This content originally appeared in the February 13th, 2020 edition of The Smart Reader.
We’ve all felt it. That nagging feeling like we’ve done something wrong; failed. It keeps prodding at you. You could have done more, done better; and now you’ve let someone down. Guilt.
The person you’ve failed or let down the most is probably you! You have an image of the “perfect you” – the way you believe you should be and the way you want to be. This image is based on your values and beliefs of how things ought to be – in a perfect world. When the things you do are different than the way the “perfect you” would have done them, you feel guilty. You’ve let yourself down.
For example, the “perfect you” has unending patience, but after answering the same question ten times in 5 minutes, you raise your voice in irritation. Guilt. The “perfect you” makes sure your spouse is happy, but when you have lunch with a friend on Saturday, your husband eats alone. Guilt. The “perfect you” believes your father should live with you when he is no longer able to live alone, but realistically, your job and family make that impossible. Guilt.
These feelings of guilt are common among caregivers and can actually help guide you into making good decisions. However, if your image of the “perfect you” is misaligned from what you realistically can do, these emotions can make you feel bad about yourself. If you are prone to guilt, learn to manage your guilt and use it to help you make realistic decisions. Here are some helpful tips for managing caregiver guilt.
Recognize when you feel guilt. In order to handle guilt properly, you must first be able to name it. When you get that nagging guilt feeling, own it and manage it before it gets you down.
Figure out where the guilt is coming from. What is the discrepancy between the real you and the “perfect you?” Are your expectations of yourself or your loved one too high? Do you have needs that are not being met? Do you need a break?
Give yourself a break. There is no certain way a caregiver should feel. Some days are better than others. Allow yourself to feel any emotion – anger, sadness, joy – and remember that emotions don’t control your actions.
Look for ways to change how you do things. If you believe you should be more patient, find ways to deal with repetitive questioning. If your husband doesn’t like to eat alone, find a friend or volunteer to eat with him while you have lunch with a friend. Let your guilt guide you into new solutions that works for both of you.
Recreate your image of a “perfect you”. You may have created the image of who you should be when life was simpler. The idea of having dad move in with you was great at the time, but it may not be possible now. Committing to have him visit every Saturday may be a more realistic expectation. Promising to be your spouse’s only caregiver when he just needed a little help was okay, but with the amount of care he needs now, having someone come in to help is a must.
Ask for help. Your guilt may be caused by not being able to do everything you think needs to be done; so, listen to your guilt and get some help. Ask friends or family for help, or call the Kenosha County Aging & Disability Resource Center and learn about resources for caregivers. An upcoming free class, Powerful Tools for Caregivers, might be just what you are looking for. Powerful Tools is 6 weeks, Tuesdays, Feb. 18. – March 24, 10 a.m. – noon, Kenosha County Job Center, 8600 Sheridan Rd. Registration is required by Friday, Feb. 14.
Always keep in mind that when you take care of yourself first you are a healthier caregiver, both physically and emotionally. Make sure your own needs are being met, and when that nagging feeling creeps into your thoughts, don’t let it overtake you. Let it guide you to be the best caregiver you can be today.
By Jane Mahoney
Caregiver Support Specialist
Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources
Kenosha County Durable Medical Equipment & Supplies Loan Closet in Need
Kenosha County Aging & Disability Resource Center (ADRC) offers a free Loan Closet for those in need of Durable Medical Equipment and supplies. The loan closet is in need of adult incontinence pull-up underwear, in small and medium sizes, at this time.
Individuals needing durable medical equipment and supplies for either short-term or long-term use, who are not enrolled in one of Wisconsin’s long-term care programs, such as Family Care, IRIS and Partnership may contact the ADRC to request equipment.
If you wish to donate, or are in need of medical equipment, please call the ADRC, 262-605-6646, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., or stop by and visit us at 8600 Sheridan Road, Entrance D.
Transportation to the polls available
Accessible transportation is being offered to senior or disabled Kenosha County residents seeking to vote in the 2020 elections. To participate in early voting or to vote on polling day, individuals may schedule a ride and the round trip fee will be waived. Care-A-Van (262-658-9093), Western Transit (1-888-203-3498) and Volunteer Transportation (262-842-7433) are making this service available. All reservations must be made a day prior. Availability is based on vehicle capacity. For questions or additional assistance, call Lauren Coffman, Mobility Manager, at 262-605-6615.
“Let’s Talk About It”
“Let’s Talk About It” is a new health fair sponsored by the Black Nurse Association that will be held on Saturday, February 29, 2020, 10 a.m. – noon. The fair will feature information and education on diabetes and diet, breast cancer, heart disease, hypertension and men’s health. Free blood pressure screenings will also be offered. Stop by and visit the Kenosha Aging & Disability Resource Center’s booth while you are there and learn more about the services we offer. We will be providing Winter Vegie Vouchers for those who meet the criteria. Free pill boxes will also be available. We hope to see you there!
Saturday, February 29, 10 a.m. – Noon
Second Baptist Church
3925 32nd Ave., Kenosha
Demetris Crum, Pastor
Nominations Sought for the 2020 Remarkable Older American Award
Nominations are being sought for the 2020 Remarkable Older American Award. Nominees must meet the following criteria: Kenosha County Resident, 60 years of age or older and outstanding service to his/her community through Military service, volunteerism, commitment to family and/or career achievements which have a made a substantial and positive impact.
Individuals, organizations or businesses may nominate an individual for the award. Prior award recipients are not eligible, however, previously nominated persons are eligible. Nominations must be received by Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
Nomination should include why you believe your nominee deserves the Remarkable Older American Award, based on the criteria listed above. Also include the nominee’s full name and phone number, along with nominators name and phone number. Please limit nomination comments to 300 words or less. Nomination forms are also available at the Kenosha County ADRC, 8600 Sheridan Rd., Kenosha.
The award will be given out at the Older Americans Celebration, Celebrating the History of Women’s Suffrage and the Future of Voting, on May 28, 2020. Questions may be directed to: Ted McMahon, Hospice Alliance, 262-960-5169 or Paula Clark, ADRC, 262-605-6616. Nominations should be submitted to:
Kenosha Co. Older Americans Month Planning Committee
c/o Ted McMahon
10220 Prairie Ridge Blvd
Pleasant Prairie, WI 53158
Or email: Ted.McMahon@hospicealliance.org
BadgerCare Plus changes started this month
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recently announced changes to BadgerCare Plus. These changes will affect adults ages 19-64 who are not pregnant and who do not have dependent children living with them. On November 1, 2019, DHS mailed information about these changes to current members who are childless adults. Members will receive a separate letter that provides more detail about the changes at their renewal.
These changes include:
• Emergency room co-pay. Members will be charged a co-pay of $8 if they visit the ER for care in a situation that is not an emergency. The $8 co-pay will not apply if the provider determines the visit to be an emergency. The provider’s decision will be based on the patient’s symptoms, rather than the final diagnosis. Please note that federal law requires hospital emergency rooms to screen every patient who seeks emergency care and to stabilize or transfer those with medical emergencies, regardless of health insurance status or ability to pay. BadgerCare Plus members who are tribal members, the child or grandchild of a tribal member, or who qualify for Indian Health Services do not have to pay emergency room co-pays.
• Monthly premiums. BadgerCare Plus members who are childless adults and who have incomes over 50% of the Federal Poverty Level will be charged up to $8 each month for their entire household. In 2019, 50% of the Federal Poverty Level was $520 per month for a household of one or $705 per month for a household of two. These numbers will likely change for 2020. Members who do not pay all owed premiums by the end of their certification period will lose eligibility for six months. BadgerCare Plus members who are tribal members, the child or grandchild of a tribal member, or who qualify for Indian Health Services do not have to pay monthly premiums. In addition, members who are homeless, were homeless at any point in the last 12 months, have been residing in a medical institution for at least 30 days, or who have a disability will not have to pay monthly premiums.
• Optional health survey. Members will be given the option to complete a health survey. If members are required to pay monthly premiums, they can reduce their monthly premium by reporting healthy behaviors like wearing a seatbelt, exercising, and not smoking. Premiums may be reduced to as low as $4 per month based on members’ answers to this survey.
• Treatment needs question. To be eligible for BadgerCare Plus, members must answer a question about their drug use during the last 12 months and, if applicable, their willingness to enter treatment. Their answer will not affect their health care benefits in any way. If an applicant or member does not answer this question, the applicant or member will not be eligible for BadgerCare Plus as a childless adult. Please note that there is no drug test requirement for BadgerCare Plus.
• Coverage of residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment. Federal law used to restrict coverage of SUD treatment in residential facilities for BadgerCare Plus members. However, as of February 1, 2020, SUD treatment in residential facilities will be available to all BadgerCare Plus members and other individuals who receive full-benefit Medicaid. This is the only change being made to BadgerCare Plus health care benefits at this time.
These changes will go into effect for new applicants on February 1, 2020. These changes will affect current BadgerCare Plus members who are childless adults at their next renewal after February 1, 2020. Both new applicants and current members will be required to pay a copay for any non-emergency visits to the emergency room after February 1, 2020.
As with all benefits, members should notify their income maintenance agency about any changes in income or family size to determine if their eligibility will change or whether they will be required to pay a premium. If you have any questions about whether these changes affect you, please contact the Kenosha Count Aging and Disability Resource Center at 262-605-6646.
By the GWAAR Legal Services Team