A Caregiver sent me a message and asked for help.
Wait Wait Mr. Postman!!
Sandy said that she was at her wit’s end – her mom had begun throwing mail away and she didn’t know what to do. Mom’s bills and important notices were missing, and she was beside herself. Sandy asked if she should contact each company or send a request to the post office and issue a change of address so that she could receive the mail. All I knew was that her mom was living independently and that Sandy was worried that her mom was declining. The next question was critical. Where did her mom live? Was she in her own home? Sandy said that she was in an independent living apartment of a senior living facility.
I suggested she reach out to the director/manager of the independent living wing and explain the problem and ask that her mother’s mail be saved and given directly to Sandy and she could give it to her mother. No need to embarrass mom, no need to go through the time and hassle of a postal change of address with each service provider. Sandy was thrilled with this simple suggestion. She likely would have thought of it herself, but she was so stressed and frustrated she couldn’t think clearly to consider this option.
The Superpower of a Group
That’s the power of support with a group of people who are in the same situation as you. We are all in different stages with different experiences. But reaching out and asking for ideas is the best way to deal with the frustrations that arise with caregiving. You never know who will have a brilliant idea or have already experienced this problem and has figured out an answer. There are so many resources available and it’s so hard to keep up with all the decisions and options to consider.
Hospice to the Rescue
Another member sent me a note to say how much she appreciated the articles and information regarding hospice care. Her mother had been declining and she and her sisters were exhausted and didn’t know what to do next. While they had a very basic knowledge of hospice care, they didn’t feel comfortable about calling for service. She wrote that due to the education and awareness of what hospice could provide on our page she made the call. She said that she was so grateful and that she and her sisters were so relieved and that their mother was comfortable, and everyone felt supported. She said it was the best decision for her family and she was grateful for all the information she received about hospice and the input from other members.
We are Better Together
Whether it’s finding a way to have a difficult conversation about incontinence, bathing or taking away car keys – all of us are smarter than one of us. One of my favorite things is seeing a question in our private Caregiver group and seeing the variety of thoughtful and creative ideas that members propose. Even if none of the answers solves the problem – because not every problem can be solved, the idea that a group of people have an understanding of your situation and care about offering you support is often more helpful than actually finding a solution.
Different But the Same
Self-care and social isolation are challenges for all caregivers. Whether you are caring for an aging parent, a spouse with a chronic illness, a wounded veteran, a child with special needs or an individual with cancer or other life-threatening issues, it’s hard. You don’t have to do it alone.
You Are Not Alone
Isolation is one of the hidden challenges of caregiving. People assume so many things and often stop reaching out if you have declined offers in the past. Unlike parenting small children, there isn’t a natural gathering of caregivers to talk about their frustrations and challenges. That’s why it’s important to seek out groups and people who can be supportive and really helpful. I hope you consider me to be one of those people. If you have a question and would like to connect – please drop me a note and I will respond right away. Email: [email protected].
All the best,