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Archive for the ‘The Food Channel’ Category

You’re stuck at home caregiving. You can’t come and go as you please. Your loved one could fall, can’t go to the bathroom without you, is afraid when you’re gone. You find yourself envying neighbors walking out their front door and getting into their cars–such a simple and easy thing for most people to do. Not you. The days feel long and exhausting.

I know, I ‘ve been there. When I first moved my mother in with my family and me, I could get out–some. She didn’t like when I left her at home, but at least I could go to the grocery store and take an extra 15 minutes to stop by the library. I could also take my mom out–but that took more than an hour to get her ready, another 15 minutes to get her in the car, and that doesn’t count the time needed to get her out of the car, into a store, out of the store.

Oh shoot, forget it, was what I wound up saying a lot of the time.

I tried to take her out, stimulate her interests (and mine), meet new people and do what we women love to do–shop. It was just so exhausting.

It’s hard to wake up and face a new day–some days–as a caregiver. My mother had Parkinson’s  and Alzheimer’s. Meds needed to be started early if we had any hopes of having a “good day.” She was hungry early, too. I tried my best to have coffee and bit of “me” time (journaling, stretching) before she heard me. I even bought a small coffee pot for my bedroom. Once my mother saw I was up, it was all over. I think she laid in bed and planned out how to order me around all day. That woman had a to-do list a mile long. “Nip it in the bud,” was her motto.

The thought of every day all day at home felt like a prison sentence. No ankle monitor could have kept me more chained. But I learned how to make it work in my favor. I learned in caregiving you have to turn things around and find the good.

When you think about it, most people would LOVE to be at home (or so they think). One day, I decided to stop dreading it.

How to Find Adventure in Your Own Home:

  • Get cable, or the Dish. Television is a link to the outside world. Don’t watch the news (too depressing). Watch the Food Channel, HGTV, or Discovery Channel. Use it to educate yourself. Use it to entertain yourself. Pay a bit more for more channels. They’ve got yoga, old movies, religious channels, sports–whatever floats your boat. You can preach all you want about mindless television, but if you use it right, you can keep yourself company and even learn a thing or two.
  • I took a daily yoga “class” on tv, learned to cook Southwest foods, became a Paula Deen aficionado, and found some great old movies my mother really liked.
  • Got books? I bet you do. You probably have books you haven’t read or barely skimmed. Pull one off the shelf. One a week, in fact. Educate yourself by catching up on what you already have.
  • Got unfinished projects? I sure do. It may take you ten times longer (being interrupted all the time), but why not spread out an art project on the diningroom table and work on it 15 minutes a day.
  • Sign up for an online class. Yes, you’re under house arrest (so to speak), but that doesn’t mean you don’t have access to the world. They don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing! There’s a class for everything–university level to hobby enthusiast level.
  • Go to a caregiver’s group with an agenda–to make friends. Start a caregiving co-op. Find someone nearby and agree to “mom sit.” Even once a month gives you a day out you don’t have now–and with a fellow caregiver who knows the ropes. Also, trade phone numbers and start calling each other. Remember when you were a new mom and needed a friend? Same thing, make a call and start up a conversation with someone you already have something in common with.
  • Buy magazines. I kept myself inundated with new material. Learning is something you can easily do right at home. Step outside your comfort zone and get a magazine you’ve never bought before–Kayakers, Digital Photography, Psychology, Dog Fancy, you name it and there’s a magazine out there. So it adds ten dollars to your grocery bill. Better ten dollars in beautiful visuals, interesting articles and a chance to daydream is a far better use of your money than Paxil and Zoloft (which ten dollars won’t’ get you much…and if you need them, they’re a godsend).

These are just a few suggestions to help you focus on something other than caregiving. You’ll actually be a better caregiver by cultivating and maintaining your own interests. Resentment, guilt and frustration build when you give yourself no outlets.

Yes, it all takes energy–something you don’t have much of, you argue. You have more than you think. Your exhaustion has more to do with being apathetic (depressed, angry, frustrated–pick your adjective). It’s not all physical. The body (and mind) is resilient–and when you give it a purpose it can endure, persevere, and find untapped sources of joy and enthusiasm you didn’t even know you had.

These were some of my solutions. I hope you find your own. Find your path through caregiving and share your secrets with others. Don’t stop being you. In fact, this caregiving “cocooning” time is quite valuable to you. Yes, you may be pretty much “stuck at home,” but it’s not all bad. Change your perspective and begin to see all the opportunities and adventures you can have in your own four walls (and your own backyard).

What if…you could come out of caregiving renewed and reinvented…What if, caregiving worked in your favor? 

~Carol O’Dell

Need a good read? Check out my book, Mothering Mother

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Are you stuck at home?

Stuck hours at a time in a hospital / care facility with a loved one?

Do you own a snap front house dress and wear it with socks and house shoes? (Guys…come on, fess  up.!)

Then you might need a caregiver re-invention!

It’s kind of like an intervention–you know, when your loved ones all get in your face and tell you your life has gone to pot and you need professional help….

If you’re not careful, you’ll lose yourself in the vortex of caregiving.

I know, been there–my mom had Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s and lived with me (and my family) the last almost three years of her life. 

I had many, many days when I was too tired, lethargic, zombie like to do much of anything past cut pills, serve meals on trays and wash bed sheets.

But caregiving didn’t come in your life to drag you down. It also can provide incredible, unique opportunities.

If you’ve had to quit your job/work less hours/move or have your loved one move in with you, chances are you’re not going to be able to go back to your old life. Life has changed. You’ve changed.

The average caregivers spend 4.5 years caring full-time for a loved one–and 70% of all caregivers do it at home–and go it alone. Sad. Caregiving need not be that isolating.

You have to think creatively. Use adult day care while you can. Hire a sitter–a neighbor–someone you trust–while you can. There may come a day when you can’t. Even if you do have to put your loved one in a facility, you still have to check on them all hours of the day and night to make sure they’re receiving good care.

But…in the few snatch and grab minutes you have during the course of 24 hours a day–why not try something new?

  • start that memoir or write a poem–even a sappy one
  • buy a hummingbird feeder and take pictures of them–you don’t even have to go outside
  • buy some yarn, some knitting needles and a book
  • cook something you saw on the Food Channel
  • try an online college class
  • take up chess or soduku
  • try a home repair yourself–get a book from the library
  • buy a yoga DVD and do 5 minutes a day–build from there

Now, none of this is going to change the world, but it can brighten yours.

Before you go all snarky on me, grumble, complain you don’t have time–or energy for such malarky…give it a try.

No one’s watching.

Caregivers need a break and  no one’s going to give you a break until YOU give you a break.

I know it’s difficult to think about, but one day, your loved one will not be on this earth.

And you need to go on. You need to come out of caregiving a different person–with new skills and interests.

Caregiving happened for a reason, for many reasons–some of them good.

Reinvent yourself. You just might like the new you.

~Carol D. O”Dell

Author of Mothering-Mother: A Daughter’s Humorous and Heartbreaking Memoir

by Kunati Publishing

available on Amazon and in most bookstores

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