Wednesday, September 1, 2010

More about caregiver stress...

One of the websites I go to for consistent support and encouragement is Minding Our Elders ( Carol Bradley Bursack is Editor-in-Chief and her articles always speak to me. I read one today titled "Caregiver Stress Can Make Carers Feel Trapped: What to Do?" and wanted to share the link with you so you can read it too. Carol offers some very practical and solid understanding and advice in this short article, so if you're in need of a little thoughtful help, read on:

I particularly relate to Carol's thoughts about being heard. I think that's one main reason why I blog about caregiving. I write first for others who may need to know someone is out there doing what they do, or close to it, and how it's going. Some days it's great, and other days it's not so great, and I've learned that is normal. When you're caregiving, sometimes you're unsure what the new "normal" is. It definitely changes from chapter to chapter of your care-receiver's level of need, but "normal" now is not what normal was before my husband and I became caregivers. It takes a lot of learning and some serious adjusting. I used to sit at one or two in the morning on those nights when I couldn't get to sleep (or would wake up after a couple of hours and couldn't get back to sleep) and end up combing the Internet for information and help. Sound familiar? For me, finding an occasional connection to someone's caregiving experience and learning from them was a godsend, and still is. I have very limited time to leave home for support group meetings, so connecting on the Internet definitely helps.

The second reason I blog is to "talk" to others out there who are themselves looking for information and who can relate to how things are going. I hope that being as transparent as possible will help someone who is just starting down this path, or who, like me, may have been caregiving for a little while. I try to share what I know by blogging because it appears that many people in our culture are shouldering the role of caregiver, and we need one another's input to learn from and improve our situations. I grew up watching my grandparents (three of the four) end up living their final years in nursing homes, and I'm not anxious to have my own mother go through that if we have any say in the matter. I had to make that decision for my father because of the type of dementia he had (he became very aggressive toward others, my mom particularly), and it was a very painful decision to both make and live through. We did the best we could do, however, and I still believe that is true. I also know I don't want to have to repeat that particular decision if we have a choice. It seems a lot of folks feel the same way and are willing to become caregivers as the primary option for their loved one. If I can share anything that encourages a caregiver somehow, then that is important to me.

One other reason I write is that I think better when I write things out--writing helps me process my thoughts and figure out/solve problems.

So keep me posted and let me know how you're doing. I don't know about you, but our household is looking forward to a bit cooler weather (okay, a lot cooler!) so we can enjoy being outside more. I wish you a wonderful September!

Caregiver at Home

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