Who will Care for the Caregiver?

I find it hard to believe there is actually a word in the English language that could possibly describe what caregivers go through.  There can’t be.  What is experienced during the caregiving process is often a deep, emotional shift accompanied by confusion, frustration, even resentment for many.  Somewhere along the line, one loses oneself and their individuality blurs with the needs of the loved one.

Most are caregivers out of love and affection, and others caregive because it is not financially feasible to pay for professional care.  Perhaps a child has a strong desire to care for mom and dad, or possibly a sense of obligation.  They will caregive for as long as they can, only to surrender when they reach a point when they can no longer offer the quality of care the loved one really needs.  It make no difference what the scenario is — all have experienced the same emotional labor.

Who then will care for you, the caregiver?  Ultimately the answer is you.  We’ve all heard the saying: “You have to remain strong for those you care for, so please take care of yourself.”  But are caregivers really taking the time to replenish their bodies, minds, and souls?  If I were a betting lady, I would say no.

As a dutiful daughter myself, I would, without thought, put my parents first at every turn, and would eventually become weak in body, mind and soul.  Lost somewhere between raising children and tending to fragile parents, there is a place called limbo, and we must prevent ourselves from going there by anchoring to a solid, stable place.

What I have learned along the way from my clients is that it is 100% necessary to tend to yourself.  This brings with it the image of being on an airplane; the flight attendant talks about placing the oxygen over your mouth before assisting others.  You do this because without you, others might perish.  The strong one must get stronger (have oxygen) before helping those who aren’t strong.  Place the mask over your face and “breathe.”  The same is true when your feet are on the ground and you are a caregiver.

©2015 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com.

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Published in: on June 24, 2015 at 11:45 am  Comments (1)  
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Shake Off the “Woogies”

Lately I’ve been noticing more and more people with lower spirits than normal and what seems like ever-growing obstacles in their lives.  In my industry, I have colleagues in a wide variety of occupations and I will ask them how the economy is affecting them or their business.  Across the board, most everyone is not necessarily complaining, but weary and concerned.  Rightfully so.

I am no different, as things have an effect on me too.  That’s usually about the time I go to my garden to renew my spirit, give thanks for everything I have, talk to the veggies and to my late parents.  It usually makes me feel better.  No one really knows this, but sometimes I go to my garden just to let out a few tears and decompress.  It is a normal and healthy release for all the unknowns we are living through.  We need to place the emphasis on “living through,” meaning, this will pass and we will do our best to find ways to deal with it all.

When my daughter was a toddler, she often fell because she ran everywhere like the road runner.  There was no typical walking, just running.  She would start to whimper, which quickly escalated to a full-blown cry, from skinned knees or hands, or the jolt of suddenly becoming horizontal.  Wanting to raise an independent daughter, I would go to her side, comfort her with my words and a motherly hug or pat, then encourage her to get right back up and “shake off the woogies.”

I remember the phrase exactly; “you’re okay … look … you’re fine, just a little scratch, no problem.  You just have to get up and shake off the woogies.  Let’s get up and shake them off so they’ll go away.”  It worked like a charm.  She stood upright, shook her little body, and went on with life.

Don’t ask me where my brain picked up that silly phrase, but it made sense then and it makes sense now, to learn to shake off the woogies in our own lives.  The “woogies” mean different things to different people, but the one thing we need to remember is to always get up and do what we can to shake them off.  It’s not as simple as cleaning a toddler’s skinned knee anymore, as our maturity has brought far greater challenges, but if you are creative, you can find a way to shake them off.

I highly recommend growing a garden.

©2013 The Estate Lady®

Julie Hall, The Estate Lady®, is the foremost national expert on personal property in estates, including liquidating, advising, and appraising. http://www.TheEstateLady.com  She is also the Director of American Society of Estate Liquidators®, the national educational and resource organization for estate liquidation. http://www.aselonline.com.

No part of The Estate Lady® blogs, whole or partial, may be used without Julie Hall’s written consent.  Email her at Julie@TheEstateLady.com

Published in: on December 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm  Comments (1)  
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Bring “Oxygen” to Your Own Life

There never seems to be enough hours in the day.  If you are a caregiver, you know this better than anyone, for your schedule is not your own.  Yet, I have heard many of my elderly clients say, “You must make the time because it is important to your well-being.”  Here are some suggestions I have learned along the way that might bring some “oxygen” to your life, so you can breathe again.

  • You’re all you’ve got!  Make dates with your spouse and children to keep your sanity in check, and the bonds of relationships fresh.  This is imperative, so make yourself a promise to do this.
  • Rest and replenish, even if you have to steal private moments in the backyard, in prayer or meditation, or just sitting.
  • If you are experiencing guilt, anger, jealousy, resentment, etc., seek the assistance of close friends, a counselor, your minister or rabbi.  Realize that most of what you are feeling is perfectly normal.  Know when to seek professional help, if you become depressed, anxious, or experience feelings that are not normal.
  • Combat depression by finding time to engage in an activity that brings you pleasure — a walk with your children or grandchildren, writing in your journal, getting out to shop for 2 or 3 hours.  Respite care is available in many communities, just so you can rest from caregiving.
  • Pay attention to these things: sleeping, nutrition, exercise.  Eat as well as you can; snack on fruits (natural pick-me-up) and granola bars, plus plenty of water.  The brain is less tired when hydrated and your organs love it too.  Sleep is one of the first things we miss in stressful situations.  Instead of relying on sleep aids, try listening to soothing music, curling up with a good book, and cutting down on caffeine.
  • If your loved one is napping, pop a yoga DVD into the TV and do some stretching; very invigorating.  Better yet, if you can get away for an hour, go get a massage.
  • Listen to music during the day, preferably easy listening, classical, or other calming music.
  • Spiritual self-care: make time for reflection and spend time with nature.  Stay connected to your faith-based organization, or consider joining one.  Be open to inspiration that will come from others.  Surround yourself with kind and loving people.

© 2012 Julie Hall

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 5:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Caregivers, Care for Yourself First

I find it hard to believe there is actually a word in the English language that could possibly describe what caregivers go through.  There can’t be.  What is experienced during the caregiving process is often a deep, emotional shift accompanied by confusion, frustration, even resentment for many.  Somewhere along the line, one loses oneself and their individuality blurs with the needs of the loved one.

Most are caregivers out of love and affection, and others caregive because it is not financially feasible to pay for professional care.  Perhaps a child has a strong desire to care for mom and dad, or possibly a sense of obligation.  They will caregive for as long as they can, only to surrender when they reach a point when they can no longer offer the quality of care the loved one really needs.  It make no difference what the scenario is — all have experienced the same emotional labor.

Who then will care for you, the caregiver?  Ultimately the answer is you.  We’ve all heard the saying: “You have to remain strong for those you care for, so please take care of yourself.”  But are caregivers really taking the time to replenish their bodies, minds, and souls?  If I were a betting lady, I would say no.

As a dutiful daughter myself, I would put my dad first at every turn, and would eventually become weak in body, mind and soul.  Lost somewhere between raising children and tending to fragile parents, there is a place called limbo, and we must prevent ourselves from going there by anchoring to a solid, stable place.

What I have learned along the way from my clients is that it is 100% necessary to tend to yourself.  This brings with it the image of being on an airplane; the flight attendant talks about placing the oxygen over your moutn before assisting others.  You do this because without you, others might perish.  The strong one must get stronger (have oxygen) before helping those who aren’t strong.  Place the mask over your face and “breathe.”  The same is true when your feet are on the ground, and you are a caregiver.

Next week, I have some specific suggestions to offer for the caregiver to administer “oxygen” to themselves first.

© 2012 Julie Hall

Published in: on February 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm  Comments (2)  
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Bring “Oxygen” to Your Life

There never seems to be enough hours in the day.  If you are a caregiver, you know this better than anyone, for your schedule is not your own.  Yet, I have heard many of my elderly clients say, “You must make the time because it is important to your well-being.”  Here are some suggestions I have learned along the way that might bring some “oxygen” to your life, so you can breathe again.

  • You’re all you’ve got!  Make dates with your spouse and children to keep your sanity in check, and the bonds of relationships fresh.  This is imperative, so make yourself a promise to do this.
  • Rest and replenish, even if you have to steal private moments in the backyard, in prayer or meditation, or just sitting.
  • If you are experiencing guilt, anger, jealousy, resentment, etc., seek the assistance of close friends, a counselor, your minister or rabbi.  Realize that most of what you are feeling is perfectly normal.  Know when to seek professional help, if you become depressed, anxious, or experience feelings that are not normal.
  • Combat depression by finding time to engage in an activity that brings you pleasure — a walk with your children or grandchildren, writing in your journal, getting out to shop for 2 or 3 hours.  Respite care is available in many communities, just so you can rest from caregiving.
  • Pay attention to these things: sleeping, nutrition, exercise.  Eat as well as you can; snack on fruits (natural pick-me-up) and granola bars, plus plenty of water.  The brain is less tired when hydrated and your organs love it too.  Sleep is one of the first things we miss in stressful situations.  Instead of relying on sleep aids, try listening to soothing music, curling up with a good book, and cutting down on caffeine.
  • If your loved one is napping, pop a yoga DVD into the TV and do some stretching; very invigorating.  Better yet, if you can get away for an hour, go get a massage.
  • Listen to music during the day, preferably easy listening, classical, or other calming music.
  • Spiritual self-care: make time for reflection and spend time with nature.  Stay connected to your faith-based organization, or consider joining one.  Be open to inspiration that will come from others.  Surround yourself with kind and loving people.

© 2010 Julie Hall

Published in: on March 1, 2010 at 11:15 am  Leave a Comment  
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How to Care for Yourself While Caring for Others

I find it hard to believe there is actually a word in the English language that could possibly describe what caregivers go through.  There can’t be.  What is experienced during the caregiving process is often a deep, emotional shift accompanied by confusion, frustration, even resentment for many.  Somewhere along the line, one loses oneself and their individuality blurs with the needs of the loved one.

Most are caregivers out of love and affection, and others caregive because it is not financially feasible to pay for professional care.  Perhaps a child has a strong desire to care for mom and dad, or possibly a sense of obligation.  They will caregive for as long as they can, only to surrender when they reach a point when they can no longer offer the quality of care the loved one really needs.  It make no difference what the scenario is — all have experienced the same emotional labor.

Who then will care for you, the caregiver?  Ultimately the answer is you.  We’ve all heard the saying: “You have to remain strong for those you care for, so please take care of yourself.”  But are caregivers really taking the time to replenish their bodies, minds, and souls?  If I were a betting lady, I would say no.

As a dutiful daughter myself, I would, without thought, put my parents first at every turn, and would eventually become weak in body, mind and soul.  Lost somewhere between raising children and tending to fragile parents, there is a place called limbo, and we must prevent ourselves from going there by anchoring to a solid, stable place.

What I have learned along the way from my clients is that it is 100% necessary to tend to yourself.  This brings with it the image of being on an airplane; the flight attendant talks about placing the oxygen over your moutn before assisting others.  You do this because without you, others might perish.  The strong one must get stronger (have oxygen) before helping those who aren’t strong.  Place the mask over your face and “breathe.”  The same is true when your feet are on the ground, and you are a caregiver.

Next week, I’ll offer some specific suggestions for bringing “oxygen” to your own life.  Please come back!

© 2010 Julie Hall