Each month, I have a one-on-one interview with a caregiver in 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 a little bit stronger.
Beth lives in Pittsburgh, PA area and has been caring for her 80 year old elderly aunt in her home for almost 2 years. Beth has four teenagers and says she is married to ‘one of the nicest people she’s ever met’. Beth enjoys running and writing about interesting things on her ‘Being Home‘ blog.
Beth’s mother lives across the street which she says played a huge part in allowing herself to even consider taking this primary caregiver role on in the first place. In addition to her mom, Beth has lots of local support including her cousin and a doctor neighbor who willingly makes house calls.
Beth is also grateful Aunt Linda is overall pleasant, in spite of her progressing dementia and other ailments, including diabetes. (more…)
When I get way too hungry, or ‘hangry’, I tend to make bad food choices. You know what I’m talking about..the ice-cream, popcorn, sour patch kids, potato chips or french fries. Having a few healthy snacks with me at all times helps keep me on track for my nutrition goals. I also take a bottle of water with me wherever I go.
Throughout our caregiving journey, we are developing so many new skills and collecting more resources than we know what to do with.
It can feel like we are getting our ‘masters in caregiving’ and preparing to write a thesis!
Getting her ‘masters’ was an expression that Colleen Kavanaugh, Certified Caregiving Consultant, used to explain why after a decade of caring for her own parents she decided to pursue a career in caregiving.
Whether we like it or not, caregiving changes us.
Like many of you, I’m a working caregiving mom in a fairly sedentary job.
I sit at my desk or sit in meetings most of the day…five days a week.
Even though I try to exercise several days a week, I’m constantly looking for simple ways to squeeze more fitness into my workday.
Each month, I have a one-on-one call with a caregiver in 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 a little bit stronger.
This month, I spoke to Cindy who lives in Georgia with her husband and two daughters. Cindy knows the challenges well of helping to care for aging parents out-of-state while juggling a job and being involved in your children’s busy lives. Cindy helped her mom care for her dad who suffered from Alzheimer’s. He passed away 3 years ago. Cindy is currently the primary caregiver for her mom who lives in Florida and she is planning to move her mom close by. This is no easy task since her parents had a independent business and lived in their home for 48 years. (more…)
Have you created a bucket list? In this post, I’m going to share mine with you. It’s my ’50 before 50′ bucket list.
So often I see caregivers put aside all their own dreams and goals in order to care for others. I know their heart is in the right place when they make this either conscious or subconscious choice. We all have to do this from time to time in an urgent short-term situation. Caregiving is a marathon not a sprint. There is no way to know as caregivers how much energy we need to sustain and how much damage we are doing to our own physical and mental health by pushing this aside until ‘later’ or ‘someday’.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at your caregiving situation. A little caregiver humor can go a long way! When my sisters and I were packing my mom and moving her from her assisted living in Georgia to my sister’s home in Pennsylvannia, we created a group text called ‘It’s a Great day to give care’ (this is Susie’s mantra that she adapted from Grey’s Anatomy mantra ‘it’s a beautiful day to save lives’) and in this group text there are tons of random little texts that start with ‘You know you are a caregiver when…’.
A sense of humor is a major defense against minor troubles. – Mignon McLaughlin
Each time I read one of the texts or added my own, I knew that smiles where occurring and the day was looking a little brighter. It’s a fun game to play when you are in a thick of some crazy, can’t make this s&%t up caregiver situation, and you are challenged to flip it on its side or upside down to discover the humor. As caregivers we can’t change what happens to us but we can change and own how we react to situations. Choosing to find the caregiver humor in situations will help you stay sane.
Ready for some caregiver humor?
I thought I’d share a few of my favorite ‘You know You are a Caregiver’ texts that were exchanged between me and my sisters:
What do you give a caregiver to show them you care and are thinking about them? What they really want is more time and available hands to call when they are needed . But in our society where the demand of our time far surpasses the supply, it’s a struggle to be that helper we want to be to those caregivers we love. Often times, I have heard the phrase, ‘Please let me know how I can help.’ I never even knew how to reply to that statement. It may be well meaning but it’s not actionable. Being a caregiver is tough stuff. Often times caregiving is emotional draining and physically straining. There are usually no warning signs when a caregiving crisis is approaching. It’s reactive, urgent, and stressful. We don’t know when or if things will improve and often times we know that our situation will probably get worse before it gets better . When a loved one has a disease or a chronic illness, the whole family is impacted in some way. As caregivers, we all have those days, weeks, or even months when we feel like we are on a treadmill and no matter how hard we try to stay on top of it, the plates and pieces we are juggling fall and it feels like no matter how much we give it’s never enough.
I think a gift that continues to remind an overwhelmed caregiver that they are enough is a great gift.
My Spotify workout playlist is constantly a work in progress. I know for my music to continue to motivate me and keep me moving, I need to keep my workout playlist fresh and fun. Music is a must for me during a workout because:
- It offers a distraction – I forget how hard I’m working or how long I’ve been exercising
- It makes me exercise to the beat! I try to add songs to my workout playlist that have between 120 and 140 beats per minute.
- It speaks to my soul! I love songs about getting stronger, achieving greatness, and being happy.
Since we are all caregivers interested in achieving greater health and happiness, I am sharing ten of my favorite songs in each of these areas – happiness and health.
‘We’re out of tricks.’ This is the phrase I used when talking to my two out-of-town sisters about the need to find a better living situation for mom…again. Mom has been in two different assisted living communities in the past year and half, since my dad has passed. Neither place has been a fit and frankly I don’t think any of them will.