Monday, October 15, 2007

Interview with Bereavement Counselor on Coping with Loss

Announcing on the right an ongoing audio of interviews with Professionals in the Elder Care arena! We are very excited about offering these free tips and information to you via our blog, our Caregiver Directory, our On-the-Go Toll Free Caregiver's Helpline 1-888-797-7806, and iTunes. Cool, huh? Now your not stuck grappling for family caregiver tips and resources when you REALLY need them!

We have all experienced the loss of a special someone and know how difficult it is to gain peace of mind. Even before passing, the knowledge and pain of future loss is gut wrenching. I know for myself when learning of my mom's near passing, I thought I couldn't bear it! I cried for days. It hurt. Even after 4 years, I continue to miss her tremendously. As for my dad, I grieved his loss before he died. He lived with Alzheimer's the latter years of his life and his passing was a blessing... for him primarily.

Join us often! Listen to our key interviews and pick up tips and good information that's valuable in making elder care and aging decisions. Believe me, you'll be glad you did.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Panel of Texas Caregivers

The Austin Groups for the Elderly sponsored a Caregiver's Conference this weekend. During the conference a panel of Austin Caregivers were interviewed about their experience of caring for a loved one. I picked up some useful tips that I want to share with you. I hope you too find them helpful!

The caregivers interviewed on the panel (all) cared or in the process of caring for an aging parent. There was one who also cared for a husband disabled by a stroke. This particular caregiver had 2 recipients, living with her and receiving her undying care. I commend her and those of you in same situation. While caring for an aging relative is challenging, adding another care recipient such as a spouse or children would bring anyone over the top! And I don't mean exhileration either!!

The Texas caregivers shared what they learned while helping with a loved one. List below are those useful tips (not necessarily listed in ranking:

Get long term or extended care insurance
Acknowledge those who help, your partner, children, friends, family
Do you homework on available resources, help, and health issues
Get exercise
Contact hospice before you need them
Read - The Thirty Six Hour Day book
Join a support group
Forgive yourself and your shortcomings
Our mistakes are forgotten (esp when dealing with Alz)
Accept change of roles
Respect the elder and expect others to do the same
Appreciate the day
Discern how much you can do - if you can't handle some aspects of caregiving, hire someone, or ask for help from friends, family, and your own children.
Take care of yourself
Take mini-breaks
Nourish yourself
Find resources
Get away after long spells of caregiving - plan a get-away, this will give you something to look forward to while in the throes of looking after a loved one
Challenge authorities in charge - doctors, PTs, nurses, etc.
Take notes and get clarification.
Ask questions
Challenge the system

And remember to call for answers to common concerns of aging - 24 hours a day 1-888-797-7806! Thank you for visiting, Carol.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Care for the Caregiver

Have you noticed how some people make caregiving look really hard while other's breeze through tasks? That's how it was with my sisters. I watched both administer loving care and concern for my parents. Janice made it really, really hard, while Virginia made the most of it and rarely showed frustration!

Hmm, I'd wonder? How does Virginia do it so easily while Janice struggles with each moment, dreading each visit! It was written all over her face. And Virginia literally walked on air.. smiling! WOW! I wanted that too! So, I simply observed Virginia and decided to follow along. Here are some things I picked up and want to share with you:
Upon assigning a "care task" to one of the siblings, she'd walk away, totally letting it go, giving full responsibility to that person/sibling. She no longer owned it! Virginia "let go" and went on to do her plans. She did this so eloquently, I often thought she needs to teach us her skill!

My sister, Janice, was the opposite. She obsessed with mom & dad's care. Never letting go - never trusting us to do it right. It was rare that she walked away.. if she did, it was begrudgingly. I guess she thought she was the only one who could do it right! So, what happened? No breaks for her! And guess what? She was always exhausted and complained a lot. Eventually, she developed high cholestrol & shingles! Ugh! That literally forced her out of caring for him for a month.

Consider these tips when you want to take care of yourself - I picked these up from watching Virginia!

Have fun and laugh - as often as possible
Avoid talking about dad and he care when socializing
Delegate some responsibilities and let them own it
Focus on something good in your life
She learned the difference between complaining for the sake of relief and complaining for the sake of... well you know
Had no problem admitting helplessness
Virginia gave a lot of support AND she learned to accept.. sometimes demanded, help without being over-bearing
She found her own peaceful spot and went there often
Openly admitted her inability without shame
And she tried to be gentle with herself!
Loves to play!

And remember to call the Caregiver's Resource Helpline! 1-888-797-7806 - for common concerns of aging!

Thank you for visiting!