Social Services - A Message from our Social Worker Melanie Amin

Managing Change & Loss During the Holidays

Making and keeping a new year’s resolution leaves many people overwhelmed. Resolutions often focus on losing weight, exercising more, or taking up a new hobby. How can a new year have so much power over us? 

Caregivers, however, are often struggling to find time to shop, work or sleep. Traditional resolutions may seem 
meaningless when a caregiver is trying to meet his or her own needs and that of a partner or relative.

Last January, the Huffington Post listed the following 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Family Caregivers:
Prioritize your own physical and mental health.  The daily  stress of caregiving often places the caregiver at risk for health challenges. Caregivers often fail to keep their own medical appointments, which can make it difficult to sustain caregiving. Consider finding days that a friend or relative can give you respite to visit your doctor. Also  consider counseling or attending a support group to reduce risk
 for anxiety or depression.

Get more sleep. Sleep deprivation affects many Americans -- and especially caregivers who must often get up at night to help their
loved ones with personal care or emotional support. If possible, hire overnight help to assist you. If this isn’t possible, try to go to bed
 earlier or immediately after your  loved one goes to sleep. 

Schedule “me” time. Try to coordinate respite for yourself with a loved one, in-home care provider or adult day care program. This time apart can make caregiving more sustainable. 

Spend more quality time with your loved one. Day-to-day caregiving can mean that, though your loved one’s needs are met, you have less meaningful time together. Watching a favorite show, ordering delivery of a favorite meal, or going for a ride are just a few
 examples of nice ways to connect. 

Plan for your loved one’s care. Consider family and other caregivers that can provide care for your loved one should you fall ill.
Review Advance Directives and other important documents. 

Niles Senior Center social workers can be a helpful resource to answer caregiver questions. We also have a monthly caregiver support group. Please call Melanie Amin, LCSW, Senior Social Work Coordinator at (847) 588-8475 for more information on caregiver resources and available support.

New Program!

This March we launch our Dinner and Discussion Group: Grief, Loss and Change. While the group will support people coping with grief and bereavement, we welcome participants managing other types of loss.  Some examples of issues we will cover include moving, changes in health or mobility, changes in relationships with friends and family, and adapting to living alone or with others. 

The first meeting will be held at the Niles Senior Center on Wednesday March 28 from 4:00pm to 5:30pm.  The program is open to Niles residents and will meet the fourth Wednesday of each month. Attendees have the option to purchase an early dinner for $5, but there is no cost to attend the program. Registration required. Please contact Melanie at (847) 588-8420 for more information on this new program.