It's Sunday morning, and so far this weekend (Friday and Saturday), I have hid away in this cottage for the most part.
Hot shower. Clean and comfortable sundresses. Bare feet.
Not eating a lot.
Did drink a bottle of watermelon wine over the 2 evenings. So very good!
Did some reading.
And a whole lot of praying.
Going thru some computer stuff, trying to do some organizing of my online life.
Time with my son on the phone ... sure do love that boy!
Listening to soft and gentle piano music, makes me feel like what I think it would feel like if God were holding me, rocking me, soothing me with His Voice in that sing-song humming.
Just a "down-time" for sure ;)
I am enduring a headache this morning.
Think it has a lot to do with allergies ... and with this neck/shoulder where there is such a knotted muscle.
And almost guaranteed that the neck/shoulder knot is from tension and stress.
Woke up at 2:15 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep.
Feeling a bit anxious about this week, because powers that be have messed with my schedule and in these next 8 days I am slated to work 125 hours.
- Not sure, but having used the calculator a LOT lately, I'm thinking that is over full time (40 hours) - anyway it is figured!
I told the boss when she hired me that I did NOT want to work full time. That I would work and do my best in the job, but I needed and wanted to keep the hours around 30 at the most, with only on occasion it being closer to 40.
... trying to figure out how it has gotten to this point in just these 3 months of working.
And pretty sure that this is the largest contributor to "Caregiving Burn-out".
I told myself, and God, yesterday that I would do this week ... and I will finish out the month of July.
However, soon and very soon, there has got to be some changes!
I am 60 years old, and I want a life more than this.
I have spent a lifetime in a caregiving role ...
No offense intended -
But I AM TIRED.
I just can't continue at this pace.
No matter how much I love these ladies.
I can feel myself going down ... more quickly than I want to, than I thought I would.
I am going to implement some changes this week and see if that helps at all.
The last blog I talked about Caregiver Burnout, the signs and symptoms.
In this one, I want to share with you some of the ideas that "might" help -
- and hoping that even if they don't help me, they might help someone else.
*Talk with employer.
I am going to do this, but first - I need to try these other ideas.
I have to "rescue" myself in this.
And when I do talk to my boss? I want to be able to say, this is what I have done to fix this ... and while it has helped, it isn't "FIXED".
*Join a support group.
I looked at some caregiving groups, but every one that I have found so far - directed at family being the caregiver. I am not family here. So, rather than look at caregiving support groups, I went to the MyFitnessPal website, and have joined several groups in the forums there.
As much as I love these ladies, I am realizing that this is not my LIFE. It's only what my job is right now.
I need to be preparing for what I am praying for ... and that is MORE to life.
*Find someone who will listen without judgment or agenda.
This is a lot easier to write out than to actually do. But I am not giving up ;) I'm too stubborn for that! LOL
*Get in, and stay in, touch with family and friends.
I have already been working on this. And will continue to do so. A phone call when I have a few minutes. A message sent. Thinking about that quickly fading art of writing letters and sending cards. I used to do that all the time, it's time to get back to the basics of LIVING and LIFE.
*Get out of the house.
I'm going to start going for a walk in the yard every morning between 6 a.m. - 7 a.m. Just for a breath of fresh air. Both ladies are sleeping at that time. I will be just outside the door. Going to stretch my legs and arms, breathe deeply, and get back to centering myself with nature. Even a few minutes at a time.
*Journal thoughts and emotions.
I already have my prayer journal, but this is going to be a place for me to write my thoughts and emotions off and on thru the day - good, bad, or indifferent.
*Pray and read the Bible.
This has been my lifeline to sanity for almost 2 years now. I never should have allowed it to fall by the wayside after Rick died, but that's a whole 'nuther story.
*Pamper yourself without guilt.
This will be a hot shower at night after the ladies go to sleep. I know their routines pretty good by now, so I feel pretty good about a 15 minute hot shower.
I'm already getting my nails done once every 4-6 weeks. I may start going more often, at least to have them filled once in between.
The problem for me? The lack of guilt. I am the Queen of Guilt Trips ... especially to myself. I must stop that!
*Make a list of daily activities.
I know the things that need to be done, but there are times that it all gets scrambled in my head. And then, either something doesn't get done, or I am totally spazzed out about getting it done.
I have been often criticized for making a to-do list. But in this, yeah ... going to do it regardless of what anyone says. LOL
This one is hard for me. It was near impossible when I was Rick's caregiver. And in these 3 months I have been greatly reminded of just how hard it is for me. Sigh.
I cannot do all of this alone.
Nor is it my job.
As precious as these ladies are to my heart, they are not my family. I am their caregiver. Hired by this company to work here.
I have to take that step away - let others do what they do, without my involvement or 2 cents.
There is also that realization that this is NOT me taking care of Rick ... nor my Momma.
This is my JOB.
It's been extremely hard for me to walk away on my days off. To get out of the job in my head and in my heart. But I have recently come to realize just how important that is. I had to draw my boundary lines, and make them firmly in place. NO wiggle room.
*Accept lack of control.
Again, this is hard for me. I have a loving heart and a giving spirit. And I want to fix things for those I care about. This is NOT a fixable situation. It is what it is ... and it will be what it will be. I am there for care, for companionship. I am there to help insure their safety and dignity.
Everything else is out of my control.
*Realize that no matter what, this is not going to get better.
I knew going into this resident house that this is not a "short term" situation where they will be rehab-ed so that they can return to their homes. This is their home, until their bodies demand more than we can give. Or until the Lord says "Enough".
*Set realistic goals - for the hour, for the day, for the week.
This is what I was talking about in the first thing, "talk to employer".
My goals for this week are to try these things, but with the knowledge and realization that anyone who works 125 hours in 8 days is going to be EXHAUSTED no matter what they do or don't do!
And having some health issues of my own to deal with? Yeah, gotta keep my perspective right in this.
There will NEED to be a reduction in hours to work along with these ideas done.
Also, I need to stop putting more on me than I can do. I cannot work 125 hours in 8 days and be here at the cottage taking care of cleaning, organizing, going thru stuff, making a "HOME".
Realistically? This cottage is NOT my HOME.
Realistically? I do not have a HOME at this time.
This is where I sleep when I am not at work.
This is where my things are stored.
Don't like it ... but any more thoughts about this being "HOME", only lead to frustration and a greater dissatisfaction.
It's hard to read and study about Alzheimer's, dementia, and even just old age. But the more I read, the more I know, and perhaps the better prepared I am to deal with the bad moments.
*Lighten up, using humor to diffuse.
If I cannot use humor to the ladies, then I will use humor to myself.
Or I will message the kids and grandkids with something stupid or silly, or funny.
I will watch more of the Mark Lowry videos.
I will enjoy more of the older sitcoms whenever I can.
I will spend some time scrolling thru pages of memes for something to make me laugh.
This may be where I even download TikTok, LOL
*Accept the feelings of being unappreciated, and being inadequate. Own it. Then - Let. It. Go.
This is probably one of the most thankless jobs available. Caregiving.
A caregiver gives a lot more than they ever receive.
A caregiver loses a lot more than other people realize.
I found that out when I was Rick's caregiver.
- I have NO regrets about being his caregiver. There was never any question or hesitation on my part to do it. And now, looking back - yeah, I am so glad I did.
This is different. I did not realize the difference until the last 2 weeks. And now, I find myself trying to work thru those differences.
*Make time to do some stretching exercises every 2 hours.
If I have to go to the bathroom, shut the door and just stretch and move for 10 minutes every 2 hours, I am going to do it.
*Drink water, water, water!
I already drink water. But not enough.
Now that there are the extra locks on the outside doors, I feel a greater sense of security to leave our Alzheimer's patient and go to the bathroom. (And we all know that drinking more water, you WILL spend more time in the bathroom! LOL)
*Eat more nutritious meals and foods. Be aware of empty calories.
I try to fix the most nutritious meals possible for the ladies. But sometimes, well, they want the "junk foods" LOL - and at their age? What does it really hurt if they want ice cream for dinner, or Fritos for lunch?
But I don't need that! So, this will be more of a challenge to myself.
*Sleep when possible. Even a 10 - 15 minute nap can alleviate stress.
Sleep is hard to come by when I am working.
Even at night.
There is an easy chair - that's not so "easy". It is worn out!
There is a couch that is uncomfortable to sit on, and even more so to lay on.
Besides, when our "A" Lady has taken to wandering more at night, I can't go sound asleep anyway.
But this whole sitting up 90% of the 8 hour nights? Yeah, it gets too much for my old broken body. Especially when there are 2 - 4 nights at a time doing this.
*Realize, and accept, that NO ONE is going to step in and take care of ME while I am taking care of others. If I don't make the time to take care of me, there will be nothing left of me to take care of others with!
I think this is the hardest of all.
Rick was always so good about having my back. He would fight for me. He would defend and protect me.
It's up to me now ... and I have never had to do this like I do now.
I do not want this JOB to take away the best part of me.
There is more to life than a JOB.
- and when that job is requiring so many hours, for so little pay? It's time to re-think some things.
So, as Rick would say, "this is where the rubber meets the road" ... it's time to make some changes.
No matter what others think, say or do.
I have been in much prayer and seeking God about all this.
Researched, and read.
And I'm not finished yet.
But these verses give me affirmation and confirmation that what I am hearing in my heart and feeling deep in my spirit is absolutely right for me.
: Proverbs 11:14 - "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.
: Proverbs 15:22 - "Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.
: Proverbs 24:6 - "For by wise guidance you can wage your war, and in abundance of counselors there is victory."
I will be blogging about this week, and how goes it with these changes. Good. Bad. Indifferent.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here