When my father, who had a brain tumor and who was fiercely independent, slowly grew to be unreliable in the handling of his bills, etc., I worried about trying to strong-arm him into letting go of their management. A friend said to me, in a reference to the biblical ‘Honor the father and thy mother,’ etc.: “You ARE honoring him by taking care of things, even if he doesn’t understand that at this point. It helped a lot. And, he allowed me to do that after a little negotiation, which relieved us both.
For the adult children of a parent with Alzheimer’s who needs in-home care, there are tricks to it. Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief of Today’s Caregiver magazine, offers a great example of how to help a loved one who has been highly functioning but who now needs help, accept that help. How you characterize it matters!
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.
Sue and Nancy have been invited (and have accepted with glee!) an invitation to speak this Thursday at Mount St. Mary’s College in Frederick, MD. Their talk, OK, What Matters Most?, is sponsored by the Living Leadership program in the Institute for Leadership, Ethics, Achievement and Development.
“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It’s about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high and the consequences really matter. It is about laying the groundwork for others’ success, and then standing back and letting them shine.”
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.
As we wrap up the daily posts for The National Family Caregiver Month, it seems fitting to repeat the words of wisdom from the experts who contributed to our blog.
We asked the following caregiving leaders: If you could give a caregiver only ONE piece of advice for their self-care, what would it be?
Gary Barg: CEO of Caregiver.com and Today Caregiver’s Magazine:
The most important thing you can do to support the loved one for whom you care is to care for yourself as well.
Dr Bernie Seigel: Retired surgeon and author of numerous books on the relationship between the patient and the healing process. He is best known for his book Love, Medicine and Miracles.
I am a caregiver for my wife, 50 years of MS. When going through hell ask yourself what am I to learn from this experience. Learn to surrender you can’t fix everything.
Marian Grant: Director of Policy and Professional Engagement at The Coalition to Transform Advanced Care (C-TAC).
My advice would be that caring for a loved one is like running a marathon and you have to pace yourself. It will do no one any good if the caregiver sacrifices their health and well being for their loved one as both will suffer. Of course, this is easier said than done, but most caregivers in a longterm caregiving situation figure this out.
The theme here is clear self care for a caregiver is paramount to surviving and maintaining yourself in order to be an effective, healthy and balanced caregiver.
What Matters Most?Attitude, balance, connections, peace and love.