Tuesday, 21 October 2014

UBC - Day 21 - Once a Man, Twice and Child - Tips for Carers


Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Challenge, for today.

Once a Man and Twice a Child

I never understood the saying until my dad got ill.  He had become bed-bound and needed me to help him change his clothes.  He was embarrassed and was apologetic, it was awkward, and at the time I tried to reassure him that it was alright.  He was my dad, and he needed my help, no questions asked, but I could never imagine myself doing this on a regular basis. 

Kenneth Lloyd Trought - A shining star

I wasn't around much for mum when she looked after dad and for many years after his death I surrounded myself with guilt of what I could and should have done.  But at the end of the day the guilt will only spin you round in circles and immobilize you, which doesn't help anyone, but I know how hard it is to shake.  Many find themselves in the role of a carer quite by chance, there is no else to take up the role, and it is here more than ever that we have to give a thought to how we would want to be treated if ever we found ourselves in the role of the cared for.

So many memories...
I am looking after my mum whilst my heart yearns for a mothers wisdom and advice, yet it is often met with silence, that is the hardest thing to deal with sometimes.  I think back to the care and nurturing that she gave unconditionally to us as children, and her gentle nature.  Not everyone has the love of a nurturing parent that I know, and motherhood is not an easy road to walk down.  

I care for her now as if she is my child, anticipating her needs and emotions as best I can.  There is no room for guilt about what she cannot do or my perceived limitations as her daughter, though I am not saying that from time to time the thought does run through my mind.  I remind myself that if the tables were turned she would do the same for me.

For now, recognise that you can only do your best in the situation, don't beat yourself up but find ways to celebrate their life and what they can do today.





You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Monday, 20 October 2014

UBC - Day 20 - Being Practical - Tips for Carers


Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for today.  Rome wasn't built in a day and some times it can take a while to sort out and organise your own household, let alone another, so today's tip is about being practical.  

Practicalities

Being a carer brings with it a lot of emotional stuff, but to deal with the situation you are going to have to look at what you do and see it from a practical side, and get what needs to be done first then think about how it makes you feel. Sometimes you need to work with what you have as very often the thing that we think we need is right in front of our faces.  No one can be on call 24 hours a day, so if you can create some systems and schedules it will help you keep a track of things. 


Asking for Help

There is only so much you can do, so asking for help is something that you need to get used to.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it is the thing that can enable you to handle your role in a more effective way, and keep you sane at the same time.  I found what helped me was having set things that could be done depending on the situation, grouping activities that could be done at one time, this also called me to be flexible as nothing was set in stone.  I try and think about what I need to do and what needs to be done, if you try and do too much you will burn yourself out.

  


Saving time

I try and make sure that I can have enough things in place and when I am feeling full of energy I can do more, but when I am tired, I can make adjustments as I go on.  If you have access to a computer you can try and automate things that you need to do like paying bills, prescriptions, even doing some of the heavy shopping online, and try and save some much needed time.   



It is important to keep the one that you are caring for as active and mobile as possible, this enables them to remain independent.  You might find that doing things yourself might be quicker, but if you let them get involved it not only impacts on their self esteem, and this will help you if they feel that they are contributing.  My aim with my mum is to keep her as mobile and active as possible and constantly encourage her to move about where she can, to exercise dispute having to use a wheel chair, keeping her stimulated and engaged helps me in the long run because it slows down the decline and in turn keeps her as independent as possible.

For now try and identify the regular things that you do that can be organised to take up less time, don't feel bad about asking for help, the answer could be 'yes' or you can organise some of the repetitive activities so it fits into a workable schedule.


You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

UBC - Day 19 - Tell Your Own Story - Tips for Carers

Welcome to today's Ultimate Blog Challenge get ready to tell your story!

We all have a story to tell, it doesn't matter who you are or what experience you have, your story is important and it needs to be told.

Mum shares her memories as a child

As a mixed media artist, I find that I use my journals a lot to tell aspects of my story or to express how I may be feeling at a particular moment.  My images, paintings and journal entries don't always have to have words.  I keep a journal just for writing as well, and first thing in the morning I spend time just writing, 3 pages or more of words whenever I can, allowing them to flow out, without censoring or hindering.


When I create a character or painting I don't start out always knowing what I want to paint, and use their gaze, smile and expression to tell the stories of pain, joy, fear and love.


I guess I also use this blog as a way to tell my story and share my journey, hoping that if only one person finds comfort or encouragement then its worth it.  I also share my story as a means of reflection.  When I can't find the words  to express how I feel, telling it in a story form can make it easier, and it is all part of the overall process.


Sharing your story reminds you of who you are.  We can often be buried under all the labels, wife, mother carer, and you can forget just who you were because that person hasn't been visible for so very long, lost in a sea of just getting by.


For now, get yourself a note book or journal and start writing and or drawing about how you are feeling, lessons learnt or advice for someone who might just be just stepping into your shoes.  Share your story with someone else you could be the inspiration that they have been praying for. 




You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Word for the Week - Romans 8:38-39

Word for the Week

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height not depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord...Romans 8:38-39

It says it all! but you need to hold on.  The ride won't be an easy one, your going to face some tough times, and even doubt yourself, and look challenges in the face, but you will get through!

As you meditate on the scripture and enjoy the image ask and think about the many gifts you have been given, the many challenges you face, and the fruit that will come from the work of your hands. 

Words and images for the week, to bless, encourage and inspire you to be all that you have been called to be. 
What will you do with what you have been given today?


Stay blessed and be a blessing

Saturday, 18 October 2014

UBC Day 18 - Time for a book - Tips for Carer

Welcome to today's Ultimate Blog Challenge, with every day an opportunity as a carer to do something different and enhance your life and those you care for.

Mum - out and about with the family
I have always loved to read, but since becoming a carer to my mother who has dementia, those things I really enjoy doing seemed to slip to the wayside.  I was running back and forwards from my mums home to my own, sometimes with time only to catch my breath, see my son, grab a quick snack and head out again. The thought of sitting down with a book and getting lost in the plot seemed far away as there was always something else to be done, and when I tried to do some reading before bed I was always too tired.

 Make way for the Kindle!
Kindle for Christmas!
One Christmas my husband got me a Kindle Fire, and it has been one of the most used gifts ever.  I wrote a review of my kindle on the blog, and I love it, I have always got it on me.  One of the great things I have been making use of is the text reading function which pretty much turns every book you buy into an audio book.  When I am in the car I select a book that I want to read and make my way to my mums.  This really kept me going for the 40 minutes drive, I was transported to wonderful destinations, and I also use it to read a lot of training books as well.  The kindle also came in handy when you were doing those tasks that didn't require you to think, but needed you physically present.  I either turn the book function on or music and it helps you to feel a bit more of a person, because you are giving back a piece of yourself.

We all need some time to ourselves!
The essence of today's post is to encourage you to find some way to best use the time you have and those in between times say if you have to wait for appointments.  There was one year where I was either going to a hospital or doctors appointment with my mum.  I found that when we were collected for an appointment by transport they would come at least and hour and a half early and then you would be left waiting around.  Armed with my kindle, I could occupy myself and my mum at the same time.  Another great feature of the kindle is being able to connect to WiFi and social media, it is like a mini tablet.

For now, try and identify some of the things that you enjoy doing that you can create a space for - remember 15 minutes each day is easier to find in your schedule than a couple of hours.  Make the most to keep yourself and your mind nourished as you go about your caring role.

You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.
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