willstrusts

CAREGIVING, ONE DAY AT A TIME

This blog is for all caregivers:

  • Past caregivers who are trying to recover from their ordeal and/or loss
  • Present caregivers who are currently caring for an ailing loved one
  • Future caregivers, who are seeing the signs and realizing that soon they will have to do some serious decision-making.

If this is your first time caring for a loved one, it can be daunting and scary. But you can do this. All that’s needed to be a good caregiver is the desire to help and give comfort. The rest you’ll learn, one day at a time. Unfortunately, “Caregiving 101″ isn’t taught in schools, even though it’s an inevitable  part of life.

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THE EMOTIONAL AND PHYSICAL TOLLS OF CAREGIVING

Caregiving is both scary and rewarding. Scary, because you never know from day to day what will be required of you. Caring for another person is a big responsibility. You want to do everything right; your worst fear is that you’ll make a mistake and add to their pain. Rewarding, because there’s nothing like the feeling you get when you’ve been able to ease a loved one’s pain. Having them smile at you and say “I feel so much better!” is, well, there’s just nothing like it. It fills your heart with joy.

The stress of caregiving can take a terrible emotional and physical toll on the caregiver. Depression, heart disease, hypertension, and Type II Diabetes are just a few of the conditions common among primary caregivers. We want to make sure you’re aware of the hazards, the precautions, and the options open to you so you can stay as healthy as possible while you and your loved one navigate this new road together.

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When we’re young we think we’ll never get sick or old. But it happens – sometimes suddenly, and sometimes so slowly we don’t even notice until we realize that more and more of our conversations are about aches, pains, injuries, eyesight, indigestion, and illness.

All around us the people in our lives are aging noticeably, getting sick, and even dying. Our parents are getting frail or have passed on, and we all know at least one person in our life who’s been diagnosed with some kind of cancer or other serious disease.

Male or female; spouse; partner; sibling; son or daughter, if you aren’t a caregiver now, chances are you’ll be one before long. And that’s why we’re here at Don’t Lose Heart: to relay information, to support you and encourage you with our own experiences, and to share lessons we learned along the way. Or to just provide you with a place where you can vent your fears and emotions. Most of our readers don’t comment, they just read the posts and comments, and that’s fine too.

THE CYCLE OF LIFE

There was a time when families lived together; if not in the same house, then in the same town or village. If a family member got sick or injured, they usually died at home surrounded by family and friends, and their body stayed in the house until their funeral.

Familial caregiving was a given: grandma and grandpa helped to care for the children and run the household, and lived in the family home until they breathed their last breath – the whole family was involved in their care and children grew up witnessing the entire cycle of life.

These days family members often scatter to wherever jobs, school, weather, cost of living, or whims take them. That, combined with modern medicine, longer life spans, and retirement living options, have made caring for our loved ones, and their inevitable death, something we rarely think about until someone becomes very ill or can no longer do everything for themselves.

It can be quite a shock to suddenly find that someone you always thought of as invincible is now depending on you for their very survival, and if you don’t live in the same town, city, or even the same state, someone is going to have to make some big changes.

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WE’RE HERE FOR YOU

Sometimes just knowing that others have faced the same changes, doubts, fears, frightening experiences and “selfish” thoughts and resentments can lighten the load a bit.

Use the comment boxes at the bottom of each page to let us know what you’re going through. Or go to the Contact Us page and send us your story and we’ll post it on a separate page. Before long you’ll have an answering comment from compassionate people who want only to encourage and comfort you, and when appropriate, to offer the wisdom of their own experience. By writing your story you’ll also be letting some other person who is in a similar situation know that they aren’t alone.

We hope you’ll feel comfortable and safe here and that you’ll realize you aren’t alone in what you’re experiencing. And we hope you’ll come away feeling lighter and more sure of yourself in your role as a caregiver.

Be well, and don’t lose heart.

“There are four kinds of people in the world: those who have been caregivers; those who currently are caregivers; those who will be caregivers; and those who will need caregivers.”
~ Former First Lady, Rosalynn Carter

“Don’t Lose Heart” by Dan Fogelberg  Click arrow to play

Guidelines: Everyone is welcome and encouraged to write here. All we ask is that comments be relevant to caregiving or the current thread topic, to keep the exchanges focused and helpful. Because of the high volume of spam comments we receive, all comments must be approved, so they will not show up immediately, but usually within a few hours. We implemented these guidelines to keep you, dear readers, safe and comfortable. Thank you for your understanding.

 

 

 

1,134 Responses to WELCOME

  1. Jennifer S Rossi Rossi says:

    I lost my husband of 25 yrs. on 9/17/2012. He was 100% disabled from the Army, but I just couldn’t bring myself to make him seek help from VA Medical, so I bought him private ins. at rate of $1,500/month. He had no life insurance since he was uninsurable due to the jeep rolling on him in the Army. Needless to say, the bills were staggering. After he died I lost my house to foreclosure & car to repossession. It’s a disgrace how veterans are treated, or mistreated, by the VA. It’s too late for my husband; however perhaps the VA will shape up after the expose into their malfeasance.

    • Jean F says:

      Jennifer, you had so much to deal with! It’s bad enough when you’re caring for a loved one who’s disabled, but on top of that to have to deal with governmental bureaucracy, that’s an incredible amount of stress. And anger, which you really don’t need when you are already exhausted. You did it, though, you cared for him and found him insurance and saw him through to the end. You did your best, and now you are picking up the pieces. It’s just terrible that you lost your home and your car, and I know your pain is still so fresh, but it sounds like you are the kind of person who will come out of this even stronger. Just know that you can come here any time you’re having a bad (worse) day, we’ll listen and help if we can.

    • Char says:

      Dear Jennifer, I am sorry for your loss, and for the countless other losses you have had since your husband passed. My husband is also a veteran and we have had some degree of help from the VA. As Jean said, you did your best for him, which I know was difficult. Financial stress along with the stress of daily caregiving can really takes its toll. I hope now you are able to care for yourself and get back on your feet. I pray the system will change for our vets, so they can finally receive the proper care.

  2. Terese says:

    Thank you, Jean. I do crumble, in private. I know the hell that’s coming, so I cherish every moment with Tim. It’s my goal to see that he does not suffer. He’s been through enough. It’s a delicate dance we caregivers perform day after day. Hiding the heartache, tending to needs, and assuring comfort. Right now, we have good days. So we celebrate and cherish……as long as possible.

  3. Terese says:

    Good morning. Just stopping by to say hello. Things are calm here on the homefront. Tim had his radiation consultation and decided against it. No more surgery either. This pleases me as I am all for palliative care when there is no cure. The cancer is in both lungs now, but Tim feels fine, eating healthy, compliant with insulin, and is strong as a bull. We have some serious coasting time now, and can all take a deep breath. Whew. Happy summer, pretty ladies. Hold on tight to your loved ones.

    • Jean F says:

      Terese, my heart aches for you, but you are handling everything so beautifully. I know there are times when you crumble, but I also know that you are Tim’s pillar of strength. I admire you so much.

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