Caring for the Caregiver

Caretaker taking care of a senior

Caregiving Isn’t Easy

When our parents get older, time with them becomes precious. Some of us have the blessing of still being able to have fun with our parents, enjoy a game of cards, eating out at a new restaurant, going on a road trip just because. There are others who are not blessed with this kind of time with their parents. They are spending their time helping them in and out of bed, cooking and feeding them every meal, reminding them for the thousandth time who they are, and maybe holding their hand all night to keep them from being frightened.

This second group of children has an enormous burden that they shoulder, night and day, day after day, all day, every day. They tend to lose self because their life has become about someone else. They are exhausted, isolated, frustrated, and at times angry. We all know them, especially as more of our parents are getting older. Most of us know a “poor Janice” that is struggling to keep her family going, helping with her parents, in-laws, and maybe juggling a job.

Easy Ways to Help a Caregiver

Instead of saying “poor Janice”, we need to be saying, “What can I do to help you, Janice?” It has been my experience that these helping souls are extremely hesitant to ask for help. They are doing what has to be done. There are so many helpful things that can ease their burden that is easy to do.

  • Offer to go to the store for them
  • Take them supper so they don’t have to cook
  • Offer to sit with their parent for a couple of hours to allow them some time away
  • Go by and give them a pedicure
  • Call and let them know you are going to the library and offer to pick up some books
  • Give them a visit with some flowers out of your garden
  • Mow their yard for them
  • Weed their flower bed for them
  • Send a Facebook message to remind them someone is thinking about them

None of these acts take very long but they can mean the world to a 24-hour caregiver. Be that friend. Offer. Give. Bless.

Embracing the Belle+

elderly women writing on her note pad

How Elderly Are Embracing New Life Saving Technology

We have a 96-year client that has a Belle+ device. She is very proud of still being able to live by herself, and rightfully so. She fell last year and was found after several hours. The Belle+ has given her the freedom to stay at home where she is comfortable and happy. Her granddaughter has been trying to teach her how to use a cellular telephone, but she just hasn’t quite been able to get the hang of it. I find her courage and eagerness inspirational. At the age of 96, she is still trying to embrace technology rather than avoid and shy away from it. I think that all of us could take a lesson from her and learn how to make technology work for us instead of against us.

Learn How To Use Today’s Apps

There are several ways to learn about the latest and greatest applications and many of them are free. Did you know there are free classes offered by the library all the time? They provide hands-on classes, online classes, and one-on-one training if you need it. Topics such as how to download, basic Facebook and working with Word applications allow you to ease into the technology that can help you interact with friends and loved ones. Contact your local library and see what they offer.

Many colleges and universities have free classes for seniors, some 55+. Not only will they offer a place to learn, but they will also provide a place to meet new people and make new friends. Drury University has a Drury Institute for Mature Learners with a $35 yearly fee. Missouri State University has a program called MSU 62 (Senior Citizens Fee Waiver Program) which allows a person 62+ to take a class each semester for non-credit. Missouri Southern offers a Sixty-Five Plus Program which is similar to the program of Missouri State University except you must be 65+. Some offer classes for a small fee and some even offer tutors in the way of college students wanting to give back to the community. The University of Missouri – Extension Service also offers many free classes within each county. These classes are close to home. You can make it an event for you and your friends.

You might be surprised that churches also provide free computer classes in your area, especially the larger ones. Check with your senior minister and see what classes might be coming up in the future. If there aren’t classes, suggest that it would be a good topic. They are always having to come up with topics for the group.

You may be 35, 65 or even 96 years old but you are not too old to learn. Embrace the new and if you are timid about it, grab a friend. I can guarantee you aren’t alone!!

How to Handle Life’s Changes

A cup of coffe and a book during the fall season

The Challenge of Change

As Fall approaches, everyone is dragging out the jackets, thinking of pumpkin everything, and waiting for the leaves to change. The new season brings change. Some people love it as I do. Others just hate the cooler weather and dread every day until spring comes back around.

Many are facing a new season in their life. This new season more than likely is not one of your makings. Some are having to move into assisted living. Some are having to move back home with their parents. Some are faced with life alone due to the loss of a spouse. Some might be the adult child dealing with all of these situations. Any of these new seasons are either embraced, fought, dreaded, or ignored. How you deal with them will often resemble the outcome.

Ignoring the season does not make it go away. Just like Fall, it still comes around every year about October here in Missouri. You can get away from it by moving away but Fall still occurs like clockwork. Often moving away is not an option for people when they are faced with a new season in their life. Decisions have to be made that are not easy and often scary, embarrassing, or inconvenient.

My husband dreads Fall each year. He hates it because he knows it will bring him even more evil winter. By dreading it so much he often fails to find the positive aspects of Fall. Who can’t enjoy the beautiful trees, the hotdog roasts, and the apple butter? Sometimes when a new season in our life hits us, instead of dreading it, we would be better to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.

Embracing Life’s Changes

By embracing the changes in the seasons of our lives we can face the obstacles with more of a “glass half full” attitude. Why is this important? Expecting good things to happen will lead to taking actions that produce positive results. Expecting only more bad stuff to come your way will keep you from doing the very things that might have minimized or avoided just that! Research has shown that optimists are happier and healthier.

6 Tips on How to Tackle Change

  • Start your day with a positive goal
  • Do something outside your comfort zone
  • Reframe your problem as an opportunity
  • Avoid people that just drain your energy
  • Find the humor in even the most unfunny situations
  • Force yourself to get some exercise