Tag Archives: Health

Reasons Why Stopping Smoking Will Improve Your Quality of Life


Smoking is a difficult habit to kick to the curb, and many people find it difficult to begin to process. One of the reasons people struggle to quit smoking is due to the dependency they have developed, especially when withdrawal symptoms can be a struggle to overcome. However, while the negative effects of smoking are widely advertised, something which is not made as clear, is the positive lasting impact stopping smoking will have on your lifestyle. If you are struggling to find a reason to stop smoking, then sometimes focusing on the positives can have a greater impact than focusing on the negatives. With that in mind, here are just a few examples of how going smoke-free will help you to improve your general quality of life.

Being able to to be more social

While fellow smokers might not mind the smell of cigarettes, many non-smokers can find smoking in general rather off-putting due to the smell and the problems involved with passive smoking. If you have a dependency on smoking, taking regular cigarette breaks means you can be removed from the conversation. If you live in a state where smoking has been banned in some, or all, public places and buildings, then it can be a nuisance if you are craving a cigarette and have to leave the group to go out in bad weather, or stand with complete strangers, just to get your fix. Therefore, stopping smoking can improve your social life and allow you to spend more time with people who do not enjoy smoking.

If you are looking for smoking alternatives while you wean yourself off smoking, vaping is a slightly more social method of nicotine inhalation and is less effective for other people in terms of the smell. You can read more about vaping if this is an alternative you would be interested in pursuing.

You will have more energy in the long run

While you may think that smoking energizes you and improves your mood, the opposite is true. Nicotine produces a short-lived, synthetic chemical reaction which improves your mood for a brief amount of time. However, in the long run, your natural ability to feel stress relief and happier is decreased while you continue to smoke. Not only that, but smoking lowers circulation, impairs your immune system, and damages your lungs making it difficult to breathe during physical activity, and resulting in the infamous ‘smokers cough.’ Quitting smoking can improve all of these symptoms; just 20 minutes after you stop smoking, your blood pressure will begin to drop and, after only one month of being smoke-free, lung function will begin to improve. This will give you more energy and give you the capacity to be more active.

Better family relationships

By smoking around your loved ones, you are subjecting them to second-hand smoke, which can still have a detrimental effect on their health, increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. As many people know this, they will often spend many hours away from their family smoking, and this can damage family relationships over time. Your family may also be concerned about the negative effects smoking has on your own health, and this will subject them to stress and cause strain in even the closest of relationships. If you are struggling to find the motivation to quit smoking for yourself, then your family may just be the inspiration that you need.

Stopping smoking can be extremely difficult, as it is a serious addiction. However, once you stop, or even begin to cut down, you will find that your quality of life begins to improve, and over time you won’t even miss how you felt when you were a smoker.

Author: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.  Contact Maggie at  maggiehammond57@gmail.com

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Seven Ways Caregivers Can Care For Themselves


As the world’s population ages and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and various forms of cancer – as well as many more conditions – become more prevalent, so more and more people are becoming caregivers for their loved ones. This is a hugely selfless and difficult thing to do, and it is essential that anyone who is looking after someone else also takes care of themselves. The following tips should help anyone who is feeling stressed, exhausted, and overwhelmed feel more like themselves again.

Find Emotional Support

Going through the caregiving journey alone is a difficult decision to make, and one that should ideally be avoided for the sake of your mental and even physical health. You cannot effectively care for a loved one if you yourself are unwell. Therefore, it is a good idea to talk to friends and family about what you are going through if you can and listen to their advice. Even just using them as a sounding board can be a good thing for you. If there is no one close to you to talk to (or whom you feel comfortable discussing things with), then see if you can join a support group. You can do this in person or online, and it can make a world of difference when you realize other people are going through the same things you are.

Prioritize Good Habits

When you are a caregiver, it is easy to ignore your own needs because you are so focused on looking after someone else’s. Although that is admirable, it isn’t sensible. You need to be as fit and healthy (and happy) as possible in order to give the best level of care. That means getting as much sleep as you can (at least seven to eight hours if at all possible), exercising regularly, and eating properly. Don’t grab snacks on the run and prepare as much food as you can in advance, and this will help you to be healthier. If you are in pain and suffering, then don’t put off going to see a professional such as Smith Chiropractic about it or you could risk becoming more unwell.

Ask For Help

When you need help, don’t be too proud to ask for it. When you are offered help, don’t be too proud to accept it. People around you will often want to help you out, but they may not know how best to do it. That’s why, when you need something, you should ask for it – there will be someone willing to assist. Whether it is running to the pharmacy to pick up some medication, looking after your loved one so you can head out to the store, the library, an exercise class, or just for a walk to clear your head, or even just coming round for a chat and a cup of coffee, someone will be glad to oblige. It will make them feel better because they are finally doing something for you, and it will help you out at the same time. If people want to help, let them – it’s a golden rule when it comes to caregiving. You really can’t do it all by yourself, and you shouldn’t have to.

Get The Training You Need

Having the right kind of professional training can help you to give the care you need in your role as caregiver. Workshops, online courses, and one to one training sessions in the home can all be advantageous in teaching you want to expect. It will depend on what illness or condition your loved one has as to what you are going to need to do for them, so picking the right kind of training will help you out. If you can’t find any personal training, then look online for resources or ask at your local library for books and information that can help you.

Manage Your Emotions

Caring for someone you love, especially if their illness or condition means that they are in pain and suffering, is difficult. You will often feel emotional, and that is perfectly normal. It’s what you do with those emotions that is important. Next time you are feeling angry or sad or low in general, take a moment to step back and discover what caused those feelings if you can. Once you know, you can better manage the situation and the emotions that are caused by it. That will make both you and the person you are caring for much happier.

Take A Break

You will not be able to just keep going forever. Sooner or later you will feel tired (even bone weary exhausted), emotionally drained, absolutely overwhelmed by the enormity of what you are doing. Taking a break can help to re-set you, enabling you to be a better carer in the end. This could be as little as a 15-minute walk around the block or a power nap, or it could be a vacation where you really do get away from everything for a week or two. If this latter idea appeals, you will need to look into respite care or find someone else who can come into your home and look after your loved one while you are away, of course. Once that is organized, you can go away and really relax, coming back happier, healthier, and ready to continue your caregiving duties.

Find A New Normal

As the health of your loved one declines, the way you live your life will change. If you worry about those changes and constantly think back to your old life with regret, missing what you used to do and have, you will be unhappy with the present, and this can lead to serious issues such as depression. It will also mean that you begrudge your caring duties and start to resent your loved one. Instead, you need to look for the new normal and go along with the new ways of living. Understand that life changes for everyone, not just for carers, and that going with the flow is the calmest, safest, easiest thing to do – it will keep everyone much happier.

 Author’s bio: Maggie Hammond is a retired nurse and freelance writer, exploring and writing in the U.S. in retirement. An advocate for public health and nursing qualifications, she feels passionate about raising awareness of the current strain on public health organisations.

Email address: maggiehammond57@gmail.com

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Healing Ties Radio Show


 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW AT 7:00 PM > HEALTH CAFE LIVE.COM 

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 CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE SHOW AT 7:00 PM > HEALTH CAFE LIVE.COM 

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More Cancer: More Radiation


 If You Are Out To Describe The Truth, Leave Elegance To The Tailor ~ Albert Einstein

The pain has been severe; the long sleepless hours have been agony, but now we know the truth behind the pain, we know the truth that is causing those sleepless days.   More Cancer: More Radiation.

When the MRI results came in on Thursday, our fears became our reality; “It’s good that we know what we are dealing with” I said to TLO; “Yes, as difficult as this news is to hear, it is better to know” TLO responded.  In the back of our minds, we both knew that this was not a case of sciatica.

The cancer has moved to his hip, pelvis and down his right leg.  In order to relieve his pain, we will start palliative radiation treatments immediately.   We are considering a PET scan to determine where else the cancer might be in his body, yet how much more do we really want to know? 

There is comfort in holding each other and having a good cry.

One thing that we have decided is that we are going to enjoy every day FightCancertogether.  We will not let the cancer rule us because as Saint Augustine said,  “Love Is The Beauty Of The Soul.”  

It is at these times when the dual role of Caregiver and Partner intertwine.  The  fate of reality projects our thoughts to a future which has not arrived.  You want the pain to go away; nothing more, nothing less.   Removing the Caregiving role provides for more free time yet losing a partner leaves an emptiness that only makes free time more difficult.

As  Caregivers, we often fail to reach out and ask for help.  Those reasons imagesvary from wanting to do it alone, to not knowing how to ask for help.  With that, family and friends have to have their own comfort zone when asking what they can do to help.  I have been on both sides of this dilemma.   The most important part of this process is to be aware and act within one’s comfort zone.

If you are wondering what you might be able to do, please feel free to: support

  • Call us
  • Write us
  • Text us
  • Visit us
  • Pray for us
  • Do what makes YOU most comfortable

TLO and I understand that we have a difficult road ahead, but that  is OK because we know the truth and we can deal with it accordingly.  The quick response from his primary care physician and radiation oncologist to have his treatment plan set up within 24 hours has simply amazed us.  We are so fortunate to have Dr. Starcevic and Dr. Medina on our Care Team.

It goes without saying how fortunate we are to have each and everyone one of you with us on this journey because…

We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

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Tips on Effectively Balancing your Professional Life and Caring for Your Aging Parents


Today I am pleased to welcome a guest blogger on ‘The Purple Jacket’ , Fiona Jameson.

Tips on Effectively Balancing your Professional Life and Caring for Your Aging Parents

There comes a time in life when you will need to help care for your aging parents. While many aging people prefer to maintain their independence as much as possible, most will welcome the help. It will be hard with your busy professional life and family of your own, but with a little help and a few tips the balancing act will be easier to accomplish. When the aid that your aging parents needs is more than you are able to provide, respite care may be the best answer.

blog1Move your Parents into your Home

In some cases, it is easier to help your parents and maintain their independence as much as possible is to move them in with you. This may mean purchasing a new house, making a few renovations or updating a few things to make it comfortable for them. When aging parents live with their children and their families, someone is around a good amount of the time to help them with their needs.

Schedule Meal Deliveries

Several meal delivery services and private chefs can be accessed to ensure that your aging parents eat balanced meals. If you do not have a work schedule that coincides with their eating schedule, having meals delivered to them daily, or even weekly, will provide them with that nutrition. All they will have to do is warm up the items in the microwave or in the oven and it is ready to eat.

blog2Consider Assisted Living Situations

In order to help your parents maintain a good amount of their independence, ask them to consider moving to an assisted living community. Here they will have access to medical staff in case of an emergency and can get assistance with cleaning, laundry and other items if needed. These communities are safe areas with many having security cameras and entrance gates. Within these communities are other aging persons that your parents can bond with.

Visiting your parents can be done anytime you’d like, since the living areas are like them having an apartment of their own. It is one of the easier ways to manage their care and be able to help them with things like getting to doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and picking up medication. It will be less stressful for you since worrying about their well-being will be less of a burden.

Look into Hiring a Caregiver

If you have spoken with your parents and they refuse to move into your home or consider an assisted living situation, offer to help find a caregiver that can come daily, or a few times per week. This can be someone to come in and clean, cook meals or just provide companionship. A caregiver can also drive your parents to appointments, activities, entertainment, grocery shopping and anywhere else they need or want to go. It helps both you and your parents. The weekends, of course, should be the time when you take time away from work to spend with your parents helping them with maintenance, talking and whatever else they might want to do.

blog3Spend Weekends Helping Them

When your professional life doesn’t leave time for you to visit and help your aging parents as much as you’d like, be sure to set time aside on the weekends for them. If they are still living in their own home, cut the grass in the summer months and help maintain flower beds, vegetable gardens and their home. While it may seem like having a second job, a few hours a day on the weekends makes all the difference in the world. They spent their lives raising you and your siblings, it’s now the job of the children to help take care of them. It shows a great appreciation for your parents and can add to the longevity of their lives.

 Consider Respite Care

If in-home care and assisted living situations are absolutely out of the question, a respite situation may be needed. As parents age, they can become ill, frail and unable to take care of themselves. This may also be something that is far beyond what you are able to provide. A respite situation ensures that your parents will be well cared for. They will have exercise, balanced meals, companionship and their medications distributed at specific times daily. Many respite facilities also have activities, crafts and social events for residents to partake in. This helps keep them feeling like there is a purpose to fight and stay stubborn.

blog4Get Other Family Members Involved

Even with a busy professional life, there are other members in the family that can help care for your aging parents. Your children can be taken to visit for a few hours during the week to share what is going on in school and listen to stories told by your parents. Siblings and spouses can also do their part to help out by taking turns going to help out for a little bit each day after their days are done. When some of the tasks are taken off of your shoulders, balancing your career and caring for your parents is absolutely possible.

 Parental care is something that every family has to face at some point. It is up to the members of the family to work out a schedule to help them. You can balance your career and take on all of the responsibilities yourself if you wish. Use the tips above to make balancing your professional life and caring for your parents easier.

  •  Fiona Jameson is a Psychology major. Since her college, she has actively taken part in a lot of social service programs which further enhanced her urge to help out the elderly and disabled. Over the years, she has closely worked as a consultant with several philanthropic organizations, guiding those who need her help.

 

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The Second Time Around


The only source of knowledge is  experience ~ Albert Einstein 

supportIt has taken me a couple of days to wrap myself around the fact that TLO started Adult Day Care this week.  We have chatted about this option for a number of weeks, but to have this day come to  reality, really hit home for both of us on Tuesday when we got in the car and motored our way down to the Noble A. McArtor Adult Day Care Center.  

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Herman and TLO; Circa 1998

We both have had  previous experienced Adult Day Care, so we were coming from the knowledge of experience, yet that knowledge was just about to turn into our reality as we headed south on highway 95.  “Herman wouldn’t go to Day Care; I finally asked him to at least go for a week, to test it out, to give it a try, to at least help me out” TLO said!  “I guess that is exactly what we are doing today, too!” I responded!   (It has to be that knowledge and experience thing!)

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TLO and Michael Norfleet, Agency Director

As we arrived at the center, we were greeted warmly by the staff and the participants.  It wasn’t too long before the agency’s director, Michael Norfleet came to meet us, we chatted for a bit and then before I knew it, they were both sitting in the lounge chairs, chatting up a storm.  It was then that I knew that the day was on…and time for me to make my quick exit! It was also then when they day actually hit me square in the eye and I started to cry.

I have no doubt that the McArtor Center is the best place for both of us. Established in 2004, The McArtor Center focus is to meet the needs of the LGBT community Noble_McArtor_logo2_140in Broward County, Florida and the center is the first of its kind! In the LGBT community, many seniors in need of daytime or respite care have no option but to attend day care programs that are not open to, and understanding of the special relationships and needs of gay and lesbian seniors. The Noble A. McArtor Center was founded by an extraordinary team of individuals whose vision created a safe, open and home-like atmosphere for all seniors and their caregivers to enjoy, regardless, and supportive of any sexual orientation or identification, race, age, gender, religion or economic level.

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Fr Orlando celebrates his 58th anniversary of his ordination at the Center 2005. Helen and Sonia remain good friends of mine today!

Yet, there is more to the history… More to the knowledge… More to our experience… And more to our story!   Father Orlando’s was one of the first participants to attend the McArtor Center in 2004.  Upon his arrival in Florida in July of 2004, we both agreed that we would need Day Care to help us manage our days. I was a very ‘green’ Caregiver at that time! I remember coming across the center in a newspaper article and was hooked on the first visit. Then I remember what Fr. Orlando said to me on our first day…”I’ll give it a try for a few days to see how I like it!”  Whew, did that sound familiar!   

 Valentine_Kids_QuoteHe, well…we…never regretted one day of our stay at the center and in fact, the socialization and positive attention that Fr. Orlando received  at the center, revived his life and his ministry, which aided him (and me) when he made his peaceful life transition in 2006.   Now looking back almost 10 years, it is amazing to have come full cycle and return to the center.  The staff is different, the participants are different, but there is one thing that is the same, unconditional love!

 Of course, I don’t know what the future holds for us. Now two plus weeks past his radiation treatments, TLO is slowly starting the healing process.  It is going to be an uphill struggle. My guess is that the healing process is only going to be aided by the unconditional love demonstrated to us by the staff at the Noble A. McArtor Adult Day Care Center because as Albert Einstein said: “the only source of knowledge is experience! “

You see…We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Does Not Have Us! 

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Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

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Whose Journey Is It?


 The longest journey you’ll ever take is from the head to the heart. Regina Rosenthal 

As we come to the end of the 5th week of palliative radiation treatments, the word ‘journey’ keeps resonating with me.   Our recent journey with Hospice of Broward County proved to20131023-101238.jpg be bumpy; we’ve moved on from that  bumpy road and have brought in new ‘friends’ to help us continue on with our journey, we’re hoping for smooth sailing as we forge ahead on our ‘new’ path.

There are so many components when planning a journey.  GPS devices have become the fad; some might even spread out an old fashion map on their kitchen table to highlight the path of the journey.  Planning a Caregiving journey is a little more difficult than planning a road trip, or is it? 

ID-10030063When we are planning a journey, there is usually someone who is in charge, a leader, guide, pilot, etc.  All those fancy electronic devices that help plan a journey, goes for not if there is not a leader orchestrating the plan.  The lesson that I’ve learned during our recent Caregiving journey is that I’m the co-pilot, ‘TLO’ is the pilot. ‘TLO’ is the one going through the radiation treatments, ‘TLO’ is the one taking the medicine…’TLO’ is the one that has the cancer inside of his body.  For me to assume that I know how he feels, pales in comparison to his reality of his health and how he feels.

There is no doubt that we are both on this journey together; we share in the emotions, we share in the joy and we share in the sorrow during this journey.  We both know that there is a fork in the road that lies ahead of us that no Map or GPS will detect. We also know  that trying to dodge that fork in the road will be  unavoidable.    The ‘funny’  thing about that fork in the road is that at some point in our life, each one of us will find its path and end up at the same destination.  As Caregivers, we try to pave the road so that when that fork does arrive, there is a gentle breeze at our back.  Caregiving is often filled with so many raw emotions that sometimes we forget that we are on a beautiful journey together.    That’s why sometimes the longest journey that we will ever take is from the head to ID-10047257the heart.

While we know that fork in the road will take us on a different path, we understand that at some point, we will end up at the same destination. For now,  we will continue on our journey together as pilot and copilot creating, and enjoy, that  gentle breeze at our back that no map or GPS device can locate for us.

Thank You for being our copilot’s; we are pleased that you are on this journey with us helping us create that gentle breeze at our back!

You see…We might have cancer, but Cancer does not have us! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

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‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

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Whose Journey Is It?


 The longest journey you’ll ever take is from the head to the heart. Regina Rosenthal 

As we come to the end of the 5th week of palliative radiation treatments, the word ‘journey’ keeps resonating with me.   Our recent journey with Hospice of Broward County proved to20131023-101238.jpg be bumpy; we’ve moved on from that  bumpy road and have brought in new ‘friends’ to help us continue on with our journey, we’re hoping for smooth sailing as we forge ahead on our ‘new’ path.

There are so many components when planning a journey.  GPS devices have become the fad; some might even spread out an old fashion map on their kitchen table to highlight the path of the journey.  Planning a Caregiving journey is a little more difficult than planning a road trip, or is it? 

ID-10030063When we are planning a journey, there is usually someone who is in charge, a leader, guide, pilot, etc.  All those fancy electronic devices that help plan a journey, goes for not if there is not a leader orchestrating the plan.  The lesson that I’ve learned during our recent Caregiving journey is that I’m the co-pilot, ‘TLO’ is the pilot. ‘TLO’ is the one going through the radiation treatments, ‘TLO’ is the one taking the medicine…’TLO’ is the one that has the cancer inside of his body.  For me to assume that I know how he feels, pales in comparison to his reality of his health and how he feels.

There is no doubt that we are both on this journey together; we share in the emotions, we share in the joy and we share in the sorrow during this journey.  We both know that there is a fork in the road that lies ahead of us that no Map or GPS will detect. We also know  that trying to dodge that fork in the road will be  unavoidable.    The ‘funny’  thing about that fork in the road is that at some point in our life, each one of us will find its path and end up at the same destination.  As Caregivers, we try to pave the road so that when that fork does arrive, there is a gentle breeze at our back.  Caregiving is often filled with so many raw emotions that sometimes we forget that we are on a beautiful journey together.    That’s why sometimes the longest journey that we will ever take is from the head to ID-10047257the heart.

While we know that the fork in the road will take us on a different path, we understand that at some point we will end up at the same destination, just at different times. For now,  we will continue on our journey together as pilot and copilot creating, and enjoy, that  gentle breeze at our back that no map or GPS device can locate for us.

Thank You for being our copilot’s; we are pleased that you are on this journey with us helping us create that gentle breeze at our back!

You see…We might have cancer, but Cancer does not have us! 

Christopher MacLellan is a Certified Senior Advisor, the coordinator of senior services for SunServe Social Services and the host of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio.  ©ThePurpleJacket

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‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ is on hiatus until January 2014 while ‘TLO’ is undergoing radiation treatments.  To listen to  archived episodes of our show, simply click here! 

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Thursday’s are always ‘Hug A Caregiver Day!’


Caregiving can sometimes be hard:

But Hugging a Caregiver is easy!

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Listen to: 

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‘”Be A Healthy Caregiver” is on hiatus while “TLO” is undergoing radiation treatments.  We plan on being back on the Air in Januray!

Can’t listen live…NO WORRIES!

All of our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ are archived for your listening convenience by clicking here! 

 

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That’s What Caregivers Do!


Presidential Proclamation — November is National Family Caregivers Month!

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 I am proud to be one of the over 60 million Caregivers in the United States today.  Being a Caregiver can be, and often is challenging… But also so very  rewarding.  I believe that to be entrusted with the care of another human being is one of the greatest honors that can be bestowed on another person.  Those long sleepless nights, those challenging trips to the doctor and hospitals, those times when you have to intercede, educated and advocate come full circle when your Caree looks at you and  simply says…”Thank You for what you do for me.”  

I am also mindful of those family Caregivers who are never thanked, never appreciated and overworked.  If it means anything to you, from one Caregiver to another, I offer my thanks and appreciation to you because… That’s what Caregivers do! 

Caregiving is not a role that is often chosen and Caregiving is not for everyone.  Caregivers come in many different shapes, sizes, philosophies and cultures:  Caregiving and Caregivers are diverse. While our Caregiving  journeys might be different, Caregivers have this innate ability to understand each other,  to care for each other, to be there for each other, because…  That’s What Caregivers do!

Through the wonders of the internet, my Caregiving journey has been enriched by the countless number of people I have met along the way.  Each one of you have inspired me, supported me and have been there for me because… That’s what Caregivers do! 

A special ‘thank you’ to Author, Caregiving Coach, Speaker and owner at Caregiving.com Denise Brown and my extended family at  Caregiving.com  for your support. You opened up your ‘home’ to us and made us feel welcome from the start because…  That’s what Caregivers do!

We know that our current Caregiving journey is going to be filled with a few bumps and bruises along the way; Cancer has a way of doing that.  Yet we know those bumps and bruises will be a tad softer because of our extended Caregiving family we’ve met along the way because…That’s what Caregivers do!.  

TLO

Caregivers: Thank You for all you do from Bernard Richard Schiffer…’The Little One’

To all Caregivers, I share this simple smile from a very special fellow whose courage is unbounded, as a way of thanking you for all that you do, because…That’s what Caregivers do! 

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