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Caregiver Mondays!

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Caregiver Mondays is an initiative of The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit organization in association with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities. They will offer tips for caregivers to try out every Monday. If a tip works for you, keep it; if not, try the next tip the following week. Let's try it! Here is tip No.1: Commit and recommit every Monday. Keep your New Year's resolutions by using the Monday strategy. Research shows that beginning healthy activities on a Monday helps you maintain them. Stay committed to your goals while managing the demands of caregiving by recommitting each week. If you fall off, try again next Monday. Soon healthy habits will be part of your weekly routine.

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Please plan to join us on Wednesday, Feb. 6. If you are a caregiver for an older adult, please plan to join us for a light dinner and conversation from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Tilden Community Center. Please RSVP by Jan. 31 to 651 480 7670 so we can plan dinner.

If you would like information about Advance Care Directives or help completing one with your loved one, contact Rev. Peter Morlock, Advanced Care Planning Chaplain at Regina Medical Center. He can be reached by calling 651 480 4587.

Caring Reflections: The One Less Traveled

One caregiver's reflections on caring for older loved ones are printed here.

I just realized that one of the unexpected annoyances of my caregiving experience is a lot of extra driving. I'm not faced with the high-mileage driving of many long-distance caregivers, who spend an average of $392 per month on travel and out-of-pocket expenses. But the many short trips I wouldn't otherwise make--to medical clinics, stores, and, of course, to and from my parents' home--seem to have a cumulative effect on my patience.

I drive the route to my parents' place so frequently, I could do it in my sleep--avoid the big pothole in the block by the school, don't get stuck behind left-turners at that particular intersection, approach the building from the south for the best chance of finding a parking place.

I have a young visitor with me this winter who noted the monotony of my route and my irritation with its red lights and road construction. We went a different way the next time, and, voilà, it was very pleasant. Sometimes a change of perspective makes all the difference.

(Editor's note: Beth's complete online journal can be found at: www.darts1.org

/blog/caring-reflections. )

For a resource guide for service providers who can help in your caregiver journey, please stop by the Hastings Senior Center in the Tilden Community Center, or go online to: www.darts1.org/ dakota-county-eldercare- resources.

If you would like to submit a question or concern about your own caregiving experience, and get direct, one-to-one information and advice from a licensed social worker and eldercare advisor, please visit: www.darts1.org/online-caregiving-advisor or call 651 455 1560.

For feedback on this column, contact Colleen Fritsch at DARTS, 651-234-2222.

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