“Gotta go! Gotta go! Gotta go right now!”[Read more…]
Sometimes as caregivers, we have moments where we just need to lay back and chill TF OUT!
This playlist is the perfect soundtrack for those moments.
Listen to it straight through or on shuffle.
Play on Spotify: http://bit.ly/chillTFout
- Peaceful – Slim Thug
- It’s A Vibe – 2 Chainz
- Do What U Wanna Do – Devin The Dude
- Closer – Goapele
- Aquemini – OutKast
- A Little Soul – Pete Rock
- My Angel Rocks Back And Forth – Four Tet
- Window – The Album Leaf
- Talisman – Air
- Ballad of Distances, Pt. 2 – Stars Of The Lid
- In The Morning Of The Magicians – The Flaming Lips
- Duk Koo Kim – Sun Kil Moon
- Hours Are the New Days – Mary Glenn
- Wildflower – Sheryl Crow
- Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
- Gentle Moon – Sun Kil Moon
- Where Is My Mind? – Pixies
- Offend In Every Way – The White Stripes
- Sleepwalk – Santo & Johnny
- Hey Gypsy Boy – Jimi Hendrix
- Jettison – Neko Case & Her Boyfriends
- Gravity – Live In Concert – John Mayer Trio
- Lullaby – The Cure
- In the Quiet – Vedera
- Night Falls on Hoboken – Yo La Tengo
- River – Red House Painters
- Floating – Sun Kil Moon
- De Cara a la Pared – Lhasa De Sela
- All Is Full of Love – Björk
- Lose Me – Denali
- Sweet Adeline – Elliott Smith
- We’ll Never Sleep (God Knows We’ll Try) – Rilo Kiley
- Les rivières de janvier – Keren Ann
- At least that’s what you said – Wilco
- Soon This Space Will Be Too Small – Lhasa De Sela
- Smoke Gets In Your Eyes – Thelonious Monk
- In A Sentimental Mood – Duke Ellington
- Gymnopédie No.1 – Erik Satie
What are your go-to tracks to wind down after a long day or stop a meltdown in its tracks? Drop ’em below in the comments!
If you’ve ever heard me talk about taking time out for myself, you might have heard me say I was “conserving energy.” It’s a phrase I created to reframe my feelings of guilt for being idle into something positive.
The calamity that surrounded my initiation into caregiving was brutal. During that time, there was no rest.
Once I got my grandma straightened out, though, for a while it was a pretty smooth ride.
Thanks to my grandma’s lingering independence and her creature of habit nature, there were many things she could still do for herself, and she could spend large chunks of time alone.
Much earlier in my caregiving experience, I would look at other caregivers and feel guilty for being so worn out with so many others out there also working full time that:
- Provide hours of intensive physical assistance
- Overhaul their living situation to keep a LO out of a nursing home or because it seems like their only option
- Manage caring for multiple humans, including children
I’m a single adult.
I don’t have any prospects or kids.
Even when I had a 9-5, I didn’t feel like I was “sacrificing my time” or “uprooting my life” when I was spending every evening and all weekend with her.
I thought had it easy. I didn’t deserve to take a break.
It took me a long time to embrace the fact is that everyone’s journeys are unique, with many factors impacting the direction of our paths at any given point.
Don’t get me wrong, even when things seem easy, caregiving is still hard. Even if you’re not providing a lot of hands-on help, the emotional and spiritual aspects of caring for a loved one on a downward descent can take a toll.
Last year around this time, I had no idea that I would be getting a crash course in the exact kind of caregiving that I was feeling guilty for not experiencing myself.
My dear friend, Calvin, for whom I was guardian and the only person in his life not paid to care about him, was discharged from the hospital on hospice. His support provider (and he needed 24 hour supports due to his disabilities) walked out on us when he got home. I became Calvin’s sole caregiver until the end of his time here on earth. I quit my job in a confused and uncertain panic, trying to clear my plate of everything that was stressing me out and tying me down at the time so I could be with him and manage Grandma too.
At the time, I was in denial about his condition and didn’t believe he was at the end of his path. When he came home, I spent days round the clock with him, only getting a break to come home and sleep or go take care of Grandma. Over the course of three weeks, he declined—all the while I did everything for him and spent every waking minute by his side, blind to the signals he was sending me that he was done, not believing he was really going to pass away.
It was grueling.
It took me a month and a half to recover from all of that. My first intimate encounter with death. A gaping hole in your heart that feels like you’re holding your breath but can’t let it out.
Everything happened so fast it was hard to make sense of it. I spent days reliving the final moments. Stuck in a loop, I’d move on and then moments later I’d be right back in Calvin’s house.
Into the second month of recovery, overwhelmed with guilt for not getting anything accomplished… still weary and overcome with grief, I had an epiphany. I wasn’t just in recovery from Calvin’s death, I was also having anticipatory grief for Grandma. I started having visions of going through the same thing with my grandma, realizing that our journey would have the same inevitable and imminent result.
I blamed the magnet in my bed for my lack of desire and motivation to do anything beyond basic.
I had to let go of those feelings of loss and focused on what I had right then and there: I still had Grandma. I have great memories of my friend and a wealth of wisdom from being part of his life. I had a new business – remember, I had just quit my job! I desperately needed to start bringing in money but also owed some work debt with some very strict deadlines…. Thanks to a few pep talks from people like my mom and my OG and the shrinking funds in my bank account, I woke up and got my proverbial shit together and started working on my projects again.
I even got my act together to get some other helpers in there besides myself, which means time off. More time for myself to focus on MY income, MY priorities, MY dreams.
Of course, I know I deserve to rest. But just like everyone else, I have moments when I feel like I should be doing more.
Certainly, things can be easier. (They can *always* be easier.) I still find myself slipping into guilt mode sometimes, because my grandma is still:
- Able to be alone for small chunks of time during the day and still mostly sleeping through the night
- Doing a lot of things for herself
- My only major caring commitment
But now, we’re in a new territory in our journey.
The organization strategies and tools I’ve relied on over the past three years are starting to fail. No matter how many different ways we give Grandma the information, it’s just not sticking. She is needing more and more help and is spending less and less time by herself.
The end is impending and inescapable..
Things are gonna get bumpy.
So when I hear that negative loop emerging in the back of my brain telling me I should be doing something rather than what gives me joy in that moment, I just remind myself that I’m “conserving energy,” and the grief and fear melt away.
A good first step in being prepared to care is taking a look in the mirror. [Read more…]
Caring for the Caregiver
As caregivers, we hear that we need to practice “self care” all of the time.
But what is self care, exactly?
Hear from our featured guests on what self care looks like for them, the resources they rely on, and just for fun: what they’d do when/if they got a break from caregiving.
What do YOU do to make sure you are your best self?
What resources do you rely on?
What would you do if you could have a day off?
Share with us in the comments below!
Next, we will hear words of wisdom from our featured guests for current and future caregivers. Stick with us for the TCG Blogiversary!
All month long we’ve been celebrating TakingCareofGrandma.com’s one year anniversary, or BLOGIVERSARY!! We’ve already had a great month so far. I rolled out a blog redesign and looked back on the past year of caregiving and blogging.
Today (the day I refer to as my ‘caregiversary,’) the festivities have culminated into a crash course in caregiving. I am celebrating my caregiving journey by sharing the stories of other caregivers, all of whom have very unique perspectives and insights into the world.
I hope you will join us throughout the day, when we will release videos from these special guests. There is a great lineup!
Thanks so much for logging on to TakingCareofGrandma.com. Party on!
The first round of videos will introduce you to our featured party guests. I hope you learn as much from them as I did!
Gael Chiarella Alba,
Advocate for Mom & Dad
CREATING BEING WELL
Then, look for videos with unique perspectives from each of these rockstar caregivers on the following topics:
Taking the Good
with the Bad
Then, join us right here at TakingCareofGrandma.com – on the Blogiversary page – at 7pm central time for a live celebration!
At first, I was kind of irritated at the fact that I didn’t have a name and people were referring to me in this manner. Then, I realized that I have built a reputation for myself like the Godfather. Picture The Godfather in your head. It is an image that evokes fear and reverence. The Godfather is a term of endearment for the boss, it commands respect and affection.
While some aspects of the mob may be seen as less than reputable, I think we can all agree that when we think of the mafia, one of the key terms that comes to mind is family.
True dons and doñas take grief from no man. They do what they have to do for the best of the family. They will go to war over their loved ones. This means exhibiting control and exercising discipline and executing smart social plays.
When I am feeling the heat from other people who don’t understand what we’re going through, I remember I am THE GRANDDAUGHTER, and I recognize myself as the boss and authority in my caregiving journey. I do not sell myself short and recognize my important role in my family and community.
In 2007, the Italian police found what they believed to be the Ten Commandments of the Mafia (link: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7086716.stm). Even the mob recognized the value of having a code to live by. I think we can learn a few things from the mob.
So, without further ado, I present to you THE GRANDDAUGHTER’S Commandments.
|THE GRANDDAUGHTER’S COMMANDMENTS||THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF THE MAFIA|
|1. I will use my social capital to help my family get ahead in life. I will map out and utilize the connections I have with the people in my ‘family’ to help us get what we needs.
I will differentiate between my associates (people who are connected but have not been initiated into the family) and my administration (the close connections you have around my caree’s support) – so I know whom I can call on and when and what kinds of conversations to have with them.
When I need something that my immediately ‘family’ can’t provide, I will to fig who is a ‘friend of mine’ – someone that we are connected to that can help us before picking names out of the yellow pages or relying on publicly funded resources in limited supply.
|1. No one can present himself directly to another of our friends. There must be a third person to do it.
|2. I will be loyal to my ‘administration’ – that is, those who make my everydays possible.
I will appoint and nurture my relationship with my ‘consigliere’ (the boss’s advisor). I will make sure my consigliere should be a ‘stand-up guy’ (or gal). I will always have their back like they have mine. I will take care of them and ‘vouch for’ them when they need me.
|2. Never look at the wives of friends.
|3. No one should take any action ‘off the record’ in benefit of or on the behalf of Grandma without consulting with the Granddaughter, even if Grandma begs them not to tell her.
Does anyone do anything in the mob without the Godfather knowing about it? I think not. It is important to always inform the caregiver when you are not ‘made’ (that is closely tied to the family) or you do not have explicit instructions or are unsure of standard protocol.
Those who observe this commandment will be held in high favor by the Doña (AKA The Granddaughter).
|3. Never be seen with cops.
|4. I will not push myself so hard I need to drink (or rely on unhealthy habits).
I will remember self-care and practice it faithfully.
I will find what I love to do so I’m ready to unwind when the time comes, and I will share in these activities with my caree when appropriate.
I will not feel guilty for taking time for myself. I will repeat out loud: It’s business, it’s not personal.
|4. Don’t go to pubs and clubs.
|5. I will always put my family first. I will always remember there is nothing more important in life than the people I care about and who care about me.
Family caregiving is a 24/7/365 job. I will always be prepared for the call to provide care and have a plan B when I am engaging in self-care so that I can continue to enjoy myself.
|5. Always being available for Cosa Nostra is a duty – even if your wife’s about to give birth.
|6. I will always follow through with my word.
If I say I’m going to do something and I don’t do it, I can’t be made when I look like a ‘cafone.’
|6. Appointments must absolutely be respected.
|7. I will recognize that I might be the don, but my caree is the boss.
Carees must be treated with respect and dignity after a lifetime of experiences.
Some of the loved ones we’re responsible for made our making our measly existences on earth possible. I will give them the honor they deserve.
|7. Wives must be treated with respect.
|8. I will always be bold and speak my mind. I know best what I need or how to help myself and my caree.
I will never be afraid to ‘hit the mattress’ with a professional over the quality of life of my caree or my needs, but I will always do it in a respectfully. I will pull them aside to ‘take a walk’ and help them understand my point of view or schedule a ‘sit-down’ to squash the ‘beef.’
I will ‘give a pass’ to offenders when they’ve crossed me and we have squashed our beefs.
|8. When asked for any information, the answer must be the truth.
|9. I will never use my own resources if my caree has their own ‘dough.’
I still have to live, today, and when you are no longer providing care.
|9. Money cannot be appropriated if it belongs to others or to other families.
|10. I will not open our ‘books’ to ‘Cosa Nostra’ to people whose values don’t align with ours, toxic relationships, and folks who are otherwise barriers to our good lives.
||10. People who can’t be part of Cosa Nostra: anyone who has a close relative in the police, anyone with a two-timing relative in the family, anyone who behaves badly and doesn’t hold to moral values.|
I got my gangster terminology from the Mobspeak Glossary found at http://aman.members.sonic.net/mobspeak.html