November is National Family Caregivers Month. Approximately 43.5 million caregivers have provided unpaid care to an adult or child in the last 12 months. [National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP). About 34.2 million Americans have provided unpaid care to an adult age 50 or older in the last 12 months. The cumulative financial impact of this unsung and unpaid labor from loving volunteers is estimated at $470 billion per year.
As Caregivers we are often put into a position where we have to choose between what is good for ourselves, and what is good for our loved one or care partner. Placing someone else needs in front of our own might be difficult for some people to understand, but not for the caregiver!
To be a healthy caregiver we have to learn how to live our life in the solutions of our caregiving experience, not the problems caregiving can create in our lives. By living a life focused on solutions, we live life with clarity, hope and love. Focusing solely on the problems of caregiving we live in fear, worry and despair.
Here’s The Deal: Taking care of self is rule number one while in the midst of caregiving. Whether the words are spoken or not, your loved one understands the stress you are under and wants you to take care of yourself. When you get to the point where you are at least half as good at asking care of yourself as you are at taking care of your loved one, you be on the right track. But first and foremost you have to start by making a plan! Start by:
Create A Care Team: While are super hero’s our caregiving capes are limited. Reach out to family members and friends who can play a role on the care team. Everyone brings different talents to the team, utilize them! Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness!
Set a Daily Intention For Yourself: Caregiving can be time consuming, especially if your balancing your career and raising children at the same time. Schedule something for yourself, every day, even if it is just five minutes of me time in a room alone.
Have A Back-Up Plan: What if you get sick? See Create a Care Team Above.
As Caregivers, we then to think that we are indestructible, but we are susceptible to illness too. Stress and fatigue will play havoc on all parts of your body, mind and spirit.
I believe that there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being. I make no bones about it, caregiving is hard, but in the end, the good days will always outweigh the bad ones.
by Christopher MacLellan, M.A., CSA
Chris MacLellan, is affectionately known as “The Bow Tie Guy” in many caregiving circles. Chris has over 10 years of personal caregiving experience and is an ardent advocate for caregivers and their caree’s, through his Caregiving blog, The Purple Jacket and his weekly radio show, ‘Healing Ties.’ Now Chris is creating a life to love after Caregiving ends through his radio show, ‘Healing Ties’ by encouraging people to live a happy and healthy life. With special guests from across the country, Healing Ties: Creating A Life To Love provides listeners with real-life solutions to real-life issues in a calm and peaceful way.
Chris’ book, “What’s the Deal with Caregiving” takes you on the caregiving journey from beginning to end, with plenty of sound tips in-between. Learn the importance of creating a care team, how to advocate for your caree, using your Ph.D. in caregiving and Chris’ four stages of grief.
What’s one thing that everyone in the world is going to become? OLDER! It’s not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It’s ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves — and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. “Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured,” she says. “It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all.”
It starts between your ears: how do you feel about your own aging? What messages have you absorbed over the years? Look at where they come from. Think about what purpose they serve. Learn about longevity. Start a consciousness-raising group. Question the mainstream narrative. Speak up when you encounter ageist behavior or attitudes. Join forces with olders and youngers to make ageism as unacceptable as any other form of prejudice — and to dismantle them all.
Want to make the world a better place? Being kind is the first step. We think everyday should be World Kindness Day but November 13th is the official date. World Kindness Day was introduced in 1998 by the World Kindness Movement. It is observed in many countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia, Nigeria and United Arab Emirates. Kindness is a virtue of paramount importance, yet not everyone goes out of their way to help someone else, or even take the small effort of smiling at a stranger. But there is no denying that there is an absolute necessity to be nice to others, even if it requires an effort.
The purpose of World Kindness Day is to look beyond ourselves, beyond the boundaries of our country, beyond our culture, our race, our religion; and realize we are citizens of the world. As world citizens we have a commonality, and must realize that if progress is to be made in human relations and endeavors, if we are to achieve the goal of peaceful coexistence, we must focus on what we have in common. When we find likenesses we begin to experience empathy, and in such a state we can fully relate to that person or those people. While we may think of people from other cultures as being ‘different’ when we compare them with our own customs and beliefs, it doesn’t mean that we are any better than they are. When we become friends with someone from a different culture we discover that despite some obvious differences, there are many similarities.
How to Celebrate?
Be kind and do random acts of kindness.
Smile at strangers and do kind things for them. Give up your seat on the bus to someone else. Buy someone’s coffee for them. Volunteer your time at the local soup kitchen. Leave a kind note for someone.
Kindness should not only be reserved for our fellow human beings. Be kind to the animals and to the environment as well.
If you have children in your life, teach them the virtue of kindness by practicing it in your daily life.
If you have elderly neighbors, offer to lend a hand, run an errand or simply play a game of cards and have a friendly conversation.
Did You Know…
…that researchers have found there is a positive feedback loop between happiness and kindness? Undertaking acts of kindness makes one happy, and people who are happy tend to be kinder to others.
Veterans Day is a time for us to pay our respects to all those who have served. For one day, we stand united in respect for you, our Veterans.
On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918 an armistice between Germany and the Allied nations came into effect. On November 11, 1919, Armistice Day was commemorated for the first time. In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed the day should be “filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory”. There were plans for parades, public meetings and a brief suspension of business activities at 11am. This holiday started as a day to reflect upon the heroism of those who died in our country’s service. However, in 1954, the holiday was changed to “Veterans Day” in order to account for all veterans in all wars.
In this 99th year of commemoration, the Department of Veterans Affairs is broadening that tradition of observance and appreciation to include both Veterans and Military Families for the entire month of November. Veterans Day is not to be confused with Memorial Day, a U.S. public holiday in May; Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who died while in military service.
This day is also the 242nd Birthday of the United States Marine Corps. –Semper Fi.
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