In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the difference between rituals, routines, and habits. (If you haven’t read Part 1 – “What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?”, start there!) Then, in Part 2 of this series, we talked about the 5 Morning Rituals that Can Help Caregivers Face the Day.
Daily rituals involve mindfulness, which can help us “get in the zone” as caregivers. Being a caregiver is difficult and stressful. Rituals help us process that stress and the emotions behind it, and allow us to compartmentalize our lives to a certain extent. Mindfulness in particular is also one of the five steps in the MOVE Method, an approach I developed to help reduce caregiver compassion fatigue. The goal of all these techniques is to help you thrive, not just survive, so you can achieve Balanced Success!
I fully believe that how you end your day is just as important...
In Part 1 of this series, we reviewed the difference between rituals, routines, and habits. (If you haven’t read Part 1 – “What is a Ritual – and How Can It Help Caregivers?”, you should read it first!) The main difference is that rituals involve mindfulness, allowing us to be in the moment and reflect on where we are, mind, body, and soul. This is also one of the five steps in the MOVE Method, an approach I developed to help reduce caregiver compassion fatigue.
In this post, we’ll explore how morning rituals can help you centre yourself so you can face the day and reach Balanced Success.
Attitude is everything, as they say. Although that’s too simplistic to be entirely true, getting yourself into the right mindset is important. Not only will it make you a better caregiver, it will help you be a calmer person – you don’t want to be so on edge that you...
We talked briefly in the MOVE Method post about how a morning rituals can help you boost your emotions and give yourself a positive start to the day. That resonated with quite a few readers – due in no small part to the pandemic, I’m sure. We’ve all started our days for the last 15 months or so being dragged down mental health’s sliding scale.
In this series of three blog posts, How Rituals Can Save Your Sanity and Make You a Better Caregiver, I want to delve into rituals a bit further. As the title suggests, rituals help anchor you, help you keep your sanity, and help you become a better caregiver.
And rituals aren’t just for morning routines. I and my coaching clients have found evening rituals to be extremely helpful as well. Coupled with morning rituals, evening rituals are like bookends to the day that help us take a few moments to get centred once again.
Caregiver compassion fatigue is the flip side of another well-known occurrence: the Mother Teresa Effect. Recognized in the 1980s, the Mother Teresa Effect breaks down to this. When you do good for people around you – even people you don’t know – you feel better. Not only that, you actually, physically are better too. At least one study showed that people who went out of their way to help others boosted their immunity to colds and other infections.
But even Mother Teresa knew that caring for others could go too far. She understood about compassion fatigue long before the term existed. (Coincidentally, compassion fatigue was also first defined in the 1980s.) Mother Teresa mandated that her nuns take a year off every four or five years in order to essentially heal themselves.
And it makes sense. How often do you say that you wish you could take some of their pain and suffering away and put it on yourself?
Here’s the thing though: in many ways, we actually...
The irony for most caregivers is that we don’t give enough care to ourselves. Our focus is ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our parent or loved one. In fact the very thought of doing something for ourselves feels somehow... selfish.
Here’s the fact though: not taking care of yourself is more selfish!
Being a caregiver requires a lot of our time and energy. Most of us also have other priorities – our own families, work, and other obligations. We are stretched so thinly that any little tear threatens to drop the whole load like an over-stretched trampoline.
When it gets to that point, we are literally not as effective as we could be – or should be – for our parent or loved one we are taking care of.
That’s why taking care of ourselves is so important. It’s better for our mental health. It’s better for those around us. And, it ultimately makes us a better caregiver. One note: although we talk about family caregivers here, all the...
Previously we talked about the Top Five Signs It’s Time to Think about In-Home Care for Your Aging Parent. But one of the things people keep asking us is, why do these changes in behaviour happen in the first place?
Of course the easy answer is that they’re getting older. But there are actually several possible explanations, either working together or separately. If we can determine what’s behind your parent’s behavioural changes, you’ll be in a better position to help them.
Here are three common reasons why your parent’s behaviour may change to the point where they need in-home care:
This is not an exclusive list. There are other factors including depression and disease. Which brings up an important point – always involve your parent’s primary care provider...
A friend of mine told me that the moment she realized her father needed in-home care was the moment he set his housecoat on fire.
She laughed as she described it – the whole thing sounds like a sitcom episode with Fred Willard hilariously flaying about trying to douse the flames. Nobody was laughing at the time though – it was a big wake-up call for everyone.
The thing is, her father wasn’t doing anything unusual. He was cooking his breakfast as he did every morning. Somehow, part of the terrycloth touched the burner and the cotton just flared up.
Luckily, he put the flames out quickly and was okay. But I still wince to think how much worse it could have been. It left my friend a bit scared and confused as well. Suddenly she was faced with something we all dread: that moment when you realize the roles have reversed, and you are the one looking after your parents.
Reaching this level of understanding is difficult and often heart-wrenching. Too often, it takes a...
My friends and loved ones are all at different levels of care, some just starting the care journey as their partner has recently been diagnosed with dementia or another friend who's partner just had life-altering surgery.
The stories I am hearing, had me stop and ponder about the times I have had to care for my spouse and the range of emotions that went through this journey of caring.
What I came up with was: Caring for a loved one, especially a spouse can stir up lots of emotions.
Below are my five powerful tips to help you the caregiver, feel a deep sense of connection and fulfillment in your role or at least not want to throw a pot in your spouse's direction.
Schedule daily 15-minutes of self-care
Many of you are asking, where do I have 15 minutes per day for myself? What would Harry or (insert spouse's name) do without me? I am going to venture to say that Harry will be just fine...
6 Tips for Managing Dementia-Related Behaviours
While many of us think of memory loss as being the most distinctive characteristic of dementia, many other mental processes can be affected. Changes in behaviour and personality can be especially distressing to caregivers of loved ones with dementia, who may struggle to understand, manage, and come to terms with difficult new behaviours.
1. Monitoring Changes
Keep your loved one’s health care provider informed of changes in behaviour, as in some cases, there may be an underlying medical cause, or a specific treatment that can alleviate symptoms.
Keep a record of new behaviours with information such as the time of day, and circumstances under which the behaviour occurred. This may help you identify patterns and triggers that you can learn to work around together.
2. Go With the Flow
Be mindful that changes in behaviour and personality due to dementia are due to changes in the brain that are not within your loved one’s...
The crux of the dying phase of life is that death is foreign to all of us, and it scares us to death...pun intended!
This person is someone who is trained to enter your world at this critical time to help you navigate the process of death.
Just as a birthing Doula helps with the hellos to the world, an End of Life Practitioner helps prepare you and your loved ones with the goodbye that you want to send to the world. In-between saying hello and saying goodbye to the world is the curve of life which we generally navigate reasonably well.
The entry and the exit are the struggles.
An End of Life Practitioner will assist you in providing the platform for Your Voice, Your Choice.
An End of Life Practitioner works with the dying person and their loved ones to ensure that the process of death is with dignity and respect.
Most importantly, the expressed wishes of the dying person are met and understood by all those that surround and assist during this...