In this episode we embrace that moment when you realize that you are now a full time caregiver. Fret not. Injoy the show.
Be blessed. Not stressed. Why?
Because yours and their lives depend on it.
Aminah Amarachi- Your host
Support the show
Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)
2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE – All Rights Reserved
Season: 1 Episode: 11- "I Just Became a Caregiver, Now What?"
Intro Music: Royalty Free
Promo: BuzzSprout Services
Grand risings and runnings, framily, and welcome back to our Joy in the Midst of It All podcast show. I am your host - Aminah Amarachi.
First off, my apologies for my delay in getting this week’s episode posted by yesterday. It's being posted today. I have been in my spring ordering and cleaning mode, opening up to new pathways forward, and awaiting the arrival of our new family member, who is due tomorrow. So, count it to my head, and to living my life fully, and not my heart.
Now, let’s continue our journey…
There comes a time, along the way, in which we all have or may find ourselves looking out for someone other than ourselves. It may be our favorite furry friend, our child or children, our beloved, our human friends, a member of our faith center, a parent, a relative or even a neighbor.
Upon embarking upon these pivotal moments, some of which happen by surprise, we realize that our life’s journey is truly never 100% just about us.
The Universe is a tapestry of interconnected occurrences, some expected… others unexpected which unfold before us with Divine synchronicity, that become this journey we call life.
It is during these pivotal points, those points along our journey, that we realize we are now having to shift into a space, place or role, if you will, that we may or may not feel well prepared for, depending on the circumstances placed before us. You know, becoming a caregiver.
Today’s Episode: "I Just Became a Caregiver, Now What?"
Any year in which you or your loved ones welcomed a newborn or new family member into your lives. Any year that your loved one received word of a health challenge that might be one in which they need more support than they thought they would. Or, any year that you get a CALL, you know, THAT call, from a dear old friend, who may not have any living family members, and asks if you would be there by their side as they traverse the fight for their life. Go ahead and flashback to your own pivotal introductory year into caregiving.
Circa the first time I became responsible for someone else’s care, other than my own…That's a question for you, too. If I was actually fully taking care of my own self up until that point…hmm..Universal joke and growth opportunity, with a blessing in the end, all at once.
One morning, after arriving back down home I was sitting in the living room, looking out our family’s big picture window. Our Dede was still getting ready for the day. The day was beautiful. It had been about three weeks or so after laying our Mama to rest, and the house was now... quiet, i.e. sans the coming and going of family and friends who were blessing us with their love, prayers, good memories, support, and condolences on the passing of our Mama... had tapered off.
I had begun looking around for places to rent, you know, my own space, before the move back down home…yet, well, as you already know, those that have been on this podcast journey with me since day one, and for those who are joining us for the first time, that CALL, from our Mama, RIP Mama, changed every plan I had. Smile.
So, after laying our Mama to rest, I still needed to go back to where I had been living to gather up my belongings, and of course my car. So, there was the planning of a flight, i.e. our Dede’s first time on a plane since embarking upon his Alzheimer’s journey, squaring away schedules, and praying that the solo twelve hour drive back home, down hoem, without Dede being able to be his usual long haul road adventure co-pilot, would go smoothly. We are forever grateful for our parents taking us out of our hometown to visit places near and far. I have been blessed to witness each of our younger generation travel at even much younger ages, and to further distances, than we did. A true blessing that paid off for all of us later in life…i. e. Going beyond our comfort zones to explore new places, meet new people, and enjoy new experiences was well worth it. Thanks, Mama/Dede.
Now, I don’t recall if it was that trip, or another one. Let’s just say it involved an eel. Yeah, that a whole other story and trip that's for the books. More on that adventure in another episode. Stay tuned for more right after our FIRST spotlight moment…
Spotlight Moment #1:
Today’s FIRST spotlight moment is about a book that I was blessed to receive. When I first reached out for support, someone gave me the standard book which I won’t call its name, yet let’s just say that the title alone, as a new caregiver, for me, it just made me weary. And, by nature, I am always aiming in the direction of seeking the upbeat of hope. So, as a first time caregiver, particularly if you are caring for a loved one journeying through Alzheimer’s, add this book right here - “Alzheimer’s 911: Help, Hope, and Healing for the Caregivers” by Frena Gray-Davidson, to the top of your list. After reading her book, I knew I would be okay on this caregiving journey. I will leave the link in the show notes. Thank you, Mrs. Gray-Davidson, for being a blessing, .
Now, back to our show…
So, long after our return road trip from up North…yep, we made it back safely, and all went well. It was as if Dede kicked in when I told him we were going on a road trip, rather than fly back down home. We listened to our favorite music, reminisced, laughed, ate, and had a great time.
Now, back to people watching…as our Dede would call it…even if there were no people to watch. I have come to understand it as a code phrase for sitting in one place, preferably on a front porch, back in the day, or in front of your big picture window, to just be, i. e. commune with nature, listen to God whisper in your heart, and admire the blessings of life in the scenery that sets itself before us. Taking a break to be exact.
Well, on this particular people watching Day, as Dede made his way down the stairs and into the front room (you seasoned listeners know that phrase I am sure…LOL), just as he began to say, “It’s time to eat or y’eat actually,” “Have ya y'eat, yet?” “I’m getting a little lunchy, was his other way of letting us know he was hungry.” HaHa…Let’s just say, our Dede has always had a great appetite, and a journey through Alzheimer’s didn’t stop that one bit…Not ONE...LOL…I had the epiphany of, “Wow, I am now a full time caregiver!” “Now, what?”
Well, fret not. No matter how you find yourself in the role of being a part or full time caregiver, whether locally, or long distance, remember these five things - a) To breath, please, just breath. It's is going to be okay, b) put a self care plan in place, FIRST, NOT LAST, FIRST, c) Put a schedule together for both of you, so you'll know how your day is going to go d) Put a safety plan in place, for your loved ones, depending on your loved one’s needs, , e) seek out support sooner rather than later…Remember get that “S” off your chest. You don't need to be anyone's martyr -this goes for new parents, beloveds, grand-loves, etc…why? Because you are now going to be responsible (i.e. and I do mean you have the ability to choose how you will respond at every moment and every juncture along this collaborative journey) for two lives - yours and theirs.
Find and embrace both the junctures and the joys along the journeyy. Be at peace with your current season. Trust the Divine. Trust yourself. Trust the journey.
With a little bit of planning, i.e. no one is asking you to be perfect, so please do NOT…And, I DO repeat, DO NOT step all the way over to guilting yourself right into an early grave. That won’t do you, nor your loved one any good. O.K.
Now, it’s time for our next Spotlight moment…
Spotlight Moment #2:
Our next spotlight moment is truly dear to my heart. I would like to give a shout out and sing praises for Michael Verde and his Memory Bridge© team. Memory Bridge© is the brainchild (yes pun intended) of Michael Verde as a way to build bridges between people without and people journeying through dementia. This organization’s ministry blesses people from all over the world with opportunities to learn how to connect more deeply with their loved ones on the journey as well as offer caregivers a safe and supportive space and place for respite retreat, training, and connecting with others journeying on similar caregiving paths, as well as connecting them with those who provide organizational support to those on the caregiving journey and the loved ones they care for. We learned of a great technique for connecting with our loved ones, which I will spotlight in an upcoming episode, and had the opportunity to actually put it into practice. I was blessed to experience the wonders that this technique beholds for both us and those we connected with who were on their dementia journey. So, please put down your pudding pops and head on over to check out Memory Bridge©.
Their website is https://www.memorybridge.org/about
Now, back to our show…
Here are my take-away, tip, tool, and toss.
Call a family meeting, ASAP, so that you know, upfront, what, if any, kind of support you really do have available as you navigate the caregiving journey, Now, be about the business of reaching out to others, after you have that information from the meeting, who have walked a similar caregiving journey, organizations and support groups, either in person, or virtually, to build your own best caregiving support and wellness team.
Aim into the direction of creating great memories - fun, laughter, joy - ur shared good days, as much as possible. Remember that you are both energy, and you feed off each other's energy, so set the tone you would like to experience, with intention, and be amazed at how your loved one mirrors you the best they can.
A portable DVD player. Our Dede loved his 70s and 80s TV sitcom shows. Remember, he was a sharecropper’s son, so he didn’t grow up with a TV. He had to listen to his Dede, my Grandpa, enjoy the country music that came on the radio. Ah, so that’s where I got my love of country music…hahaha…my grandpa. Thanks, Grandpa. We laughed a lot watching those good ole’ sitcom shows. Sisters, I feel a holiday show marathon coming soon…hahaha.
At least once or twice a week, depending on your schedule, and the flow of your day, go for a nature walk with your loved one, especially if they have alway been an active person up until their journey began. Lace up your sneakers, then find a flat, level, and safe place for you both to walk, or so that you can push them in a stroller, a walker, a wheelchair or they can use their “Cadillac©” walker (you know the one they can sit down on when they are tired). The fresh air and scenery will do you both a world of good.
In closing, I’d like to take this time to thank you all, both my seasoned and new followers, for spending your time with me on today’s Joy in the Midst of It All journey. Now, take a moment to tap the button on your favorite podcast streaming platform to tune in, follow, subscribe and rate the show. You may have to log into the platform, depending on the service you use in order to rate the show. I am still figuring this one out myself.
You will also receive updates when a new episode is released. We release an episode every second and fourth Thursday of the month. OK. Again, my apologies for this episode being delayed. So, go ahead and tag a family caregiver, or a few, if you know them, and tell them one thing you have learned today, or from any previous episode, that will support you, and maybe them, in moving through the caregiving journey with more ease, no matter who or how God has chosen for you to offer your gift of caregiving to.
Then, blaze a trail on over to my podcast website, for the show notes, transcript, and any links, and if your heart so leads you tip me what I like to call a “Cup of J.O.E. (A jolt of encouragement and support),” over at my Buy Me a Cup of Coffee website link. Understand, though, I do prefer tea. You will see the link in the show notes.
I am your host Aminah, and I want you to be blessed and less stressed...Why?, because yours and their lives depend on it. Have a great day.
Outro Music: Royalty Free
Buy Me a Cup of Coffee (Tea) for a J.O.E. (Jolt of Encouragement and Support)
2021-2022 © JITMOIA Podcast by All Paths Lead Home, LLC/SLE (TM) – All Rights Reserved