Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Caregivers Need Vacations! But, Don't Tell Anyone!

Every caregiver needs a vacation...or five!

It can be such an ordeal planning some time away from your caregiving duties, but it's worth it--even if it's only for a few days. However, it might be a good idea to keep your time off to yourself.

But, here’s the point of the day: I just got back from vacation…and I didn’t tell many people I was going. Didn’t mention it in a blog before I left, didn’t put it on FaceBook, didn’t announce, “Hey Y’all! I’m going on vacation!”

In today’s world, it’s probably not good to announce you won’t be home for an extended period. Increasingly, security experts are saying such an announcement might work as well as putting a sign in your front yard that says, “Come steal our stuff!”

I know the summer is two-thirds over, but, other than folks who help in your caregiving duties and some close friends who’ll watch your home for you, it might be a good idea to not announce, “I’m sooooo looking forward to vacation/long weekend!”


Oh, and thanks for the welcome back.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Drive On!

What are you thinking about when you’re driving? Come on, you can admit it; if caregiving is making you crazy you’re probably thinking about caregiving.
Whether caregiving has just been thrust upon you or you’re a veteran caregiver you can probably give me examples of missing red lights or stop signs; making moves on an interstate about which you later think, “that was scary, I shouldn’t have done that;” or losing your car keys every other day.
When driving to see your caree or simply running to the supermarket for a few things,  try to be extra attentive.  The stress and preoccupation inherent in caregiving may mean you are less focused on driving and more accident prone.  
Examine the routes you travel to frequently-visited destinations; supermarkets, doctors’ offices, care facilities and friends’ homes.  If you travel through highly congested areas, notably those with busy intersections, you may want to find alternate routes. Don’t worry that the trip takes a few minutes longer, safety is more important. Simply changing the time of day you make your trips may serve to make the trip safer. 

If you make regular trips to a care facility you may want to find a route that allows a short stop afterwards to “decompress” from a stressful visit.  Stopping at a mall to window shop, at a park to take a short walk, or at a friend’s home to chat for awhile may allow you to bring your mind back into a less-stressed mode. 

Thursday, July 2, 2015

This Place is a Mess!!!

There are only so many hours in the day and the instant you become a caregiver a chunk of those hours are automatically committed to caregiving; either active caregiving or thinking about the care of your loved one. You often lose time you’d spend on the more mundane to-do things like keeping your home, car, office reasonably livable. However, living in a cluttered environment contributes to the craziness.  
Here is a no-questions-asked, sure-fire, 5-step way to clean up any any area in a minimum amount of time. I’ll use your home/apartment as an example.
First, grab a glass of water, juice or soft drink, and your phone. Click into the timer on the phone. (Or, better yet, get a $7, Walmart, crank-around, ticking kind of timer) . . . set the timer to 5 minutes . . . and get started.
Second, walk through the house and close doors . . . you only want to do what is immediately necessary so walk through and decide what doors you can close to keep clutter out of sight.  My first suggestion is the door of any child who is older than 10 (I’m sure you understand my logic).
Third, grab a trash bag or a laundry basket and make a quick run through the house getting rid of clutter.  Throw empty pizza boxes, old newspapers and broken toys in the trash bag and toss it.  Pile misplaced stuff in the basket and put it in one of the rooms with the closed door . . . you’ll find out what to do with the baskets in a moment. 
DING!!  When the bell rings STOP, SIT, AND SIP.  You’ll rest a moment or two, maintain hydration (sipping refreshment keeps our energy level up) . . . and then crank the timer around for another 5 minute session.
Fourth, quickly move lamps, pictures and mementos off tables, desks and credenzas, and start dusting.  Getting rid of the dust bunnies gives you the next best “I’ve got it together” feeling after tidying up.  Make a quick swipe on the items you moved off the surface and straighten them as you place them in their original locations.  
DING!!  STOP, SIT, AND SIP.  Again, rest a moment or two, have a sip, then crank the timer around for one more 5 minute session.
Fifth, vacuum.  Don’t spend a lot of time moving furniture around. . . hit the big spots and leave the smaller spaces for another session sometime down the road. 
DING!!  You are done!  DO NOT GET ALL EXCITED AND MOTIVATED AND TRY TO DO THE WHOLE AREA!!! GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK!!! 
Check your calendar and schedule another cleaning session a few days or a week from now.  On that day you will use one of the 5 minutes sessions to go through the laundry baskets you filled with scattered clutter . . . or, better yet, you will tell family members that their clutter is in a basket in a specific room and they can get it themselves. Even BETTER, enlist anyone else who lives in your environment in keeping it neater, cleaner and less stressful.