Tag Archives: caregiver stories

Creative Caregiver Solutions

Creative caregiver solutions can help when simple things go wrong. If little problems pile up, our burdens start to feel overwhelming. Those are the times when you really need a break — or a breakthrough — to restore your strength and your sense of humor.

Creative Caregiver Solutions

I find that I’m much better at solving #caregiver problems when I’m not feeling stressed. If I force myself to make the time for a short walk or  brief meditation, I can often regain my perspective. Once I feel restored, it’s easier to come up with helpful ways to deal with pesky matters. Here are some creative responses to common #caregiver problems. Some come from our house and some were suggested by other caregivers.

  • When my mother seems apathetic and won’t engage with me, I put rock and roll music on the CD player and turn up the volume. I tell Mom we’re having a dance party and I move her hands up and around as if we’re jitterbugging. (She’s in a wheelchair). Then I sing, maybe a little off key, at the top of my lungs and pretend I’m a rock star. She usually laughs — but even if she doesn’t, I feel better!
  • Mom’s legs kept slipping between the foot rests on her wheelchair and no amount of adjusting seemed to help. Then a helper spied my orange bungie cords from the Dollar Store. We hooked the outer part of the leg rests together with the $1 bungie. Now Mom’s feet can’t fall between the cracks. Take that, medical equipment store!
  • We discovered that the steel rests on my mom’s wheelchair seemed to irritate the wound on the side of her foot. We tried to soften them with pillows or towels but they kept falling off. One day a friend took a look at the metal rests and said without blinking, “Pipe insulation!” I happened to have some in the laundry room. It was easy to cut the foam down to the right size and fit it over the steel bar. Voila! A soft sided leg rest!
  • During a difficult period with my mom, a caregiver taught me the power of the diaper dance! When your loved one needs a change but resists scheduled bathroom breaks, put the clean Depends on your head and dance around in the silliest possible way. The diaper dance transforms a burdensome situation into a little afternoon comedy. Everybody’s more cooperative when they’re laughing.

Do you have any favorite remedies for common #caregiver problems? Please, share them here, especially if they’re funny. We all need practical ways to address our daily challenges — and most of us could use a laugh.

Family Support for Caregivers

Family support means the world to me as I strive to take care of my mom. Yesterday I was lucky to have many family members come to offer their support and love to mom and our household. There was a period in my life when I didn’t fully grasp the value of these moments. Thank goodness my eyes are now open.

Family Support for Caregivers

Family support for caregivers is essential. Taking care of a sick person can drain your spirit, even when you take care of yourself and protect your health. Over the past few weeks, I’ve suffered from strained back muscles and general fatigue. Yet for months I’ve been dreaming of a big fall equinox party with a bonfire under a bright moon. It took a lot of effort, but we managed to have this gathering yesterday. We celebrated my mom’s tremendous ability to survive and be happy despite advanced dementia.

It was so touching to see aunts, cousins, neighbors, friends, and children come together for this all-day affair. We had to do it before the cold weather kills our petunias and steals our leaves. Everyone shared food and drinks, stories and tears. It was such a special occasion. The last time we gathered like this, my mom pretended to sleep. Now we’ve learned how to manage my mom’s “tricks” so she can connect with people who travelled far to spend time here. It was beautiful to see her hold her sister’s hand, laughing at the sound of a familiar voice.

I think it’s very possible that life is best savored through occasions when everyone can share their gifts (emotional and material) with loved ones. Caregivers are tired and overwhelmed as a group. We do too much; we can’t manage everything. When family members have a chance to offer their love and support, it’s almost better than a vacation. They leave an echo of their energy behind them. That feeling can sustain us during the next period of exhausting effort. I can still see the smiling faces and remember the glow of the campfire under the moonlight. Even the most difficult struggles have their moments of bliss. Tomorrow I’ll toil, but today I rest on the strength of what others have brought to us.