Tuesday, February 07, 2017

7 Steps to Caregiver Love

My mother recently reminded me, as a caregiver herself, that we on this side of the fence often forget our wonderful caregivers who are there to help us.

I am so ever grateful to my Hunepants for being my caregiver and honestly don't know what I would do without him. So to pay respects to all caregivers, here is a little post just for you. This is for US patients and those around us to remember the caregivers as well as the needy.

I recently was hospitalized and didn't even think about how much he needed a break from me as well. Times like these help those us who have caregivers hopefully realize that they do a lot for us and we need to not be so dern grouchy, irritable and insensitive. We need to be thoughtful of those who cNOTare for us and do so much. So here is a little post for the patients to remember the caregivers. This is NOt a post for caregivers on how. This is for YOU the one who NEEDS that caregiver to remember them and be thinking of them.

1. They probably won't do it YOUR way.

No, they probably won't put the dishes away where you want them to go, and no they probably won't do the laundry the way YOU like it done. Who cares? At least they are TRYING to help out and do their part.  Be happy and THANKFUL they are helping. they could just leave everything for you to do as well as trying to be the patient. Even if they only do ONE thing. Say thank you. Be thankful. show them thanks the way they like to be thanked. If you don't know how they like tobe thanked....find out. It matters.

2. Consider hiring help

Maybe you can't afford to hire help as in a home health aide or maybe insurance won't cover it. My insurance won't cover an Aide, like my sister is, to help people clean and do shopping, but they will allow me to have a Health Nurse. This week we are considering hiring one to help out so he doesn't have to be the doctor, the nurse and everything else too.

We also have started hiring someone to come in and do Prep Meals for us and clean every other week. I can't do most stuff, but getting down and scrubbing toilets and showers are not in my wheelhouse right now and he is the one working and paying the bills so I don't think he should have to either.

Plus, as a joke, now we always have someone to blame as in "Oh, where did M, put that this time?" or "Must be M's fault we can't find anything." I told her and she laughed so I know it doesn't even bother her and this takes the stress off us.

3. Do little things for them once in awhile

This morning, after being in the hospital 4 days and nights, I was so thankful to be home, that I got up early and made Hunepants tea the way he likes it. I also woke up early and told him to get in bed, because most nights he sleeps on the couch as not to disturb me and sometimes him to so he can get some rest. I would have made him breakfast too but I actually haven't been paying enough attention to know what he eats in the morning anymore.

Note to self: pay attention to the little things as well

By the way, he made an English egg muffin with turmeric and cheese. simple. DUH. Maybe tomorrow If I am feeling well I will make him tea AND breakfast.

4. Use your resources

I have a church family who offers me meals. Many churches offer this or other community members. Think about your friends and other family who may be able to give you rides, clean, do things for you so the caregiver doesn't have to. There is no reason on earth and no one said

"The caregiver has to do it all for you." So stop expecting them to. Use what your momma gave you, yourself and use your resources.

5. This may not be "short term"

You or your caregiver may have thought "Oh I'll just help out for a bit." Next thing you know it's 4 or more years down the road and they are still helping and you are still griping.

"Did you know, most caregivers have been helping out their loved ones for 5 years or more?"

That little bit of helping has maybe turned into a lot of helping. If they, like my spouse, are the breadwinner too (meaning they bring in the $$), that is a lot to take on. Be aware of your needs as things progress as not to over stress your caregiver. think about the other things I have mentioned, like hiring help, using your resources, etc as a way of helping out.

6. Caregivers have mood swings too

You don't get to be the only one who gets to fly off the handle one minute, cry the next and then be happy. Sorry folks, we are both humans here. Unless you found a way to have a robot as a caregiver and are rolling in the dough, most likely your caregiver is human and has emotions JUST LIKE YOU.


Remember that. So give them a break like they give you a break too. Let it pass. Breathe. Let them have their mood swings too. Realizing that you both are gonna have these up and down days, moments and time really will make things a lot easier.

Now, that being said, I don't think it is wrong to point it out on either side of the scale. Sometimes, maybe you don't realize that you are being a raging B* and sometimes maybe they don't realize they are being a royal arse. Not rudely, but kindly maybe ask if things are ok and if they realize they are being that way. they can do the same do you. This is a rule in our house we allow. That doesn't mean either of us are going to stop being that way, because in reality, sometimes you just need to let those emotions out. We just go to our own corners (areas of the apartment) and let the emotions surface and then it tends to dissipate on it's own. That may or may not happen for you, but it works for us.

7. Make sure they have their ME TIME too

They need to take care of themselves. They need time to themselves. They need to do their own thing and release all that they are dealing with...YOU. They need to nourish their own souls too. Let them have that time. Make sure they have that time if they aren't already. Be patient when they want or need that time.

My Hunepants likes to play video games. he likes to code. He likes board games. He likes to read news online. these are none of the things I particularly like to do, except the Board Games part. So I give him his space. I let him have his morning to read Reddit (boring to me) or listen to CPR (Colorado Public Radio) in the car (again boring), but I know it makes him happy so I let him do these things.

Whatever your caregiver likes to do for their time, let them do it. don't make fun of it. Don't hassle them about it. It isn't YOUR TIME it's THEIRS, so ZIP IT and just ALLOW IT.

You both will be  happier.

My mother likes to help others, sew, craft, bead, quilt and write. Sadly, she doesn't always get to do these things and I am on her constantly about her having her own time. She can't just be the errand girl or the doctor girl or the nurse. She needs her time too. (Are you listening mommie dear?)

All in all, obey the Golden Rule. Treat others as you want to be treated. 

Until next time,
Always Be Fabulous
Trisha Trixie