Morningside Ministries Blog
February is familiarly known as Heart Month. When you are a caregiver for an older adult, every month is Heart Month, because you are giving of yourself constantly to those you love and care for. We are very fortunate to be able to serve as caregivers for those who have been a significant part of our lives. However,being a caregiver can take its toll on us. We give so much of our heart in care giving, but sometimes our heart, soul and spirit can get overloaded and stressed. Just as we take clinical precautions to insure the good health of our hearts and bodies, we must always be aware that too much caregiver stress and exertion can take a toll on our care giving heart.
Here are some suggestions for better care giving heart health:
1. Getaway from care giving on occasion. Take a respite if only for the afternoon or for the lunch hour. You are your best when you are refreshed and when you have the opportunity to break away and relax for a bit. All of us need a break in our routine, if only for a short period. We can return to our care giving with greater zeal.
2. Realize that there will be times of anger, frustration, guilt, and physical and mental exhaustion. Do not get discouraged. Take the break I mentioned above and comeback ready to go again.
3. Do the best you can. There will be those friends and family members who will criticize or think there is a better way to be a caregiver. While these folks may mean well, do not let them cause you confusion or lead you to doubt yourself. Take their advice when it is helpful and discard the rest.
4. Reach out when you need help or support. It is not a mark against you when you feel you are in over your head. There are ways to give you assurance and strength for another day. Join a support group, ask friends to come in and take your place for a few hours and seek additional training and insight through special programs and web sites such as Morningside Ministries mmLearn.org.
5. Recognize when you cannot do it any longer. I have met with many care givers over the years who have given their all and who feel they can no longer do that. That isa difficult decision to reach, but it is usually a good decision for you and for the one you love and serve. Seek outside professional assistance from an individual or an agency that can come to your home. There is also the time to consider another care provider such as an assisted living facility, a nursing home, or hospice. Sometimes care givers get worn out or the needs of the love done are much too great to be met by a family member.
6. Remember the most important thing-----take care of you. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen a caregiver become seriously ill and even die,because of the labor and stress involved in being a caregiver. You do no one any good when you become ill or you are no longer around.
You should be applauded for the service you provide, but we owe it to ourselves to remain strong in body, soul,mind and spirit. Seek out ways to remain caregiver healthy! Take care of your care giving heart and all that makes you the loving, giving person you are.
Holidays Dec 2012
Here we go again. The holidays are running us over! We cannot seem to get out of the way! Holidays are every where this time of year. Don't you love it?! We would not have it any other way! The air is filled with hope and anticipation. Family and friends are gathering.Some folks are traveling a great distance to be with us. Others may be coming from across town or down the street, or we may be the ones doing the traveling.
We have great expectations for the perfect celebration. All we be wonder and delight. Or will it?
Each year at this time we read and hear warnings to lower our expectations. Things will not be perfect! Although we anticipate that each year will be better than the last and that all our dreams and hopes will be realized, we know that we may be disappointed.Still, many times, we fail to admit this to ourselves.
Just to remind us, lets remember a few things. People do not change just because it is the most wonderful time of the year. Uncle George will hit the nog a little too early and a lot too long. Aunt Eugenia will still know what is best for everyone.She will remind you of everything that you should have done, but didn't. Even though she never had children of her own, she is a veritable Benjamin Spock when it comes to child rearing. Your brother-in-law will still bore you with how much money he makes, and how you could do as well as he has done if you put your mind to it. Aunt Margies sweet potato casserole will still taste as blah as it has for the past 40 years, but, once again, you will tell her that it was the best thing on the table.
Your Cousin Jake will hold you hostage informing you of the sins of the government, the waste of entitlement programs, and how the absence of prayer in public schools has led to our moral and spiritual decay. Joe Bob, the family liberal, will fightback with the need for less military spending, more services for the poor, and more money for National Public Radio. Your sister will remind you of some incident from your childhood where your parents showed favoritism to you. She will let you know that her therapist said that this was the cause of all her issues. Your adult child will inform you that she/he no longer needs you to tell her/him what to do, whom to date, or how to live. However, there will be no complaints about the monthly check you send.
I know what it can be like, because I have been there. Each of us has stories we could relate about family gatherings. It will not always be fun and games. Yet, it is, and always will be a part of being a family. We take the good and the bad, not just at Christmas, but throughout the year. People are people, and we take them and accept them and love them because of their uniqueness and shortcomings, just as they love us and accept us as we are. We cannot change people. We can only change ourselves, and that is hard enough.
This year, be prepared for family and friends. Do not expect too much or anticipate a different experience. Perfection does not come from agreeing or from trying to change others.Perfection comes from knowing that we are all together for yet another year. It comes from accepting, loving and being surrounded by those who have been a part of our past, our present and, hopefully, a part of our future. It comes from remembering times together and those who share those times with us. It comes from memories of past holidays and hope for holidays ahead.
Photo courtesy of real residents of Morningside Ministries at The Meadows
Great moments are seldom, if ever,perfect. Please do not get bogged down and frustrated when people and events are not the way you think they should be. Accept the way things are and give thanks that you can all be together, even in imperfection. It maybe hard to do, but you and I can do it. I know we can.
Have an imperfect holiday and enjoy!
A Salute to Sacrifice Nov 2012
I grew up in a very small Southern town. It is a typical community built around a town square. The courthouse sits in the middle of the square and the main shopping and commercial activity of the community revolves around that old red brick building.In the corner of the lawn of the Courthouse is a statute in honor of those from my home county who died in service to our country.
As a child, I would often read the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. I was too young to appreciate their gift to our country. Reading those names though, always gave me a sense of tremendous sadness, not so much because of the sacrifice they made, but because of those left behind to mourn lost sons, brothers and husbands.
I knew none of those individualswere listed on the memorial, but I did recognize family names and recalled thestories my parents told me about the families we knew who had seen those theylove go off to war and military service and never return. Mothers, fathers,wives and children remained behind to pull our nation forward and to attempt toovercome the personal tragedy that had knocked at their door. They had to moveon, and they did.
This past weekend, our nation observed Veterans Day. While I still feel an immense sadness and sorrow for those left behind to remember and honor their dead, adulthood has given me a great respect and admiration for those individuals who gave their lives for our country. I now understand the sacrifice and the gift. In most cases, these were brave, but scared and uncertain youth. Quite a few had never left the county of their birth until Uncle Sam called.We must never forget to recognize and salute those men and women who died and those who gave time in service for the welfare of our country. Many did come home from the all too many wars and conflicts involving our nation. They were and are the backbone of our communities. Some saw unbelievable horrors and were in situations we can only imagine. Every day should be a day we show our deep appreciation to them.Never forget what they did for you and those you love.Photo courtesy of Morningside Ministries at The Manor.
For those who did not come home,think of them each time you see the American flag or hear America or The Star Spangled Banner, or take your child to the ball game, or vote your conscience, or attend a service of worship, or make a deposit in your bank, or apply for a job, or get your paycheck the list goes on and on. We can never show enough gratitude to all Americans who have given time in military service to our country. Where would we be without them? None of us even like to think about that.
Life is not over until it is over
Don't quit. Don't ever give up. Life is not over until it is over. Don't throw in the towel too soon or hang up your running shoes just because you are growing older. Growing older should not limit our dreams or our visions or our hopes for the future. Age can limit our initiatives and our longings for new and different adventures only if we let it. Sure, we may not become a US Senator or take a trip to the moon or sing with the Metropolitan Opera, but there is still much to be learned and to be accomplished. We may not be able to run a marathon or climb Mount Everest, but there are many dreams that are ours if we go after them. Don't despair. Having goals and dreams and delights ahead keep us motivated and give us something to look forward to. It is similar to planning a trip or redecorating the house. The process and the planning and the excitement created by that can be as much fun as the event itself. The joy is not only in the destination but also in the journey.
All of us should have a bucket list. What plans do you have? What are you passionate about, but have never gone after? What skills or languages would you like to tackle? Are there books you want to read? Are their volunteer opportunities that have always been of interest? I have a close friend who wanted to sky dive, but never took the chance. On her 80th birthday, she did just that. Imagine her thrill and wonderment as she floated to the ground. She did it, and she did not let age or circumstances get in her way.
Now,I can tell you most assuredly that skydiving is not on my bucket list, and it is probably not on yours! However, I know there are places to go and people to see and new skills to learn, and, as Robert Frost said, miles to go before I sleep. I am going to travel down that road with great excitement and anticipation. I will not let age, fear, lack of confidence, or negative comments from others deter me. Let's commit to each other to keep living life to its fullest, to dream and to never give up on our pursuit of new things that can bring us joy, hope, and happiness. LET'S GET BUSY!!!