Posts Tagged "emotional"

Estate Planning Part 2: Four Common Mistakes

Posted by on Nov 22, 2010 in Wills and Estate Planning | 0 comments

Whether we like it or not, some parts of life are complex. We need help with areas where we lack experience or expertise. This is certainly true when it comes to certain legal, financial and tax matters – all of which can come into play with estate planning. But emotional pitfalls and relationship issues can also arise during estate planning. Here are four common estate planning mistakes to avoid: Mistake #1: Not changing your documents as you and your family experience life-changing events. There are dozens of life-changing events which should trigger the review of your legal and financial decisions. These include health problems, employment and business changes, births and deaths, marriages and divorces. For example, divorce does not invalidate a current will, but marriage does. If you purchase property outside your province of residence, the tax rules and laws of that jurisdictions may also affect your estate plan.  Mistake #2: Joint ownership with or investments on behalf of children. Many parents consider joint property ownership with children as a tax-saving strategy. But property jointly owned may be vulnerable to claims by your child’s creditors – or spouses in cases of divorce. Similarly, making investments in a child’s name does not guarantee that the investments will belong to the child upon your death – unless reflected in your will. Mistake #3: Preparing your own documents. The examples above may show that both professional legal and tax advice are key factors in sound estate planning. By looking to save on professional fees to have your will prepared, you could end up costing your estate much more, and cause added grief to family members and other beneficiaries. It’s all in the details and the experienced oversight that professionals bring to the table. They are trained to catch the small mistakes or omissions that can make a huge difference. Mistake #4: Not explaining estate decisions to beneficiaries. Some people use their wills as an opportunity for “settling scores” or to establish personal power from “beyond the grave”. First and foremost, consider your motivation and how you would like to be remembered. Where a will is likely to be contentious or leave important questions unanswered, consider talking about the reasons behind decisions in your will while you are still alive. If that’s not possible, leave a letter with your executor to share with beneficiaries. Don’t put an executor in the difficult position of trying to explain or interpret your wishes. *** Our estate plan can be one of many vehicles that reflect our personal values and how we have lived them. Whatever we leave materially is only part of our legacy. But the way in which we order our practical and financial affairs gives us an opportunity to create maximum benefit and minimum burden for others. A good estate plan can serve as a powerful symbol of a life well lived – and an “end of life” well-planned. © ElderWise Inc., 2010 Vol. 6, No. 11 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc., Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Help for Caregivers

Posted by on Sep 9, 2010 in Caregiving, Catalog, Family Relationships | 0 comments

Millions of Canadians are caregivers to a family member. Many caregivers say they want and need help but don’t know where to get it or how to ask. Without that help, caregivers are at risk for physical and emotional burnout.  Before asking for help, assess the specific needs. They may include: respite so you can take a vacation support to make important decisions regular phone calls/visits to you or to the care recipient financial help – or help to manage finances hands-on help with care household chores Some caregivers report “rejection” when asking for help. If other family members don’t pitch in, it may be that they don’t agree with the “needs”. If you believe that Dad should never be left alone and your brother thinks you are being over-protective, you aren’t likely to get cooperation. Explore or anticipate other family member’s beliefs about the tasks of caregiving before asking for help.  Here are five more strategies for overwhelmed caregivers:  Look beyond siblings – younger aunts and uncles, cousins, grandchildren and nieces and nephews may be willing to help. Start with a family meeting – face to face or telephone conference call. Without phrasing it as a demand, outline your list of needs, then ask open ended questions to find out which of these needs can be met by others. Talk to family members.  Again, begin with a list. Consider what you can do to build or strengthen these relationships, and what you might do in return, particularly if you are caring from a distance. When making long-distance visits, take some time to get acquainted with your parents’ friends and neighbours, who may act as another set of eyes and ears for you. Reach out to the community. If your family belongs to a church, ask about assistance programs such as companionship, visiting, and transportation. Contact your local seniors’ centre and ask about community outreach programs. Hire help, if you can. Many private companies provide help for caregivers. Search on line or in advertisements aimed at seniors. Explore cost sharing with family members. This may allow the caregiver to use their time and energy most appropriately. Manage your emotions.   Sometimes our emotions and beliefs get in the way of asking for help. Do you think you might be seen as demanding or incompetent? Does your family member say that you are the only one that can take care of them? Does that create pressure or resentment?  Caregiver burnout is a serious consequence of trying to do too much for too long on your own. You can learn more about this issue in our ElderWise Guide: Caregiver Burnout: How to spot it. How to stop it. If you notice that your beliefs may be preventing you from taking care of yourself, consider talking to a medical professional, counselor or an ElderWise coach.   Vol.6, No.5 © ElderWise Inc., 2010 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Older Caregivers Face Extra Risk

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Caregiving, Health Signals | 0 comments

Expecting to “take it easy” in your senior years? According to 2007 figures from Statistics Canada, at least 675,000 Canadian seniors have had to curtail travel, leisure and personal interests – and have put themselves at risk for physical and emotional problems – because they are providing care to another elderly person. They could be looking after close friends (30%), spouses (23%), neighbours (15%) – even parents (9%).  One third of these seniors are over the age of 75. Fewer than one in five older caregivers gets a break from these responsibilities. Without help from family, community or private services, caregiver burnout – physical and emotional exhaustion due to prolonged high levels of stress – is almost inevitable. Not only can physical health problems multiply, but mental health issues, such as feeling powerless, resentful, and isolated, can compromise a caregiver’s well-being. Most of these seniors may not think of themselves as caregivers, but that’s exactly what they become when they take responsibility to help others with their daily needs. Caregivers are from all walks of life and income levels. They are predominantly female but increasing numbers of men are taking on the role. But what they often share in common is stepping unaware and unprepared into a demanding role.  Caregiving responsibilities can occur suddenly, but they typically become long term (chronic), and they don’t always have a happy outcome. Responsibilities can continue even when the person receiving the care moves from a private home to an institution. Older caregivers are up against more challenges than their younger counterparts. They are unlikely to have the strength and energy of a younger person. Older caregivers may have to manage their own chronic health problems (e.g., high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis) while caring for another. Doing yard work, shoveling snow, or going up and down the stairs with the laundry basket may be more than they can handle. Other caregiver duties can be mentally demanding. Managing finances, scheduling appointments, and other household decisions take more time and energy as you age. Conflicting emotions can drain energy as well, particularly when the personal relationships between caregiver and care recipient are strained.  Caregiving for a spouse can be especially demanding. The marital relationship is more intense, private and personal than many. A spouse’s illness results in greater stress, yet spouses are less likely to ask for help from others. Often, there’s a belief that what is happening should be kept private. Without greater awareness, understanding and action, more seniors will run the risk of burnout, which can lead to physical and mental collapse. Older caregivers face extra risk, and that has significant implications for families, communities and our health care system. For more insight on this topic, purchase our downloadable e-publication: Caregiver Burnout – How To Spot It, How To Stop It Vol. 5, No. 6 © ElderWise Publishing 2009. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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Be “Stroke-Wise!”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Emergencies, Health Signals | 0 comments

Every 10 minutes, a Canadian will suffer a stroke, meaning strokes affect more than 50,000 Canadians every year. The good news is that recognizing early warning signs and getting prompt treatment has improved the chance of surviving a stroke. A stroke is a medical emergency caused by decreased blood flow to the brain. Blood flow is interrupted by a blood clot (blockage) or rupture of a blood vessel.  Without oxygen, brain cells die. Depending on the size and location of the stroke, the individual loses some function. You can reduce your risk for stroke by making these choices in your daily life Treat high blood pressure Stop smoking Reduce salt and sodium in your diet Have an active lifestyle To find out your unique risks, take the assessment offered by the Heart and Stroke Foundation. http://heartandstroke.ca/hs_risk.asp?media=risk Those who survive a stroke may experience a range of physical and emotional problems. These include: Physical impairments Personality and behaviour changes Communication problems Cognitive changes  Knowing the risks, making wise lifestyle choices, and recognizing the early signs can dramatically reduce your chances of being a victim of stroke. Vol. 4, No. 4 © ElderWise Publishing 2008. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE...

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Sensitive Conversations

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Family Relationships, Sensitive Conversations | 0 comments

Many of us have concerns about our parents’ health and well-being, or about their living arrangements. Our concern can lead to anxiety and frustration and we can be tempted to offer advice about “solutions” that seem obvious to us.  But our parents won’t welcome unsolicited advice any more than we did when they offered it to us. Successful conversations depend on two things: the kind of relationship you have with your parents and the nature of the conversation. If you have always been the “wonderful daughter”, you might be able to influence your parents. But if you have had a history of arguments over the years, this pattern will likely continue if you approach your conversation in the usual way.  Many topics are also touchy: For example, money. Many older adults are uncomfortable or even refuse to talk about it. Also, they might find it easier to talk about physical health than emotional well-being.  Is there a sensitive conversation in your future? Consider these approaches: Put aside your own agenda. First try to understand your parents’ needs, their fears, and their hopes. Ask your parents for their thoughts first, before presenting your concerns and suggestions Write them a note. This way, your parents will not feel broadsided when you unexpectedly bring up the topic. If you can’t broach a sensitive subject, get help from a trusted friend, relative, or other objective third party (e.g., a medical professional, family coach or counsellor). Keep your worry and feelings of responsibility in perspective. Parents can and may refuse even the best advice   Here are some more listening and communication tips for more effective family discussions. Listen actively to others. Give them feedback about their opinions. Ask them to confirm your understanding of what they are saying. Make sure that others also understand what you are saying (not the same thing as agreeing!). Suspend your own judgments when listening. Pay attention not only to what is being said, but also how it is said and what is NOT being said. Watch body language (facial expressions, posture, tone, gestures) that might add to the meaning of the message or contradict what a family member actually says. Show that you are paying attention: maintain eye contact, nod, respond. Remove barriers to listening – distractions, preoccupation, and self-talk. Ask open ended questions – those that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Begin your question with “how” or what.” Good communication skills are crucial for sensitive conversations. They help create effective outcomes for sensitive conversations and positive relationships between the generations.   Vol. 3 , No. 15 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Publishing, a division of ElderWise Inc. We provide clear, concise and practical direction to Canadians with aging parents. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter...

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