Not Everyone Agrees With the Dr. Phil Challenge … Many More Do

Yesterday, in response to my post titled Caregivers Are Joining the Dr. Phil Challenge  I received the following comments from  a man taking exception to my efforts to get Dr. Phil to help.  Presented here are his views and my responses. I respect his right to express his opinions just as I respect the comments of the caregivers that I will post as they come in. Including some at the end of this very long post.

Note: I wonder if David  realizes how many of his statements  highlight exactly why I am pleading with Dr. Phil to respond. Read on and see for yourself.

David Blair – You never were clear on what you thought Dr. Phil should have done for this woman? He obviously has a huge network of resources, but mostly for people with drug & psychological problem. After all that’s his profession. When he offers his support during the show it’s largely an effort to showcase, well advertise for these centers. And the guest gets free help as a result.  He doesn’t work with any day spas? How can you be certain the show didn’t help her financially, probably not something they would have aired.

The Imperfect Caregiver (Bobbi Carducci) – I am asking the Dr. Phil Foundation to establish grants to offset the costs of respite care. Even a few hours a week would be an enormous help for so many.

David Blair – Well, as some of your commenters pointed out – there are currently millions of people in that situation. You don’t think Dr. Phil has THAT kinda money. This goes on in nearly every family in this country.  My mom spent and amazing amount of time caring for my grandparents. I think it’s a situation many find themselves in. Families have to step up. Dr. Phil can fix a lot, but he can’t make family members compassionate if they don’t choose to be? Just asking you consider the scale of what you are expecting.

The Imperfect Caregiver – Bobbi Carducci – I hear you. I don’t expect him to fund it all. I’m asking for an opportunity to use his resources to get the message out about what it’s really like and offer SOME funding via the Dr. Phil Foundation for some in desperate need. He dropped the ball when he asked that young woman what was the hardest part of caring for her father and she said, “lifting him several times a day,” and his response was to tell her not to feel guilty about wanting time for herself. Do I think Dr. Phil has THAT kind of money? No. Do I think he can inspire others to help? Yes, I do. Just as I don’t expect him to end domestic violence himself or fix every drug addict alone. He does assist some and that is what I am hoping for and asking from him. Get the dialog and the support moving.

David Blair – I think he did use his resources to get the message out. I admit, probably the only show I watch regularly. THAT”S RIGHT! (don’t care what anyone think either.)

He’s a smart guy. Every time I’m wondering what the fu@k’s he gonna say about that? But he always says the right thing – and always a 180 from what I’d say)

Not meaning to sound unsympathetic to your cause but trying to set up a fund then try to decide (based on I don’t know what) who should get the money the logistics of which are unimaginable! Not his job or responsibility. His only responsibility is to entertain me at 3 o’clock.)

The Imperfect Caregiver – Bobbi Carducci – Thank you for your thoughts on this. Enjoy the show.

 Read More Comments by Caregiver’s Joining the Dr. Phil Challenge:

Donna Thomson – Comment: Great idea, Bobbi!  Have you written to the foundation?  Where are they based – perhaps a personal meeting or skype meeting would be appropriate.  Well done for identifying this opportunity!

doggonedmysteries Margaret Hauser –  Comment: It’s easy to give advice when you aren’t the caregiver. I consider myself lucky when The Curmudgeon, my husband who has secondary progressive Multiple Sclerosis, is having a good enough day where I can leave him alone for a couple of hours.I can’t afford to have someone come in and give me a break. We live on his meager disability income because I can’t leave him alone for more than a couple of hours at a time. Some days not at all, depending on how bad his day is.

I haven’t had a real break in over a year. How about if Dr. Phil comes over and takes care of The Curmudgeon for a week and finds out what it is really like?I bet he wouldn’t be quite so free with his ‘advice to caregivers on taking care of themselves’ when he finds out that is not an easy thing to do when you have to take care of a home and a patient. I am not now nor have I ever been a nurse, so this is truly difficult.

Lisa Land – Comment: I am a caregiver for my 89 yr old father and saw the show as well. I wondered the same thing, why did he NOT help this girl? So many of us including myself are caregiving without an income and living off of the income of our carees, which is Social Security and is keeping us just above the poverty level. I am forwarding this to everyone I can to sign and get recognition.

Cathy Kelly – Comment: I am a caregiver for my friend and also was for his parents because there wasnt anyone else.  I am stuck here trying to get him help so I can get out. 8 years worth of ongoing stress is far too much. Help! Please! I dont want to go down with the ship.

Laura Walsh – Comment: amen to that , my husband can not be left alone, after massive stroke , bed ridden , hoyer lift to wheel chair  , canot speak or do anything for hmself  … we know what to do , but never get a chance to do it , all my energy is put into care giving and cooking and cleaning and ordering meds and doing every single need for my husband , all day long , every day , and in the middle of the night , every night … going on 4 years now !!! wearing pretty thin !!! It is almost an insult for someone to say remember to take care of yourself first , so you can take care of him , I know they mean well , but >>>>>

Jennien Seymour – Comment: well Dr Phil..unless you have given up your independence, place to live, and your job…to care for someone 24/7….you have no idea what it is like…there for you can not give advice on something you have no idea about.

Janet Ogaick – Comment: as a caregiver to my father until he passed away your advice truly means nothing what I needed was someone to help so I could have time for me time to be a mother to my 4 children time to unwind I don’t regret being my fathers caregiver he did for me and it was my turn to do for him but an hour or two a week it would have been wonderful

Carlene Reaves  – Comment: Thank you Dr. Phil for recognizing caregivers and how awesome they are. It would have been nice if you would have helped her do what you advised her to do. Much love!

Theresa Loder – Comment: as a caregiver for the past 20 years .. Parents, mother in law , and now for my husband who has many health issues, I often hear( at least once a day) for me to take care of myself..

I do my best to do that .. But it’s very hard for people not caregiving to understand the moment to moment challenges we all face.. Yes , it would be nice it someone who has a platform , to offer actual help to caregivers..

It is very hard to find any kind of respite out there..

Currently I am trying to get well from Bronchitis I picked up either in the hospital or nursing home where my husband had been recently.. He ended up with pneumonia..

This is the first time I had to go to the ER for myself .. We caregivers would appreciate any and all actual help we can receive by way of letting people know the challenges we face on a minute to minute basis. Most all of us are going to be faced with this someday… There needs to be lots of discussion about all things caregiving… Sooner rather than .  positive thoughts to all caregivers out there.. Theresa Loder

Contact Dr. Phil and add your voice to the Imperfect Caregiver challenge: http://drphilfoundation.org/  http://www.drphil.com/   @DrPhil   https://www.facebook.com/drphilshow?fref=ts

 

More caregiver comments tomorrow.

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

 

 

 

 

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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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.


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NaBloPoMo November 2014

 

 

Caring for an Elder with Dementia: Top 3 Negatives Made Positive

Guest blogger, Derek Hobson, shares how the difficulties that caregivers encounter can help us grow.  Welcome Derek.

Caring for an Elder with Dementia: Top 3 Negatives Made Positive
By: Derek Hobson

Becoming a family caregiver wasn’t easy and there were times where I downright loathed all the responsibilities. But when my grandmother passed away and my duties were lifted, there was this… elation that occurred. I don’t want it to sound like I was thankful that she passed, because certainly the first few weeks were dreadful, but I didn’t want to feel guilty for feeling relieved that she had found peace. Part of what made me feel less guilty was the fact that I had contributed in such a big way, but more than that, I felt less guilt because caring for my grandmother made me capable of handling so much more.
At the time, of course, many of the tasks were unbearable (which I’ll get to in the list), but once they were completed for the final time, I saw how my grandmother had helped me grow. Things that I hated doing, made me more prepared for future situations. It’s almost like – no, it absolutely is like yin and yang. Two supposedly opposite sensations, turned out to be complementary. By struggling to take care of my grandmother, I found the positives in every negative task. Admittedly, that not make a ton of sense without context, so here are my top 3 negatives made positive.
1. Sleeping in Front of the Door
My grandmother had dementia and even though we wheeled her around the house, she was not confined to the wheelchair. While it wasn’t often, a few times she would sometimes stumble out of bed and walk around the house in the night. It could’ve been much worse, I mean, I’ve heard of stories of seniors leaving the house at night and wandering around the neighborhood. While this never happened to my family, my grandfather would not hear of it; his precaution was to rotate who would sleep in front of the door to make sure she didn’t wander off.
This wasn’t simply uncomfortable, it was unnecessary! I made multiple suggestions for how we could seal the door, set up a blockade, or rig a bell, but my mother reminded me it wasn’t simply making my grandmother comfortable, but my grandfather as well. So, I begrudgingly slept in front of her door on more than a few occasions.
At the time, I never would’ve thought this would evolve into a positive thing, but it has. I don’t know how many people have researched power-napping. The idea being that if you nap for 15 minutes, you’ll feel as refreshed as if you slept for two hours (or 8 hours in some cases). Well, I could NEVER power-nap. I never knew how long to set my alarm for because I needed some time to fall asleep, but then, if I set my alarm for 20 minutes, I would be thinking of how limited my time is, I’d be counting it down rather than focusing on getting to sleep; it was dreadful!
Now though? After sleeping in front of my grandmother’s door, I can sleep practically anywhere. It may sound silly, but it’s a great thing. If I had a long night and have a big presentation in the morning, I nap for 15 minutes in my car, get up and do it. If I’m exhausted after the gym, but it’s still early in the evening, then I’ll nap for 15 minutes, and head out. I can sleep in my car, on a plane, the stairs – I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure I could. I am definitely better for it.
2. Communication
Eventually, my grandmother’s dementia became so bad that she couldn’t form sentences anymore. However, when it hadn’t progressed that far, she would talk to me, tell me stories, and ask me questions… and then repeat those questions and those stories. The repetitiveness made me so frustrated – especially when I thought about what I’d rather be doing.
Now, this negative didn’t happen overnight, but after several months, I realized what a unique blessing this could be. I’d often been told that I wasn’t a good listener… well, actually, if I’m being honest, I was told, “you don’t respect people when they talk to you,” which seemed harsh at the time. However, as time went on, I realized what that meant; the very thing, I said above, that I grew frustrated when I thought about what I’d rather be doing.
When I stopped thinking of where I’d rather be or who I’d rather be with, I started listening and was given the gift of communication. When my grandmother repeated questions to me, I didn’t always answer with clarity or with specifics. I would answer robotically or with generic answers. Later though, I started actively listening and really empathized with my grandmother. There was a stark difference between when I would just answer monotonously and when I actually started responding.
Since then, I’ve noticed in my personal life that I butt heads with people less often and when I do it’s resolved with concise communication.
3. The Stuff You Don’t Want To Do
I never used to talk about this stuff openly, but it’s something I’m sure many family caregivers experience. The stuff you don’t want to do… specifically dressing, bathing and any sort of clean-up that needs to happen.
My grandfather was a saint and tried to take all this on by himself, but even he needed a break and of course, that meant I was runner-up.
I’m not going to lie to you and say that I enjoyed any of this stuff… looking back, I’m actually surprised I managed at all. But without going into the details, I have since learned that I can handle just about anything. If it’s gross, sticky, smelly – doesn’t matter!
I’m still a young guy (relatively), but when my friends asked me to look after their kid for a day, I changed diapers with the best of them. I’m sure there are people who are pretty squeamish, but with no previous experience with babies, I could change diapers and clean spills without any uneasiness. Pretty much anything others don’t want to do, I do without a second thought.
Again, these aren’t things I relished at the time, but they’ve had a positive impact on my everyday life. Being a caregiver is not easy by any stretch of the imagination and it’s why I’m thankful that today I can work with a handful of people who actively lessen the load of family caregivers, but the rewards are manifold and actionable.

Derek Hobson, BA, is the editor for ConciergeCareAdvisors.com, a senior care referral agency. He developed a passion for elder care when he became the primary caregiver for his grandmother. Since then, he has sought to inspire fellow caregivers as “there is no success without hardship.”

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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 – 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

 

Lord for those who are hurting

My prayer for you today. Blessed be.

 

 

Good Morning Caregivers

 

walk away or try harder

“I didn’t sign up for this.”

“I can’t do it another day.”

If this is how you feel, it’s okay.  Trying harder isn’t always the answer. There may come a day when you have done all you can and it’s time to make the decision to move the person in your care into a facility better equipped to cope with their growing needs.

Please know that if that time comes you are not giving up on them. You are still the most important person in his or her life. What you are doing is making sure this person continues to get the best care you can provide. You will be able to regain the strength to see this through.  You will visit. You will continue to be their best advocate. You have not failed. You are a true hero.

Be kind to yourself this day and know you are not alone.

 

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Good Morning Caregivers

 

my own little world

If today our loved ones are young again, running barefoot with the wind rippling through their hair, let us join them in their moments of freedom. It is far easier for us to enter their world than for them to enter ours.

If your mother or father don’t recognize you today, it may because in their mind they are still becoming the person who will hold you in their arms in the future. It doesn’t take away a single moment of the time you have shared. You are their memory keeper as they relive the moments that came before. Each has a gift to share with the other. Cherish the moment.

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