Wandering

The word for today is wandering.  Wanting to leave their home, or current place of living is unfortunately all too common for the elderly.  What are some safety tips to help keep our loved ones safe?  There are expensive door locks and childproof door knob covers but a simple alarm is to hang some bells on the top of the door using a wreath holder or tie them around the handle.  These can be placed on any indoor or outdoor room you do not want your loved one to enter. Another sensory help is to place a large sign on the doors telling them what is on the other side in words or a picture.  Find or make a large stop sign for any door leading outside or to a room you do not want them to enter.  Above all, treat them with respect and explain what the signs mean in a soft, encouraging tone not in a reprimanding tone you would use with a child.  Then pray much!

Psalm 29:11 “The Lord will give strength unto his people, He will bless His people with peace.”

Palliative vs Hospice Care

What is palliative care?  What is hospice care? 

The major difference between palliative and hospice care is palliative care is focused on nutrition, pain control and help during a life-threatening illness.  Hospice care typically provides comfort care only for presumably the last six months of your life but may be renewed up to a year.  Palliative care is for help in surviving a disease process with the least amount of pain and disruption to your family life.  So what are the reasons to accept palliative or hospice care?  “All things shared make all things easier”.  The doctors, nurses and aides have years of experience in knowing the ‘tricks of the trade’ and will gladly share their knowledge to help you through the disease.  My favorite tip is using a capful of mouthwash in a bedside commode after each use to kill germs and smell great!  Do not be afraid to accept help but enjoy the extra hands helping you navigate through each day as you face the need for either palliative or hospice care.

February, 2019 LOVE!

The word for this month is of course LOVE!  As a caregiver, you know how easy it is to always love the person you are caring for but at the same time it is really, really hard to love their actions at times!  During the really, really hard times, it is important to love yourself as well and take a much-needed break.   Many Assisted Living facilities offer respite care.  There are also community resources available in most areas that can provide adult day-care, in-home assistance and other services.  Consider the new grocery delivery option that may lighten the burden of shopping with your loved one or finding someone to stay with them while you have to leave the house.  The best way to find qualified help is “word of mouth” but you can also go to ‘Community Resource Finder’ on the internet and locate the resources you need quickly. 

If someone is coming into your home to help, have a notebook ready to share your loved ones needs and wants.  One section would be Daily Activities…the next section, Medication Schedule…the next, Favorite likes and dislikes…the next, Emergency Phone Numbers and finally a DNR form if applicable.  Place notebook paper in each section for your caregiver to make notes on what was accomplished while you were away.  THEN, take time to care for your heart this month by truly relaxing. You may enjoy window shopping or reading a good book or simply going for a walk and enjoying God’s beautiful creation!  Spend time praying and praising God for His provision!



2019!

Relatives!

Happy New Year, 2019!  The holidays are over, and I wonder… did you survive the relatives?

Many times, the family arrives and your loved one is so excited to see them.  The adrenaline kicks in and it is amazing how well they communicate, walk and function while the visiting family members are in town.  I used to be amazed and also a bit annoyed at this ‘amazing recovery’.  Some family members who see this for a day or two, may question why there is a problem with caring for their loved one.  Understand…this is a temporary (adrenaline induced) behavior and as soon as the visiting family members leave, your loved one will probably take to the bed or chair for several days.  Their appetite will also be decreased!  This is normal for you but hard to make others understand and accept. 

You are doing what is best on a 24/7 basis!  Stay strong and patient. 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God” is a great verse to claim this new year!

In Everything Give Thanks!?!

November!  Hard to believe the holiday season is upon us! 

This time of year is supposed to be filled with thanksgiving and good will but the life of a caregiver makes this difficult at times.  The additional family and food that will be needed in the coming weeks is daunting. 

Many times, the ‘golden child’ will come home for a quick visit and the feelings of jealousy outshine the thankfulness we should have.  Appreciate the moments you have while your loved one is being “entertained” by someone else.  Go for a walk or someplace quiet and pray for your loved ones and your visitors. It is amazing how prayer really does change our attitudes!

Be sensitive to the diet changes Thanksgiving will bring: Turkey, dressing, green bean casserole, cranberry relish, rich pies, etc.  These can be hard on the digestive system.  Dark meat is easier to chew than white turkey meat.  Give small portions to your loved ones and plan for extra bathroom supplies and time.

Above all meditate on 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”



To work or not to work!

Caregiving!  More and more of the baby boomer generation are becoming caregivers each day. Many of these same baby boomers have good jobs and struggle with taking time off work to meet the needs of their aging loved ones. To work or not to work is a very personal decision.  Sometimes it is a means of taking a break from caregiving by going to work.  Other times, it is a matter of necessity. Either way, make sure your loved one is safe and cared for by a friend, neighbor or caregiving company. (Visiting Angels, Comfort Keepers, Home Instead, etc.).  Once this decision is made, live with  no regrets!

The location of our loved ones is also a major issue.  There are several thoughts regarding the location:  1.) Unless they are a danger to themselves or others, the choice is theirs as to where they wish to live and we must respect those wishes whether or not we agree with them. 2.) No matter the location…home, assisted living or nursing home…we are still their caregivers.  It is our responsibility to be an advocate for our loved ones. 

James 1:5 , “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. “

September, 2018 Downsizing!

Over the last 30 years, I have come to realize no matter the size of your dwelling…you will fill it up!  I have had to downsize my in-laws and my parents house into my home.  Now, I am finding myself in need of downsizing my home and it is not easy to part with items that have been a part of my life for many years.  I recently decided to take a number of items to an antique auction nearby.  On the way to the auction, I began having second thoughts about getting rid of my antiques.  I was praying about it as I drove asking God if I should and to make me willing to part with them, when a song came on the radio “I’ve come too far to turn back now”!  Startled, I had to laugh and continued to the auction with no regrets! 

Matthew 6:19-21 addresses this perfectly, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

As my children tell me, "Clean out now, so they do not have to do it by themselves later!"

August, 2018 LISTEN

How many times have you heard the phrase: God gave us two ears and one mouth for a reason!?

With that in mind, let’s stop for a moment and LISTEN.  Listen to our loved one as they talk incoherently; or maybe they demand much and talk all day; maybe they do not talk at all.  Stop and truly listen.  My mother-in-law loved to talk on the phone and would call me multiple times a day.  I hated it.  I now understand she just needed someone to LISTEN. 

As you stop and LISTEN, what sounds of God’s creation do you also hear?  I love to hear the tree frogs at night.  During the day, I love to LISTEN to the birds singing to each other and to me!  As we stop, LISTEN for the special gifts God is giving you today!

James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:”

July, 2018 Selfishness!

Selfishness – I just had a new granddaughter and am amazed at how selfish I can be regarding my time.  My granddaughter can do nothing for herself and is very demanding when she wants to eat.  I once said, “All babies do is eat, sleep, and cry”.  I think that is still true but as a grandma, I love it! 

As caregivers of the elderly, we may feel our loved ones are demanding of our time as well.  Many times, I battled with selfishness: this is my house, my kitchen, my dining room…don’t tell me what to do!  But what is our purpose in caregiving?  From the cradle to the grave it is this: To show love to everyone else, while giving God the work of changing my heart!  Thank God for the opportunities to serve and enjoy our freedom today!