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LET'S TALK ABOUT IT  / Let's Talk Archive /Discussion Forum / Carenotes

Let's Talk

Welcome to Let's Talk About It.  In this special section we will feature the question/topic of the month and provide an opportunity for an interactive exchange that will help find some answers and possible solutions to concerns. If you wish to participate, just follow the link provided at the end of the question/topic and add your comments and thoughts.

Question/Topic for February 2009

How do you, as a caregiver, take care of yourself?

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Name: Larc
Location: CT
Date: 02/03/2009
Time: 11:45 AM


Drink. Lots.


Name: Carol
Location: Ma.
Date: 02/05/2009
Time: 06:21 AM


Hi , I care for my mother who is 97. She has mild dementia. It is 24 hours a day/7 days a week. When my husband was alive, he would take care of ma and send me out for a day with my friends. He was very good. But, now it is very difficult for me to get any time to myself. Even time to just sit and read a book or take a nap. Occasionally I can get my brother or sister to sit. Just recently I was able to get a companion to sit with Mom for 3 hours twice a week but mostly that is for me to do my errands. If the weather is good I can still take Mom out via wheel chair. But any time for my self is hard to come by. Some days I feel extremely overwhelmed. Other days not to bad. I am aware of the burnout syndrome. But this is how it is for now. This is a wonderful site. Carol

Name: Bob Mitchell
Location: Miami
Date: 02/05/2009
Time: 08:56 AM


Realize the need to take some down time to m self . In order, where ever I find it, to recuperate . That we might "both"  come out of this  at all.... Or, even better than it has been going. . Have downtime enough to also realize how I might better yet, even easier, improve the situation .Make it better, make some notable headway.

Name: Dianne
Location: Scottsdale, Arizona
Date: 02/05/2009
Time: 09:31 AM


I care for my dying father and my disabled mother, 24/7/365, with some help during the daytime hours only. Evening and nighttime are mine alone, and often I go without sleep when my father is having a tough night. On those days, I help with the morning feedings and changing of disposable briefs, and getting Dad up into the recliner in his room (using the Hoyer Lift), and once all those things are done, I lie down for an hour's nap. Many times that is the longest stretch of sleep I get.....when I take that nap. On a really GOOD day (no traumas or dramas while I am sleeping), I can get 2 straight hours of sleep, which at least keeps me going during the rest of the day and into the nighttime hours. I can do without movies or entertainment and I can even do without meeting up with friends. But I absolutely cannot do without rest, so my way of taking care of myself is to get naps WHENEVER and WHEREVER I can. One day I went to pick up a shirt from a friend who had borrowed it, and while I was there, I fell asleep in her recliner. Thankfully, she let me sleep, knowing the paid caregivers were at the house. I was very embarrassed but she said she took it as a sign of friendship that I felt relaxed enough at her house to fall asleep. That was true, but it is also true that I was exhausted enough I could have slept in the dentist's chair!!! LOL

Name: Lorri
Location: AR
Date: 02/05/2009
Time: 03:20 PM


Hello to all, Having relocated many years ago to a warmer climate and having a large yard, I manage my time by growing flowers, and a vegetable garden. Also am a volunteer at a food pantry/thrift shop, and a member of my church's choir. My husband has asbestosis and Alzheimer's so I really need to keep up with the changes in his physical health along with mine. I'm able to do this by the gardening activities, and walking 2 -3 times a week. However, I strongly suggest to other caregivers that you put your own health first. It's so important to your well-being.

Name: Vincent
Location: Maine...
Date: 02/07/2009
Time: 05:43 AM


When I first read the question I said to myself: you have to be kidding, when do I have time to care for myself? (I'm a double caregiver). But I thought a bit, and realized that I do have some strategies, and cat naps is one of them. During the day, I manage to lay down once or twice for 10 minutes with a radio headset on, and I find that I actually do fall asleep, and wake somewhat refreshed--how I wake up in only ten minutes is beyond me. When I pick up my wife from daycare, I arrive a little early, kick the car seat back, and grab another few minutes--again waking up in time. Another strategy, and one that works nicely for me, is to wake up earlier than my two, make a cup of coffee, walk out to the road to get the morning paper, and sit and read in quiet, or do tappy-tap on the computer (like now). I call it my "Golden Hour".

Name: Suzanne
Location: SC
Date: 02/14/2009
Time: 06:43 AM


While caregiving was at its most stressful, I would schedule a weekly massage. It helped relieve the accumulated stress of the week and I felt nurtured. My caretaking is easier lately, my loved one is in assisted living and my mentally challenged sibling is in a group home. Now I am more the emotional support and on the most part can enjoy my visits. But as caretakers know a crisis looms around the corner. I do take time to exercise now. I got an ipod and downloaded tunes that make me happy and I can just zone out and think of nothing while I exercise. I realized so many times we take better care of those we are caring for than ourselves. We need to take moments for ourselves. Scott Peck calls it looking for our little oasis'

Name: Sherryann
Location: Largo
Date: 02/16/2009
Time: 07:04 AM


I am very good about caring for myself . I love caregiving.  They need us out there, just like we need them ..I do my best And that's all I can do

Name: B. Lynn Goodwin
Location: Danville, CA
Date: 02/16/2009
Time: 02:22 PM


When I cared for my mom, who had undiagnosed Alzheimer's, I got perspective and kept my sanity by journaling. Journaling or writing can be as simple as finishing a sentence start that is provided and continuing. Where do you find the sentence starts? They are in my book, YOU WANT ME TO DO WHAT? Journaling for Caregivers. Read about it on the Caregivers Book Club page here or visit Writer Advice, and click on Journaling for Caregivers. Write back and let me know what you think. Thanks. B. Lynn Goodwin

Name: Cecelia
Location: Long Island NY
Date: 02/16/2009
Time: 04:47 PM


Caring for another is a huge responsibility. It requires one to have appropriate skills, attitude and physical ability. Caring for myself is just as important to maintain these characteristics, or I will also need a caregiver. I cope with heavy demands by making sure I make time to do 'something else'. According to the amount of time I can carve out, I take a train ride, visit a friend, watch a movie, sew as a hobby - as long as it is focused on something different. In addition to 'me time', ensuring my own medical care is essential. Fortunately I care for a 92-year old with great cognitive skills, so we have cordial dialogue to discuss issues such as unrealistic demands and respite. I assure her that I am always near and would call while I am away to reinforce trust. I know this approach would not work in every situation since each case is unique, but it makes for a wonderful team relationship for us. I also want to express appreciation to the contributors sharing their stories here. There is always something to learn from the experiences of others.

Name: Fran
Location: New York
Date: 02/23/2009
Time: 10:47 AM


I'm in a good place right now as my husband is dealing pretty well with chemo and recovery from surgery seems good. When things were not so good, I signed up for a weekly massage at a school where they teach it, saw my acupuncturist once a week and a therapist to talk to. Made sure to spend time with good friends. Going to work helped a lot but then I cried every Saturday. I never did pick up my needlepoint but it's waiting for me if I need it, and I'm looking forward to gardening when it warms up. Another thing that helped, was telling my husband that I needed him to pay attention to me too. That got the best reaction !

Name: Ruth L Kaplan
Location: Ft. Lauderdale FL area (Coconut Creek)
Date: 02/25/2009
Time: 02:07 PM


One of the best stress relievers, I find, is to get out and exercise. Where we live, I attend a class twice a week and we dance & exercise to music, stretch and lift weights. Most of us are past 70. I see myself smiling in the room-length mirror or laughing at myself if I goof (and I do!) and I urge all women, young and old, working or retired, to move their bodies, walk, dance, get out with other women, relate your caregiving ways to others, and if you can, have some help so you don't worry about your family member...we do...even if it's only 12 hrs. a wk. or enlist family members to come to your aid. Burn out is a big problem and we start to neglect ourselves. Don't. Your partner, parent, child needs you to be well.

Name: Emily Wright
Location: Montevideo, MN
Date: 03/03/2009
Time: 06:53 AM


Talking talking talking. Walking walking walking. Reading, laughing, praising, praying, bathing, submerged in bubbles. That's how I take care of myself.


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