What Party Planning Can Teach Us About Caregiving – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most caregivers are reluctant to ask for help from others.  Many don’t want to burden family or friends.  Others just don’t like asking for help.  Some caregivers even believe that nobody else is qualified to help.  But building a team of caregivers is crucial, not just for avoiding burnout but also to give your loved one the best quality of life possible.  Who are you excluding from the caregiving experience?

Check out Jen’s story about what we can learn about caregiver support from planning a baby shower:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=da-mFVZUB9g

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

How To Handle Being In Second Position – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Maybe you aren’t the primary caregiver for your loved one.  Maybe you are just “helping out” with your mother-in-law or you live at a distance from your sister who needs care.

Check out Jen’s video on how to gracefully be a secondary caregiver:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs8S96QCljA&t=2s

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Entrepreneurs Who Are Also Family Caregivers Series – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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This article is the first in a five-part series about successful entrepreneurs who are crushing it in their businesses but also managing the tremendous additional challenge of caring for a loved one.

4 Ways To Balance Business And Caregiving From A Savvy Female Entrepreneur

Leadership and motivational speaker Pegine Echevarria, CSP, MSW (www.pegine.com), an entrepreneur, found herself caregiving for her mother over the last several years. Here’s what working caregivers—particularly business owners—can learn from Pegine’s experience:

  1. Look for windows of “downtime.” Pegine takes advantage of the fact that social media posts can be done anywhere. Pegine’s social media efforts often lead to media interviews. While much of caregiving is hands-on and must be done with your full attention, there are periods of “downtime” as a caregiver. Social media posts can be done while in the waiting room of a doctor’s office or when you are on hold with an insurance company. Consider where your “downtime” as a caregiver is and try to be productive during that window.
  2. Work smarter, not harder. Pegine decided to focus more strategically on working with fewer, better-paying clients. In what way can you as a business owner work smarter instead of harder? Do you need to set better boundaries with your staff or customers? Do you need to charge more so you can work less?
  3. Invest in some quality paid caregiving help. Just as business owners rely on staff and contractors, working caregivers need to outsource too! Pegine recommends communicating regularly and honestly with those paid helpers. Of the assisted living staff who now take care of her mother, she says, “I think of them as part of the team.”
  4. Limit activities not absolutely essential to building your business, providing good care to your loved one, or taking care of yourself. Several years ago, Pegine made the difficult decision to resign from the National Speakers Association (NSA) National Board of Directors. “Hard, really hard decision and the right one,” she says about this choice. Sometimes as successful business owners who are also working caregivers we need to make hard choices to put some activities on hold. What do you need to let go from your schedule?

Check back next week for another article about an inspirational business owner who is also a working caregiver!

 

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

Cruising Through Caregiving Meditations: Have You Checked Them Out? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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We have a new initiative on our Jenerations Health Youtube page!  If you’ve read Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, you know it utilizes boating and nautical imagery to help you reduce your caregiver stress.  Our new videos offer you brief views of beautiful water and the sounds of the sea.  These short clips allow you to take a quick respite from caregiving at either work or home.

Check out our first two Cruising Through Caregiving Meditations here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-pvMVN17abs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vKYncS-oVzg

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.

How Do You Break Unhealthy Promises? – By Jennifer L. FitzPatrick

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Most people don’t make promises with the plan to ever break them. But with good intentions, many caregivers often make promises to their older loved ones that are difficult, if not impossible, to keep. Such promises include statements like:

I will never … put you in a nursing home.
I will never … let strangers take care of you.
I will never … move you out of your home.

Caregivers take such promises seriously. But it’s important that caregivers make peace with the fact that they may not be able to keep these promises indefinitely. When promises like these are made, the caregiver typically doesn’t know what he or she is truly agreeing to. The caregiver had every intention to keep this promise but circumstances changed.

Maybe your older loved one’s dementia is so advanced that she is wandering out of the house each day, putting herself at risk. Since you can’t have your eyes on her at all times, 24/7 supervision at a senior living community or nursing home may need to be considered.

Maybe helping your older loved one bathe after his stroke is becoming too physically demanding for you. In this case, perhaps a home care agency can help. You may resist taking these options into account because of the earlier vow you made to your loved one.

So what do you do if keeping that earlier promise is becoming impossible?

If your loved one does not have memory loss, explain why you are changing course: What have the consequences been to your life by keeping this promise? For example, you may explain to your older loved one that because you are spending so much time helping out at his house, you have been late to work five times in the past month. Then you can discuss options such as hiring home care, a housekeeper or arranging to have meals delivered.

Frequently older loved ones will not be happy with changes they did not initiate, but the caregiver must set such boundaries to avoid burnout. In addition, many older adults do not want to impose on their family members so they will try to understand.

If you have already made a promise and your loved one has cognitive impairment, you may not be able to have a conversation where you can reason with him or her and discuss how the circumstances have changed. But it’s still important to let yourself off the hook. Talk to a geriatric care manager, a psychotherapist, your spiritual advisor or a supportive friend to deal with your guilt. Give yourself permission to reframe your earlier pledge.

Most people, especially older adults, want to remain at home without assistance for the rest of their lives. In an effort to make this dream come true, caregivers struggle with negative emotional, spiritual and physical consequences of trying to honor their loved ones’ wishes at any cost.

While it is admirable for caregivers to respect their loved ones’ preferences, it is critical to understand that many promises cannot and should not be upheld in many care situations. In order to be healthy themselves and provide the best care for their loved ones, caregivers must make peace with the fact that keeping earlier promises is often unmanageable.

If you haven’t made such a specific promise to an older loved one you are caring for, resist. Don’t do it. Instead say, “I will make sure you have the best care I can afford.” Or, “I will keep you at home as long as it is safe for everyone involved.”

While it can be very upsetting to both the caregiver and older loved one, often revisiting caregiving promises is essential. Further, sometimes even breaking those promises is absolutely necessary to ensure the safety and well-being of both the caregiver and the older adult.

Jennifer L. FitzPatrick – MSW, LCSW-C, CSP
The founder of Jenerations Health Education, Inc., Jennifer FitzPatrick has over 20 years’ experience in healthcare and gerontology. The author of Cruising Through Caregiving: Reducing The Stress of Caring For Your Loved One, she is also a gerontology instructor at Johns Hopkins University and an Education Consultant to the Alzheimer’s Association. She helps you reduce stress and increase productivity, morale and revenue. Jennifer and Cruising Through Caregiving have been featured in Forbes, U.S. News & World Report, The Huffington Post, Reader’s Digest, Univision and The Chicago Tribune. She has also appeared on ABC and Sirius XM.