Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Does Caregiving Make You Just Slap Crazy?!

Ok…so, let’s say we’re all in a big room and I’m up on the stage doing a caregiving seminar and you’re seated in the group. I ask everyone, in a wonderfully cordial, Southern style, “How many of you think caregiver stress can just make you slap crazy?”

Would you raise your hand? When I’ve done it in the past I’ll bet 80-90 percent of the folks in the room will raise their hands.

However, it’s interesting to watch the reactions of folks in education or health care. They’ll often get a horrified look on their faces. If they are from the North or West they don’t get slap at all. They think it means to strike. In a Southern vernacular, slap, used as I’m using it, as an adjective, means absolutely or totally. As in, “That is just slap ridiculous!” I think it probably came from the hand gesture some people make--slapping a table--when they want to be emphatic.

They also won’t like my use of the word crazy. As I’ve noted here, crazy is used to refer to a state of being brought on by the stresses of caregiving. It refers to the fact that we often feel, think, talk or act in ways we might normally not, due to caregiving pressures.

It’s ok to know that this stuff makes you—makes life—CRAZY!…and to say it. Just realize, though, that you might have to explain it every now and then.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

International Youth Day...Use the Youth Inside You to Fight the Craziness!!!

Yesterday, I visited my mother at her care center. Is it just me, or does care center sound better than nursing home?

I had no idea that today was going to be International Youth Day (based on a 1999, United Nations resolution), but I spent some time thinking about the fact that I am her son and kind of celebrating that in my heart. And, nothing like Alzheimer’s is going to change that. In fact, when she passes on, that fact will still be valid to me.

The idea behind International Youth Day was to celebrate, support and engage youth around the world. I’m thinking it’s a good idea to celebrate the youth in yourself…a spirit that can easily be lost in under the pressure of caregiving.

I believe the pressure from caregiving that impacts our Head, Heart, Health, Home and Hands (work), is what crushes that youthful spirit many of us have. But, it isn’t lost, it’s just hiding. 

Take some time today, even for a few moments, to try something new, experience a new sensation, read about something fun, REMEMBER A GREAT TIME FROM YOUR YOUTH! Neuroscience shows that simply remembering a great time in the past and reveling in it makes us healthier physically and mentally.

So, in the fight against caregiver craziness, you have an ally. He/She is the youth inside you begging to get out. Take a moment and let them out!