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.
The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. Jean-Jacques Rousseau
According to the Centers for Disease Control: “each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.
Falls Are Serious and Costly
But what if there was a way to encourage those 65 and older (well, everyone for that matter) to exercise and create better balance? Well now, you’ve come to the right place!
Dr. Sheryl Flynn is the founder and CEO of Blue Marble Health, a software company that specializes in developing tools that support healthy aging and chronic disease management. Dr. Flynn founded Blue Marble Health because she wanted to develop tools that could directly impact older adults while supporting their care team. I just love that!
Dr. Flynn’s Health in Motion platform offers older adults and those with chronic disease to screen their fall risk while offering exercises to help improve balance and coördination. And best of all, the App is user-friendly along with the ability to send information to your care team. Having your health care information readily available at a moment’s notice helps mitigate emergencies when we have to interact with healthcare professionals who are not regularly on our health-care team.
Dr. Flynn has a goal to prevent one million falls within the next five years. This is a lofty, but attainable goal with the Health in Motion App. Don’t just take it from me! Listen in and learn how Dr. Flynn and the staff are preventing falls and creating Healing Ties all around us!
As an added bonus, enter the code “Healing Ties” and receive 20% off your order!
Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others. Jonathan Swift
In this election season when there is so much negativity on our airways, it is nice to come across someone with a”feel-good” story that warms your heart. Debra Lombard has your feel-good story of the day!
Chris MacLellan with special guest, Debra Lombard Executive Director of The Exceptional Theater Company
As the Executive Director for The Exceptional Theater Company, Debra has turn her passion for theater and the arts into a career that many of us dream of doing. The Exceptional Theater Company is designed to teach theater to persons with physical and and intellectual challenges which creates opportunities for for personal growth in countless ways.
Debra’s program is filled with many feel good stories as the program enhances verbal skills, improves movement, builds self-confidence and advances socialization while stimulating free thinking. During our conversation on Healing Ties Radio, Debra and I both recognized how this interactive environment created respite care for caregivers!
Don’t just take it from me; listen into our episode of Healing Ties and learn how Debra Lombard is creating Healing Ties all around us!
Oh…and stay tuned to the end of the show and learn about the terrific story on how the logo was created for The Exceptional Theater, the story will bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face!
Join us in Chicago for the First Annual National Caregiving Conference on December 2nd and 3rd hosted by Denise Brown as Caregiving.com! To learn more about the conference and to sign up to attend, visit Caregiving.com
The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
Richard and I during one of our many talks about what he wanted. This conversation centered around his medication.
Having “The Talk” does not have to be hard or difficult, yet the talk does have to happen at some point in our lives. I’m not referring to the birds and the bees talk our parents have with us when we are adolescents. “The Talk” I am referring to is the talk we have with our loved ones about end-of-life wishes.
As a caregiver, one of our most important roles, if not the most important one of them all, is to be an advocate. How can one advocate if you do not know the wishes or desires of the person in your care? Richard and I always had the ability to talk openly about his wishes. In fact, our end-of-life conversation happened spontaneously; by the end of the conversation, our tears of love and joy were comforted by the knowledge that I knew exactly what he wanted. “I will tell you when I am ready for hospice” he bellowed…Yes you did!
Click on the image to purchase Jack’s book
Recently I had the opportunity to visit with Jack Tatar who has written a book called “Having the Talk.” “Having the Talk” focuses on ways to begin a family discussion earlier rather than later, about planning for the later life issues of a retired or retiring parent. Jack’s research demonstrated to him people have “the Talk”, but they have it too late, either when there’s little that can be changed, or after expectations have been set by siblings about “who gets what.” When this happens, families are torn apart, and loved ones who played together and protected each other throughout their entire lives now find themselves not talking to each other, usually all the way to their deathbeds.
Here is our recent episode of “Healing Ties” featuring Jack Tatar as we discuss how to have those difficult end-of-life conversation.
While I understand not everyone is going to be able to have the same experience of having “The Talk” like Richard and I did, let me share a few suggestions on how you might approach this delicate conversation:
Always use open-ended question
Don’t force the conversation, if there is strong resistance, back off and revisit it at another time
Express the importance of the need for you to be comforted, knowing that by following their wishes, makes it easier on you
I believe there are two common aspects to caregiving that everyone experiences, there is a beginning and there is an end, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either one of these life changing events! It is difficult to plan for the unexpected, but having a plan in place does help temper the confusion when an emergency happens.
Chris' Master Degree Thesis Spiral of Silence: Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Workplace was accepted by the faculty at Gonzaga University in May of 2016 earning an MA Degree in Communication and Leadership. Email me at email@example.com for information on the financial impact of caregiving. Proud to be an Alumni of Gonzaga University 2016
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Hope Loves Company (HLC) is the only non-profit in the U.S. with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig's disease. Many of these children become caregivers to their parents. Please visit Hope Loves Company's website to learn more about this wonderful program!
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"What's The Deal With Caregiving?" is available on Amazon. Click above to see the reviews of the book and to purchase a copy of your own
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Culture Change In A Box is our new show on the Whole Care Network featuring cost host Judy Ryan from LifeWork Systems and Chris MacLellan from the Whole Care Network.
As a certified accessible travel advocate, I can book all your travel plans! Ask me how you can have anything from oxygen to a hoyer lift delivered to your cruise ship stateroom or hotel around the world! For more information email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Three Part Caregiving Story…
Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 2015, Our Caregiving Story "In Sickness and In Health: A Couple's Final Journey" written by Diane Lade and photgraphed by Carline Jean from The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Click on the photo to be taken to the original story. Photo Credit Carline Jean/Sun-Sentinel
Story 2: "Life After Death: Couple's Story Sparks Change." Click on the photo to be taken to the second story. Photo Credit Carline Jean Sun-Sentinel
Story #3 "Saying Goodbye" Click on the photo to be taken to our final story. Photo Credit Carline Jean/Sun-Sentinel
Christopher MacLellan is affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in many caregiving circles. The author of "What's The Deal with Caregiving?" Chris started a caregiving blog entitled, “The Purple Jacket,” after his partner’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2011. Chris is an ardent advocate for caregivers and their carees through his blog and radio show, “Healing Ties.” Chris and his deceased partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer, were featured in a 2015 Pulitzer Prize nominated caregiving story, “In Sickness and in Health: A Couple’s Final Journey” which has been read by over 400,000 people worldwide. In 2016, Chris earned a masters degree in Leadership and Communication from Gonzaga University and is the founder of the Whole Care Network, Inc. The author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”, Chris presents regularly on topics that impact family caregivers and LGBT seniors.
I am creating at new life to love now that Caregiving has ended through advocacy, leadership, writing, radio and travel