As a family caregiver you have embarked upon the roller coaster ride of your life. Whether you get off the ride shaken and bruised or ready to go again, is in part, a function of the social support strategies you utilize along the way.
There Are Only Four Kinds of People in the World..
Those Who Have Been Caregivers..
Those Who Currently Are Caregivers..
Those Who Will Be Caregivers..
Those Who Need Caregivers.
In April, Maya Angelou was interviewed by Oprah on her 70+ birthday. Oprah asked her what she thought of growing older. And, there on television, she said it was ‘exciting…’ Maya Angelou said this:
‘I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.’ ‘I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.’
‘I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.’ ‘I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a life.’ ‘I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.’
‘I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back…’ ‘I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.’
‘I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.’ ‘I’ve learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back…’ ‘I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn…’
‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’
FAMILY CAREGIVING – The responsibility one takes caring for a loved one in need.
STRESS – Can get very high and even out of control while caring for a loved one, and must always be managed for health reasons.
TRAUMA – One day the medical profession will understand Family Caregiver trauma. Many Caregivers under constant stress are unaware they suffer from trauma.
EMOTIONS – Learn to listen to your emotions to tell you when you need change and a break.
ELDERLY CARE – Caring for our elderly loved ones who need assistance with daily necessities we take for granted.
While the number of older people is increasing, the pool of available caregivers for them is shrinking. Caregivers say caregiving is the ultimate way to thank a loved one for a lifetime of positive presence or sacrifice “With so many baby boomers now becoming caregivers, it’s important to remember that we don’t have to go at it alone.
“It’s okay to reach out for help, from friends, doctors, church or a support group. We don’t have to take care of everything ourselves.
Caregivers Facts and Figures
- 70 percent of caregivers are between 40 and 59 years of age.
- 65 percent of caregivers don’t get any help from family or friends.
- 69 percent of caregivers say that frustration is their most frequently felt emotion.
- Caregivers rate loss of leisure, the change in family dynamics and feelings of isolation as the most burdensome aspects of caregiving.
- Virtually half of all caregivers say they have suffered from prolonged depression.
- More people enter nursing homes because of caregiver burnout, rather than because of a worsening of their condition.
- Most adults receiving long-term care at home–65 percent–rely exclusively on family and friends to provide assistance.
- An estimated 44.4 million Americans provide care for adult family members and friends who, because of disabling illnesses or conditions, have limited ability to carry out daily activities such as bathing, managing medications or preparing meals.
- 70 percent of people with Alzheimer’s disease live at home, where families provide at least 75 percent of their care.
- The average caregiver is age 46, female, married and working outside the home earning an annual income of $35,000.
Tips for Family Caregiving for family with Dementia…… Take one day at a time, tackling each problem as it arises. You cannot know how a dementia patient will behave tomorrow, and worrying about tomorrow robs you of the energy you need to deal with today
Secure Power Of Attorney…. before your loved one becomes mentally incompetent. See your bank manager or accountant and setup a good financial plan. See a lawyer.
Talk about finances and healthcare wishes….. Having these conversations can be difficult, but completing Durable Powers of Attorney for finances and healthcare can help relieve anxiety and better prepare for the future.
It helps to learn as much as you can about the disease and what you can reasonably expect the patient to be able to do. Find out how other people manage by participating in a support group or by talking with other families caring for members with similar illnesses.
Try to put yourself in the patient’s shoes. You will feel less annoyed the tenth time you are asked what day it is if you think about how unsettling it must be not to know when it is or where things are.
Give yourself a break. Scheduled respite is essential for the caregiver.
Caring for a dementia patient at home is a 36 hour a day job. You must have regular breaks or your own health will suffer.
Consider inviting family and close friends to come together and discuss the care needed. If possible, it’s helpful to include the care recipient in this meeting. This meeting gives caregivers a chance to say what they need, plan for care and ask others for assistance.
Take advantage of community resources such as Meals on Wheels and adult day programs. These resources help relieve the workload and offer a break. Look for caregiver educational programs that will increase knowledge and confidence.
Caring.com has launched an interactive tool, Steps & Stages, that pinpoints where your loved one is—right now—along the disease spectrum. The tool then provides information describing what the stage is like for your loved one (which tasks he or she will struggle to complete, for instance) and then recommends how you can help him or her manage his or her disease symptoms.
The myriad of federal, state, local and private programs out there may seem overwhelming when searching for help to care for a loved one. If there is no Internet access, call or visit a public library and ask for help at the reference desk.
To get started, here are some ideas……
One Hundred Ways To Live To A Hundred…
1. Enjoy yourself.
2. Stay young at heart.
3. Be honest and open.
4. Look for rainbows.
5. Walk to work.
6. Take the stairs.
7. Keep your curiosity.
8. Stop smoking.
9. Listen to your body.
10. Watch what you eat.
11. Watch what you say.
12. Make time for your children.
13. Don’t rest on your laurels.
14. Drink lots of water.
15. Have faith in others.
16. Walk in the park.
18. Be an optimist.
19. Make love.
20. Cross-country ski.
21. Discover romance.
22. Exercise regularly.
23. Do Tai Chi.
24. Try Yoga.
25. Plant a garden.
26. Eat plenty of fruit.
28. Adopt a pet.
29. Laugh often.
30. Be positive.
31. Give, don’t take.
32. Marry your sweetheart.
33. Celebrate your marriage.
34. Enjoy being single.
36. Eat your greens.
37. Take up lawn bowling.
38. Do nothing in excess.
39. Do everything in excess.
40. Serve chicken noodle soup.
41. Practice what you preach.
42. Look before you leap.
43. Make time for your friends.
44. Reduce your cholesterol.
45. Early to bed, early to rise.
46. Don’t mope.
47. Try new things.
48. Skinny dip.
49. Write to a friend.
50. Play tennis.
51. Commune with nature.
52. Sing in the car.
53. Write a poem.
54. Whistle while you work.
55. Read a book.
56. Take your medicine as prescribed.
57. Challenge yourself.
58. Count your blessings.
59. Indulge yourself.
60. “Carpe diem” (Seize the day).
61. Take setbacks in stride.
62.If you want to stop taking a medication, ask your doctor.
64. Use olive oil.
65. Eat your Brussel sprouts.
66. Lighten up.
67. Choose a career you love.
68. Be active in your community.
69. Read the paper every day.
70. Sit up straight.
71. Keep your mind active.
73. Soak in the tub.
74. Don’t be jealous
75. Eat an apple a day.
76. Be generous with hugs.
77. Make time for your partner
. 78. Keep in touch with family.
79. Bake a pie.
80. Eat plenty of fish.
81. Get plenty of fresh air.
82. Be yourself.
84. Make time for your grandchildren.
85. Control your temper.
87. Take nothing for granted.
88. Ask questions when your doctor gives you new medications.
89. Power walk at the mall.
90. Don’t procrastinate.
91. Accept those things which you cannot change.
92. Don’t drink and drive.
93. Create solutions, not problems.
94. Be sociable.
95. Feed the birds.
96. Pamper yourself once a day.
97. Go fishing.
99. Smell the flowers.
100. Listen to your doctor
Whether you are providing care now or will be in the future, you have to ask yourself if you are able to put yourself in the shoes of the person, or people you care for.
This requires you to be judgment free of their situation, and have the ability to understand what it must feel like in their place. If you can do those things, you will always provide care that is of the best quality possible.
I have an 88 year-old mother that I take care of every 3 weeks. My best advice is just enjoy the moments (even though sometimes that is hard)
Love them with all your heart and realize someday you will be in their spot.
Thanks for visiting. We’d LOVE for you to hang around!
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