Friday, 24 October 2014

UBC - Day 24 - Support Network - Tips for Carers

Thank you for joining me for another day of Tips for Carers we welcome day 24.

Valerie and Laura help me celebrate my birthday

When caring for a loved one it is important to build a support network that you can call on, a group of people that can be there for you each with their different functions depending on how much time they can give.  No man is an island and not meant to go through this alone,  they say it takes a village to raise a child and I think that it takes a community to care for their elders.

Mum beats Sekani at table tennis

My good friend Valerie reminded me recently that friendship means that you can call on each other in the difficult times and as a friend if I needed her to sit with mum then she would gladly be there for me as should all friends and the feeling is mutual.  Both Valerie and Laura have been there for me and mum.

The problems arise when you are afraid to ask for help for someone to give you a break or a night to catch up with some sleep.  If you don't ask, you will never know, they might even say yes!  I think that generally most people want to help but don't know what to do, They look at you and think you have it all together, and you therefore just have to be specific about the help you need.  People cannot yet mind read and don't want to assume what type of help you need, which can sometimes be as simple as just sitting with your loved one for an hour to give you a break or stopping to have a coffee with you so that you can get some conversation.

Mum at a local church function
As you connect with a local carers group you will find a network of people that know what emotions and difficulties you go through in your caring role, and is a resource that you should make sure you use.  What are the kids doing? You can also get the children involved by sharing your memories with them and in turn get them to talk about their day or time at school with the one you are caring for, there may be something that you used to do as a child that the kids can relate to.  There are many activities that you can have ready for those who come round to visit and have some interaction with the one you are caring for, such as looking through photos, organising draws, and working together on a craft activity.  These types of activities are great for those times when people come to visit, and for some they need to feel that they are doing something practical when they visit.

Having that support network prevents feeling isolated for both you and the one you are caring for.

For now, think of 5 people friends, family and neighbors you can ask for assistance and who can be part of your support network.  If we all try and help each other we can bring back a sense of a community. 

You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

UBC Challege - Day 23 - Guess who's Coming to Dinner? - Tip for Carers

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

He came in and sidled his way into our home without making a sound, our weekly get-together's interrupted, the sound of children's laughter and mum telling them to get their feet off the sofa. 

In the beginning it was those little things that would make you stop and wonder, shuddering at the thought, we relaxed, everyone misplaces things don't they?   The unwanted visitor waited, he sat down and ever so quietly made himself comfortable as he gazed at mum and plotted his moves, feet now under the table, he had found a new home.

He proceeded to gouge his way through her thoughts, and her memories, each day feasting on the laughter of her yesterdays.  He drank up her conversations and put up his feet on her hopes and our dreams of tomorrow.  Her desires faded, the days turned into months and then to years, she fought back, tried to give him her marching orders, but always taking, he never put back things as he found them, wandering in her mind from room to room taking those abilities learnt from childhood.  

He snatched the names of her children and memories of our dad.  It had been 24 years since he was taken from us - the stories she used to tell....  'Mum, can you tell us the story of when you met, I so long to hear you share the excitement of meeting him, with a swing in your step and laughter in your voice......mum - do you still remember?

Finding it difficult to walk, she didn't want this, to be left feeling that she is a burden - how long will they care? Not knowing why you can't understand, listening as if behind a thickened glass door that won't break'.  Sometimes I'll admit and cry out 'I CAN'T DO THIS ANYMORE',  I am only human, you would too.

He sits in the corner, wiping his mouth with his sleeve thinking about his next course, the rest of her speech looks tasty, already had some for his starter, yet he is still not satisfied, it is not enough, when will it be enough?

Dementia is the unwanted guest in our house, the gatecrasher, giving us no choice in the matter.  We have all been affected and relate to it in different ways, trying to come together as a family to support the one we loved and make her life the best it can be, despite the situation.

For now, recognise your circumstances for what they are, make room for changes that will take place and celebrate the life you have before you.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Quote Wednesday - Lister Sinclair

Art pulls a community together, art makes you feel differently, that's what artists are doing all the time, shifting and changing the way you see life....Lister Sinclair

In thinking about the impact that we can make on our communities, think about one thing that will take you out of your comfort zone every week.

Each Quote Wednesday I share a quote with a photograph that I have taken. Quotes can be so inspiring and uplifting it is a good idea to meditate on the words and make a point of saying something encouraging about your life!  Do something great!  

Join me next week for the next inspiring quote and image. Blessings

UBC - Day 22 - Caring Faith - Tips for Carers


Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Challenge for today, we are over half way through and I hope that some of the tips that I have shared have been helpful to you.


My faith, my belief has been the one thing that is constant in my life, it is the thing that lifts me up when I am down, and ministers to me when I cannot see a way.  Because of my faith and my spiritual walk I find the strength to do what I do today.  

When I feel that there is no hope, my faith and belief in God reminds me that  God not only loves me for who I am but he gives me strength when I have had a difficult time with mum and she doesn't want to go to bed to sleep.  He reminds me that when I was ill mum would stay up with me and tend to my needs.  When mum won't eat and I get frustrated cause of the effort it takes God reminds me to let go of the emotional ties to food that I have and when mum is ready to eat she will.

My faith helped me to see mums dementia from her perspective, to constantly ask myself how she must be feeling and to give her space and time to express what she needs and to challenge myself.  When I work to her time there is less need to get stressed about how long it takes or whether or not she wants to do something.

I learnt through faith to be patient, to love unconditionally to be humble, dementia and its affects on lives has humbled me.  It has affected all of our lives in one way or another and I don't take my life for granted and i don't take her life for granted.  Mum can still live a full of grace, peace joy and love.

My faith reminds me that I have to make the most of everything that mum can do and how she is feeling. She still feels emotions though not always able to express how she  is feeling her life is precious in Gods eyes.  As I spend time in his word I am reminded that he gives me strength each and every day.  He will never leave or forsake me.

Art Journal Page
For now, think about your spiritual walk, we do not go through this alone and God will guide you through if you let him.  He will walk by your side in the good times and carry and comfort you in the hard times.  How has your faith comforted you?

You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

UBC - Day 21 - Once a Man, Twice and Child - Tips for Carers

Welcome to the Ultimate Blog Challenge, for today.

Once a Man and Twice a Child

I never understood the saying until my dad got ill.  He had become bed-bound and needed me to help him change his clothes.  He was embarrassed and was apologetic, it was awkward, and at the time I tried to reassure him that it was alright.  He was my dad, and he needed my help, no questions asked, but I could never imagine myself doing this on a regular basis. 

Kenneth Lloyd Trought - A shining star

I wasn't around much for mum when she looked after dad and for many years after his death I surrounded myself with guilt of what I could and should have done.  But at the end of the day the guilt will only spin you round in circles and immobilize you, which doesn't help anyone, but I know how hard it is to shake.  Many find themselves in the role of a carer quite by chance, there is no else to take up the role, and it is here more than ever that we have to give a thought to how we would want to be treated if ever we found ourselves in the role of the cared for.

So many memories...
I am looking after my mum whilst my heart yearns for a mothers wisdom and advice, yet it is often met with silence, that is the hardest thing to deal with sometimes.  I think back to the care and nurturing that she gave unconditionally to us as children, and her gentle nature.  Not everyone has the love of a nurturing parent that I know, and motherhood is not an easy road to walk down.  

I care for her now as if she is my child, anticipating her needs and emotions as best I can.  There is no room for guilt about what she cannot do or my perceived limitations as her daughter, though I am not saying that from time to time the thought does run through my mind.  I remind myself that if the tables were turned she would do the same for me.

For now, recognise that you can only do your best in the situation, don't beat yourself up but find ways to celebrate their life and what they can do today.

You can also click on the 'Celebrating life' image to be taken to the rest of the posts from the Journey of a Carer.
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