Ok - so you have your own stash of candy carefully hidden after Halloween, in a secret place where you can get sugared up and find nirvana at the same time. The wine has been carefully chosen (the story is that you want to sample some wines early so you can plan the Thanksgiving Day dinner in advance and make it the 'best day ever'). Phineas & Ferb would be so proud! The bottle of aspirin or ibuprofen is handy, has been since the creation of those superhero or princess costumes or the running around for the perfect 'look'.
Caregiver to caregiver - we know the real story!!! Down the homestretch, we see the next 2 holidays wherever we go. Between the foods and dinner ideas to the decorations and reminders of gift lists, we start to get bleary-eyed. OH BOY - how many directions can I get pulled in this year!!
As much as we like to handle things ourselves, to make sure things get done 'right' or 'just the way mom or dad likes it', we as caregivers need to let others into our world and help.
The Sams Club November/December 2013 Magazine has an article on 'Seasonal Stress' written by Michele Mongillo, RN, MSN. It acknowledges all the stressors that affect families: gatherings to plan, buying gifts, cooking for groups, organized activities. Of course all these are on top of the normal everyday, more personal tasks that need to get done for our elderly parents or special needs child. Michele has what are called 'tools and tactics' you can use to help relieve the stress.
*** COMMUNICATION: open the conversation with other family members about limited time to participate in some activities. Ask for help so you can accomplish your own tasks. When you send holiday cards, put in a note to say your time may be limited due to caregiving. Suggest other family members have the family meal at their home. Sometimes people are waiting to be asked to help, they may not want to intrude on your privacy.
*** PREPARATION: shop online for gifts or save catelogs that come through the mail so you can identify presents and go straight to the store to get them thus saving time wandering. Cook or bake things that can be frozen ahead of time. Check your calender for those days you need time off and ask a friend or family member to help. If that can't be done, try a local agency.
*** ENJOYMENT: make a choice and find a holiday tradition to 'keep' and let some others go; focus on those to make them memorable for all. Take time for yourself - exercise, get a massage, take time to slow down and just enjoy your loved one.
These next months need to be enjoyable for all. They can be with a little planning and recruitment from friends and family to stop in for a 'visit' so you can leave. Lastly - don't forget where you put the candy and wine. I'm not sure how much it helps at times but it certainly can't hurt in moderation.
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4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload
ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink
You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.
A Caregiver's Poem
I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!
(picture from Caregivers Blog)
I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.
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