May 092014
 

Whether you are ordering flowers to send, or growing them yourself, sharing them can make someone’s day!

To me, fresh cut flowers mean something very special. I remember it as if it happened yesterday – the first time a flower gift basket was delivered to my door. That was over 30 years ago when my sister’s only way to send congratulations to the birth of my daughter were by ordering flowers through an international florist from Nepal.

I remember how very special I felt and so over the years, with flowers to send to loved ones in celebration of their life became habit for me. To make it even more special, I keep an alphabetical flower list and make an effort to select flowers that start with the recipients first name or mix by first, middle, and last name for a colorful bouquet. At times, florists were baffled over my selections, but when I explained why I chose those flowers for delivery, they enthusiastically went along with my wishes and at times even supplied information of meanings of flowers I had selected.

Wouldn’t you agree that whenever we can do even just a little something special for somebody, we make life better for them? Add to that the ripple effect and one small gesture can expand to touch more and more people.

I know people, good neighbors, who have planned their flower garden design so an elderly shut-in could see it from her window. If you are in a position to do something like this, share your flower garden ideas, and even ask the shut-in’s opinion about your backyard flower garden, about favorites, even specialties like edible flowers, shade flowers, plants that attract butterflies and humming birds. Such involvement in addition to the delightful hours spend watching the backyard activities, adds a lift to someone’s spirits.

If your loved one has moved to a retirement or nursing community, you might be able to volunteer to plant some flowers to send so the residents can see and enjoy them. Plan to bring fresh cut flowers especially if you can cut flowers in your or the shut-ins own garden.

I suggest you not send potted plants to people who are very involved taking care of somebody, because the watering schedule adds extra work and effort to their already hectic duties. A bouquet of fresh cut flowers, when they fade, tossing them is a lot easier than to maintain potted plants.

Of course dried flower arrangements might be even easier, and there are some lovely, very natural looking silk flower arrangements to be found. But just as with potted plants, please also keep in mind that while fresh cut flowers foods and liquids can get used up and will be gone, dried flower arrangements take up space and can be in the way.

If cut, dried, potted or any other forms of flowers seem to cause a problem, I suggest you consider bringing the fragrance of flowers to your loved one in form of certified organic essential oils. In one drop of lavender oil is the fragrance of a whole field. The inhalation of pure, aromatic oils has healing and uplifting properties which can invigorate the whole house.

May 032014
 

When in my caregiver days, I came across a quote by Elizabeth Cady Stanton: “Self-development is a higher duty than self-sacrifice.” It struck a cord with me.

In many care giving situations, as the duties become greater, there comes a time when care giving becomes overwhelming. I found myself in that situation and did not know where to turn. Fortunately while waiting at the Veteran’s Hospital I saw a board that listed coaching jobs. Although I was familiar with some coaching strategies, what I knew was about coaching athletes, while theirs was health coaching. I too k down the number, though, and called for their offer of a free life coach session, wondering what the difference was between now three different terms or categories of coaching and how any one of them could help me in my grief over feeling abandoned.

While you might already know this but at the time, I was astonished that it was going to be a challenge to figure out what kind of coach to look for. Did you know there is presentation coaching? It’s for executives and public speakers. Life coaching is about life – your life if you choose a coach. And there are ever increasing numbers of specialized coaching – relationship coaching, spiritual coaching, coaching for men, for women, for cancer victims, for their families, yes, and there is coaching for caregivers.

How do you know which one is right for you? Gratefully, before you have to pay life coaching fees, most coaches offer you a free life coach session that can last for up to an hour, to see if you and the coach are a good match.

Over the years, I have used several coaches for different needs and my investment has paid for itself over and over. I also got to know some coaches personally or learned of their fine work and the successes their clients achieved.

In the resource area, you’ll find a number of recommendations of coaches who might be a god match for you.

What can a coach do for you?

I soon learned that the way coaches can help clients is because they can stand back and see things objectively. The trauma and emotional turmoil one can get embroiled in as a caregiver distorts everything so that one often only perceives doom and gloom and neglects ones own needs. A coach can reconnect you with your spirituality so you tune in better to yourself and the people around you. A coach can bring out the best in you, help awaken dreams you might have put on the back burner while focusing on care giving, might direct you to your passion and show you how to make it all come together.

Athletes, musicians and other performers know they benefit from the use of coaches. None who is serious about his progress would expect to progress without a coach or more. Doesn’t it stand to reason that we all can benefit in our life achievements when working with a coach?

Apr 302014
 

One day a woman’s husband died, and on that clear, cold morning, in the warmth of their bedroom, the wife was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn’t “anymore”. No more hugs, no more special moments to celebrate together, no more phone calls just to chat, no more “just one minute.” Sometimes, what we care about the most gets all used up and goes away, never to return before we can say good-bye, say “I love you.”
So while we have it, it’s best we love it, care for it, fix it when it’s broken and heal it when it’s sick. This is true for marriage…..And old cars… And children with bad report cards, and dogs with bad hips, and aging parents and grandparents. We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it.
Some things we keep — like a best friend who moved away or a sister-in-law after divorce. There are just some things that make us happy, no matter what.
Life is important, like people we know who are special.. And so, we keep them close!
I received this from someone who thought I was a ‘keeper’! Then I sent it to the people I think of in the same way… Now it’s your turn to send this to all those people who are “keepers” in your life, including the person who sent it, if you feel that way. Suppose one morning you never wake up, do all your friends know you love them?
I was thinking…I could die today, tomorrow or next week, and I wondered if I had any wounds needing to be healed, friendships that needed rekindling or three words needing to be said.
Let every one of your friends know you love them. Even if you think they don’t love you back, you would be amazed at what those three little words and a smile can do. And just in case I’m gone tomorrow.
I LOVE YA!!!
Live today because tomorrow is not promised.

Apr 282014
 

HOLD on tight to your dreams.
No matter your situation, take a moment and dream of the things you would like to have in your life. Dream of the might have beens and imagine them to still on their way. Dream of those vacations,those events and achievements that have not yet come your way and imagine them yours for the asking.
Go ahead and dream. You’re in good company. The rules are simple: find a valid reason to which you set your mind to work, and then go to work. And once you’ve set your mind to work, let it do so. Don’t be quickly distracted from your goal. Sure, there may be times when what you’re seeking seems to be elusive, but if what you want is valid, and you see it as a thing that enhances your life then all that stands between you and it, is you.

Apr 282014
 

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow. – Melody Beattie

Oct 302013
 

Emotions drive many of our actions and how we cope with the world. The stress of caregiving might add even more and deeper emotional reactions. During my caregiving days I was able to ease and even eliminate those emotional ups and downs through the use of essential oils and a variety of simple practices.

Because they worked so well for me, I put together a SEVEN DAY Mini-Course to help others find relief as they face similar emotions and need support.

Lessons deal with Anger; Forgiveness; Self-Sabotage; Depression; Post Traumatic Stress; Holding and Letting Go; Abuse and Healing.

Sign up here for this free 7 Day Mini-Course: http://www.essential-caregiver.com/care-giver-relief/ Scroll to bottom of page.

Here is part of Lesson 1: Dealing with Anger Issues

Deep-seated anger comes from many sources.  Anger at not getting what you want, not being heard, not valued, not accepted, not protected, and for having to do something that you feel compromises your true self, or that just doesn’t feel comfortable.

What happens to those bottled up feelings of anger?  Unless the feelings are cleared, most often, they will be incorporated into the cells, the body tissue, the consciousness, and subconscious thought.  Since anger is such a potent energy, eventually it starts to deplete every system and it will damage your liver, immune system, causes fatigue, stress and muscle strain and stops your ability to do simple tasks in your life.

With an emotion like anger, you may have many other interconnected feelings such as resentment, hatred, fear, guilt, and past memory of trauma. Working with Pure Essential Oils has shown to greatly assist in clearing all of these intermingled emotions.

Why Pure Essential Oils for emotional clearing?
Many of the aromatic ingredients and oils found in Pure Essential Oils penetrate the cell membrane of human cells, carrying vital nutrients very quickly and subtly. The aromatic ingredients stimulate the area of the brain which is associated with our emotion, memory, sex-drive, and intuition. The olfactory area of the brain also connects with the hypothalamus and the pituitary.  This causes the body to affect an immediate change.

Read Richard’s story: My sister, who had been using the oils for a long time, has had some pretty amazing things happen when using the Feelings Kit. Her experiences were the reason which got me to try the oils. At 13 I had to go to anger management classes, had a broken family.  The list goes on but it had whirled me into a state of apathy that was destroying my social life and myself.  I had been living like this since my early teenage years and it’s hard to see what’s wrong when you’re not even sure what it is right. Finally at 18 years old, using the oils for psoriasis with amazing results, I thought I would give the emotional aspect of the oils a try.  Only a few times after using the Feelings Kit I began to notice some things.  I cried for the first time since I can truly remember.  I had to give up being an EMT because apathy was the only thing allowing me to work in that environment.  I simply began to care about things.  No longer was anger the only emotion manifesting itself.  We know what anger can do, emotionally as well as physically.  They say anger destroys the liver, if I had only known what I know now 6 years ago. People who have known me my whole life ask, “What’s gotten into you!  You’re so pleasant now!”  I thank the oils for bringing me back to the emotional state I should be in!  This is the most exciting aspect of the oils and my favorite to share!

Like to learn more about caregivers’ emotions and how to cope?
Go here: http://essential-caregiver.com/relief-with-essential-oils/

With Love and Gratitude

Margarete

Oct 302013
 

My father has  diabetes and dementia. I take care of him during the day. My husband and son look after him at night  while I’m waitressing   the graveyard shift.  I’m on my feet all the time. It’s wearing me out emotionally, too.

On a pretty slow night, an elderly  guest and  I got to chat . She told me that she was a “FREE” woman – for a whole 2 weeks because her husband was in a respite so she could get some rest herself.  Her first free day she had slept for over 30 hours and then had ventured out to our place to get something to eat and a good cup of coffee.

We compared notes and  no matter what age, caretakers never get enough sleep and spend entirely too much time on their feet. Add to that the worry, the responsibility and all the rest, it’s  not an easy thing but neither she nor I would do anything different. When loved ones need help, family comes to the rescue, or so it should be.

My son discovered the essential-caregiver website. He emailed it to me to look at it. I look forward to learn more because I love essential oils – especially Lavender, but Abundance  sounds great. I need that.

Claire

Oct 302013
 

Margarete, I really appreciated that  you called me. It felt good to let off steam. It really helped. Well, obviously, you knew what I was talking about.  I hope we talk again.  Got your newsletter and  enjoyed the whiff of  lemon oil. Like a breath of fresh air. Lemon is really a very refreshing, uplifting smell. You asked me to write a little about my care taker experience. ( I hope you can read my writing. It gets worse every year. Would you believe that I used to get  top grades for cursive writing?)

My husband has Alzheimers. We both are 81. I feel like a hundred and fifty  – numb. Being a caretaker is the hardest job I ever done and I’ve done hard jobs.

Being a mother, taking care of a little baby is easy. But taking care of an old “baby” is tough. You can’t haul him on your hip while stirring the stew or watering the garden, you can’t lift up his feet to change his diapers,  you can’t  put him in a crib with the sides up so he can’t get out.  But you have the same problems as with a baby – soiled diapers – getting into things he isn’t supposed to be in –  drooling – falling down –  can’t communicate. Well, my  baby doesn’t wail and cry, he curses and yells and just as with a baby,  I don’t understand a thing he wants.

At my age, it’s enough to feel isolated because not  many of my age group are left, but it’s a lot worse when you have to take care of somebody and can’t get out. The trouble is that I can’t take him anyplace anymore and I can’t leave him alone, either.  I have a neighbor’s boy  get  groceries and  our mail and run a few other errands for us. That helps.  Our son comes once a month  to help out. It’s a 300 mile trip each way for him. His health isn’t the best either.

Mostly it’s up to me. I do what I can. May God Almighty let me hold out longer than  my husband and neither of us be forced into one of them nursing places.

May the Lord Bless You and Keep You.

AnnMarie

Oct 302013
 

Spiritual Wellness  – the ultimate freedom.

I heard it said that wellness of body, mind and spirit is the ultimate freedom. As caregivers we can certainly agree how important physical wellness  and mental wellness are, but even if the former are lacking, having  spiritual wealth makes coping easier. It guides our actions and thoughts  and allows us to close our eyes, if even for a moment, to go into  spiritual retreats for harmony and balance.


Spiritual wellness is the glue that holds us together Chaplain (Capt.) Dwayne A. Jones 88th Air Base Wing chaplain


Spiritual well-being gives you a feeling of connection to something larger than yourself. Through it you find meaning in life and it allows you to keep life in  perspective. It makes it easier to deal with everyday life. Those who  have spiritual wellness more likely will have a positive attitude, eat a  proper diet, exercise, interact better with others and overall enjoy  the things  that build happiness.  As a caregiver that is especially  important because your attitude and well being nurtures not only you but  also the one you care for.

I agree with Capt. Jones who wrote: “You don’t have to be religious in order to be spiritual. Contrary to popular belief, I believe spiritual wellness supersedes any religious concept, except for God.”

If this is something you are interested in, you might consider developing a spiritual wellness plan which can include prayer, affirmations, meditation and a variety of  spiritual practices of your choice. You can offer those for everybody in  the household or do on your own. You also can invite others to come and  join you or practice on their own for the benefit of the caregiver and  the patient. We all have heard of the benefits of healing prayer.

Several years before my husband developed Alzheimer’s, I had joined a religious spiritual science center. There I acquired the spiritual gifts inventory I needed to cope with the stress of caring for him later.

If you feel that you could use some help in that department, and who doesn’t, I’d like to recommend a number of resources such as spiritual healers, Reiki, and spiritual retreats where you can get one on one support.

Many local bookstores have a large spiritual gift inventory, such as spiritual books, CDs, DVDs, jewelry-for-a-purpose, crystals,  fragrances, candles, and incense. I do, however, caution you about the  burning of candles and incense, as well as some fragrances. Many can and  will be more like pollutants. Please make sure that you use and diffuse  natural organic essential oils with a specialized air diffuser, not  heat based. I recommend you visit the essential oils page to read more  about the importance of the purity of healing essential oils. Knowing about this is even more important when family members already have a challenged immune system. So, please do not ignore this information but act in the interest of  greatest well being for everybody in your sphere of influence, but  especially in the home of a caregiver and the one who is being cared  for.

You can also go online and find this information.

One of my favorite spiritual sayings which has helped me during many stressful times is the serenity prayer:  God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;  courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

There also is spiritual wealth in Henry Ward Beecher’s words: Life – God asks no man whether he will accept life. That is not the choice. You make it. The only choice is how.

Oct 302013
 

Reminiscing:

When I was a caregiver, I asked myself “How can I balance the serious nature of my work while maintaining my spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health?”

I can pray, but how often does prayer give me the immediate relief I need?

When I don’t take care of myself it shows. I’m short with everyone, and wear a permanent scowl. I have dark circles under my eyes, I eat junk food all day long, you get the picture.

I start to wonder why I haven’t heard back from God with my care package of patience, tolerance, and love.

When I pause long enough, I realize that God did not abandon me without adequate tools for my job.  How many times each day do I laugh out loud? What stops me?

I started to ponder these questions. I began to think of my role as care taker and decided to looked at it like any other job. A smile crossed my face when I realized that caregiving would be in demand for the foreseeable future. Could I really have a hot commodity on my hands and not even know it?

I began to ponder the essential skills and abilities required to be successful in this field.

· Time management (three meals/day; trips to the bathroom; bathing; nurse, nurse practitioner and doctor visits; staying on top of the television schedule and visitation schedule; scheduling massage therapy)

· Communication skills (deciphering medical terminology; decoding medication induced conversation; listening to complaints about  nurses, practitioners, doctors, what’s on TV, who came to visit, and the massage therapist)

· Blue collar mentality (emptying the bedside commode, changing diapers, changing clothes, changing the batteries in the remote). Salary for my position will remain steady for the next two decades. Benefits include high stress, low energy and lack of exercise including loss of personal life.

Retirement benefits include:

Having my own caregiver. Teaching my caregiver the benefits of time management, communication skills and a blue collar mentality.

· No money in the bank · Hypertension, chronic fatigue, and no friends.

The good news is there are three meals a day, my own bathroom and adjustable bed, a flat screen TV w/ remote, more nurse and doctor visits than the law allows and the occasional massage! Did I mention I get my own bedside companion?

In all seriousness, my most underused and valuable tool is laughter.

I spend so much time and energy caring for others and forget to take care of myself. Before I know what hit me I am on the brink of emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical bankruptcy.

Laughter can provide that quick fix.

It takes practice for me to look for and find the humor in a given situation, but one thing is for sure, it is there. So, here is the challenge. How long will it take before you can laugh out loud three times per day? It is the best medicine out there and on my salary, the only one I can afford!

With Love and Gratitude

Margarete