People who are not in a caregiving situation, especially those who have never (or more likely not yet) experienced it, want to be sympathetic, want to help. But while you can accept their sympathy, even their help, there is nothing like talking with, being with, and sharing stories and tips with those who are currently in the same boat. Those people who are actively caregiving. Their situations may be slightly different from yours — their loved one has terminal cancer; yours is dealing with advanced Parkinsons disease, for example, or yours has Alzheimer’s while theirs has vascular dementia — they are in the trenches along with you. Seeking out those in similar current situations lets you know in a way that nothing else does: You are not alone!
The article (link below) details how caregivers can help support each other.
Gary Barq’s memory of his Hungarian grandfather, who worked as a painting contractor in his own business until 80. When Gary’s grandfather developed Alzheimer’s the family who adored him, figured out a way to take care of him without destroying his dignity or their lives. It’s a touching story and one worth reading. “Ok, We Go Now” – Caregiver.com
You can get copies of OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing) through caregiver.com or through amazon.com.
So often, it’s coulda/shoulda with caregivers. No matter how much they do, they seem to feel as though it’s never enough– perhaps because our loving inclination is to try to heal or solve the problems our loved one is having. Even though we know that we can’t do it, there is always that nagging feeling that you might be able to if only you’d try harder, give up more of yourself, your life, found something — anything — that could do it. What we know in our mind is often at war with what we struggle with in our gut. It’s not healthy for either us or our loved one, and is, ultimately, not helpful to the situation. But even if you can’t completely dominate that nagging guilt, you can, with logic, persistence and support of those who have been there done that, assuage it.
2016 Friendly Caregiver Awarded book, OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters (Head to Wind Publishing) offers suggestions for balancing guilt with reality.
I’ve never been a believer in thinking up New Year’s resolutions because for one thing, they’re usually the stuff I’ve been trying to accomplish or delete all year long, and stressing over it during the last few days of every year, when life is stressful enough, just seems counterproductive to me. Having said that, some of my friends make them, and find the annual deadline helpful. Some even achieve them! Today’s Caregiver Magazine (who gave us an award for our book — thanks thanks!) has the same kind of suggestions that we, and virtually every other person who has done/seen or been recruited into caregiving subscribes to. If you’re a January 1-resolution-person, AND are a caregiver (though many of them work just as well for those who are simply trying to improve our own lives and live the best way we can day by day), they’re spot-on.
We are grateful to everyone for taking time to read our daily post during the month of November for National Family Caregiver Month. We hope you found the posts inspirational and have learned not to sweat the small stuff and to realize you cannot fix everything. When you begin to feel stress, STOP and take 3 deep breaths to center yourself.
As we approach the Holiday Season we would like to share an old post: Sue’s Favorite Smoothie to give your immune system a boost.
Sue’s Favorite Smoothie
I have never been a fan of taking multi vitamins for several reasons: cost; the neon colored urine, which seems unnatural; and honestly, I forget to take the darn pills. For me making a smoothie is easy, plus I can control what I put into the smoothie (and my urine does not change colors — unless you add beets, which I don’t, I prefer to eat them!).
Greens: A handful. I use lacinato kale or spinach or a combination
Blueberries: 6-10 berries. I use frozen unless in season…
Fresh fruit in season
Flax seed oil: one tablespoon
Cinnamon: one teaspoon
Tumeric powder: one teaspoon
Protein powder: I use 2 Tablespoons of plant-based protein
Almond milk: between ½ to one cup depending on the fresh fruit used and
the desired consistency.
Blend together and enjoy
Greens: I prefer Lucinato Kale because I find it to be less bitter tasting then curly kale. Greens help detoxify the body, give you energy, helps with digestion and strengthens the immune system.
Banana: Rich in Potassium and vitamin B6, helps support heart function.
Blueberry: An antioxidant and some Vitamin C
Flax seed oil: Omega 3 thus it helps lower cholesterol
Cinnamon: Supports heart health, known to lower cholesterol
What Matters Most? Making care of yourself a priority.
Maintaining balance — physical, emotional and spiritual –is essential to well-being. Balance can affect your ability to focus attention and energy on tasks and goals. When you are in balance you feel good and move through life easier. Caregiving can drastically change in short order — a crisis, a needed change in medication, an alteration in the loved one’s abilities. Those changes can leave you feeling out of control and unbalanced. This is normal, or maybe it’s the new normal for you as caregiver. It’s OK to feel frustrated, angry or to have a good cry. It is better to let the feelings out than to suppress them.
When there’s a sudden change in circumstances, reset your day by rethinking chores and errands. This may be a great time to call on that friend or family member who said, ‘Let me know what you need.” They would probably be unhappy to learn you didn’t accept their offer when you needed to, and instead tried to handle a situation alone.
Finding daily balance is ongoing as a caregiver. Think about what is most important for you to accomplish without spreading yourself too thin. Keep going back to the drawing board until you find a solution that makes sense.
What matters most? Flexibility. Try a new approach to a situation.
“To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
What is the first thing you say to yourself in the morning, and the second and third? Is it negative? If so, start a new habit today! Start the day reading or listening to something that uplifts you. Write down 3 things you appreciate about yourself. You don’t have to reach for something BIG, it could be as simple as getting dressed as if you were going out of the house. Maybe you got a goodnight sleep. It could be filling a bird feeder to enjoy watch songbirds from the window. Treat yourself as you would a friend in need; you would not be hurtful but reassuring. Reassure yourself!