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Caring and Sharing

May 13, 2012

HAPPY MOTHER”S DAY

Every day of the year we should be honoring our mothers and all the mothers who came before them. Without them we wouldn’t be here. My own mother passed away six years ago, but not a day goes by  that I don’t think of her and give thanks for the things she taught me. We didn’t always see eye to eye, but we loved each other unconditionally and without rancor. I miss her, but most of all I am grateful to her for giving birth to me and being there for me.

Whether you are a natural mother, a step-mom, a foster mom, an adoptive mom, a surrogate mom, or caring for a mom the world would not be the same without your love and dedication.  I honor you and wish you all the best today–on this special day where you are recognized by many– but also in your hours of solitude and every day routine.

A special treat for my readers today: below is a guest post by a fellow RN who also happens to be a writer and a caregiver. Her posts will appear periodically. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Caring for the Caregiver

by Florence Ditlow RN

Part l

Caring has traditionally been done by the women of families. We care not only with our physical strength, but with our hearts and minds. Caring both demands of us and rewards us. Today’s focus is on YOU the caregiver, in order to suggest self care for balance and compassion as well as to breed endurance.

Caring is also a state of mind. It can be as simple as taking a deep breath before washing your mom’s hair or as complex as administering an IV infusion. Caring for ourselves is a concept taught in schools of nursing because nurses with a caring mindset simply perform better and report greater job satisfaction.

Self care means putting yourself first. If you’re hungry, eat, then serve your family member. In air safety talks I’ve heard, “Put oxygen on yourself first, then assist children or those who act like children!”

Self care for the caregiver requires breaks from other people, and the occasional vacation. We need to be able to speak to others about problems and the inevitable frustration in caregiving; this lets off steam and assists us for problem solving. We pay attention to our own health and needs and spend time setting limits if those in our care ask for too much.

Complementary therapies may interest you as a way to conserve energy. Your family members may join in if possible. Some options are tai chi, restorative yoga, or meditation. One may do these in the living room by videotape. This is such a deep subject, I will explore some practices in Part ll of this article.

 

Florence Ditlow is a nurse who wrote “Long in the Tooth,” surviving chronic illness with a sense of humor. She cares for a family member in her home.

 

Please feel free to join the conversation by asking questions, sharing your stories, or leaving a comment below.

If you are a caregiver I’d love to hear how you care for yourself in order to have the strength and stamina to meet the challenges as a caregiver.

 

 

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