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!

 

 

Dementia 101

Dementia: A usually progressive condition (as Alzheimer's disease) marked by deteriorated cognitive functioning often with emotional apathy.  To many this is a terrifying diagnosis.  True Alzheimer’s Disease begins at an early age (50’s) while Dementia typically occurs in the elderly. AD actually is just one of many diseases that can cause dementia. Other conditions are Vascular dementia, Dementia with Lewy body’s, Parkinson’s disease, Progressive supranuclear palsy…and more.  In the past, it was called Hardening of the arteries, Atherosclerosis, Old Age, Senile Dementia.

What are some early symptoms of AD?  1. Misplaced keys, glasses or other items; 2. Look up a recipe but are unable to follow it; 3. Start something and forget to finish it; 4. Difficulty with numbers/paying bills/writing the correct amount on a check/mailing the bills; and many others. 

What are some do’s and don’ts for dealing with dementia?  Some do’s: be flexible; spend time with them; keep trips short and simple; enjoy the moments…  Some don’ts: Don’t take good or bad behavior personally; don’t raise your voice or scold the person as you would a child; don’t argue, correct or try to reason with them…to name a few.

For more complete help go to YouTube: Biblical Caregiving and listen to the session on Dementia.

REMEMBER:  The changes in how they act are caused by brain damage.  They cannot control how they act. It is part of the disease.

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Many places this April have had a never-ending winter.  However, the flowers are still peeking through the ground and warmer weather is coming!  During the long winter of day-in and day-out of caregiving, we know it will not last forever!  What are some things you can do to ‘enjoy’ the journey?  Number one: daily devotions, read scripture to your loved one and play the old hymns regularly.  Number two: ‘choose joy’.  Caregiving can be boring and busy at the same time.  Embrace the challenge! What will your adventure be today? You are doing a great job – stay with it even as the seasons change!

He is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

The fact that He is risen should give us, as caregivers, tremendous hope.  There is hope for the future where all caregivers will be out of a job!  For many that thought is “Hallelujah, it can not come too soon!” …for others it is “bittersweet.”  Caregivers often do not want to be there, but neither would they be anywhere else.  Stop what you are doing, take a deep breath and realize you are one day closer to being finished with this current, difficult lifestyle! Rejoice and Rest in  Hope!

Hope with Hospice

Hope with Hospice

In light of Rev. Billy Graham’s homegoing, I would like to address the topic of Hospice.  Hospice focuses on relieving symptoms and supporting patients with a life expectancy of months, not years. It involves a team-oriented approach to give expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support not only to the patient but also to their caregivers. In most cases, this care is provided to a patient in his or her own home. However, it can also be provided in a freestanding facility, the hospital, or a nursing home.

It can be frightening if you dwell on the fact you may be alone with your loved one as they are facing the end of life.  “What will I do? Who can I call?” are a couple of the questions most caregivers think about.  Hospice can provide a tremendous amount of support and comfort.  Specialized nurses prefer to accept new patients into the program who are not imminently facing death.  They will provide care for up to six months and renew it every six months as needed.  Knowing someone will be there for you and help you with pain management, respiratory care, bowel and bladder care or other issues will never be a waste of time! 

In some areas, there are multiple agencies providing this care.  If you happen to not like the first agency, do not be afraid to talk to your doctor and request a different agency. 

Philippians 1:21 “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

Love for those with Dementia

February is called a month of LOVE. I was asked in the past, “What do you do when your loved one acts like a child?”  My response was, “You treat them with respect as your elder”.

What are some ways to love the person with dementia?  All senses are altered, and it is difficult for the brain to process the changes.  Reaching out and touching, hugging, or holding hands can go a long way in calming an agitated loved one.

Playing old hymns or other soft music of their era will sometimes provide comfort and calm. 

It is never easy for the caregiver, but showing love in facial expressions and actions can go a long way in maintaining a peaceful environment.

If you are in the Clemson, SC area, I will be teaching a course titled “Dealing with Dementia” at

OLLI (Clemson’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)

OLLI - CHEEZEM EDU CENTER (map)

100 Thomas Green Blvd.
Clemson, SC 29631

Phone: 864-633-5242

Wednesday, February 21 at 11 AM - 12:30 PM

Sign up at www.olliatclemson.org – Limit 20