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Make time for a vacation

If you’re like most caregivers, the first person you think about is the one you’re caring for—not yourself. Without even thinking about it, you skip meals, lose sleep, forget to make time for exercise, or postpone your own healthcare needs because you just don’t have time. Fun? Well, there’s hardly time for that.

Living like this is not living, and it will eventually take its toll on you. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 53% of caregivers reported a decline in their own health since caring for another person. According to some reports*, 40 – 70 percent of caregivers may suffer from burnout to major depression. The best insurance to protect your own health and help you be a happier caregiver are regular breaks. A wise person once said if you are a caregiver, you are like a pitcher pouring out your time, energy and love in the care of another human being. At some point, your pitcher will be empty and you will need to refill it in order to continue serving as a caregiver. To refill your pitcher, means making time for a day off, a staycation, a long 
weekend—whatever kind of break you can think of to help you catch your breath, relax, and think about yourself for a bit.

Think about you
Figuring out what you want to do may be your biggest step of all. You may have been a caregiver for a long time and never had a break. (You’re overdue!) You may be so focused on the needs of another that you really need to stop and think, “What do I want to do for fun or relax?” You might also ask yourself, "When was the last time I saw any of my friends?"

The next step
Communicating with the person you care for is key. Have a conversation with them about needing a break and what you have in mind. You may find some resistance to someone new, someone different, someone not you coming in to help temporarily so reassurance is important. The more involved your loved one is in helping you to make plans for a break, the better things may go. You might even be surprised to find out that the person you care for is concerned about you and wants you to take time to relax or enjoy your life.  

Find temporary help
You're going to need someone to step into your shoes while you get away. Try asking family members or friends if they can be of assistance. (Perhaps someone who has already been asking you if you need help?) It may only take one person to cover for you, or maybe you’ll need a couple of people to do your
job. If you can’t find a volunteer, the next step is to pay a professional to come in. A good place to find out about respite services is the Area Agency on Aging 1-B  (AAA 1-B). Call us at (800) 852-7795 to see what funded services, like in-home care or adult daycare, may be available. You can also call SameAddress, a program that's part of the AAA 1-B,  at (866) SENIOR-1. 
SameAddress typically charges $72 for three hours of in-home care. Many caregivers, or friends and family members who want to support them, would be happy to pay for you to have coverage so you have a break.

As you are looking for your temp, be sure to keep your loved one involved as much as you can. Keep their needs and comfort levels in mind. Sometimes someone familiar will be best; sometimes a professional and new will be the answer.

Always be sure
If you take time away from the one you’re caring for, be sure that you leave a schedule of care routines, list of meds to be taken, meals ready, likes/dislikes, emergency phone numbers and anything else you think someone needs to know to fill your shoes temporarily. You'll have more peace of mind, and so will your loved one. (Tip: So it's a positive experience for the one you care for, too, you could arrange a special lunch or movie rental for them to enjoy while you're gone.)

Push back
If you or your loved one start thinking about your break and begin to worry, then start small. Take a day off and sleep in or go have lunch with a friend. Spend some afternoon “me time” at the beach or seeing a movie. Go have a meal you don’t have to prepare. Take some “baby vacations” and see what happens. Be sure to try it more than once; don’t weigh everything on a one-time try. Most of all, see how you feel after you take some time off. Does your pitcher feel a little fuller? It’s easier to be a caregiver when you remember to care for yourself, too.

Share the joy
Another way to take a break is to take your loved one with you on your day off. You both probably need a change of pace. Of course, this works best when the one you care for is mobile and interested. But remember, if you can make it to a doctor’s office, you should be able to make it to a park, a movie, or a favorite restaurant. This is a great opportunity for you two to recharge, reconnect and make memories. So often, caregivers are in the midst of getting things done that they forget to take the time to visit with or just spend time with the person they're caring for. Don’t underestimate the power of an afternoon out on the two of you. It’s also a good solution if you can’t find someone to cover for you. Schedule an appointment for fun, then keep it!

Ideas for things to do alone OR with your loved one
  • Go to the beach or the park
  • Take “a Sunday drive” and explore an area that’s beautiful
  • Visit a friend or family member you haven’t seen in a while
  • Go to breakfast/lunch/dinner and let someone serve you
  • Pack a picnic and go outside in the sunshine
  • Investigate an art fair
  • Take a drive to get ice cream
*WebMd, Managing Caregiver Stress

Classes to help you take control of your health

If you’re interested in A MATTER OF BALANCE or Diabetes PATH TO BETTER HEALTH classes, take a look at the list in the right column of this newsletter because NOW is the time to sign up!  Initially, each of these classes cost $15 each; however, you get your money back as a gift card for a local retailer when you complete the course. All you’re really investing is your time to learn about ways to help stay safely on your feet and skills for managing Type 2 diabetes.

This class should be taken by anyone concerned about falling, who has restricted activities because of a fear of falling, or has fallen in the past.

You'll learn:
• Practical strategies to manage falls
• Ways to reduce fall risks as home
• Exercises to increase strength, balance and flexibility

Diabetes PATH TO BETTER HEALTH (6 weeks)
This class should be taken anyone living with or caring for someone with Type 2 diabetes.

You'll learn:
• How to manage symptoms, monitor blood sugar, eat healthy and fight fatigue
• How to communicate effectively with your healthcare professional
• Confidence building skills to improve the quality of your life

Space is limited, so call to register today at (800) 852-7795.

Updates and News

The AAA 1-B is working for seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers year-round. We want you to be in the know, so here are a few highlights of what’s going on.

Volunteer opportunity! If you have computer skills, know your way around the internet, and have a sincere desire to help others understand their health benefits, you are encouraged to call (800) 803-7174 to train to become a Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP) volunteer. Residents of Macomb and St. Clair Counties have between now and June 21 to sign up. Residents of Livingston, Washtenaw and Monroe Counties have between now and July 1 to sign up.

Save the date! Have you circled October 15, 2016 on your calendar? You should! That’s the date of the 17th Annual Caregiver Solutions Expo at Wyndham Garden® Hotel in Sterling Heights. This event is well attended every year. Go and get access to the information you’ve been looking for, learn something new, get a chair massage! More details in our August issue. No pre-registration required and it’s FREE.

Did you know? It’s been reported that $20 billion in aid for low-income seniors goes unclaimed. That inspired the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4A) and National Council on Aging (NCOA) to launch the “You Gave, Now Save” Campaign. Find out if the one you're caring for is eligible and how to access these resources by visiting  or  and search for “You Gave, Now Save." 


Resources Available from Area Agency on Aging 1-B

The Area Agency on Aging 1-B (AAA 1-B)  is a nonprofit agency that manages a wide variety of services to help seniors and adults with disabilities remain living in their own home or with family caregivers.

Serving Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties, we can guide and connect you to a wide variety of services and resources available in your area, including:

Calling us is the first step. Our toll-free information and assistance line is staffed by specially certified resource specialists who are trained to help connect you to the right programs and services. We'll listen, ask the right questions and get you started finding the help you need. We also manage several government programs and our resource specialists can help you determine if your loved one might qualify.

Our Information and Assistance Phone Line is available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. at (800) 852-7795.  You can also visit us on the web at www.

June 2016

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Looking for More Classes?

Here are more upcoming classes you might be interested in. Call (800) 852-7795 to register for any of these classes.

A Matter of Balance
(Fall Prevention and Overcoming Fear of Falling)

Madison Heights
Senior Center
29448 John R Rd.
Madison Heights, MI  48071
Tuesdays   1PM – 3PM
6/28 – 8/16

Guardian Angels
Catholic Church
581 E. 14 Mile
Clawson, MI  48017
Thursday 10AM – 12PM
6/30 – 8/25

Cranbrook Towers
2901 Northbrook Place
Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Monday  2PM – 4PM
7/11 – 8/29

Waltonwood Sterling Heights
14750 Lakeside Circle
Sterling Heights, MI  48313
Tuesdays 1PM – 3PM
7/12 – 8/30

Ypsilanti District Library
5577Whittaker Rd.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197
7/13 – 8/31
10AM – 12PM

Independence Village
of Brighton
7700 Nemco Way
Brighton, MI  48116
Thursdays  1PM – 3PM
7/21 – 9/8

Sterling Heights Senior Center
40200 Utica Rd.
Sterling Heights, MI  48313
Mondays   1PM – 3PM
8/29 – 10/24

Diabetes PATH
(Diabetes Management for those with Type 2 diabetes) 

Warren Community Center
5460 Arden
Warren, MI  48092
Tuesdays  1PM – 3:30PM
7/12 – 8/16

Royal Oak Manor Apartments
606 S Williams St.
Royal Oak, MI  48067
Tuesdays  1PM – 3:30PM
7/12 – 8/16

6230 South State Street
Saline, MI  48176
Tuesdays  9:30AM – 12PM
7/12 – 8/16
Hope Medical Clinic
518 Harriet
Ypsilanti, MI  48198
Wednesdays  1PM – 3:30PM
7/13 – 8/17

Calvary Evangelical
Lutheran Church
9101 Highland Rd.
White Lake, MI  48386
Thursdays  1PM – 3:30PM
7/21 – 8/25
Baldwin House
200 Chester
Birmingham, MI  48009
Thursdays  2PM – 4:30PM
7/21 – 8/25

Center Line Care Center
25373 Van Dyke
Center Line, MI  48015
Thursdays 9AM – 11:30AM
7/21 – 8/25

Sterling Heights Senior Center
40200 Utica Rd.
Sterling Heights, MI  48313
Mondays   1PM – 3:30PM
7/25 – 8/29

Creating Confident Caregiver Workshop
(Free training workshops for families caring for someone with dementia-related illness) 

Catholic Social Services – Washtenaw
Ann Arbor Church of Christ
2500 S. Main
Ann Arbor, MI  48103
Tuesdays   10AM - 12PM
7/12 - 8/16 
Frenchtown Senior Citizens Services, Inc.
2786 Vivian Road
Monroe, MI  48162
Wednesdays   10AM - 12PM
8/3 - 9/7 
Evangelical Homes
of Michigan
The Memory Support Center
at Brecon Village
Saline, MI  48176
Thursdays   2PM - 4PM
8/4 - 9/8 

Call (800) 852-7795 to register for any of these classes.

Helpful Resources

Area Agency on Aging 1-B
(serving Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties)
(800) 852-7795
Monday Through Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

The Senior Alliance
(Area Agency on Aging 1-C)

(serving Western Wayne County)
(800) 815-1112

Detroit Area Agency on Aging
(Area Agency on Aging 1-A)

(serving Detroit and the Grosse Pointes)
(313) 446-4444
A free, unbiased senior and home care directory managed by the AAA 1-B. Listings, ratings and reviews to help seniors and caregivers find quality care.
Transportation service that helps coordinate rides for seniors and disabled adults in Oakland and Macomb counties
(855) 677-4332 (toll-free)

Provides vetted concierge and in-home services, from grocery shopping to home repairs, personal assistance to telehealth checks for individuals who want to age at home.
(248) 262-9999

Alzheimer's Association
(800) 272-3900

National Family Caregivers Association
(800) 896-3650


Caregiving Connections is produced monthly by the Area Agency
on Aging 1-B

29100 Northwestern Highway, Suite, 400
Southfield, MI 48034
Phone: (800) 852-7795

Questions and comments may be directed to:

Margaret Topous, Communications Specialist/Editor
(248) 262-9966
Copyright © 2016 Area Agency on Aging 1-B, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
29100 Northwestern Highway, Suite 400, Southfield, Mi 48034

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