Caregivers Are Joining the Dr. Phil Challenge – Add Your Voice

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.

On May 30, 2015 I issued the challenge above to Dr. Phil to provide real help for caregivers instead of the same old advice to rest, eat right, exercise, take time to herself and not feel guilty that he told a young caregiver on the Dr. Phil Show on May 26th.

While only two responses appear in the message box on that initial post, I received many more via email and I will be posting them a few at a time so their voices are heard.

Please share these blog posts with as many people as possible and encourage them to do the same. There is strength in numbers and ours are growing every day.

Dr. Phil, Caregivers need help!

Jennifer Bailey – Comment: This woman is under as much stress as the people dealing with abuse- the abused never knows when he or she may be hit next, and on guard when the abuser is near, but the caretaker has to care for someone, worry at the things they see going wrong in front of their eyes… and when we are gone we have to wonder if those things are happening. Even when we have respite care you worry because the person does not know your loved one as well, and because they are alone with a person and often either helpless or have the potential to become violent when confused. We sleep when the loved one is safe, and often wake up to any small sound, like a parent of a small child. We eat when we can in our tasks, and for many of us it’s what we can afford after limiting our work hours to care for the person. Platitudes and the advice on every caregiver’s website do not help us.

Susan house – Comment: We need help usually only one person steps up to care for their loved one but boy everyone else has a lot of advice..there is no help there is no relief unless you have lots of money to spend..my husband and I would love to go in a vacation and know my mom was safe and cared for but can’t afford $15per hour x 24hrs x however many days I’m 59 yrs old my husband is 60 if mom lives 10 more years what if those are the best ten my husband and I have left..because with the stress of taking care of my mom whom I love and will care for until I can’t..May be that stress will kill me..sometimes you just need a break you just need to breathe you just need to…..and there’s no affordable help and how do u know if you hire someone that they will treat your loved one they way they should.there are no regulations to assure this its hire at your own risk and pay crazy money to a person who may not care..yes Dr Phil the number of people caring for dementia people is enough to blow your mind and more everyday and younger everyday there’s no cure no help no relief. You have to look at a shell of your loved one everyday. I pray my mom has a heart attack. Or gets cancer..something that will take her fast and soon..it’s quality of life not quantity..I don’t want her to not know me..my dad died from Parkinson’s and if I get sick I’d rather have dad’s disease any day to this…please help up we are everywhere nationwide. Crying everyday for the loss of our loved ones and all we have is a Alzheimer’s dementia page where we all go to share and vent and look for support..from each other..no one care about the millions of loved ones and the caregivers..no one wants to see what we struggle with everyday..just pray it never happens to you or someone you love because you will end up just like us with no one to turn to…am I a horrible daughter because I tuck my mom in bed every night and tell her I love her and then go and pray please God take her tonight!! And if he does I will find her in the morning and beg him to bring her back cause life without her seems unbearable..and then I realize she’s almost already gone

Vixen Brumback Comment: Please show more consern for caregivers.

Basia Comment: Please provide additional support for caregivers.

Jean Ostrom -Comment: I would love to be able to exercise regularly.  I haven’t had a full-night sleep in over a year.  I haven’t gone to a movie, a concert or gone shopping with my friends.  People keep telling me I have to take care of myself, but that is impossible when I am ALWAYS taking care of my husband.

Debbie DunlapComment: I am a caregiver as well. We need help. Have the best insurance but so many rules it does us no good. However if my Dad was in Welfare we would have had help yesterday. Not a fair system

Audrey Besser – Comment: I care for my mother-in-law.  I would be willing to brain storm a way to start a support group to help each other’s household to let caregivers have there needed rest and relax time, including sharing adult care .  Yes disappointed about the lack of support by family & society.

Joanne GerrardComment: Caregivers need the help and support and respite that gives them the help they need to give the care their loved one needs.

Margaret SmithComment: Caring for others is a challenge. We could use help at times.

Sherie Lynn AndersonComment: I support the challenge.

 R F – Comment: As the mother of a 15 year old son with autism I wholeheartedly identify with this article.  Being a caregiver is mentally and physically demanding.  The caregiver is often isolated with little to no support from family and friends. Cheap advice is easy to shell out.  People don’t know and they don’t want to know.

 Note: I have not made any changes or corrections to these posts. They appear exactly as written.  Individual email addresses are not included. However, I have the original posts and can provide them to Dr. Phil and/or the Dr. Phil Foundation on request.

Contact Dr. Phil:

Dr. Phil Foundation  – http://drphilfoundation.org/

The Dr. Phil Show http://www.drphil.com/

Twitter @DrPhil

Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/drphilshow?fref=ts

**** Read a Related Post : Stop Telling Caregivers to Take A Break

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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Good Morning Caregivers – For Your Inner Peace

 

inner peace

But if it does, if someone is driving you crazy with advice on how to do this and telling you things you already know and have heard so often you want to scream. If a family member is more concerned about where the money for care is going than how much you are giving up to be there for the one who needs you. If your loved one is failing fast and your heart is broken, know that I understand and I am here for you.

Sometimes there is no peace for us. Only the next moment and worry about what it will bring. For those minutes, hours, days, years, I send you my prayers every night.

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Good Morning Caregivers – Just for Today

Maxine - Throw in the towel

Caregivers, just for today leave the towel where it landed. I know you are doing everything you can to maintain your home, your family, the person in your care. You do much more for others than you do for yourself. Just for today let go of every little thing that doesn’t have to be done right now.

Maybe you were taught to make your bed every day. Just for today leave it unmade. 
Instead of cooking dinner order a pizza.

Let the dust settle on the coffee table. It will be there tomorrow.
Stay in your pajamas.
Let someone else take out the trash.

Consider the things you do automatically because you have always done them … pick at least one … and just for today let it go. Use those few moments to have a cup of coffee with Maxine and absorb a bit of her attitude. Do it just for today. Do it for you.

 

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Good Morning Caregivers

superpower

When I was a young mother I often wished I knew what my babies were thinking. I wanted to know what the world looked to them, how it felt to be so dependent. Were there moments when they felt alone and wondered how they had landed in this place so different from what they had come to know? When did they recognize me as someone who loved them and would protect them always?

Caring for Rodger I wished again for that same super power. I never received the ability to read minds but I never stopped trying to figure out how to keep him warm, comfortable, and safe. Some days the things I tried worked, some days they didn’t. There were days many days when my actions confused and frustrated him. But there were also many when he recognized me as someone who loved him and would protect him always. Love and care are the super powers we have and that dear caregiver is everything to them regardless of their age or needs.  Be proud of who you are and what you do.

If you have a super power, or wish you did, tell us about it here.

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Good Morning Caregivers – If I Tell You I Need You

If I tell you I need you

Somewhere a caregiver needs you. They may not say it out loud but they are communicating their need. It could be in their absence from all the activities they used to be involved with or by the phone calls, text messages or tweets that no longer arrive in your inbox.  Perhaps the last time you saw her or him in the grocery store there was a brief moment when he or she appeared about to cry.

Maybe you asked what you could do to help and were told everything is okay but, somewhere inside, you knew something was not as it should be.

It’s not that caregivers don’t or want your help, it’s that they don’t know what to ask for.

How do you request a good night’s sleep or a few moments to collect your thoughts? How do you tell friends who are so busy with their own families that you are lonely and wish they would stop by for a visit now and then?

How do ask someone to keep you from falling when every moment of your time is spent holding on for dear life to another?

Somewhere a caregiver is trying hard never having to depend on anyone, to never show any weakness.

If you know a caregiver, please don’t ask if he needs help. Know that he does and do whatever you can to let him know he is not alone.

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Good Morning Caregivers

It’s your turn again. Please tell me how you are doing. If you’d like to share a bot of your story, please do. It may help another caregiver.

how do you feel today

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