Happy Holidays - Enjoy the holidays because the other choice isn’t acceptable.
“It's The Most Wonderful Time of The Year” was written in 1963 and first crooned by Andy Williams. “Be of good cheer” the lyrics command; we’re trying our best, but between shopping, preparing meals, visiting, and caring for our care receiver, we may find ourselves feeling like curmudgeons. Maybe we need to adjust our expectations; easy to say, hard to do. The holidays trigger many emotions so try to focus on the actions that you can take to make things better. The holidays also bring up a host of memories and nostalgia that may no longer be possible now so plan something new, some meaningful time together by starting a new holiday tradition to look forward to. Speak these ideas aloud, write things down in a journal or talk these over with a listening companion, a trusted friend.
Asking for help could be construed with losing independence but that may not be true. Really?
A new journey, a new path to follow, but with planning, you won’t lose your way, you will survive and thrive. To thrive may mean hiring a home health aide so that you can enjoy personal respite care, but oh, the resistance to this idea can be monumental. First and foremost, having someone in the home may imply the loss of independence, losing control, and may be perceived as becoming a burden, which is #2 on the list of concerns - #1 is the need to enter a nursing home. My goal in hiring an “activity partner” (notice that I am not using home health care aide), was to lessen my stress when leaving my care receiver alone at home for a few hours. The need for care is relative; as we age, we are going to increase our needs for care. If we secure strategies for help at home before it becomes a crisis, we will be able to keep our care receiver at home for longer and dreaded #1 on the list may never be realized. Asking for help could be construed with losing independence but it really means staying independent for a much longer time. Check out https://www.planyourlifespan.org/ for more support.
Take Some. Leave Some. Love Some. Hate Some. Try Some.
- The best gift you can give anyone you love is that of being true to yourself and living your life to the fullest.
- Recognize that the holidays may be different this year.
- Decide which traditions you want to keep, change, or skip altogether.
- Be honest with yourself and others by sharing what you DO want to do and what you DON’T want to do. Try not to be overly controlling but setting limits is very helpful. Don’t cancel the holidays altogether but be kind to yourself by prioritizing the things you really want to enjoy.
Friday, December 13 – It has to get better.
My dear mother died on this day in 2000. On my walk I came across this sidewalk art, “It has to get better” needing no explanation but raises some questions – how do things get better? And what things do we want to improve?
Walk the Line
The year was 1932 in the state was Arkansas when a family of sharecroppers welcomed their son, John R. Cash into their family. This was in the middle of the Great Depression, but Johnny Cash’s hard-scrapple life taught him compassion and healing and he believed that healing was integral to humanity and being human. He wore “black” to honor the poor and hungry and those whose lives were challenged by drug use. Johnny Cash died in 2003 when he was seventy-three years old. Between his birth and death, he walked the line and left a wealth of music, mostly associated with country music.
Your sweater is beautiful and beautifully finished. “Thank you” was all she said.
The day began like most other days. I needed to go to the market; I have this thing about running out of milk and toilet paper. We all have something! While at the market, standing on one side of a tempting vegetable stand, I noticed a woman across from me wearing a drop-dead gorgeous sweater in a shade of turquoise that looked sensational on her. But what really attracted me was the way the sweater was finished. I knew it was handmade, but the finishing sent it off in another dimension. I complimented her and commented on what I observed. She thanked me, we carried on with our shopping, and I never saw her again.
We’ll stuff them! This is one of my favorite memories.
Tomorrow Begins the Holiday Season
Walking in a Sculpture Garden
Sitting in a waiting room, no matter how well we are prepared is very tiring, so I decided to take a walk around the campus of the Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, California, while my husband was seeing his doctor. The abundance of art is everywhere, and I marveled at the beauty unfolding before my eyes. The time passed very quickly, and we both left the campus feeling energized and relieved!
Keeping Them Home
Once known as Armistice Day, today it is known as Veterans Day.
Armistice Day commemorates the peace agreement signed between the Allies of World War I and Germany when The Great War officially ended. This was to be the war to end all wars, but we know that wasn’t to be true. In honor of all veterans, the name was changed to Veterans Day in 1945. A clear distinction is made: Veterans Day “is not a day that 'belongs' to veterans, it is a day for honoring all veterans." To all of you who have served, we offer our heartfelt thanks. Your sacrifices made and continue the make a difference in our lives. Serving a loved one as a care partner also has a special day. Caregivers Day is the third Friday in February, but I didn’t want to wait until then to share Sean Hayes’ story.
The nameless and the known;
My palace is the people’s hall,
The ballot-box, my throne!
–John Greenleaf Whittier, American poet (1807–1892)
Be Care Curious – What Does that Mean? November is National Family Caregivers Month
When I taught elementary school, we held child study team meetings, inviting all the stakeholders (professionals and family members) for every student who demonstrated a need for more interventive care, followed with an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Periodically, as per the goals set in the IEP, meetings were scheduled to determine the efficacy of the program. As care partners, we may realize that more interventive care is needed, and all the stakeholders must be invited and informed.
Be Care Curious gathers all the stakeholders in the shared care of a loved one for a personal IEP – Individualized Empowerment Program. I made that up, but this shared approach is empowering for every stakeholder, just like the stakeholders who keep a tent habitable – you need all the stakes, or you might be sleeping under the stars!
What do I have in common with their conversation?
Sometimes, I feel alone, despite being surrounded by people.
It’s possible that when we are caring for someone, we neglect our own needs in deference to theirs. This is a wonderful altruistic goal, but it can leave damaging effects. Without realizing it, we may sink into depression, a common complaint among many care partners. If it is just easier to stay at home, realize that it’s not healthier, in fact, loneliness may have the same detrimental effects as a chronic disease.
Lee McConaughy knew in that instant, that her life would never be the same again.
Sometimes, more help is needed but who can we turn to? This is an amazing resource.
The Family Caregiving Alliance, https://www.caregiver.org/offers a wealth of support.
By selecting https://www.caregiver.org/family-care-navigator, you will find State-by-State Help for Family Caregivers at your fingertips.
“Our Family Care Navigator helps family caregivers locate public, nonprofit, and private programs and services nearest their loved one—living at home or in a residential facility. Resources include government health and disability programs, legal resources, disease-specific organizations and more.”
Are we lost? That is a camel, right, but aren’t we at the Great Wall in China? Yes, actually we are.
Visiting China in 2013, we saw this image in the parking lot after we finished our tour of the Great Wall. It’s a Bactrian Camel with two humps that look like the letter B, not a Dromedary with one hump that looks like a D. It made me think of BD – Best Days - for hiring an activity partner or a home care health aide.
Rip off the paper! Rip off the covers! Show us your . . . what???
I’m talking about your smile! It’s funny that just smiling makes us feel better even when we feel that there is nothing to smile about. A smile spreads happiness from the inside out. Rip off the paper! Rip off the covers and showcase your smile. The smiley face symbol began in 1963 when Harvey Ross Ball, (1921-2001) a commercial artist, designed an image to increase morale in the workplace. His altruistic goal was to bring kindness to our lives, and this continues to be a symbol of goodwill worldwide.
Making is an Act of Remembering
The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure is on Sunday morning, November 3, 2019. They have been so kind in providing a booth for me to donate the Bust Buddies that we have been knitting throughout the year. My goal is to knit one pair per month, but my dear friend Terri Miles, knits one pair per week! Awesome! What are Bust Buddies? They are hand-knitted prosthetics for women who have undergone a mastectomy. Filled with polyester fiberfill, they are tucked in a bra to fill out the missing part.