Age Without Borders Virtual Caregiving Summit


 

I am honored to participate in the Age Without Borders Global Caregiving Virtual Summit which begins on January 20-26. You can receive your free pass to attend the summit by visiting  Age Without Borders website by clicking here

The summit features over 60 thought leaders, experts and luminaries from 17 countries who share leading edge tools, insights, and personal stories. (My 30 minute presentation is on day 5 of the summit).

Plus, the summit includes a substantial FREE Care Package that offersinspirational tools and gifts, like Pulitzer prize winning poets, downloadable music and art, recipes, and spot-on caregiving tutorials and guides. Use this to help yourself, and to share with your family for quality time together.

Get your free pass, for daily links, and get a LIFETIME access to the entire collection (over 30 hours of content, plus care package gifts) for our $97 early bird All Access Pass, valid through midnight this Friday. The All Access Pass once the summit begins is $147.

Have you recently taken time out of your life to care for someone you love? Statistics estimate there are anywhere from 40-100 million people in the USA alone serving as unpaid caregivers- without any sort of information, training or support.

While done with love, caregiving for others professionally, or for family and friends, often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, burned out, stressed, even depressed. We find ourselves needing information, advocacy, self-care and inspiration.  

I’d like to offer you a complimentary FREE PASS to attend the Age Without Borders Global Caregiving Virtual Summit, January 20-26, 2018 featuring over 60 thought leaders, experts and luminaries from 17 countries who share leading edge tools, insights, and personal stories.

Here is a preview of my presentation:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/240288692″>Christopher MacLellan Promo</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user60061055″>Kari Henley</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Think of it as a free online conference or Netflix series that brings you knowledge and help for the most important job of your life. Enjoy two minute trailer videos to highlight each session, and full length interviews that last about 20 minutes- easy and fun to watch! Click here to see a few other
Topics include: inspiration to prevent burnout, caregiving policy updates, family coordination of care, respite and self care, digital tools to improve independence, family caregiver reflections and more.

Plus, the summit includes a FREE Care Package that offers inspirational tools and gifts, like Pulitzer prize winning poets, downloadable music and art, recipes, and spot-on caregiving tutorials and guides.

Click here to get your free pass, for daily links, and check out the very reasonable option to purchase the entire collection (over 30 hours of content, plus care package gifts) for only $97 early bird price.

Don’t just take my word for it.  Listen in to Kari Henley on this segment of Healing Ties Podcast and learn f

See you there!

 

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Getting To Bluetiful


Love has no age, no limit; and no death. John Galsworthy

As the holiday’s approach, it can be easy to fall into the “blues” especially when you are experiencing your first holiday without someone you love. When a life transitions, two or more lives are impacted, there are no two experiences that are exactly alike.

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Chris MacLellan with a portrait of the late Bernard Richard Schiffer in the background.

I’ve heard it said many times, “the first year is always the toughest when you lose someone you love.” I think the jury is still out on this statement. I know in my case, after my loss, I realized how ill prepared I was for the conflicting emotions of grief that I experienced. One of the most disheartening experiences for me was when someone criticized me for the way I handled my grief. We all experience loss, yet no one can tell us exactly how to deal with loss, loss is so personal and so real. I’ve come to learn this was their problem, not mine.

I also learned that it was equally important not to have anyone impose a time-frame on when I should be “beyond my grief.” Grief isn’t something that is taught in school, grief is an emotional experience that impacts each one of us in different ways. Like a plant that needs to be watered to regain its bloom, we too in our grief process need to be watered for us to bloom again. There is no timetable for a new bloom, yet without the proper nurturing and care, our soil dries and we start to wither away. Finding the proper water and soil is critical for “Getting to Bluetiful.”

There is one aspect to grief that I think all of us experience in one way or another, we stop living… I know, I let it happened to me! I believe once we recognize that we have stopped living, then we are ready to start the process of dealing with our unresolved grief.

Emotional isolation has an adverse effect on anyone. Getting to “Bluetiful” starts by being validated by trusted family and friends, without fear of judgement and without fear of laughter. Telling our stories allows our soil to be tended so we can receive nourishment on our journey to “Bluetiful.” I appreciate everyone who has allowed me to share my story.

While amid grief, “Getting to Bluetiful” can have its challenges, but it is a worthy journey when you have the proper water and soil to help you along the way. Sure, there will be days where the path will be bumpy, mixed in with some sharp curves. When those days happen out of the blue, simply pull off to the side of road for some fresh water and soil (a good cry? YES!) which will replenish your journey to “Bluetiful.” That old cliché is true: Time heals all wounds, however wounds healing at their own pace and in their own time and in your time, you will get to Bluetiful!

I’m almost there too!

Chris MacLellan is the host of Healing Ties Podcast and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?

“Everyone has the potential to be a kindness leader. Everyone has the potential to leave footprints on the heart of another. It is simply choosing to do a kind act to make someone else’s life ‘bluetiful.'” Allison Lazicky from Top-Notch Teams.

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Caregivers: Self Care is Number 1


Courage is knowing what not to fear.  Plato

 As National Caregiving Month comes to a close, here are some important reminders moving forward.

As Caregivers we are often put into a position where we have to choose between what is good for ourselves, and what is good for our loved one or care partner.  Placing someone else needs in front of our own might be difficult for some people to understand, but not for the caregiver!

To be a healthy caregiver we have to learn how to live our life in the solutions of our caregiving experience, not the problems caregiving can create in our lives.  By living a life focused on solutions, we live life with clarity, hope and love.  Focusing solely on the problems of caregiving we live in fear, worry and despair.
Here’s The Deal: Taking care of self is rule number one while in the midst of caregiving. Whether the words are spoken or not, your loved one understands the stress you are under and wants you to take care of yourself.  When you get to the point where you are at least half as good at asking care of yourself as you are at taking care of your loved one, you be on the right track. But first and foremost you have to start by making a plan!  Start by:
Create A Care Team: While are super hero’s our caregiving capes are limited. Reach out to family members and friends who can play a role on the care team. Everyone brings different talents to the team, utilize them!  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness!
Set a Daily Intention For Yourself: Caregiving can be time consuming, especially if your balancing your career and raising children at the same time.  Schedule something for yourself, every day, even if it is just five minutes of me time in a room alone.
Have A Back-Up Plan: What if you get sick?  See Create a Care Team Above.
As Caregivers, we then to think that we are indestructible, but we are susceptible to illness too.  Stress and fatigue will play havoc on all parts of your body, mind and spirit.
I believe that there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being.  I make no bones about it, caregiving is hard, but in the end, the good days will always outweigh the bad ones.
Our new look and our new location on The Whole Care Network will debut in January 2018
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How to Recognize the Warning Signs of Prescription Pill Abuse


Today we welcome back guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket!

Contrary to popular belief, drug abuse is not limited to the use of illicit substances. Majority of the time, it is a consequence of developing an addiction to prescription medication or painkillers – which initially, already possess highly addictive properties. The main scenario that sets the stage for addiction is when a doctor prescribes a medication to treat a patient’s ailment- such as a physical injury, chronic pain, inflammation, and even mental illness. While a patient intends only to use the prescribed medication to diminish their pain or discomfort, they can unexpectedly become dependent on the effects of the drug long after their original ailment heals. Therefore, this allows them to abuse the remaining medication and even gain access to more.

According to the studies of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it was estimated in 2014 that 26 million people globally abused prescription drugs, while the United States statistic is just over 2 million people. In 2017, both numbers continue to increase by the thousands.

To prevent this opioid epidemic from rising, we can take action by looking for the warning signs of prescription pill abuse in the loved ones in our lives.

These are the warning signs of prescription pill abuse:

  1. Fatigue

Fatigue causes one to experience severe bouts of exhaustion, lack of sleep, severe nausea, and general bodily discomfort. A person always seems to be restless or even suffers from intense migraines and muscle and joint paint. Overall, the constant abuse of drugs damages an individual’s immune system. Without its adequate protection, a person is prone to suffering sickness, diseases, and infections at a much higher and faster rate.

  1. Drastic changes in behavior or mood

Mood swings or uncharacteristic behaviors are triggered by a drug’s effect on altering brain chemistry and disrupting neurotransmitters. An individual can be completely ecstatic and cheerful one moment, and not even a minute later is suddenly lashing out violently in anger and rage. Effectively communicating with them becomes increasingly difficult and their unpredictable behavior is discerning to be around.

  1. Physical changes

Look for drastic weight changes, bloodshot eyes, and abnormal pupil sizes. Furthermore, you will notice sudden patches, bruises, or infections appearing on the skin without proper reason. Additionally, grooming habits and hygiene are obviously neglected. The person no longer cares about their physical appearance at this point.

  1. Isolation and Disinteress

Does your loved one seem to purposely avoid social interactions or neglect relationships? When in isolation, an individual addicted to drugs will separate themselves from the outside world in order to focus on the most important thing to them: getting their fix on more painkillers. In conjunction with socialization, an individual addicted to drugs will also abandon their hobbies and past interests as well. Eventually, everything and everyone in their life becomes worthless in exchange for the high they reach on drugs.

  1. Depression and Anxiety – and general mental illness, for that matter

Depression and anxiety can appear without warning or family history and even worsen a preexisting mental illness. While depression and anxiety are common side effects of certain drugs, the medications that have this pre-existing warning can encourage suicidal idealization and episodes of anxiety. Also, while drugs do not directly cause a mental illness, such as schizophrenia or mania to occur, they have the ability to increase an individual’s likelihood to develop them.

  1. Impairment of cognitive functioning

You will notice a lack of normal cognitive functioning in someone when their speech begins to slur, they lose concentration easily, and their memory seems to deteriorate. It becomes a challenge to hold a conversation or rely on them to perform a basic action. Along with that, a person may shift in and out of reality and become disassociated from the world and people around them.

  1. Suicidal or homicidal tendencies

In extreme case scenarios, a drug addiction to prescription pills can cause someone to be suicidal or homicidal, or a combination of the two. According to a study in 2015 from the University of Eastern Finland, researchers found a frightening connection between the abuse of prescription drugs and homicide. When under the influence of copious amounts of sedatives, an individual is 45% more likely to commit a homicide or similarly violent crime. The most concerning fact was that abusing over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen or Tylenol, showed a staggering 206% increase in homicidal rates.

If you know anyone who is on the verge of suffering a drug addiction, know that that there is always hope for them. Numerous organizations and rehabilitation programs are located in each state and will assist your loved one on the road to recovery and sobriety. Despite the staggeringly high statistics of individuals who abuse drugs both nationally and globally, each person has the ability to overcome their addiction and take their lives back. We can help them take the first step in that journey.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.  Trevor can be reached at: trevorc.mcdonald@gmail.com

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Identifying Scams


The Purple Jacket is excited to share a post about how everyone can identify scams – make sure to check out the info-graphic below!

Everyone but especially caregivers should be focused on identifying scams, because they’re proliferating yearly and often target the elderly. In fact, as identified in the graphic below, a full 80% of telemarketing scam victims are seniors! The goal of these scams is usually some form of identity theft. If you’re unaware of what identity theft is, here’s a great resource with additional information on the topic. Once you understand what identity theft risk is, you’ll be more apt to stay vigilant and make sure you’re minimizing the risk of yourself and those you care for in any way possible. This info-graphic really helps with that goal in mind.

 

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Balancing Life, Work and Caregiving


Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.  Paul Drucker

The emotional and financial stress of caregiving affects every segment of our society.  Caregiving touches every industry with an untold effect on the financial, physical and mental health of the family caregiver.  Caregivers face and uphill latter to overcome fatigue, burnout, stress and financial ruin.  I know, I’ve been there!

Assessing the long-term financial impact of caregiving will play a role in shaping local, state and federal policies.  Just recently, (May 2017) the House or Representative passed H.R. 1180, know as the Working Families Flexibility Act.  According to the National Law Review, the bill proposes to amend the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), will allow employees to “bank” comp time for future use.  At least from my point of view, it appears that this Bill falls short of addressing the needs of working family caregivers and their employers.

The financial impact of Caregiving is not limited to the caregiver, the employers is also affected.  Creating an awareness to the critical issues family caregivers face on a daily basis will help the employer and caregiving employee find solutions that have a positive impact in the work place.  Smart employers adopt innovated ways to keep productivity high and help everyone become successful not matter what life throws at their staff.

Employers and their employee caregivers face significant challenges balancing workweblogo with caring for a loved one. On Wednesday August 30th, Impact Broward is taking the bold step to brings the issues facing working family caregivers and their employers to the forefront in Broward County, Florida with the Work/Life Caregiving Symposium hosted at the Urban League of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale.

At the symposium you’ll hear:

  • Hear first-hand accounts of the impacts of caregiving,
  • Learn how flexible HR policies can lead to increased employee retention, improved productivity, and shareholder gains, and
  • Discuss public policies that help caregivers and employers thrive.

Listen too our Work/Life Caregiving Symposium Podcast with Peter Kaldes from Impact Broward and Kim Praitano from Gilda’s Club of South Florida by clicking here! 

Keep your eye on The Purple Jacket for more information on the Caregiving Symposium, the development of the Caregiving Coalition of Broward County and our new website The Whole Care Network!   

For information on how you can participate in the Work/Life Symposium visit Impact Broward by clicking here! 

When we create a collective impact on a social issue that impacts all segments of society, we build stronger communities locally and nation-wide.

Christopher MacLellan,  has a Masters degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University, the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving”,  and a Certified Senior Advisor. To learn more about Chris, simply click here! 

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Are You Enabling a Loved One? 


We welcome back  guest writer Trevor McDonald to The Purple Jacket

It’s never easy to watch someone you love struggle.

Naturally, you want to do everything in your power to make them feel better. You only have the best intentions.

But how can you know when your helpful attitude is crossing a line? It’s quite difficult because enablers usually don’t realize they are enabling.

Enabling always begins innocently enough, but it can develop into desperation.

Typical behaviors that loved ones enable

When someone mentions the term “enabling,” your mind probably goes straight to addiction. With addiction, enabling is extreme and can be quite dangerous. However, there are other ways we enable our loved ones without realizing.

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re caring for a family member who is morbidly obese. She derives a great deal of happiness from food, so you pick up her favorite chocolate cake when she’s having a bad day. This is an example of enabling.

On a smaller scale, some parents enable their children to adopt bad habits. Let’s say, your child despises cleaning, so you never make him do it. You’re enabling him to become a lazy adult.

In every case, you have the best intentions. You don’t want to see your loved one unhappy or uncomfortable. Maybe you even want them to associate the happiness they get from negative behaviors with you. So you enable.

The problem with enabling behavior

In every case of enabling, you are encouraging damaging behavior. Enablers usually realize this fact, but they justify their actions in various ways.

  • “He would use drugs anyway; may as well do it in my house.”
  • “What harm could a little piece of cake do?”

Each excuse justifies the bad behavior and encourages the person to continue.

  • “Pot can’t be that bad or mom wouldn’t let me smoke in the house.”
  • “My caregiver encouraged cake yesterday. Why not today?”

It’s easy to enable. We’ve all been there at one point or another. But we should instead be encouraging our loved ones to make healthy, productive choices – especially when a behavioral problem is present.

How to stop enabling

Stopping enabling behavior isn’t for the faint of heart. If you’ve been enabling a loved one for some time, an abrupt end can seem like you’re being mean or uncaring – even thought this is the furthest thing from the truth.

People are afraid to change their behavior because they fear their loved one may push back. Or they could fear other consequences. If you’ve been picking up someone else’s mess (literally or figuratively), there will be some fallout when you stop.

Here are some tips to help make the transition smoother:

  • Talk openly about your plans – Instead of going “cold turkey” without explanation, talk to your loved one about how you plan to stop enabling, and how it’s for her own good. When she exhibits behavior that you previously enabled, remind her of your new role in her life.
  • Get support – Talk to someone you trust about what has been going on and how you’ve been enabling. This should be someone you can talk to when you’re feeling weak. This person may also help you identify situations where you are enabling without realizing.
  • Get other adults on board – If you and your spouse or another family member have been enabling together, it’s important to get on the same page about stopping the enabling behavior.
  • Let your loved one experience consequences – This is the most difficult part of the process because it can be painful for you and your loved one. However, if someone repeatedly gets into trouble knowing you’re going to bail them out, you must step back and let law enforcement do their job. We do this with the hope that our loved ones will finally learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

Enabling is a difficult and painful behavior to stop, but it is for the good of yourself and your loved one.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
 

 

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Be Part of the Solution: Become a Senior Home Safety Specialist!


One of the things I value the most is my friends and colleagues. So when I come across something that has impressed me, I want to share it with my trusted friends and colleagues. As part of my continued advocacy for family caregivers and seniors, I recently I had the opportunity to take and review The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course from Age Safe America. I was quite impressed! Here is my review of the course:

” The Age Safe America course is extremely well organized and informative. The instructors are knowledgeable and provide clear examples for the student to achieve success. There was not one glitch with the software which is amazing considering the amount of audio and video files attached to the training course. The idea of the point system and badges is brilliant because it provides the user with visual goals and a sense of accomplishment. Well Done!”.

Christopher MacLellan, M.A., “The Bow Tie Guy” Caregiver Advocate, Founder of the Whole Care Network

Below is a more detailed description of the course.

The Senior Hsenior-home-safety-specialistv2-1ome Safety Specialist™ course empowers participants with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. This comprehensive 6-hour self-paced audio/video course offers the only certificate of its kind to individuals within the senior services industry. This important training consists of a 10-module self-study educational program with a quiz after each section that participants must pass in order to continue. Upon successfully completing the entire course, you will receive an attractive Certificate along with a digital copy of the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ emblem to use in your own marketing efforts.

Approximately one-third of adults age 65 years or older fall in their home each year, resulting in injury, long-term disability and and premature loss of independence. By the year 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost related to these kinds of injuries to be nearly $60 Billion annually. In an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs Age Safe America now offers the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course.

In an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs Age Safe America now offers the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course.

What is Covered in This Online Course: 

– Fall Prevention Myths and Solutions

– Fire Safety Precautions and Solutions

– Aging-in Place Home Modifications

– Mobility and Accessibility Issues

– Home and Senior Safety Technologies

– Considerations for Alzheimer’s/Dementia

– Crime Prevention and Personal Safety

– Senior Exploitation, Identity Theft and Scams

– Communication with Older Adults and Family

– Performing a Complete Home Safety Assessment

No matter what role you might play in serving caregivers and seniors, I highly recommend you taking the Senior Home Safety Specialist™  course!

To learn more about Age Safe America and how to register for the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course follow this link https://agesafe.talentlms.com.

Be sure to enter Coupon Code “bowtieguy” to save $20.00 off the cost of the course.

Have a group that wants to take the course? Contact Steven Bailey at Age Safe America directly at Steven@AgeSafeAmerica.com for special group rates. Be sure to tell them the Bow Tie Guy sent you!

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The Negative Effects Of Stress


We welcome guest writer Sarah Jones to The Purple Jacket. 

Have you ever been faced with a life situation whereby your body system requires you to fight or take flight? That’s what scientists call stress. It can be brief like being stuck in a traffic jam to getting to that interview room or arguing with someone. It can also be long term like losing a loved one, a job, getting a divorce, or psychological trauma. All this make the nervous system respond both as a means of protecting you and enabling you to remain focused and alert. But most importantly, your body bursts with energy.

Stress can be beneficial when it spurs you to act in the face of challenges. On the other hand, when stress continues over an extended period of time and becomes persistent it results in acute stress which has chronic harmful health effects to the body. Below is a detailed look at these negative effects of stress.

Diseases and Infections

Your body, through the immune system, releases chemicals known as cytokines. Chemicals that send messages to cells that counteract infections and enable cells to multiply when the need arises. During acute stressful periods, your body releases hormones which hinder the production of these chemicals.

Consequently, the body’s immune system is restrained from efficiently coordinating the combat of infections and diseases. Therefore the capacity of your body to effectively fight infections and diseases is impeded. As a result, you end up being prone to infections and other autoimmune diseases.

Anxiety and Depression

Sometimes stress can overcome you without you even noticing. It, therefore, becomes a part of your daily life until it gets normal and almost feels familiar. This is the situation when you cease realizing how it’s affecting your normal being yet has an adverse impact on your mental and psychological well being.

Anxiety creates trepidation and chronic stress results to depression. In this situation, you become moody and irritable, easily angered by petty things, and therefore you become unhappy. This may lead to you isolating yourself and feelings of loneliness creeping in.

To reduce stress and stay calm thus remain healthy you can employ the use of therapeutic essential oils. Invest in a good oil diffuser to be able to relax at home after a long day at work.

Low Libido

If you are experiencing a low sex drive, it might be as a result of stress. Erectile dysfunction accompanied with premature ejaculation when having sex is common, especially among men. Hence it will affect bonding and relationships, especially among married couples. The decreased sexual desire may lead to frustrations in either or both of the partners leading to separation and in worst cases even divorce. Bedroom romance is a key pillar of marriage. Therefore before you escalate to negative stress you would want to reconsider your sexual desires status.

Heart Diseases

When you are stressed the body releases stress hormones which increase your heartbeat and create a “racing heart” feeling. This is accompanied by chest pains and an increase in your blood pressure and fat levels.

All these symptoms can lead to a heart attack or failure. The fats accumulated in the body lines on the walls of the blood vessel hindering blood from flowing to the heart. Physical exercises with reduced stress levels can reduce this risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular diseases.

The Bottom Line

Do you sometimes try to develop the relationship between your health and stress-related behaviors? Of course, the two relate to a great length. Some stress-relieving mechanisms such as smoking, alcoholism, use of drugs, eating more or less pose a general health risk to your body. So next time you press the stress button, think of the healthier side of life you are touching!

Bio: Sarah Jones is the editor of relaxeveryday. Finding aromatherapy in a stressful point in her life made all the difference to her health. She promotes a healthy and relaxed life, and want to help others in their strive for a calmer life. Sarah can be reached at sarah@thrivingnichemedia.com

 

 

 

 

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How to Help Your Loved One Overcome the Fear of Asking For Help


We welcome back our guest writer Trevor to “The Purple Jacket”

Overcoming obstacles in life is only half the battle. The other half is living and functioning after the obstacle has been overcome. Addiction is a complex disease that individuals can violently be sucked into, without any recollection or realization that a substance or behavior has suddenly defined their life so dramatically. Pulling oneself out of addiction is a process – a journey that takes almost a lifetime to conquer. The desire to end an addiction is self-respect, but seeking help itself might possibly be the most frightening step, but the most courageous one and a mark of strength.

By seeking guidance outside of their own opinions, an individual with addiction is completely opening up their emotions and memories, leaving an incredibly personal part of themselves vulnerable to criticism – by no means is that a walk in the park. The fear in asking for help is completely valid and should never be something seen as humorous or a disposition to be taken lightly. Asking for help is always the hardest step. As the supporting friend, family member, or spouse – you are an assurance to your loved one that there is value in seeking help. You are their support system that provides positive affirmations and actions. Not to mention, you also remind your loved one there is a meaningful life outside of addiction, and they have so much to experience that makes life worth living, and that it can be done without unhealthy coping mechanisms and tendencies.

 First, sitting down and having an honest, raw conversation with your loved one sets everything on the table and gives you both an opportunity to share how you feel. You are able to learn why they want to take this journey. On the other hand, your loved one will always remember that someone understands their circumstances to the best of their abilities and is willing to be supportive. The utter transparency between you both is a solace, and may even make your loved one speak more easily and freely to a professional therapist or support group in the future. By your encouragement and love, it can give a loved one a little push to take the initiative to find help on their own. You can hold them accountable but also encourage their independence – because self-reliance is all that is necessary. Remember when you asked for help once? It was monumental to feel acknowledged by another human being.

 If your loved one wishes, go with them to support groups, wait in the seating area of a psychiatric office, or attend an event with them that will be a bit more bearable with a person by their side. The actual presence of someone during a difficult moment can make all the difference in the world. It is natural to be hesitant doing certain things alone, especially when particular moments require openness.

Besides meaningful conversations and formal treatments to addiction, simply having fun with your loved one is a break from anything disheartening in life. By experiencing the world outside of addiction, your loved one can see that there is truly an end-result to the recovery process. It is easy to lose oneself in addiction, question self-identity, and spiral into a dark place. But by enjoying themselves and letting go of pain – even just for a few minutes – your loved one can find pleasures in things and hobbies that they once loved, or will come to love.

 If there is one last thing that helps your loved one, it is never losing a sense of purpose from the trials of their mistakes and relapses, triumphs, and self-doubt that gives them the courage to ask for help. Life isn’t a race to see who can get to the finish line with the least amount of trauma and scars. Life is what they make it, and you hope that even through unexpected and painful bumps along the way – there is not an end, but a never-ending opportunity to give themselves an existence they have always wanted.

Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic whose been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.  Trevor can be reached at 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/trevor-mcdonald
Website: https://about.me/trevormcdonald
Email: trevorc.mcdonald@gmail.com

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