Expert Interview – Tami Neumann & Cathy Braxton
Meet Tami Neumann & Cathy Braxton, two ladies who are disrupting the aging industry and the way Caregivers communicate with those we care for who have dementia and Alzheimer’s. Tami & Cathy are on a mission to replace the overwhelming and frustrating communication techniques with something simple,fun, and easy to remember. Their improv training workshops and resources are equipping family Caregivers with new communication tools to practice with their loved ones that have dementia or Alzheimer’s. In this Expert Interview post, learn how some of their improv techniques can improve your communication with those you love.
A guest post written by Jessica Hegg.
Being a Caregiver can be one of the most stressful experiences of your life. Most people giving care for loved ones don’t get paid – and many caregivers work full or part-time, or have children or other responsibilities that mean their life gets very, very stressful.
It’s very tough to juggle time for all the responsibilities of your normal life and of your caregiving. And if you’re not careful, this can lead to caregiver burnout – physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that can affect your ability to provide care for others, and cause stress, fatigue, and other deleterious health outcomes.
The way this most often manifests itself is a lack of time – it seems like Caregivers never have time to everything that they need to in a day. We’re here with 5 simple tips to help you save time and minimize stress in your day-to-day life as a Caregiver. (more…)
“I’m looking for less stuff to take care of.”
This phrase is something my friends and family would hear me say when I was deep in the role of being the primary caregiver for my mom on top of working full time, raising two children, spending time with my husband, and taking care of me. Oh…and my husband was his mom’s primary caregiver as well so we both felt like we were drowning in stuff to do.
It became crystal clear to me that I had way too much on my plate. I feared something important was going to give or drop whether I liked it or not so I needed to be mindful of what I could sacrifice. It felt heavy to take care of so much stuff and difficult to keep so many plates in the air.
While I know I needed to be focusing in the moment, I was constantly distracted by worrying about all my other plates. When I was with my mom, I was thinking about my kids. While I was at the office, I was thinking about my mom, and whenever I was taking some time for me I felt guilty. This nonstop feeling of being needed and not feeling like I could ever do enough reminded me of a mother robin tirelessly feeding a nest of hungry baby birds. I wrote more about this frustration here.
Does this sound familiar to you? (more…)
A guest post written by Erica Hornthal, founder and president of Chicago Dance Therapy. I had the pleasure of meeting Erica at the 2016 National Caregiving Conference and attended her movement breakout session. Her techniques opened my eyes to a fresh new tool for our caregiving toolkit.
As a dance/movement therapist, I have the opportunity to connect with individuals through their bodies, not just through “dance” but through non-verbal expression, communication, and body language. Our bodies have a wonderful way of expressing wants and unmet needs. Martha Graham said, “The body never lies.” This is true as long as we look and listen.
In this post we’ll explore several ways to blend movement with caregiving. (more…)
I regularly feature one-on-one conversations with a family Caregiver from either my Happy Healthy Caregiver Facebook Group or the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. I call each of these recorded conversations a ‘Caregiver Spotlight’. I started these because each caregiver journey is unique and I know every time I talk to another caregiver I learn something new and I leave that conversation knowing I’m not alone and feel encouraged by others.
Meet my caregiving friend and fellow caregiver advocate Priya Soni. Priya’s caregiving experience with her dad and recently with her mom continue to shape who she is and inspired her to start a movement called The Caregiving Effect. Usually Priya highlights other family caregiver stories through The Caregiving Effect but today the Caregiver Spotlight is shining on her. (more…)
A lot can happen in a year and yet years seem to go by faster and faster. 2016 just flew by!
With hundreds of days in a year, we have good days and bad days but collectively my wish for you and for me is that our days roll up to a year of new learnings, opportunities, hearty laughter, memorable moments, and genuine health & happiness.
I wanted to create this ‘year in review’ wrap up blog post, partly for you and partly for me. Since the years do seem to rush by, capturing it in writing in some small way seems like a small way to cement the accomplishments and memories.
I’m also guilty of just plugging on to the next thing and not taking time to savor and celebrate the accomplishments. It’s been fun to reflect and recognize the fruits of my labor and to highlight what was really great about 2016. (more…)
Tara Reed – Expert Interview
Tara Reed’s father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her personal experiences forever changed her and inspired her to create her own business to help others in a similar position. Tara’s business, Pivot to Happy, is a wonderful toolbox of resources specifically for family caregivers who have a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s to help them navigate this journey.
A guest post written by Family Caregiver Sarah Allen
Staying Connected with Mom
My mother has taken care of me for most of my life. Now she is struggling with the early stages of Alzheimer’s Disease, and I know it is my time to step up to the plate and return the favor.
Rather than continuously visit nursing homes, rehabilitation centers and try to pay for a home aid ourselves, we moved her in with my family and I take care of her.
My sister Emily lives out of town, but is constantly looking for ways to keep in touch because she can’t see my mom every day. With so many families in our situation, most know it is hard to keep in touch with loved ones we can’t see often. Here are some ways that you can stay close to loved ones.
For many family caregivers, the future is just too uncertain. Questions with no specific answers and abundant worries race through our heads. Questions like:
Will we have enough money to take care of our loved ones?
Will I have enough energy to make it through the day?
Will my loved one remember who I am?
Why has all of this responsibility been given to me?
How long will the demands of caregiving last?
What will people think of me if I don’t visit today?
All of these questions trigger other questions and we can find ourselves stressed out and overwhelmed over all these uncertainties.
I like to regularly feature one-on-one conversations with a family Caregiver from either my Happy Healthy Caregiver Facebook Group or the Happy Healthy Caregiver Community. I call each of these recorded conversations a ‘Caregiver Spotlight’. I started these because each caregiver journey is unique and I know every time I talk to another caregiver I learn something new and I leave that conversation knowing I’m not alone and feel encouraged by others.
Meet Creative Family Caregiver – Carole Brecht
Carole Brecht’s first exposure to family caregiving occurred when she had just closed her art gallery and was planning to secure a job in her industry. Her dad worked full-time and her mom had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Carole had the time to step up as the daughter to help, not even knowing what a Caregiver was, nor hearing the word Caregiver until the end of her journey. She just knew her mom needed assistance with daily tasks and transportation and advocacy at her doctor appointments. Like many of us, Carole had no formal training in caregiving and learned as she went. Her caregiving journey with her mom lasted several years until her mom passed away two years ago. During this time, Carole didn’t have a support system. She felt caregiving was a lonely, isolating journey that caused her to withdraw. Carole is currently her father’s Caregiver.
Caregiving took Carole down a path she didn’t anticipate. Her personal experiences inspired her to explore two positive, creative outlets: Zentangle art and writing.