Nobody’s perfect. Even though you might see me as a “caregiving expert,” I am still human. I have my stumbles. Things people say and do trip me up— hold me up, sometimes for days….
Even though outwardly it may seem like it’s all peaches and cream over here and I GOT THIS, I’m constantly on my toes,
predicting calamity, adjusting my strategy to counter interference from complexity, responding to all of the people and pressures calling my name, all while trying to maintain some grace and humility on this journey
Reflecting on the past year, here are the major challenges we’re working on overcoming or reined victorious as our rock has completed its 365 rotations. They might sound a little familiar, because they are the same struggles I shared with you last year.
What can I say?
I’m only human.
Dealing with Decline
We are all on a journey with the same outcome in the end. As family caregivers, we must press on, knowing that we are fighting a losing battle.
I carry it with me everyday. The anxiety that I must maximize the efficiency and joy of every single minute, because our precious time is limited (See: It’s Only Temporary).
This year, the connection in my grandma’s brain that helped her remember my relationship to her broke. She’s called me everything from her sister to her cousin and told me people like Uncle Kenny told her “XYZ” thing, when I know it was me.
Even though I have been assuming for a while she didn’t know me but was just masking her dementia, it has become very clear she doesn’t always recognize me.
I wonder, how much longer can I be the Head Caregiver in Charge if Grandma doesn’t remember I was ever in charge to begin with?
Working as a Team (the struggle continues)
forming storming norming performing
All high performing teams have a life cycle. Since last year, we have had a number of changes and transitions when it comes to Grandma’s supports and Sidekicks staffing pattern. Right now, our new team has moved past storming into norming. It feels good 😎😎😎
Despite my best efforts to improve, working as a team has always been challenging for me, especially when it comes to Grandma, because I have been in charge of SO MUCH for SO LONG. Sometimes it’s hard for me to accept the fact that others take some of the stuff off of my plate or let go of it altogether.
Also, I’m an only child. A loner, Dottie.
My friend, Gordon (@gordondym), a fellow family caregiver I met in the #latenite #carechat, calls it “I Spot it, I Got it” mentality.
I’m still working hard to disrupt this mindset by delegating tasks and making sure people have all the pertinent details of how I *expect them* to do that task* so I’m not setting them up for failure and setting myself up for disappointment.
That, and practicing the skill of letting it goooooooooooooooooo!
Managing Work-Life Balance
I’m the kind of person who never feels satisfied unless they are doing something. Sometimes, I find myself feeling slackerish from never stopping to take a break. And then I need to take a break.
I lovingly coined it “conserving energy,” to relieve the guilt I feel from not accomplishing as much as I want to everyday.
As cute as conserving energy may be, now that I’m self employed, time management has become of prime importance. I can’t spend too much time piddling around.
You know the cycle. We feel stressed out. We need to take a break. We are so tired from not taking one, that we give ourselves an even longer break. Then, hilarity ensues as we work to get ourselves back on an even keel.
I’ve been working on blocking my calendar to include conserving energy so I don’t have to feel bad about it.
In fact, I’ve been working on blocking my calendar for a lot of things – Grandma, my graphic & web design business, my Certified Caregiving Consultant activities, my Sandwiched KC work, and yes, TakingCareofGrandma.com posts and promotion.
I have spread myself pretty thin, huh? Managing the projects that pay my bills (read: work), while making time for the projects that give me joy is always a challenge. That is why I’m trying to rely heavily on leveraging my calendar as a tool to accomplish my goal of taking over the world (MWAHAHAHAHA.. jk kind of).
In my short years here on earth, I’ve fallen prey to Parkinson’s law (the adage that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”) far too often to let the universe suck my time away from me.
Putting Space between Loss
If you have been keeping up with us here at TakingCareofGrandma.com, you know that last year I lost a very close friend of mine after marching onto the front lines to care for him in the final weeks of his life.
Grief comes in waves. Sometimes big, sometimes small. It hits me everyday, sometimes out of nowhere. A person I see at a party who crossed our paths while he was here on earth with us. A familiar smell. A particular date.
All we can do when we lose someone is put some space between our loss and continue to press onward, recognizing that our memories and love for our person will always remain.
I thank God for the challenges I meet on my path.
If it weren’t for experiencing adversity and making mistakes, we would never learn and grow. In our stumbles, we find our steadies. That’s when we reach resilience.
Bring it on, world!
Here’s to the next year of adventures and mishaps!
I hope you’ll stick around with me for the TCG Blogiversary Party activities throughout the month!