December 2015: We’ve Come a Long Way

[This post was first published in the December 2015 issue of OverFifty in Dearborn County, Indiana.]

It’s been 12 months since I started this project . I’ve learned a tremendous amount about myself and other caregivers. Here’s a look back at all my posts! 

I’ve grown, changed, stretched, accepted, rejected, procrastinated, planned, learned, taught, shared “best practices,” and honored caregivers in November with an article in the local newspaper.

I  talked on the local radio station about “The Six Stages of Caregiving”  with staff from  a local nursing home, Ripley Crossing, on their “Navigating Dementia” program.

Continue reading December 2015: We’ve Come a Long Way

November 2015: 10 Ways to Honor Caregivers

November is National Caregiver Month. That gives us just 30 days to show the caregivers in our lives, neighborhoods, or faith communities how much we appreciate the work they do to take care of another person or persons.  You won’t have to look very far–caregivers are everywhere.

According to The National Family Caregiver Association (NFCA), “Over 50 million Americans are recognized this month during National Family Caregivers Month. The estimated value of the “free” services provided by these family members caring for loved ones who are frail, chronically ill or disabled is a conservatively estimated to be $200 billion annually.”

Continue reading November 2015: 10 Ways to Honor Caregivers

October 2015: Replace What’s not Working

We’re going to get right to it this month!  For October we’re going to REPLACE…..no, not our carpeting or tires. We’re going to replace something that is not good for us.

Let’s Get Started

My first idea was to replace my afternoon Hershey bar with a piece of fruit. It’s a good thing to cut back on calories – but then I realized that doing something good for myself was a broader project.  Since we are all part of something bigger, doing something better to help our world, our community or our family is ultimately going to help us.

Let me help!

Don’t know where to start?  Let me help! We need to think broad.  We can replace a habit, a piece of equipment, a mindset, an action, a service, a behavior or a belief.

Think about replacing: Continue reading October 2015: Replace What’s not Working

September 2015: Make a plan, and then work that plan

Month 9 of “My Year of Preparing to be a Better Caregiver”  

I hope that you have found some comfort and organization in the past months’ tasks. They may have felt like “another thing to do” when you’re caring for your caree, keeping your home running smoothly, and staying sane yourself.

We have removed some obstacles by discussing some big issues like advance directives.

We have looked outside ourselves to learn something new.

Continue reading September 2015: Make a plan, and then work that plan

August 2015: Baby Steps

Our year of preparing to be a better caregiver is half over! I hope you have learned something every month to help you with your caregiving duties and find fulfillment and satisfaction in yourself.

Baby Steps

When I face a big task like learning to be a better caregiver, it is easier for me to break it down and learn a little at a time. I try to incorporate what I learned one month into the following month and so on. If you are reading my article and trying to work on each assignment, you’ll be surprised at how much you’ve learned at the end of the year–one small step at a time.

So far this year:

Continue reading August 2015: Baby Steps

July 2015: Now I Can Talk

For everyone who is attending, or has ever attended, the Midwest Writers Workshop in Muncie, IN…..

Kelsey and Cathy – my favorite writers extraordinare

I attended Kelsey Timmerman’s workshop in 2014, I sat next to my daughter Cathy Day most of the day. I decided if Kelsey can get famous from writing about where his underwear came from (“Where am I Wearing?”) and Cathy could get famous for writing about our hometown of Peru, IN, (“The Circus in Winter”) then I could write too.
I may not get famous though.

The Roundtable Discussion

Continue reading July 2015: Now I Can Talk

June 2015: Share your knowledge about caregiving

Every day the number of caregivers increases. How can that be? It’s because we all share this one thing in common:

  • You are already a caregiver,
  • You will be a caregiver
  • You have been a caregiver in the past, and
  • You will need a caregiver in the future.

That statement includes every one of us, doesn’t it?

How do I Learn to Be a Better Caregiver?

Continue reading June 2015: Share your knowledge about caregiving

May 2015: It’s okay to be happy in the midst of caregiving

Welcome back to “My Year of Preparing to be a Better Caregiver:

I hope you have had success with your Advance Directives and “getting your affairs in order.” I would love to hear your thoughts, successes or struggles. Please email me at pattys.heart2heart@gmail.com and I’ll respond with applause or help.

Let the sunshine in!

So, spring is here (or almost here) and the dark cloud of having the “Heart to Heart” talk with my family about Advance Directives is lifted from being over my head. I can let that go for now and work on something else.

Continue reading May 2015: It’s okay to be happy in the midst of caregiving

March 2015: Day Family Meeting

Welcome back to my year-long project! I’ve been writing a post and a local magazine article every month about “How to be a Better Caregiver.

In February I wrote about Put it in Writing–how important it is to complete your advance directive and let people know what is important to you in your golden years.

The post and article have had some positive responses.

  • A friend told me that the post got him thinking about updating his will and advance directives since he had not done so since he had some life changes.
  • Another person told me I really got her thinking about things more seriously. She told me she didn’t realize how important it was to make those kinds of decisions now before there is a crisis for someone else to deal with.
  • I personally had a positive response when I got my kids together to show them our will and advance directives.

Well, I should say it got done, although the day was mixed with unexpected events.

Ooops!

Continue reading March 2015: Day Family Meeting

February 2015: Put it in Writing

This is my “My Year of Preparing to be a Better Caregiver”

I decided to devote myself to “Organization” in January. Doing so made me realize that I’m prepared to care for my husband, but he will not be able to care for me due to his health problems.

I needed a Plan B.

I’ll need my daughter to take care of me. But how do you ask someone to help you without it  feeling like a burden. Should I use the word opportunity? responsibility? privilege? blessing?

I know! I’ll ask her to be my helper.

Continue reading February 2015: Put it in Writing