FOUR ELEMENTS COACHING

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THRIVING

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A real treat today for me and for you. As you know, caregiver support and caregiving resources are two of my passions. And this article truly speaks to me as the community of care we were able to develop around my mother allowed her to stay in her home independently much longer than she would have without their support. Guest blogger Claire Wentz from Caring from Afar shares some helpful information about how to build that community.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay.com

It’s hard to watch the woman or man who took care of you for so long become dependent upon you for basic care: making sure there are groceries in the house, checking for any wounds or bruising on their skin, changing the bed sheets, washing clothes, cleaning the house, managing money, and more. It’s even tougher when you live far away and you have to hope that your aged parent can still fix a meal or remember to take their medicine.

What’s more, these people don’t necessarily have to be your parents. They could be grandparents, aunts or uncles, or even older friends. In any case, if you live more than an hour away and you have been tasked with taking care of them, you are, according to the National Institute on Aging, considered to be a long-distance caregiver. And as Michael O. Schroederstates in U.S. News & World Report, the demand for caregivers is increasing as the population ages.

While you might feel you are the only one available to provide care, you actually do have allies who can help: your loved one’s neighbors. They can be your eyes and hands while you’re away,  and they might need to do a little more than simply knock on the door once a day to make sure everything’s okay. You will need to enlist them to actively help care for your loved one.

If the neighbors have lived next door or across the street from your loved one for many years, getting them to help might not be an issue. However, if you don’t know them, or if they’re new to the neighborhood, you’ll need to introduce yourself and explain what you need.  Here are some ways to set upa neighbor caregiving network.

  • Introduce Yourself and Completely Explain the Situation

If your loved one is a parent and the neighbors have known you for years, this should not be a problem. However, for newer neighbors, or if the loved one isn’t a parent, you’ll need to pay a visit and tell them about your loved one’s condition. If the neighbor agrees to help but isn’t familiar with your loved one, take the neighbor over to their house and have them meet.

Generally, try to get help from the neighbors on either side of your loved one’s house and maybe two others across the street. If there is a church in the neighborhood, speak with the pastor or church secretary. They might be able to recruit a volunteer to join your caregiver team.

  • Set Up a Meeting

Once you have your team set, hold a short meeting to discuss what is needed and which days each neighbor can check on your loved one. Prepare a list of daily tasksto perform. Ask the neighbors if they’re comfortable with performing such tasks as helping your loved one use the bathroom and cleaning up if there are any mishaps. Prepare a list of emergency numbers (your home and cell phone, the doctor’s, the pharmacy’s, each other’s, and another relative). Also, make sure they have your email address. Tell them when and how often you plan to visit. If they ever need to pay for something for your loved one, promise them you’ll reimburse them.

Don’t forget to give your allies small tokens of thanks for their help. Restaurant gift cards are always appreciated and welcomed.

  • Consider Live-In Care and Other Resources

If your loved one is in a location where there aren’t any or many close neighbors, live-in care — or even moving inwith a roommate — might be the best option. According to the Huffington Post, you can use either a home health agency or directly hirea caregiver. Other resourcesinclude companionship services, meal programs, and even organizations that provide care for those with specific diseases such as cancer or Alzheimer’s.

You put a lot of yourself into the care of your loved one, but having a network of neighborly allies can ease the burden of caregiving if you live far away.

 

 

What happened when I got there was an instant knowing that I was in the right place for the right reasons with the right people. I signed in and then headed out for a quick dinner. Someone walked into the restaurant and I saw her name badge. “Would you like to join me?” I asked. She did and she was amazing. A yoga teacher from California named Frances, like my mother.

When I was a child, I had no idea what was happening to me and why I would cry at the drop of a hat one day and leap into the sunshine the next. I worried that it was a mental illness, since we had a family history of same. Sometimes I blamed myself for not doing – God knows what -to be a “normal human being.”

I know now that I am a “normal human being,” whatever that really means.  And some days, I am just highly sensitive.

But what they have really given me is a reminder to notice the beauty that is all around me. I can get very distracted by work, time commitments, and a desire to do all the things I want to do. And those distractions keep me from noticing the silky golden beauty of my granddaughter’s hair or the perfect grace of my cat’s leap onto the couch next to me.

Do you notice that January brings a desire to declutter, purge and re-organize your home, office and maybe even your car? If so, you’re not alone. While the phrase “Spring Cleaning” is more popular than “January De-Cluttering,” this is a natural time for us to take stock and think about what we own, where we store it and whether it’s still relevant to our lives and our work.

As 2017 winds down to an end, I realize again how much I love this transition from the old to the new. Everything seems fresh and possible to me. A new year, a new day, a new hour. Everything that’s old is new again.

Of all the times of the year, the holiday season can be one of the most busy and, therefore, stressful. We can take on a lot. We can have high expectations. We can encounter difficulties in relationships with others who are stressed and carrying high expectations.

One of the most joyful times of the year can often be fraught with sadness and disappointment.

Add in the fact that for some, the end of the year brings additional stresses at work as there can be more planning, more reporting, more covering for those who take time off and more.

So what can you do to prepare for the holiday season?

But today, I just want to take a moment to honor a woman I never met and to be grateful for all that she was to me. To say that she changed my life is also an understatement. My 4 Elements for Success are based on these principles that I learned and used to create my business. I wouldn’t be where I am today, sitting on my couch in a home that is perfect for me doing work that I love more than anything I’ve ever done, without the wisdom this woman shared with me and with the world. 

It is my deepest hope that you have benefitted from this program and will continually look at self care in a different way. Hopefully, practicing self care will become a daily habit for you. Maybe you have learned a lot about yourself and will continue to learn more as you engage in journaling and reflecting. Undoubtedly, you may have had difficulty practicing each prompt and that’s perfectly okay. One of the purposes of this month-long exercise was to create some regular self care time, but also some ideas for when you only have a moment to pop on a playlist or when you have an entire weekend that can be dedicated to a retreat.