Archive for caregiver support

Feb
18

ARE YOU A CARE GIVER?

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Often when we think of care giving, we think of one person doing the giving and the “patient” doing all of the taking. Actually this is not healthy for either people. The one who is doing all of the giving feels overwhelmed and unappreciated. The person being cared for feels guilty for putting their spouse or child through the experience. They feel the loss of their independence and self-esteem. There is a better way.

CARE GIVER, CARE PARTNER, CARE SHARER.

Whether you are caring for a parent, a spouse or a friend, there are new ways to describe yourself. These new terms can help you to see, that in reality one person does not give while the other takes. Together you are a team, each playing your role. In the book titled Learning To Speak Alzheimer’s, the author Ms. Koenig Coste says, “We are care partners together seeking creative solutions to the challenges we face.” See how many creative solutions you can discover, and I guarantee you will find beautiful gifts in the experience.  “As a Care Partner I am the love of God in action.”

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Feb
15

Communicating With The Overworked Doctor

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Doctors today are very, very busy people. They have told me that they have exactly 30 minutes for the first patient visit, and just 15minutes for continuing visits. That is really tough on both you and the doctor, who desires to be informed and do a great job.

We can help by putting down on paper our lists and questions that we need answered. I call this the Doctors Letter. Include a list of any serious changes you have noticed in the patient between visits. Put it all on paper and then fax it to the doctors office in advance of the visit. If you can’t get to a fax, have it typed up and hand it to the nurse before you see the doctor.

With this detailed information they know much more about the patient.  They are able to give you answers directly in the short amount of time that they do have. During your visit you can just bring up one or two items you really need addressed that day.

Another favor doctors have asked me to pass along has to do with relaying information to families and caregivers. A busy doctor would prefer to communicate directly with just the patients primary caregiver. Please don’t have every sibling demanding to be called and kept up to date just because the family is not speaking to each other. Instead, send out the doctors letter to every adult who desires to be informed.  Then follow up after the appointment with any changes the doctor has suggested. Communitcation between patient, caregiver, doctors and their family will be greatly enhanced with this one easy tool.

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Jan
24

Assisted Living: Moving In And Moving On

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One of the hardest things to do is Move On when your loved one moves to assisted living, skilled nursing, or memory support. I know, I have walked that path. You tend to want to stay with them 24/7, but that is not healthy for you. For one thing, the reason they have moved is it’s become too difficult to care for them at home. You may have been up half the night, doing laundry from incontinence, or listening to the same stories & complaints for months. It is now your time to let someone else do the hard part for awhile.

Don’t be afraid to give yourself a break. Leave them alone a few hours each day and let them adjust to the staff and to their new living conditions. Then try missing a day or two so you can catch up on the things that fell between the cracks while you were caring for them at home. It’s time to catch up on paperwork and it’s time to catch up on rest.

Your loved one will relax into their new home sooner and you will begin the long steady process of finding your way back to your normal. Take a class, go shopping alone, or attend a movie with a friend. It won’t happen overnight, but in time you will both feel better about you time together that you continue to enjoy.
 

 

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Jan
24

Flying With A Dementia Patient

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Security is essential to keep us safe while traveling. When traveling with a loved one whose health is compromised it‘s even more difficult and can feel like hell. As we continue to hear on the nightly news, it is going to get more challenging.

One tool I’ve used is special business cards that I created. One card addresses the patients illness and the other card has all the emergency phone information.The illness card was not my idea, I actually got it from the Alzheimer’s Association. The card I carry states, “Please be patient my loved one has Alzheimer’s and cannot always answer your questions or follow your orders.” I printed it in bold black lettering on a yellow card stock. I carry many with me when I travel. When I’m taking off my shoes, putting bags up, etc. I make sure one of the agents sees this card. They have been very nice to help me watch him when I either move through the scanner first and/or he goes first. I never did really find a “best” way to do all of that! You can make these cards up for any illness, or for a nervous child as well. They are great to hand to a waitress if they seem to be in a rush or appear impatient with a patient. I suggest you use these discreetly please, so as not to embarrass your loved one.

The second card is the information card with Bob’s name on it. It lists my cell and home phone and all of the names and numbers of my adult children in all parts of the country. That way it is good wherever we might travel. I print these out on Avery type business card labels. Or you could take them to a office supply store for printing. I laminate them and leave them in every single pant or coat pocket that he might wear and in any wallet he might carry. They go through the wash beautifully! I feel secure knowing that if he ever strayed they could find me.

 

“Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.”

Michael McGriffy MD, www.inspirelist.com

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Jan
11

Live Each Day As If It Were Your Last

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If you think you must surrender your present joy for the one you are caring for, I say,”don’t do it!” The saddest stories I hear, are from people who have waited for tomorrow to live fully today.

 While reading a book by Maxwell Maltz, I found this paragraph that said, “You could try to live each day as if it’s your last. If you image this to be true, you will shed minor irritations that ordinarily plague you. You will be surprised what a calming effect this thought can bring. You will stop worrying about the many little things that added up, destroying happiness. For your last day on earth, why worry about trivia?”

Then he gives us some tips: live each day to the fullest (Joy’s tip, remembering wonderful memories from the past). Set goals for every day (Joy’s tip, have a plan for the day that include you). Tell yourself that you have the right to be happy (Joy’s tip, do something just for yourself even if it’s a small thing). Set aside time for yourself each day (Joy’s tip, sit on your porch and day dream about a special vacation spot, remember eyes closed!). Accept yourself as you are (Joy’s tip, we all get tired and think we can’t do it…We can! So we are not perfect – so what!)

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Joy Golliver
520-664-6358
Joy@JoyGolliver.com
Author of "Self Care for Caregivers: The Most Important Person in the Experience is YOU!"
and "Self Care for Caregivers: 161 Tips to make your life easier."
I have co-authored: "Tips, Tools, and Resources for The Second Half of Life."
New programs coming in 2012.


The meaning of life is finding your gift.
The purpose of life is giving it away."

Joy Golliver