Friday, November 15, 2013

Little Things, Big Results

A city truck just eased by my house using one of those big leaf-suckers to clean up the leaves I blew to the curb a couple of days ago.

In the craziness of caregiving it’s easy to get the feeling that fun is being sucked out of life like someone is using one of those big leaf-sucker machines.

Take a moment and try this simple exercise:
Ask yourself what you’d do for fun if you had:
2-5 minutes
5-30 minutes
30 minutes to ½ day
More than ½ day

Money is no object. The person for whom you will be caring is taken care of. Your family is taken care of.

Now, get to work with your ideas.

Tick, tick, tick.

Ok…now, let’s realize that on an everyday basis you may not get more than ½ day to ease away from your responsibilities. You might not even be able to get 30-minutes to ½ day.

So, the question is, “What would you do if you had 5-30 minutes, or 2-5 minutes?”

The key is to find things that take short bits of time…mini-vacations…that can lower your stress and craziness level, raise your enjoyment-of-life level, and keep you on an even keel.

In 2-5 minutes you can listen to a song, do part of a crossword, laugh at a cartoon, get a hug, tell someone you love them, hear someone tell you they love you and do all kinds of small, good things.

Neuroscience research shows that little things we do to enjoy life have a profoundly healthy effect on our mental and physical health.

In other words, they can keep us from going crazy.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Putting Together the Puzzle

When was the last time you put together a puzzle?

When someone dumps a puzzle out of a box and onto a table what’s your strategy?

I’m betting the first three things you do are: Flip over all the pieces that are printed side down. Locate all the pieces that have edges showing they are part of the border. Put the border together.

Once you start the way most folks begin the process it’s anyone’s guess what you do next…we all have our own way of putting the rest of the puzzle together.

Caregiving is one of life's great puzzles. So often people who are thrust into a caregiving role believe it's supposed to be done in a specific way...but that's just not true.

The "border" of caregiving, the one area of focus that everyone should have, is safety. Once you make sure the person for whom you are caring is safe, everything else is open for discussion. 

We'll have family, friends, experts and advice-givers saying, "this is how you MUST do it!" Don't listen to them. As long as you have the safety issue covered the rest is up to you and the person for whom you are caring.

Don't let trying to put the puzzle together make you crazy. Find your own way.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Video Again Available

This morning I'm doing a video session to create a new opening for the Care for the Caregiver video.

In 2003, the video won the National Caregiver Friendly Award from Today's Caregiver Magazine.

At the time it was one of the few tools helping family caregivers and educators understand and deal with the tremendous stress of family caregiving.

Within about 60 days the video will again be available at