Tag: caregivers

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS

SUPPORT FOR CAREGIVERS

There are many caregiving blogs offering support, advice and information for the caregiver. Each has something unique to offer and worth a visit if you are caring for a loved one. It’s a great place to talk about issues that concern you and see how others are handling their particular set of circumstances. Many websites have come online and new opportunities arise every day. A few are listed below and more will be added from time to time.

If you are a caregiver, take advantage of the information and support that is available. It’s really tough to go it alone.

 

INDIVIDUAL SUPPORT

TRANSITIONING AGING PARENTS – Dale Carter offers personal support for the caregiver. READ MORE

RELATIVE MATTERS – Chris Moon offers caregiving consultancy services in England. READ MORE

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ONLINE AND GROUP SUPPORT

HELPING AGING PARENTS – A counselor,educator and writer, the author of this blog shares her insights and experiences as a long distance caregiver for her elderly parents until their death, and now her husband’s mother.

MINDING OUR ELDERS – It is the mission of Minding Our Elders  and its author Carol Bradley Bursack to shine a light on the isolation often felt by caregivers and seniors and to give them a voice.

THEY’RE YOUR PARENTS TOO – “How siblings can survive their aging parents without driving each other crazy.”

THE INTENTIONAL CAREGIVER  –  I love this website! Shelley Webb is a registered nurse, geriatric care manager and health coach. Having cared for her father who suffered from dementia and congestive heart failure (along with neuropathy of the legs), she developed a keen interest in helping caregivers navigate their way through their own difficult but rewarding journey.

CAREGIVER.COM – Caregiver Media Group is a leading provider of information, support and guidance for family and professional caregivers. Founded in 1995, we produce Today’s Caregiver magazine, the first national magazine dedicated to caregivers, the “Fearless Caregiver Conferences”, and our web site, caregiver.com which includes topic specific newsletters, online discussion lists, back issue articles of Today’s Caregiver magazine, chat rooms and an online store. Caregiver Media Group and all of it’s products are developed for caregivers, about caregivers and by caregivers.

NATIONAL FAMILY CAREGIVER’S ASSOCIATION 

The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers’ lives by removing barriers to health and well being.

CAREGIVING.COM – A Community website for caregivers.

AARP – Caregiving Resources – Everything you need to know and more!

 

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CAREGIVING ARTICLES

HUFFINGTON POST on CAREGIVING

NEW YORK TIMES BLOGGER PAULA SPAN – You will find an excellent selection of topical articles on caring and coping with aging parents. Here are a few:

AGING ABUNDANTLY ARTICLES ON CAREGIVING

 

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

MEET HOLLY EBURNE ~ Dementia Caregiver’s Coach

Holly offers group coaching and one on one coaching/mentoring for families and caregivers living with dementia.

Her coaching programs are for those caregivers who are willing to make changes in their life because they believe that they can live a life with less effort. They want someone to listen to their needs and come up with a plan specific to their situation. They know in their heart they deserve to be happy and are committed to finding a way. It takes time and are willing to take the steps necessary to feel more joy and happiness in their life.

Who would benefit most from your programs in coaching and teaching?

Baby boomer caregivers – especially women, who still have children at home or who just left the nest. They are feeling isolated and overwhelmed with juggling work, house, finances, family, and themselves. They want more free time, more energy, and…balance in their life. They are tired of the emotional roller coaster and want to know how to manage their anger, resentment and sadness over the unexpected changes in their lives.

What is unique about your skills as a Dementia Caregiver’s Coach?

I am living a balanced life in the ‘trenches’ as a caregiver for my husband, Dave-diagnosed with dementia almost 4 years ago. Being a younger caregiver (baby boomer) I understand the added challenges of having children at home, and working full-time. I also understand what it feels like to have resentment over not having the life you expected in your ‘prime’ years; and to lay awake worrying about finances, wondering how you are going to pay for future care.

I have 56 years of life experiences as a daughter, sister, mother, friend, businesswoman, and health professional. For the past 2 decades I have been studying and integrating personal growth material- books, courses, CDs, life coach exercises–into my life. This work has helped me through the lowest point in my life 2 years ago. I have found the gifts of living with dementia, without denying the reality. I have reached a peaceful place as a caregiver where I am living with fewer struggles and more joy. I am actually having fun creating win-win situations.

Professionally, I have worked in the medical profession for 32 years. In 1981 I graduated with combined degrees in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. My passion is coaching, inspiring and empowering patients to find simple, practical solutions for their wellbeing: physically, emotionally and mentally.

In addition, I have a Bachelor of Physical Education degree and a post-graduate Diploma in Sport Physiotherapy. This has allowed me to travel around the world with the Canadian National athletes. Working with elite athletes, and being a competitive athlete myself, I know how important it is to have commitment, responsibility, patience and belief in self.

Finally, I walk the talk. I only teach the systems and tools that are working well for our family. My daughter Amy thinks our family was tight before, but even tighter now.

VISIT HOLLY’S BLOG

ARTICLES BY HOLLY

DALE CARTER~ Transition Aging Parents

DALE CARTER~ Transition Aging Parents


Dale Carter, an Aging Advocate/Speaker/Coach, loves teaching others how to guide their own aging parent or loved one through the changes they often face. Focusing on the preservation and strengthening of relationships, Dale will show you how to save time, money and heartache.

Here is how Dale describes her journey into her role as Aging Advocate:

“I began writing my blog to share my experiences and lessons learned as I helped my mother through a health crisis. I helped her through a recovery period, helped her find interim home services, and also helped her select and move to a retirement community. I started from knowing nothing about eldercare, stages of aging or the range of options. I educated myself quickly. While I wanted my mother to have “quality of life”, I was very careful to listen to what she wanted. This was a huge learning experience for me… a major life changing experience. My perspective about aging has changed … for the better! I knew I had to share what I learned with others.”

Dale now has a website filled with information and options for support. Be sure to visit  Transition Aging Parents. You will find more information on Dale, her book (also called Transition Aging Parents) a FREE e-course, radio show, blog, videos and articles all for the caregiver. If you need support or just a little  perspective, let Dale lend a helping hand. She’s been where you are now and will walk with you on this journey with your aging parent so that you can not only survive but “thrive and find joy” in every stage of life. You will also find Dale on Facebook and Twitter.

How to Prevent and Recover from Compassion Fatigue

How to Prevent and Recover from Compassion Fatigue

Yesterday I wrote about my own personal experience with compassion fatigue in the post “What is the Answer to Compassion Fatigue” and hopefully described it in a way that is recognizable to those of you who are feeling the stress of caring too much. It is a common experience among professional caregivers of all types, as well as those individuals who are caring for an aging parent or a sick spouse or child. Women are particularly vulnerable to compassion fatigue as they tend to be the ones who nurture and provide care in a situation. Not only do others expect and depend upon them for this ability, but we seem to be designed to expect it of ourselves as well.

Giving, supporting and caring for others are one of a woman’s most precious gifts, but a strength taken to its extreme can quickly become a weakness. Caring too much can break us down, use us up and make it impossible for us not only to keep on giving but to enjoy our own lives.

The degree to which we may be vulnerable to compassion fatigue will depend on both nature and nurture. If we recognize that we may be suffering from compassion fatigue, whether it is mild or severe, it is time to take action to uncover the internal, as well as, the external causes. Here are a few steps to take to get you started along the road to recovery and prevention. In the future I will cover more specific topics in detail.

Steps to Take to Begin the Healing Process

Journal: Begin writing in a journal at least once every day. Write about your feelings, concerns, problems and issues. It doesn’t matter how well you write because no one ever has to read your journal. It has been shown scientifically that the act of writing is extremely beneficial both emotionally and physiologically. It is relaxing, cathartic and helps your mind process the stresses of the day.

Talk to a Supportive Person: Whatever you do, don’t try to go it alone. When we become overwhelmed emotionally we tend to withdraw. Compassion fatigue often results in a feeling of numbness. We may think we have nothing to talk about because our feelings are buried under exhaustion and a sense of overwhelm and hopelessness. If you do not have a friend or spouse with whom you can talk about your concerns, seek out the support of a therapist or pastor, or someone with whom you feel comfortable and can talk freely. You are not necessarily in need of answers to your care giving problems, you just need to be cared for too!

Care for Yourself: This is often the hardest thing a caring, giving person can learn to do, but it is essential when external demands intensify. Take time to do the things you enjoy doing and do so often. Slow down, find a way to do a little less and time to do nothing. Take ten minutes every day to sit quietly and do absolutely nothing – preferably fifteen minutes.  This time, without distractions or demands, allows your psyche to process all the myriad of information that it already contains. It will help you connect to yourself, to your center, to your life force and you will find that you are rejuvenated.

These three steps will get you started along the path to compassion fatigue recovery and prevention. It is only the beginning, as changing ourselves is always a process that takes time, dedication and determination.

by Dorothy Sander

What is the Answer to Compassion Fatigue?

What is the Answer to Compassion Fatigue?

Compassion fatigue, a type of burnout, is a common problem among caregivers of all types ~ nurses, doctors, social workers, etc. It has become a more noticeable problem within the boomer generation as more and more individuals are taking on the care of an aging parent while being caught in the “sandwich generation”. They are still caring for their children when their parents begin to turn to them for assistance.

Compassion fatigue is the result of constant exposure to pain and suffering and the caregiver “feels” the pain of the person they are helping. Most caregivers are compassionate people by nature. This makes them excellent at their jobs but also prime candidates for compassion fatigue.

A person who is empathetic by nature, finds it difficult to turn off compassion when someone turns to them for help and support. I am one of those people and have suffered way too much because of it. I’m still recovering from a five-year period in which I was called upon to care for an aging parent, an ill husband, a friend going through a difficult divorce, a niece whose husband left her, a son whose heart was broken and dropped out of college, not to mention a new puppy, two cats and a garden! It’s not funny. Trust me, I know.

When everyone seems to want and need our understanding and support all at once, what are we to do? Who should I have turned away? At the time, it never occurred to me not to help, support and love these important people in my life.  I just gave… and gave… and gave until…you’ve got it…I developed compassion fatigue! It did not hit all at once. My ability to cope, to think, and to sleep began to diminish, day by day, week by week. I had the frequent feeling “I can’t do this anymore, I need a vacation, something has to stop.” I began to have minor health problems and high blood pressure. I kept attributing it to stress, but that didn’t seem to exactly fit. I kept waiting for the problems to be resolved, for the people I was helping to get better. Some did, but I was still in a predominantly care giving role.

My life was out of balance and ultimately, I just stopped…everything. I stopped taking calls, stopped trying to help, stopped trying to fix everyone, stopped working (fortunately I’m self-employed), stopped moving.  I shut down. I was numb, in a fog, depressed, perpetually tired and really not sure what the heck was going on. I stared into space for weeks. I knew I had a problem but wasn’t sure what it was. I wondered why I couldn’t cope and why I couldn’t make myself feel better.

This is compassion fatigue. My first self-diagnosis was burnout – and compassion fatigue is a kind of burnout so I wasn’t completely off the mark. Defining it as compassion fatigue is more likely to bring about a cure because then the real problem can be addressed. Burn out is often too much doing and going and working, etc. Compassion fatigue is burnout of a particular set of emotions ~ those used in caring for others ~ compassion, empathy, caring.

A total collapse can be avoided, but it takes self-awareness at a time when it is difficult to think about ourselves. For those of us who are empathetic and compassionate to a fault, it is necessary to learn how to find caring balance where we care enough to be helpful but not so much as to destroy ourselves. We are often those very people who don’t know how to be compassionate to ourselves or care adequately for ourselves and that is where we must begin.

This is the first in a series of blogs on how to avoid and recover from compassion fatigue. Stay tuned.