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 "Don't Forget Yourself" 
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
Post "Don't Forget Yourself"
A local office of the Home Instead Senior Care agency made a presentation at a recent Parkinson's Disease support group meeting I attended. One handout, titled "Don't Forget Yourself," was focused on caregivers. Here's part of that handout.


Don't Forget Yourself
Home Instead Senior Care
Excerpted from "Stages of Senior Care: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Making the Best Decisions"
2009

Being a caregiver is a tremendous responsibility. Not only should you consider the health and well-being of your loved one, but also of yourself.


Take some time to consider these points:

How Stressed Are You?
As stresses build one upon another, you may also lose your ability to help your loved one. Ask yourself what you can do to reduce the stress on yourself.

Get Others to Help
If you are the primary caregiver, make it clear to others that if you have to do the job all alone, over time you may break down (and possibly drop responsibility for Mom or Dad altogether). It's not easy but try to develop a procedure, a couple of key phrases, perhaps, that you are comfortable with that enable you to ask for help.

Protect Your Body and Mind
Surveys indicate that caregivers are less likely than noncaregivers to practice preventive self-care, including health care.

Confront Your Emotions
Research indicates that people who take an active role in dealing with caregiving issues (and solving related problems) are less likely to feel stressed than those who simply worry or feel helpless.


8 Ways to Help Yourself
Here are some tips for avoiding and managing caregiver stress...

1. Workout -- Exercise and enjoy something you like to do (walking, dancing, biking, running, swimming, etc.) for a minimum of 20 minutes at least three times per week.

2. Meditate -- Sit still and breathe deeply with your mind as quiet as possible whenever things feel like they are moving too quickly or you are feeling overwhelmed.

3. Ask for help -- According to a national survey by Home Instead Senior Care of adults who are currently providing care for an aging loved one, 72 percent do so without any outside help. Reach out to others for aid.

4. Take a break -- Make arrangements for reliable fill-in help (family, friends, volunteers, or professional caregivers) and take single days or even a week's vacation. When you're away, stay away. Talk about everything but caregiving; read that book you haven't been able to get to.

5. Eat well -- Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, proteins, including nuts, beans and whole grains.

6. Take care of yourself -- Just as you make sure your loved one gets to the doctor, make sure you get your annual checkup. Being a caregiver provides many excuses for skipping many chores. Don't skip your checkups.

7. Indulge -- Treat yourself to a foot massage or manicure; talk a walk, rent a movie, have a nice dinner out, or take in a concert to get away from the situation and to reward yourself for the wonderful care you are providing to your aging relative.

8. Support -- Find a local caregiver support group that will help you understand that what you are feeling is normal for someone in your position.


Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:44 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
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Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
The document is a good one. I'm not being critical... but everytime I see something like this, I'm reminded that being told to 'take care of yourself' puts additional stress on our already stressed existence.

What does 'confront your emotions' mean? Sometimes I'm frustrated. Other times I am calm. What am I supposed to 'confront'?

In fact, if you do everything in the list 'for yourself,' you probably won't have time to do the care-giving. Even enlisting help takes time!!! I sometimes feel like a field commander or a CEO. It also takes money to do all these things. If the funds were unlimited, you probably wouldn't be a care-giver.

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:36 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
I agree that 'confront your emotions' needs some definition. It's like my younger daughter often telling me I don't 'validate her emotions'. The other day I asked her just what the h*** that means, anyway?! I explained to her that I am a practical person, a problem solver, and that if she needs help with those things I'm there for her. If she needs her 'emotions validated' she's probably barking up the wrong tree! We both laughed about it but it's actually quite true. I love both of them dearly and show it and tell them so on a daily basis but when they come to me with problems I'm assuming [wrongly] that they want help solving them. I guess I'm kinda like a guy in that respect. :lol:

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Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:58 pm
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Joined: Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:53 am
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Location: Ocala, FL
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Like a guy? Definitely! Dale always wanted to solve the problem rather than sympathize. There are times when that's good... but most of the time, we just want a shoulder to lean on. We don't want the situation changed as much as we want someone to understand and be there to hold a hand....

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Leone Carroll (75); wife of Dale (75) who passed away March 23, 2011


Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:17 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
In other words, to validate our emotions! :lol: :lol:

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:32 pm
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Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
OK. So how does one do that on the phone? :?:

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:56 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Oh honey, that does sound dreadful. No wonder you are upset.

I'm sorry that you had such a sad experience today.

Wow. That coworker really made you mad, didn't she?

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:22 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Oh, I do that! Then she comes out with, "I don't know what to do." Should I just say, "Gee, I'd like to help you but I'm clueless", or "I'm sure that a bright gal like you will think of something!"

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:35 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
What are you considering so far?

Are you leaning in any direction at this point?

What do you think your options are?

What additional information will help you come to resoltuion?

What have you tried in the past? What has worked best?

Is there something I can do to help you with that?

(And if you really do validate their emotions, and not just think those things and assume they will know you are thinking them, then what the heck are they complaining about? Tell 'em to quit their whining and act like the smart, effective, emotionally grown up ladies they are!)

Wow! It is so easy to deal with other people's kids. You want mine? :lol:

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:56 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Jeanne, those are good responses. She is seeing a counselor and I'm sure he is much better at this sort of thing than I am. I sometimes ask her, "Well, what does your counselor suggest?" I do wish she would grow up and accept responsibility for her own happiness, though. She has always blamed other people and circumstances for her woes. She's not a kid any more, she's 42. She is a good mother, though. I'm glad she calls me every day [at least] even if I fail to validate her feelings. :mrgreen:

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:07 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Well, if you tell her what to do and it doesn't work out so well, she has someone to blame, doesn't she? 8) I think I might pass on that role!

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:29 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:35 pm
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Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Jeanne, I think you really need to consider hanging up that shingle!! :P

Pat, it is great that your daughter is calling you every day. That is a very good thing that must make you feel her support for you.
I am the problem solver type, too. I often miss the opportunity to say all those good things Jeanne just mentioned while I dive into possible solutions to a problem. But I am getting better at it over time. My daughter is training me, too. She is super at it!
Pat

_________________
Pat Snyder, husband John, dx LBD 2007
Author of [i]Treasures in the Darkness: Extending Early Stage of LBD...[i][/i] [url]http://www.amazon.com/Treasures-Darkness-Extending-Alzheimers-Parkinsons/dp/1466428228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334092686&sr=8-1[/url]


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:31 pm
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Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 3:07 pm
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Location: Minnesota
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Back to the original subject of this thread ...

I think the message "Don't forget yourself" is an important and valid one. There are times when I need to hear it and am receptive to it. There are other times when if one more person tells me to "take care of yourself" I'm going to lose it and burst out crying. Specifics are more useful, though. Saying "get your medical checkup" is more helpful than just "take care of yourself." Saying "get 20 minutes of exercise" is better than saying "stay fit." So overall I think this is a pretty good list.

And I also think, depending on the kind of day I'm having and how low my energy reserves are, I'm entitled to mutter, "yeah, yeah, I'll put it on my to-do list. Now get that thing out of my sight!" :P Use it if it helps, disregard it if it doesn't. There is sure to be another one floating around when you are in a more receptive frame of mind.

(And even when I'm receptive I'm not sure I'd know how to confront my emotions.)

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Jeanne, 68 cared for husband Coy, 86. RBD for 30+ years; LDB since 2003, Coy at home, in early stage, until death in 2012


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:45 pm
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Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2007 5:35 pm
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Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Confronting my own emotions has been a breakthrough process for me and for John. The counseling to help us do that has been priceless to us and a big part of our journey so far--a good part that is actually healthy and making us stronger.
I would be angry or frustrated and lash out---not being aware that the real emotion at the base of everything was fear. Once I began to get that, my communication with John and with other family members improved tremendously.
John has had a similar process, but he comes from a different angle in dealing with his emotions.
It is a very valid reccommendation, I think.
Pat

_________________
Pat Snyder, husband John, dx LBD 2007
Author of [i]Treasures in the Darkness: Extending Early Stage of LBD...[i][/i] [url]http://www.amazon.com/Treasures-Darkness-Extending-Alzheimers-Parkinsons/dp/1466428228/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1334092686&sr=8-1[/url]


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:56 pm
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Joined: Wed Dec 30, 2009 1:46 pm
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Location: WA
Post Re: "Don't Forget Yourself"
Quote:
(And even when I'm receptive I'm not sure I'd know how to confront my emotions.)

I try to avoid confrontations. :lol:

_________________
Pat [68] married to Derek [84] for 38 years; husband dx PDD/LBD 2005, probably began 2002 or earlier; late stage and in a SNF as of January 2011. Hospitalized 11/2/2013 and discharged to home Hospice. Passed away at home on 11/9/2013.


Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:56 pm
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