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Currently Browsing: Compassionate Caregiving

Unaswered Questions

At the end of a recent reading and book signing event, a woman approached me with some earnest questions.

“Can you help me find answers about how to care for my father?”

She shared that her parents live in California where many social services have been cut for budgetary reasons. Her mom has been caring for her father who has been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The father has become difficult to handle. The mother is now too exhausted and burned out to be a compassionate caregiver. Three daughters, who all care about both of their parents’ well-being, do not live close by and are attempting to take turns being there to help. There is not enough money for full-time caregivers. Is there an appropriate residential facility that is affordable? Is there adult day care near by?

“It’s like child care,” she concluded. “If you don’t have enough money to hire someone to take care of your child, then you have to do it yourself.”

I find this heart wrenching situation to be all too pervasive. What are the choices? What is a workable solution? I’ve spent lots of time pondering how to provide some answers.

Speechless

I started CCandN.com with great vigor and enthusiasm as the last of the snows flew through the air in the springtime. I pictured myself as unstoppable, so excited was I to help create a dialogue about care giving. After the tiny little launch with a virtual bottle of champagne over the virtual bow of my new space, I set out for a Hospice Foundation of America conference in Salt Lake City. It was incredible for me, the caring people I met and learnings I still will share. The topic was Spirituality and the End of Life. I will be getting to that, it’s important.

Next stop was a visit to upstate New York to visit my mom tucked in the family farmhouse by one of the lovely Finger Lakes. Mom was in the process of recovering from surgery for a broken femur following a fall on the ice. She was fragile but determined to heal and progress.

It’s too close for comfort. It’s my mom. For 94 years she has been there as a pillar of stability and kindness in my life. Folks might ask, “How’s your Mom doing?” The answer has always been, “Great!” And now there is a frail and frightened person who doesn’t know what’s next.

Leaving her was difficult but return to my home-life and my job was imperative. Her situation hasn’t left my mind much since then. She broke her hip without ever falling in the sweltering days of June. Another surgery, hospital stay, anesthesia, rehab and I wasn’t there. Only 11 weeks between bouts of anesthesia that made her paranoid and delusional. A brain fog of pain and medications.

All of this took my voice away. I didn’t have the answers so I dared not speak. It stuck in my throat. I was not able to sleep or write. I needed to find the solution of how to help. I spent hours in the middle of each night tossing and turning, trying to fit the pieces together of how it all might work.

An authentic voice delivers priceless caregiving tips

 

Comfor, Care and Nourishment

Bru harvesting a heart-shaped potato from her garden in Jackson Hole, Wyoming

Comfort, Care and Nourishment are the heart of my work and philosophy. As a baker, restauranteur and caterer, I have brought quality ingredients and attention to detail in the making and serving of delicious foods. My career evolved into personal chef and shopper to keep households running smoothly and families well fed. That is how my jobs in caregiving to the elderly and infirmed began, first in nourishment, then in loving care for those who need it.

Lessons from a Caregiver’s intent is to bring assured calm and comfort to the lives of those who care for others.

Caregiving Tip: Enticing someone to eat

To entice someone to eat, it is okay to go outside the boundaries. Perhaps this person only likes breakfast. Great! You have lots of choices… Offer and serve any kind of breakfast, lunch or dinner the person wants any time of day. From Lessons from a Caregiver.
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