What’s the “softer side of care-giving”?

  • The softer side means you begin with the fundamentals that we almost always forget when stressed and frightened; like pausing and breathing. A huge dose of self-compassion as well as the same for your loved one, must be mixed in there, too.
  • If you approach the situation with your loved one like a race horse bolting out of the starting gate, you’ll hit a wall or, could feel like a cat chasing her tail. You increase the risk of getting started in a way that upsets everyone involved
  • It’s critical to know about the nuts ‘n bolts, but if you begin there, you’re putting the horse before the cart. You can’t make good clear decisions that are best for you and your loved one, if you rush into the initial conversations.
  • There is tremendous vulnerability when your life suddenly changes.
  • Adversity offers an introduction to yourself. This means that the challenges you’ll face open a door to greater deeper understanding of your and your loved one’s life and situation.

My mother is coming home from a Rehabilitation facility. She really wants to return home. We’d like to make this happen and, we have no idea what kind of help she’ll need nor where to find it.

  • Most of these facilities have social workers who can give you, at least, a few details on where to find help. Also, before your mom is discharged, be sure to obtain a “Discharge Summary” from the facility. This summary should include a plan/suggestions for in-home support.

My brother is making me crazy. He calls and texts me all day with worries about dad and, he refuses to step in and help with the ongoing management of dad’s care. How can I get him to help us?

  • When you’re at a loss for what to do, compassion is always the best starting place. You can assume that someone who is that worried, is afraid. Imagine a time when you were frightened and remember what soothed you. Consider offering something similar to your brother. Pushing and insisting rarely renders a positive result.

What are tips for having a conversation with Grandma about moving in with me?

  • It’s important to remember, before you speak with her, that this next part of her l life is the biggest transition she’ll make (other then being born). Also important to know, that it’s normal for someone in her situation to resist help and change. Knowing this ahead of time will decrease your stress and help you not get anxious and push.
  • As much as is appropriate, give Grandma the control. Before you jump into the conversation, ask her what she wants.
  • Be clear, ahead of time (before talking w/her), what things are negotiable, non-negotiable etc …. Safety issues are non-negotiable.

What criteria should I use to evaluate the skill of a caregiver?

  • Most important is to be clear, before you meet the caregiver, about what you and your loved one want. For example: do you prefer a male or female, someone who is young or of a more mature age, someone who is very social and talkative or is more quiet and reserved, a private vs. agency caregiver? etc ….Once clear, then you can schedule a meet ’n greet with the caregiver.
  • It’s very important that the caregiver be not only skilled in the nuts ’n bolts of care-giving but equally important, they must be skilled in what I call the “Softer Side of Care-Giving.” —- meaning the emotional part. Trust your gut and heart!

How do we keep our sanity through all this – through moving mom here from Washington?

  • This is a time of great tenderness; for all. One of the hardest parts about care-giving is holding space for someone else when your own emotions are triggered. Being patient and present; tuning in and being tender and loving when the loved-one under your care is driving you crazy. Tending to your own emotional needs is crucial to having the capacity to care for others.