Dr. Phil – You Let Caregivers Down and I Challenge You to Do Better

When I learned that one of the guests scheduled to appear on the Dr. Phil Show on May 26th was a young caregiver I made it a point to watch.

Featured in the later part of the show was a young woman named Stephanie who is a caregiver for her father who has had a massive stroke.  She wakes him each day, dresses him, moves him from bed to chair, and feeds him,tends to all his waking needs and then gets him ready for bed each night.  She does all this while attending college. She is a remarkable young woman.

She is an excellent representative of the millions of young adults and the millions of teens and older adults caring for family members every day.  It was wonderful to see any caregiver recognized on your show.

Unfortunately neither you, Dr. Phil, nor Dr. Freda Lewis – Hall, Chief Medical Office of Pfizer, did more than express your admiration and offer the same old advice caregivers hear every day.

Make sure you eat right and exercise. Get enough rest. Make time to be with friends. Don’t feel guilty for wanting time away. You must take care of yourself before you can take care of another.

 All true. Every caregiver knows this. What the advice givers, including you and Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall, fail to do is provide a way for all this to happen. Most caregivers would love to follow this advice if only they could.

Caregivers don’t need advice. Caregivers need help. They need family members to understand what they do every single day and not judge them or their care decisions based on short occasional visits.

Caregivers need regular respite care so they can follow the advice so often given.

Dr. Phil you let us down when you fell into the role of advice giver and failed to offer this young woman and the millions of other caregivers a way to follow it. I watch your show and I see you regularly offer gifts of counseling and resources for help in their local communities to people addicted to drugs and alcohol and to families dealing with emotional and physical abuse when their stories air.

Why didn’t you do that for this young woman?  You could have been a beacon of light for caregivers everywhere instead you let us down. Why?

Dr. Phil, I challenge you to use your huge resources and the Dr. Phil Foundation to develop a program of grants to help caregivers follow your advice to accept help, rest, and take care of themselves so they can continue to care for those they love so much that they are willing to sacrifice their health to for them. Respite care is vital for caregivers and you can help provide it.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXR1PddbrfQ

If you support my challenge to Dr. Phil to do more than offer advice to caregivers please let him know via Facebook and/or Twitter and any other social media sites you use, and by sharing this post with everyone you know and asking them to do the same.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

I Didn’t Know I’d Become Infected By His Illness Too

lost touch with people I used to be

Before Rodger came to live with us I thought I knew who I was. Up until that time I had a great track record of weathering life’s challenges. When faced with hardship I did what I had to do to solve the problem or adapt to the changes.  I cried and prayed often but never did I feel as if I’d lost myself.

I didn’t know I’d become infected by his illness too.

When he wandered I followed in his footsteps.  When he lashed out at me I lost my temper and shouted back only to be overwhelmed with guilt once the storm had passed. When he refused to bathe for days I’d find myself staring at my disheveled reflection in the mirror. Exhausted from lack of sleep and afraid of what he might do if I left him alone long enough to take a shower I looked, and probably smelled, as bad as he did.  Time after time we were admitted to the hospital together. Him to a bed me to an uncomfortable chair beside him. We spent days and weeks together in that place.

As he continued to fail it felt as if pieces of me were falling away too. I had to face the truth. We would lose this battle.

When Rodger died he took the person I used to be with him and left behind a part of himself and this changed and hopefully smarter me. The one writes our story. The one who would do it again for a family member if needed. The one who would not expect more from either of us than we are capable of giving.

Blessed be the caregivers, both who you are now and who you are becoming.

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Show Me the Path …

Holy Spirit Welcome

When I am lost and uncertain what to do next I go quiet and pray.

“Show me the path you want me to take.”

I’ll be the first to admit the road is often bumpy and much longer than I had hoped but,

I always end up exactly where I need to be.

Caregivers, I know how hard this is and even this, my favorite prayer, will not change that. However,  I have learned that sometimes a prayer often repeated results in help arriving in the most opportune time from some very surprising sources.  Try it. It can’t hurt and it may help.

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Trust Yourself

When caring takes courage

Trust Yourself

How could I do that when no matter what I did he continued to worsen?

Things accomplished one day were no longer possible the next. Memories came and went within moments. Laughter turned to tears and acceptance to anger so quickly it was impossible to know why.

Who am I describing in that passage? Him or me?

It could be either.  In truth, it’s both.

I came to finally trust myself because I finally realized I was the best person to do this, flawed as I was.  I made it up as I went along and so do you. That’s how this is done when you are juggling the love and the loss. “All at once, all the time.”

 

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Good Morning Caregivers – Sometimes I Question My Sanity

 I hope this little bit of levity brings a smile your way.

I question my sanity

how do you feel today

I am thinking of you today.

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Good Morning Caregivers – Get Off My Mountain

Many paths to success

Just as there are many paths up the mountain there are the many paths of caregiving.  How ours will twist and turn depends on the reason it began in the first place and how the one in our care responds to the many obstacles in the way. Will he reach for me to guide him along the way or will he insist on refusing my help only to fall and accuse me of pushing him?

Every day, around each new bend, we are faced with something unexpected. It could be a breathtaking moment when the air clears and the sun breaks through the clouds of confusion and he smiles. I feared I’d never see that twinkle again. “Thank you, Lord,” I whisper.

Far more likely it’s another loss making every step we take together more difficult. Our path is longer and far more arduous than we could have imagined. It is also the way that works for us. We figure it out as we go along.

 The last thing we need is “the one who runs around the mountain, telling everyone that his or her path is wrong.”

Unfortunately there seems to be as many of them as there are of us. If you are dealing with someone like that send them this Hindu proverb and tell them the Imperfect Caregivers says, “You are not helping. You are making things more difficult.”

GET THE HELL OFF THE MOUNTAIN

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

 

Good Morning Caregivers – I May Not Be Perfect

I may not be perfect

If I am able to help you understand anything by way of this blog or my book I hope it is this:

I AM NOT PERFECT AND THAT’S OKAY

We are human.  We become angry sometimes. We feel resentful when others go off on vacation or simply out to dinner and we can’t. We get sick and tired of hearing the same question over and over. We need sleep and get cranky when we don’t get enough. Our heart breaks when the one we are trying so hard to help accuses us of mistreating them or stealing from them. Or worse yet, don’t remember who we are.

Some days we want to give in, give up, and let go so badly we nearly fall apart. And then we feel terrible. We doubt ourselves and become convinced we are bad people.

We are not. We are the caregivers. We are not perfect. We are human. We give all we have and then give some more. Y

You, like me, are not perfect but no one is.  You are a caregiver and because of you the one in your care will have many more good days than he or should would have had otherwise.

Caregiver Cover WebClick here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

 

Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver by Bobbi Carducci

The link below will take you to my blog tour and an opportunity to win a free copy of Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver. Please share the link  as you see fit.

Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver by Bobbi Carducci.

Where Have My Friends Gone?

friend therapy

Being a caregiver for a loved one is lonely. From morning til night, and often well beyond, caregivers are on call even when our loved ones demand we leave them alone. We become the bad guys. The woman or man who insists they bathe when they don’t want to and serve them food when they have no wish to eat. Our parents or our spouses resent being treated like children. Their losses are devastating and they resent being reminded of them. Days go by when they don’t say a word. Some can’t. Others were told long ago not to speak to strangers and that is who we have become.

Knowing we are busy and often unable to leave the house our friends drift away. Not intentionally. It simply happens. They visit a few times only to find us distracted and harried, on constant alert for a call from our loved one or the sound of that horrible thump that signals another fall.  Sometimes we cry and then refuse to follow well intentioned advice to take time for ourselves and get enough rest. We aren’t as much fun as we used to be. I get it.  But still we need you. If only for a few minutes now and then we need you to come by and share a cup of coffee with us. We need a bit of adult conversation. Having a friend say, “Tell me about it,” and then sit back and listen as we speak is a moment of respite we cherish.

Please, even if you only have a few moments, be a friend to a caregiver today. Someone is waiting.


Caregiver Cover Web

Click here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Also available on Amazon

Published by Open Books Press – $15.95 Print $2.99 e-book.

 

NaBloPoMo November 2014

 

 

Moment of Respite – A Dog Comes to Visit

Dog give me strengthI didn’t know how he would react but I was ready to try anything to brighten his day and relieve some of the stress we were both feeling. His daily walks were a thing of the past. His diet was severely restricted and either he wasn’t sleeping well or he was sleeping all the time. Mike and I discussed it and decided to contact some people we knew who trained therapy dogs and request a home a visit. We had heard stories of how people in nursing homes and hospitals would smile and begin to share stories about pets they had when the friendly animals came to visit. Nurses and staff members reported that patients were happier and more alert for hours, and in some cases days, after they dogs left. We felt it was worth a try.

I wish I had a picture of that visit. I had let Rodger know he was going to have two visitors, one of them a dog. He was skeptical at first.

“What am I gonna do with a dog? I can’t walk no more. Who will clean up after it?”

“The dog isn’t going to live here. He’s coming for a short visit.”

“Why?”

“For something different. To help pass the time.”

“Do what you want. I hope it doesn’t pee on the floor.”

Rodger rarely smiled but when a beautiful golden retriever slowly entered the room and sat at his feet he couldn’t help himself.

After introducing herself and her dog, who was wearing a vest identifying him as a therapy dog, the volunteer sat quietly and allowed Rodger and Casey to get acquainted.

Shortly after the smile appeared Rodger slowly leaned over and tentatively began to pet Casey.

“Did you have a dog as a pet when you were a boy?” the volunteer asked.

“No. No pets. In the old country dogs are for working. Not like here where pets are spoiled.”

And then he began to talk. He spoke about life on the farm. For a while he went back to a time and place where he was able to walk outside in the sun and work up an appetite for homemade pasta and oven fresh bread. He sat up straighter and the light so rarely seen in his eyes made an appearance. I could feel my neck muscles relax as I watched the transformation. He may not have had a pet growing up, and to him dogs were meant to work, but what he didn’t seem to notice was that this one was working too. Casey was working a little bit of magic for both of us and for that I was grateful.

For more information on the positive impact dogs can have on loved ones with dementia go to:

http://www.alzheimersproject.org/About-Us/News-Photos-and-Calendar/Latest-News/Pets-and-Dementia

Caregiver Cover Web

Click here for Exclusive 20% Discount for Blog Followers

Also available on Amazon

Published by Open Books Press – $15.95 Print $2.99 e-book.

 

NaBloPoMo November 2014

Previous Older Entries