
  • Indulge: Treat yourself to a foot massage, manicure, nice dinner out or a concert to take yourself away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your senior relative. You shouldn’t feel guilty about wanting to feel good.

And, laugh! Mary Maxwell has some advice for a senior whose daughter is not making the above mentioned life choices.

Everyone needs some pampering occasionally, for both physical and mental health. If you’re caring for a senior in their home, don’t feel guilty if you treat yourself once in a while…you deserve it and you need it.