Oct 302013

Not only as a caregiver, but throughout my adult life I observed that the days I started well were better days and thus, I developed a number of ways to keep each day going that way, or at least I gave it a try. Sure,  Yoda might have had a point when he told  Luke Skywalker that there is no such thing as “try”, but if you ask me, it sure beats to not even try.

Yoda said that “either you do it or you don’t”. Well, if for one reason or the other stuff happens over which you have little or no control,  you might not have the  saintliness to keep on an even keel, but if your mindset is to stay balanced, there is a good chance that you get that keel straightened out a lot quicker.

I’m mostly a positive person who looks for what’s good about situations. That helps me to keep in a cheerful mood right from the first light of dawn as I wake up to start a new day. Each morning, I tell myself “Ah, another perfect day! I’m ready to start the day and tackle anything that comes my way with ease and grace!”

However, not all my family members share that mindset.  They don’t all have that bright eyed and bushy tailed morning attitude and often impart some negative feelings to me, mostly because they can’t handle that much cheerfulness in the early morning hours.  When this happens, if I’d allow it, my cheerful mood could get beaten down in a hurry. I admit it, it happened often enough, when all my good intentions have indeed fallen by the wayside on mornings when I already woke up with leftover stress or a deep dread of what the day will bring.

Yet, over the years I got better and better in maintaining balance because as I recognize the triggers that can throw me off course, I also learned to not allow these buttons to be pushed or at least not as hard.

The problems of others will never go away.   As a caregiver, your problems also never stop if you allow them to be problems. That’s where attitude comes in. Attitude adjustments are to be made often, but believe me, it gets less and less difficult. Just as bad things seem to built up on top of each other, so do good things multiply. Either way, it is  largely because if we dwell on the bad, that’s what we notice. If we dwell on the good that’s what we notice. Believe it or not, that’s how the world works.

Focus on yourself.  You can’t change the way others act around you.  Do the best you can do, and don’t let others get you down. Starting each day in anticipation of it to go well, more often than not, you can keep it going that way.

May you start each day well and end it well, too.

With love and gratitude.


Oct 302013

Helpful Tips for Dealing Better with Family Members

There are times, as caregivers, when you will have to deal with non-caregiving family members and relatives of the one for whom you care. Now, we know that these people are always going to be helpful and supportive of our caregiving, and will never be critical, right? Right.

So, how do we deal with family members in these situations?

Here are some basic tips.

· Turn the criticism around, and ask the critical person how they would handle the situation. I don’t mean that you should be defensive or harsh, not; “Oh yeah? So what would you do?” No, just an acknowledgement and question such as; “I understand your concern, and share it with you, do you have any ideas about how I should handle this in the future?”

· Put yourself in their place. I know, I know, you’re far too reasonable and considerate to think the way that critical family thinks, but give it a try. They are concerned, and are likely to be frustrated over not knowing what to do or say to address their concerns. You can understand that they’re being a bit harsh with their words. Remember that, no matter how unreasonable they are, telling them off or blowing a gasket and telling them to take a hike is not going to help either of you. They will probably go around saying rotten things about you, and you will probably, because you are a caring and conscientious person, feel awfully bad about having done so.

· Go easy on yourself. You know that you are doing your best in a difficult situation. Pounding your head against a wall, or otherwise beating yourself over the head, is not going to be helpful. If you need, take a moment and excuse yourself for a brief, private rant with God or the Universe; take a few deep breaths; then, put a drop of essential oil such as Lemon, Lavender, Cedarwood,  “Peace and Calming” or “Forgiveness”  oil from Young Living in the palms of your hands, cup over your nose and inhale. Or, you might choose to follow this advise from a Naval Handbook: “When in danger or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout.” Once it’s out of your system, you can deal with the issue calmly. (For me, essential oils worked the best.)

One or more of these three simple things should help you through the situation, and will ultimately help the critical family member through the situation as well, so that you can all go back to doing the right things for the person under your care.

With Gratitude and Love Margarete de Gaston

Oct 302013

There is a physical toll on caregivers which is based  on the exertions needed  in daily care giving. Those often include lifting, carrying, stretching, bending, squatting on a regular, often frequent rate throughout the day.  In addition, many caregivers are elderly or in poor health themselves and not used to lift or support the weight of an adult sometimes larger than themselves.

Physical exhaustion combined  with the emotional stress of caregiving can lead to caregiver burnout  and result in many serious conditions  ranging from high blood pressure to a compromised immune system  which shows up as frequent colds,  headaches, and other afflictions.  Highly stressed caregivers are also  more prone to fall, to cut and bruise themselves.  According to a study  quoted in  the Dec. 1999 Journal of the  American Medical Association,  the death rate of older caregivers is over 60 %  higher than that  of  non caregivers in the same age group.

Caregivers, while taking care of somebody else, often don’t seek help for themselves and muddle along to the detriment of their charge and their own.

Signs to look out for:
Various physical health problems showing up.
(back pain, sore feet, eating disorders, elimination problems, headaches, arthritis, vision and hearing problems, tooth and gum problems, inflammation, etc.
Feeling fatigued, tired and listless.
(lack of energy, needing frequent rest, lack of interest)
Changes in sleep patterns.
(not enough sleep, too much, waking frequently and not being able to go back to sleep.)
Change in eating patterns.
(eating less or more than usual)
Changes in hygiene patterns.
(neglecting to bath, shave, brush teeth, wash and tend to hair)
Change in emotional behavior.
(increasing frequency of outbursts of anger, crying spells, self loathing, self pity)
Change in social patterns.
(withdrawal from  family, friends and other former activities)

Are you a caregiver who neglects your own well being?

Stop right now and FIRST take care of yourself because you cannot and should not  care for others without foremost taking care of your own needs. You owe it to yourself and to the one you take care of, as well as the rest of  your family.

As a caregiver, when I was at my wits end, nothing helped me as much as the use of essential oils to quickly regain balance. Taking just a few minutes of focusing on balance while inhaling the soothing fragrance of an essential oils such as Lavender or Orange, or one of the blends such as Harmony, Peace and Calming, or Grounding allowed me to quickly be back in control of my emotions and often also get physical relief.  After refocusing this way, both my husband and I benefited greatly because the stress of what ever the situation was, had been broken.

Of all the various tools to help caregivers to stay balanced, none worked as fast and as well as did organic, therapeutic essential oils. Give them a try.

Oct 262013

It is well documented that for every minute that you exercise, you add one minute to your life. This enables you at 85 years old to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing home at $5000 per month.

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was 60. Now she’s 97 years old and we don’t know where in the world she is.

The only reason I would take up exercising is so that I could hear heavy breathing again.

I joined a health club last year, spent about 400 bucks. Haven’t lost a pound. Apparently you have to show up.

I have to exercise early in the morning before my brain figures out what I’m doing.

I like long walks, especially when they are taken by people who annoy me.

I have flabby thighs, but fortunately my stomach covers them.

The advantage of exercising every day is that you die healthier.

If you are going to try cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

I don’t exercise because it makes the ice jump right out of my glass.

I used to watch golf on TV but my doctor told me that I need more exercise; so now I watch tennis.

If exercise work pays off in the future, shouldn’t laziness pay off now?

A daily exercise regime never killed anyone, but why chance it?

Isn’t having good health merely the slowest possible way you can die?

I don’t exercise at all. If God meant us to touch our toes, he would have put them further up on our body.

You could run these over to your friends but why not just e-mail it to them!

(This little gem arrived in my inbox and was attributed to G. Pedersen.  I truly enjoyed this and am sure others who need a little chuckle do too. Unfortunately I was not able to find  G. Pedersen who authored it.  If anyone knows this author, please let me know, so he or she can be fully acknowledged.)

Oct 212013

Essential Caregiver proudly announces its association with Allegro Medical

Caregivers,  now you can find all the healthcare products you need in one place, at the best prices, delivered right to your door.

Allegro Medical is the largest and most trusted online supplier of health care products, serving home help care givers and the health care industry since 1997.  President and Founder Craig Hood as a caregiver in the health care industry understood the challenges of caring for someone, as well as the benefit in empowering others with the skills and resources to help themselves.

Daily Living Aids – Products to help people achieve more independence. Featured products could include folding shopping carts, reachers, and dressing sticks. People who are recovering from strokes, serious accidents, or other health challenges, young and elderly patients  need all the things you can now easily find at AllegroMedical.

Caregivers the availability of Allego Medical’s products can make life for YOU, the caregiver, so much easier.

Let’s face it, today, it’s more important than ever to easily find and buy quality medical products. That’s why Allegro Medical has continued to offer the best prices, the top brands and lots of product choices for things like wheelchairs (electric, lightweight or standard), commodes, walkers, mobility ramps, bath benches, along with medical supplies like catheters, adult diapers, latex gloves, wound care supplies, ostomy supplies, dietary supplements and so much more.

Take a look around their website, or feel free to call one of their friendly Customer Service Representatives at 1-800-861-3211.