"Storms"

It has been an unusually long cold winter. March is here and there are still snow storms in many places. There are “storms” along the caregiving journey. The question is how do we handle the storms? My father periodically would ask me, “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?” I was not doing anything different in his care, but my tone of voice was wrong. Our body language and our voice tones send huge messages to our loved ones. Let’s be more aware and seek to show Christ-like love no matter the circumstance. Playing Christian hymns on the radio or CD/iPod/mp3 player can encourage both the one being cared for as well as the caregiver. Prayer and daily Bible reading are a must as well. 

Don’t let your home be as cold inside as it is outside. Warm your house with the joy of the Lord and count it a privilege to care for your loved one as unto the Lord.

Psalm 29:11,”The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace."

Share God's Love

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year… all of these greetings are full of happiness and cheer. Do you as a caregiver feel the joy, feel the happiness or are you overwhelmed with the burden of caring for your loved one? Are you distressed at the thought of having little to nothing under the tree for your loved ones? Do you even have a tree?  Stop, be still, breathe and remember – It was very dreadful on the first Christmas but God was coming for us despite interference from the government or all the inn keepers who turned a very pregnant Mary away. 

God understands dark times, tiring times yet He was and is willing to be among us.  “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” I Corinthians 13:12. 

Share God’s love! Turn on the Christmas music and Praise the Christ of Christmas! 

Concentrate on the Joy!

Caregiving requires many things from the Caregiver.

Physically – Caregiving requires a strong back, strong arms and strong legs. Along with strength, there needs to be an understanding of ‘proper body mechanics’. Don’t ever try to just pull on your loved ones arms to get them up or turned over. Place a sheet across the middle under them if they are bedridden and need to be turned. Pull on the sheet rather than their body. (A baby bed sheet works great!) It is less likely to injure you or them! A sheet can also be used to tie around the waist to assist your loved one in getting around whether up and down out of a chair or giving you something to hold on to while they are walking that will not bruise them. Constantly holding or supporting under the arm, after a while, will make your loved one feel sore/bruised.

Emotionally – Be an encourager! There is always something you can say to encourage your loved one. Compliment their smile, the way they ate their food today, their hair or their clothes. We especially need to control our tone of voice and avoid all criticism.

  Psalm 30:5 “… weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” 

Concentrate on the Joy!

Take Time for Yourself

I have a friend who has had a number of health issues with herself, her 9 year old son, her husband’s family and her extended family. Several weeks ago, her grandmother passed away in a state that required an 8 hour+ drive for the funeral. Below is her response to the stress: 

I was feeling overwhelmed. I knew I should have gone straight home from work. I had suitcases to pack, people to call, and a million other things to do, BUT the gift certificate I received for my birthday in March was calling me from the bottom of my purse and I knew I just had to STOP. And take…care…of… me. So, I got a pedicure. ONE hour to feel regrouped, relaxed, and refreshed. Now I can take care of everything else…”

God gave her wisdom to take a moment for herself and then she was able to tackle the rest of her obligations. 

Do not feel guilty for taking time for yourself. 

Pray for God's wisdom in what is put in your path today! 

His Word First!

This has seemed for most of the country the winter that will not end. It can be very bleak and depressing to some. Similarly, caring for our aging loved ones can seem bleak and never ending at times. I often encourage caregivers to not neglect reading their Bible DAILY for the support and help needed to cope with every need during the day (and night).

I am in the habit of reading my Bible on my phone before I get out of bed every morning. I recently got a new phone and for three days I did not have my Bible on my new phone. I was surprised how much I missed my morning Bible reading! (Yes, I have a real Bible I could have read, but once I get up the day is “on a roll” and it is hard for me to make the time for sitting and reading.) So, again, I want to encourage everyone to make the time for daily Bible reading. Just as spring is sure to arrive, a better countenance and attitude "will arrive in your heart", if you put His Word first! 

Gray Hair

October – beautiful fall weather – wish you were outside? If you are a caregiver, that is not always an option. However, if at all possible, take your loved one out to sit on the porch, for a walk, or ride in their wheelchair, or at least open the windows and air out the house. (Be sure the fresh air does not blow directly on your elderly loved one).

As the leaves change colors and display their brilliance, take a moment to enjoy God’s amazing display of color. God loves color i.e. – the colors of the rainbow, Joseph’s coat of many colors, Rahab’s scarlet cord, our black sins will be washed whiter than snow, green pastures. Prov. 16:31 “a gray head is a crown of glory”; Prov. 20:29 “the beauty of old men is the gray head. The seasons of life also have their beautiful “colors”. Be proud of your gray hair! You earned every one of them!

Depression

It is beautiful outside, but you are ‘stuck inside’ or you are too busy ‘surviving’ to enjoy the best weather of the year, (in my opinion – no bugs, however, lots of pollen).  How do you cope with the stress and frustration of your situation?  You don’t!  You embrace it knowing this will not last forever. Make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and sit with your loved one just enjoying the moment. Squeeze every moment from your busy or not so busy life with your loved one and treasure it today

“Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself.” (Matthew 6:34)

"In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." (John 14:2)

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." ( John 14:6)

Encouragement

SPRING!    Seasons come and go the same as our seasons of life come and go.  I love spring and all the signs of new life. All winter, I have had five sets of cardinals feasting on my birdfeeders. Now they are getting territorial as they prepare for their next season of mating.

As a caregiver, are you giving yourself a moment to notice the signs of new life out your window? The joy of seeing new buds on the trees; flowers popping up where you forgot you had planted them years ago; lush green grass replacing months of brown grass or snow; all bring happiness and hope. Let these signs of spring bring encouragement as you faithfully continue your caregiving journey.

"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15).

"He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters." (Psalm 23:2).