Author: Allison Powell

Podcasts to help you get to sleep

Getting to sleep when you’re dealing with the stress and anxiety of caregiving — and anticipating your next interruption — is no easy feat. Luckily, there are podcasts to help you slip back into slumber. Here are a few I’ve tried and found helpful. Sleep With Me: A sleep inducing podcast This collection of meandering monotone monologues is just like that history teacher who you couldn’t stay awake for. It’s a sure bet. Game of Drones: The Game of Thrones sleep aid Another project by the same folks as Sleep With Me, but for Game of Thrones fans. You might...

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Getting seniors online for fun and learning

When disabilities or memory impairment make going out more difficult, seniors can feel like they’re not able to do the things they love anymore. Going online can help them stay social, learn new things, and have fun without the hassle of going out. That is, of course, if they can navigate the internet! Help your elderly parents get online with these tools Click To Tweet Here are some tools to help seniors get online, stay safe, and have a good time — giving us time to get some things done or maybe even have a few moments of peace...

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The bath time struggle

It’s a pretty common problem: the person you’re caring for is refusing to bathe. Here’s advice from other caregivers on how to keep everyone clean, safe, and happy. What’s normal to them We have to remember that more than likely “back in the day” your father did not bathe except for perhaps once a week for church/synagogue time. Encouraging cleanliness is not easy, but perhaps sponge baths are the best hope for now. – Marie N. The feel of the water [People] with sensory processing disorder struggle greatly with baths and showers because they don’t like the feel of...

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Does the US take good care of the elderly?

It’s a really exciting time to be in the US. The fact that the current healthcare system is being dismantled means that we have the opportunity to fix the most vexing problems. I didn’t grow up in a military family, but I married into one. That means I’m dealing with paying with healthcare for my parents and aunt, who are on Medicaid and insurance through their work, as well as for my husband with Tricare, the military health insurance. While I won’t pretend Tricare is perfect, it’s exponentially better than its civilian counterpart, Medicaid, or even private health insurance. I would...

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The danger of dehydration: what caregivers should know

It’s astounding how many adults are chronically dehydrated. Drinking enough water helps your body work better and helps you feel better. It helps your metabolism work better and improves your concentration. Staying hydrated becomes more important as we age. Dehydration is one of the top 10 reasons for hospitalizations among the elderly! If you’re taking care of a senior, be sure to encourage them to get enough fluids every day. Boost your water consumption It’s easy to have a glass of water on your desk at work or your table at home, ready to go whenever you’re feeling thirsty....

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Dementia training for caregivers: is it important?

The caregiving community is incredibly diverse, but it seems we can agree that dementia caregivers — both family and professional caregivers — should be trained. Dementia caregiving is a world where the ‘normal’ rules don’t apply and we all need guidance learning to support, motivate, and keep people with dementia safe. Family caregivers and professional caregivers both report that they wish they’d gotten training in dementia sooner and that it makes their lives easier — while helping them take better care of dementia patients. Even at the assisted living facility where I’m a nurse, where I’d say the majority...

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Moment of Frustration

Feeling frustrated? Believe it or not, today is Moment of Frustration Scream Day. The idea is to go outside at noon and yell it out of your system. I didn’t make it up, but Tom and Ruth Roy did. They’ve apparently been making up holidays left and right and some of them even stick. Letting it out in a primal scream is a great way to get rid of your frustration and...

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If caregivers won’t support each other, who’ll support us?

It can be hard to have empathy for other people when you feel so drained, but it really breaks my heart to see caregivers tearing each other down. On an article about raising funds for medical care: “I also agree having to beg for money is pathetic.” On finding the bright side to a traumatic loss: “There is no bright side when you are in end of life caregiving.” On an article by a caregiver with support from family and friends: “you are not a caregiver. I can tell by this bull()$article. It takes more than a fancy degree...

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Dating as a caregiver

When you’re taking care of someone it can seem impossible to find time to eat, sleep, and bathe — nevermind look for love. It isn’t easy, but there are other caregivers out there who are going on dates and embarking on new relationships. Remember, everyone has their own situation. What works for one caregiver might not work for you. Are you going on dates? Share your tips in the comments! It’s good for you Having a social life — and a dating life — aren’t just for fun. They’re important for your mental health. Caregiving is incredibly emotionally demanding and...

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The thing they never named

When did the problems begin? By high school she ran away from home. She told me about it. Listening to Bach, windows rolled down, hair streaming in the breeze, done with her old life, driving without stopping, destination Florida. That’s what I now know to be a manic episode. The problems started long before I came in the picture. Even then, crazy people are lots of fun when you’re too young to understand. You see the fun, not the costs. Sometimes she was scary, but she never did anything to me. She loved me. Even when she hated her...

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Caregiving and recovery

Feel familiar? Sometimes I suspect my husband can do more than he says. When I ask him to help a little bit with the chores, or even just cleaning up after himself, he can’t find the energy. But when his friends invite him out, he manages to rally for a few hours of fun. I’m grateful that he has such loyal, wonderful friends. I’m glad he can still get out and have fun while he recovers – and it does seem promising that he’ll be back to work in a few months. I understand that when you have limited...

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Advice from Captain Awkward

A question posed to Captain Awkward the other day sounded very familiar: Dear Captain Awkward, One year ago my father passed away. It was a several year battle against cancer that he eventually lost, and I still miss him deeply. My mother has struggled in the aftermath. She has been overwhelmed with loneliness and sank into a depression. She loved my father deeply and he was her rock, both emotionally and in a more practical sense (bills, caretaking, house upkeep). Lately she has struggled more deeply because a chronic pain issue flared up. She has been to numerous doctor...

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Life on the edge

I have no professional qualifications. I’m sharing what I wish someone had told me. Your friend is cutting herself and maybe doing some other self destructive things. 1. Don’t freak out. It’s a big deal and it’s not a big deal. It’s really, really common. The odds are that, believe it or not, everything will be fine, eventually. 2. Is she bleeding right now? She probably doesn’t need stitches. I’ve taken people to the ER for all sorts of horrific looking things that made me feel faint and no one ever got stitches. Butterfly bandages and superglue do wonders....

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Cut the crap

I used to joke that each bit of dignity I lost got me that much closer to freedom. One day I’d shit my pants in public — then I’d be truly free. Crude, sure, but it’s nice to know that each time something happens that is so embarrassing surely I’d die from the shame, well, it’s really not that bad. I have a whole litany of horrendously shameful experiences that would curl the pages of Seventeen Magazine and their silly Traumarama. And I’m only 30, so I’m looking forward to several decades of horror to come. This is why...

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Pushy relatives are pushing us away

My mother in law thinks my husband’s disabilities would be cured of he cut out gluten. She thinks the chronic pain world go away with enough tumeric and if he put onions in his socks at night. Despite the fact that he has none of the symptoms of celiac disease and there’s no scientific evidence to support her claims, she is adamant and outspoken about her beliefs. He’s not totally against traditional medicine and healing options, but the suggestions she’s making aren’t even related to his disabilities. I understand that it must be terrible to, from her perspective, watch...

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Grandma’s ghosts

My grandmother made it to 100 before ever calling 911. But one night she could hear someone trying to break into her house. From the balcony she could see a man trying to break the window lock. The police car scared him off. Surprisingly for a neighborhood with only a few feet between houses, none of the neighbors heard anything. It happened again the next night while my dad was there with her. He was casing the house, smashed the glass, unlocked the door and came in. Only no one else could see him. My grandmother was so shaken up...

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