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Sandwich Caring You are "sandwiched" between your own life and that of caring for your aging parent(s). You can't possibly juggle one more ball! How can you cope? We can help!
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Welcome to the Sandwich Counter!!! This new place we sit - sandwiched between our careers, our children, our spouses and this new role we have found ourselves facing ... that of caring for our aging parents. We are precariously sitting on this stool, trying to stay balanced! Find a speaker for your meeting or conference, share our coping strategies and read our Blog to find that you are NOT alone!

I borrowed this.   We don’t talk enough about this. As a caregiver this is one of the silent emotions you may be stiflin...
27/03/2024

I borrowed this. We don’t talk enough about this. As a caregiver this is one of the silent emotions you may be stifling. Watching the person for whom you care , change, diminish, worsen, become more and more frail can be heartbreaking. It’s also complicated. Aging is something we should all aspire to - as it means we are still around!! It’s also something we should work to do well! Staying mobile, fit and active, and as disease free as possible should be a goal. But aging will inevitably mean loss. And loss can cause sadness and grief. And it would be more bearable, I think, if we talked about it.

Friends, I know I don’t post often. The busy ness of life interferes!  And I also know I “borrow” from the insightful Ch...
01/03/2024

Friends, I know I don’t post often. The busy ness of life interferes! And I also know I “borrow” from the insightful Charles Macksey often. However, THIS is so profound. THIS, I believe is the most challenging burden caregivers face - the internal storm. It may involve guilt, fear, anger, resentment, confusion, sadness, grief, regret…the list can go on and on. I believe, and it was my personal experience, that internal storms will bring you down, create the most extreme exhaustion, and impair your own health and wellness more than any outer, physical, even financial challenge or storm. Please DO, follow the advice on this charming sketch - find some emotional support, lean on friends, reach out here if you have no where or no one else to reach out to, and KNOW that others understand, feel your pain, and appreciate all that you do. You are not alone.

I know I haven’t been on here as often. Like many of you, other things seem to keep me too busy. But I have been thinkin...
01/12/2023

I know I haven’t been on here as often. Like many of you, other things seem to keep me too busy. But I have been thinking of you this holiday season. This is always a stressful time and I have so many memories of extra stress as a caregiver during the holiday season. Y’all know I adore Charles Macksey and he has the perfect sentiment for me to share with you. We ALL need some kindness. But you should also take a minute to be kind to yourself. In the midst of the chaos, please do so.

23/11/2023

Tomorrow may be a tough day for many of you. If you are an active caregiver, you may be stressed to the max. Or this could be your first major holiday after losing a loved one. I am sorry for your pain. Know that someone is thinking of you.

19/11/2023

Rest in peace Rosalyn Carter. Among her many accomplishments Mrs. Carter, years ago, recognized not only the challenges they face but the enormous contributions of family caregivers. Her legacy will live on through the work of the Rosalyn Carter Institute for Famiky Caregivers and of course, through YOUR dedication and work as a Family. caregiver.

09/08/2023

I have a tough one for you today. I’m going to challenge you, in order to help you, help yourself.

Yep- sometimes you are angry and resentful as heck. Sure you are! I know I was!! It eats at you. “Why me? Why won’t someone help me? I can’t live my life cause I have to do THIS! It’s not FAIR!!!” etc. etc. the thoughts go on and on. And you are probably absolutely correct.

But here’s the thing - those thoughts churn YOU up, raise YOUR blood pressure, increase YOUR emotional stress, interrupt YOUR sleep —- harm YOU! And then you still have to do all the caregiving tasks looming before you and the resentment won’t help you with those tasks one bit.

The one person who needs to take care of YOU is YOU! So what if you think it, feel it, resent it - for a bit. Let’s say ten minutes - fuss, fume, stomp. It’s better to feel them than to suppress them BUT THEN move on to some other thoughts - force yourself to do it I’m not saying it will happen easily but you are strong and you can do it - focus determindly on some positive thoughts. No, I don’t mean silly, fluffy, unrealistic thoughts (unless you want to!!!) . But try some thoughts such as “I got through it yesterday, I will get through it today. This person depends on me. I am doing my very best. This will not last forever….” Go on, I know you can think of more.

Then step outside - look at the sky, take deep breaths, listen for the birds, marvel at that butterfly. Then pat yourself on the back for doing an amazing thing - caring for another person.

And do it again tomorrow…YOUR well being depends on it.

Hang in and hang on. I know you can do it.

08/08/2023

So, what’s the goal? Often, families disagree on plans, changes, treatments, care. So I ask - what is the goal? Explore what each person’s goal might be. Lay them all out so everyone gets a chance to state their goal. Is it to …. save money? Make everyone happy? Do what older brother wants? Keep Mom at home? Save stress on the caregiver? Or find the solution that keeps Mom safe and well cared for and allows the primary caregiver some rest and sanity? I’m not telling you which goal is best - just that you should establish one. Sometimes you can’t reach each and every goal - you must pick one or two. Then once that goal
Is established - the planning can take place and be implemented.

Yes. I am a borrower - you all know this. I borrowed this from “anenglishwife” on Instagram. It’s a bit different from t...
26/07/2023

Yes. I am a borrower - you all know this. I borrowed this from “anenglishwife” on Instagram. It’s a bit different from the way I often articulate things- but it is a lovely way of stating that YOU must take some care of YOU in order for YOU to be the sunlight, be the advocate, be the carer for someone else.

10/07/2023

New thought. As a caregiver, each day we are simply practicing how to be a better caregiver. Every challenge, every mistake, every frustration, every bump in the road is a learning experience. Will we become the perfect caregiver? NOPE!! But will we learn lessons and learn how to do better or different??? Yes! And that includes learning how to take better care of ourselves!

15/06/2023

Comment I heard yesterday from a caregiver - “ it shouldn’t be this hard.”

I pondered that over night. Maybe it’s true…maybe there should be more services, and maybe services should be more affordable. Maybe there should be “people” who will do it for us. Or maybe it’s just hard. And we just have to do it. Some things are just hard.

I dunno - your thoughts?

14/06/2023

Sometimes we all need a helpful nudge. Not just a nudge as in “hurry up” but a helpful nudge that also conveys emotional support.

I am working with a family that is considering a possible move to a retirement community. One spouse has a dementia. The other is still very independent. Daughter is quite concerned and wants the process to move quickly. Dad is willing but frankly, likes to “think on things”. I can also tell he is overwhelmed, sentimental about all of their stuff as he calls it, and fixated on things like cleaning out the attic, before he will look at the true downsizing process or making a specific decision about a move. I have offered and suggested some resources to help with this but he says he needs to get that attic cleaned out first! Family members are sitting by, nervously twitching and hoping he will move forward.

I watched my own mother, as she aged, become overwhelmed and stymied at tasks that I thought were obvious and easy. I have watched other folks to whom I have assisted, do the same. It seems to be typical at a certain age or when certain tasks loom. It’s also a much more daunting task when it will be a huge lifestyle change. Let’s face it, we can all get set in our ways!

Today I suggested the family give a helpful nudge. Instead of saying “ George, get this done!”, how about opening a window of support? Maybe a sister could say “ George I was thinking next week I could come and go with you in to the attic to just see how much is up there.” That allows George to remain in charge - you are not saying you will clean out the attic FOR him but is a gentle nudge and offer of support . Note the “next week”, not just “sometime”. Put a time frame on it. That makes the nudge more forceful without seeming forceful. Or “Dad, what day this month could could I come and see what’s in the attic, what I might want ( even if you don’t want a thing - it helps Dad know you care and will make him feel better about letting go of “stuff”)and see how much we need to clean out? So George can pick the day but now he knows someone will help him and seemingly cares about the stuff as he does! Remember sometimes it’s more about the emotion than the actual task.

When a person is overwhelmed - when the tasks seem to loom large to the individual - let’s give ‘em a helpful nudge. Sometimes we all need one!

12/06/2023

Ask for the storyline of the illness. I heard this brilliant and ever so simple phrase today and it so resonated with me. YES! This is what we all need when we receive any kind of diagnosis. And it is what caregivers may need to ask for, if their care recipient cannot.

We know that each person is different and often the way an illness or condition may manifest itself and progress will vary somewhat. But just like each novel, play, movie, each documentary, even a tv commercial - there is a story line - the expected plot, the over arching character development and the expected ending. Then of course, ideas may be tweaked, some plot or character isn’t working as the project deepens, so changes may be made. But there is that broad theme, and plan of direction.

I always try to gently do this when I work with families. From years of experience, often I can see where the story will go and want to help prepare them for what may be ahead and to outline choices and decisions that should be considered now rather, than at a crisis moment. No, not throw too much at them at once, but just the theme, that basic plot, the likely result. So far - it has always been well received and ended up being helpful

Why can’t healthcare professionals routinely give us that? It’s part of why I was so impressed with the first visit my mother had with a geriatric physician. He looked at her current health status, medical history, challenges, conditions, etc and said to me “ Here is how this most likely will go and so here is what I think we should do.” I will be forever grateful for that insight! ( And - over several years, with some bumps, and detours we ended exactly as he had suggested we might. )

What a gift that would be for us - both the care receiver and the care giver. No it’s not a guarantee or true prediction, but it can help us prepare, know what might be ahead, make better plans, and frankly, have a bit more peace of mind as we navigate the course of the illness/disease/condition. It’s also more honest than leaving so much to the imagination.

Y’all think on it. I think it’s a brilliant idea.

I won’t give up on you - so don’t you give up on you. You can do it. Deep breaths, more deep breaths, smell a flower, lo...
02/06/2023

I won’t give up on you - so don’t you give up on you. You can do it. Deep breaths, more deep breaths, smell a flower, look at the sky, sing a song. More deep breaths. You got this.

Charles Macksey always gets it right. We should all recognize and accept  those little kindnesses when they come. And fo...
16/05/2023

Charles Macksey always gets it right. We should all recognize and accept those little kindnesses when they come. And folks , let’s offer kindness - no matter how small it may seem. It makes a difference.

You know I love the incredible Charles Macksey. I saw this lovely post this morning. I know many of you have hurting hea...
26/03/2023

You know I love the incredible Charles Macksey. I saw this lovely post this morning. I know many of you have hurting hearts. Please remember you are wrapped in friendship. We are all friends here at Sandwich Caring. Hang in and hang on - til you can be hopeful again.

Yes. I borrowed this. It was too good not to share. Every caregiver has a bad moment, a bad day. Yep - just turn the pag...
05/03/2023

Yes. I borrowed this. It was too good not to share. Every caregiver has a bad moment, a bad day. Yep - just turn the page! Thanks for all you do!

19/02/2023

What is your typical Sunday? Is this the day you try to finish all things you didn’t get done this last week? Is this the day you begin your list for next week? How about if this is the day you do ONE thing just for you? Try it!

Collaborative care makes a positive difference!!! Older adults undergoing major colorectal surgery who received collabor...
17/02/2023

Collaborative care makes a positive difference!!!
Older adults undergoing major colorectal surgery who received collaborative postoperative care from both surgery and geriatric medicine teams had reduced delirium rates, cardiac arrhythmias, and transfers to the ICU. https://agsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jgs.18216

Good info!
17/02/2023

Good info!

Welcome to the Home Modification Toolkit: Lessons from the Field! This Toolkit is designed to provide professionals with tools to enhance home modification availability and awareness for older adults and persons with disabilities. It is a collection of resources developed by the USC Fall Prevention....

17/02/2023

I just learned it is National Caregiver Day! Bravo to all of you!! You are heroes!

09/02/2023

It’s February. So…buy yourself flowers! Or write someone you haven’t seen in a while a real note and mail it. Or take a walk on that rare sunny day. Or buy a magazine you normally don’t purchase and find a time to enjoy those pages. Or take yourself to a movie. Or list 3 good things that happened in January. Or buy bubble bath and take one. Or buy yourself some fancy chocolates. Show yourself you care about you!!

January is over. You have made it.  You will continue to make it because you must. Someone is depending on you. And you ...
01/02/2023

January is over. You have made it. You will continue to make it because you must. Someone is depending on you. And you can do it.

02/01/2023

Some tough words for this, the beginning of a new year. I have been contemplating just how to articulate this. I heard a few stories and recently had some conversations over the holidays that made me want to to attempt this in a tactful manner. I may not get it right. I may anger some folks. I’m sorry. But I’ve got a lot of years of experience and I’ve seen and heard a lot. And I hate to tell you this but THERE IS NO MAGIC WAND!

My website clearly states that caregiving will be harder than you anticipate. If it was an easy journey, there would NOT be so many websites, books, podcasts, and a myriad of recommendations and advice laden social media posts. Caregiver stress would not “be a thing” if it was simple. It’s why I advise thinking about it and doing some planning before the need arises- both those of us who might need the care and those who might be called on to give care. While we can’t predict the future and plan for every scenario, it may make some things easier down the road.

I heard this recently,” I’m worried about Dad. I think something should be done but I don’t want to and I don’t have time”.

I heard this, “I don’t want to seem like the bossy, hateful daughter”. ( actually she used another word that rhymes with witchy).

Then I heard this, “I don’t want to seem like I am trying to take charge”.

And then this, “Trying to care for Mom is just SO time consuming!”

Yes, well. My sister and I felt the same way when we confronted our mother after numerous falls in her bathtub and we were there to put up grab bars in her bathroom. She was furious! Said we were ruining her bathroom. We did it anyway.

I know caregivers who endured the cursing, the ranting and the rage when they took away the car keys ( yep, my sister and me when we had to tell my Dad he could no longer drive) But they didn’t have to later post on social media that Dad with dementia had not returned from a trip to the store and had anyone seen him?

Do you have any idea how many times I have talked with families who are shocked and distressed that Mom’s finances are in a mess - that the money is gone?? Yet it never occurred to them to get on the accounts.

I am not saying mistakes and unfortunate things won’t happen. I’m not saying that at all. Bad things do happen, no matter how hard we try sometimes. Things may get worse. In fact, they most likely will get worse if this person that needs some care is aging and/or has an illness or condition that causes decline.

Yes. It will take your time. It will take your energy. It will be difficult to be the strong one for the person who used to be strong for you. It will change your life in many ways - but NOT always in bad ways.

You won’t always get it right. But take a moment to really think about it. What IS the right thing to do? What is the best and SAFEST thing for your loved one? Take a moment to envision how you might feel if you do nothing? What might those consequences be?

Might this simply be the time for you to put on your big girl or big boy pants? Sit with that thought a while.

And if you do put on those pants, reach out. There are folks who can help you on this journey. There are supports and resources and ideas and advice that can make things go more smoothly. There are all those books, websites, podcasts, support groups, that are helpful. Use ‘em.

It’s the time of year to reflect, make some plans, list some intentions and maybe think about pants.

Borrowed this from Oprah Daily and she borrowed it from Glennon Doyle. Some of you didn’t get everything done. Some of y...
28/12/2022

Borrowed this from Oprah Daily and she borrowed it from Glennon Doyle. Some of you didn’t get everything done. Some of you made promises you couldn’t keep. Some of you feel you let others down. Some of you will be strong enough and brave enough to know you did your best and that’s enough.

I don’t often share articles because many of them - well- aren’t that helpful. This one is.  These are some challenges o...
26/12/2022

I don’t often share articles because many of them - well- aren’t that helpful. This one is. These are some challenges often not discussed. Not only are these tasks sometimes difficult, the emotions that ensue are difficult as well. These tips are actually pretty good!

Assisting a loved one with showering, toileting and other intimate tasks takes finesse, know-how

23/12/2022

It’s that time of year. A daughter wonders how much longer Mom can live alone. A son travels home and is shocked that Dad is not doing nearly as well as he sounded over the phone. A wife is exhausted and doesn’t know how much longer she can keep up the challenges of her caregiving duties. A desperate family asks if anyone has seen Dad, who has dementia and drove out yesterday to fill up his car with gas. Dad hasn’t been seen since.

In this time that is to be joyful, peaceful, and happy - sometimes it is not.

Thus, it may be the season for difficult decisions, tough love, challenging conversations. No - it will not be easy. But it may be necessary.

I wish you strength, courage, and wisdom as you wrestle with the challenges.

13/12/2022

An oldie, but still very true.

17/11/2022

So. I’m NOT gonna tell you the usual as we approach the holiday season - which is let things go, don’t try to do it all. I’m gonna take a slightly different approach. How about if you pick the tasks/traditions/focus that make YOU happy? Don’t focus on what others expect - or what you think MUST be done. Think about YOU! Maybe it brings you comfort and joy to make four pumpkin pies with your great grandmother’s recipe - but you could serve on paper plates! Or - if it makes YOU happy to dig out the heirloom china, then do so! But buy the pies! The point is, I am urging you to do what YOU need to do to enjoy the holidays. We all need to find some joy wherever and however we can. And above all, thank you. Know you are appreciated for your care.

I was in a mood yesterday. Aggravated, feeling negative, wanted to just quit everything.   In an effort to flip my mood ...
10/11/2022

I was in a mood yesterday. Aggravated, feeling negative, wanted to just quit everything. In an effort to flip my mood I tried the gratitude thing - listing all I should/could/am grateful for. Then good ol Charles Macksey and his wise horse, said it all.

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