End of Year Thoughts:
The end of the year, as we look toward a new year, time to assess what the year has brought us: what happened and what we did about it as well as what we need to do again or change in the upcoming one. Our family situations change, health needs change (sometimes even mental health needs), legal responsibilities change. Maybe it is time to talk to a legal professional.
If you choose to speak with an attorney, make sure you find one who is versed in the type of legal issues you need help with: elder care or special needs child, healthcare Power of Attorney or Social Security -- you get the picture.
On ElderCarelink there is a page on the link - 'Ask the Expert Elder Law Page'. The article shows things to discuss (some of these pertain to both categories of those we care for):
As I mentioned, some of the above can pertain to our special needs children. You may want to check out the U.S. Department of Education site and see if anything can help. Laws vary by state but you may see something there that can help. Talk to their teachers too - they can put you in the right direction.
Most of all remember - as I remember being told when I was growing up: 'the only stupid question is the one not asked'.
Ask for Help:
Short and Sweet -- As we all run around preparing for Christmas, Hanukkah, or any other holiday you may celebrate, anyone will tell you - make sure you take time for yourself, care for YOUR emotional and physical well-being. You can't help others if you are not feeling well. ElderCarelink offers 2 ways to help reduce the stress, which I am sure everyone is aware of.
*Hire in-home care to help with transportation, meals, housekeeping, companionship, and personal care.
*Adult care services so your elderly parents too can stay active and be with their peers.
Simple and easy solutions that caretakers should take advantage of. Don't feel bad about wanting to take time for yourself to go to a party or shopping or get your hair done or out for lunch with friends you haven't seen for awhile. You know what?? Sometimes your loved one enjoys time doing something different with someone else, talking about the 'old days', remembering 'the big band era', or what their family used to eat during this time of year -- all the stories WE have heard so many times. It's different with others - a new audience, so to speak. It can be a better thing all the way around for everyone involved.
In a sense, this can also go for help with your special needs child. Use respite care to step in if you need to go out. Depending on the child, he/she might not like all the hustle and bustle and loudness of shopping and parties. Respite care through a variety of agencies can help. There may be teachers or teacher assistants who can help too. I know some of Willie's teacher assistants do this. When mom passed away, Willie's Special Olympics coach stepped in to watch Willie at the funeral home during the wake hours. We wanted him nearby with the family but knew he wouldn't sit or stay still for a long time; so his coach graciously stepped in to stay with him and wander or go out to the car for a time, go to the bathroom -- whatever he wanted to do, It was such a GREAT HELP. I can tell you - use your resources; the guilty feeling goes away in a short time!!
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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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