Wednesday, July 29, 2015

15 Inexpensive Ways To De-Stress As A Caregiver: Part 1

1. Soak your feet in a plastic tub (whichever you have that would work) of warm water (you could also put in a little Epsom Salt). After a few minutes, dry your feet with a towel. Use your favorite lotion and give your feet a gentle massage. Once you're done, take the time to paint your nails with a fun color. If this is something you enjoy doing on a regular basis, be sure to buy some new nail polish to use (this is an inexpensive way to relax and your feet will thank you as well).

2. Like to read? Stop by the library and pick up a book. Are you a slow reader like me? Consider buying a used book from - check the shipping prices on each item. Compare the overall price with the new book from Amazon itself (ask yourself, is it cheaper to buy it used or new?). Like to read e-books? You can scan's listing of Kindle book deals or free e-books to download. When you read, don't forget to grab a delicious drink (tea, coffee, lemonade, and etc.). Finally, pick out a comfy chair in a secluded nook and escape for a few chapters.

3. Ready for a movie night? Rent a title from (prices range from $1.99-5.99 - Standard Version). Without first watching it, a rental should last from 15 to 30 days. Once you begin watching the rental, it usually lasts 48 hours. Be sure to finish it! Another option is to pick up a movie from RedBox - these are usually found interspersed within a town/city. Prices range from $1.50 a day for standard edition to $2.00 for Blu-ray a day (sometimes you can find a great deal on these!). Of course, none of this would be complete without a couple of your favorite snacks - popcorn and candy bars.

4. This can be the same as above, but with a television series instead. I love buying episodes from - standard version is only $1.99 per episode for 59 minutes or less. I usually try to stay away from buying an episode that's only 21 minutes long - doesn't seem like much for $1.99. Be careful, though. Because of the price, you may be tempted to buy one episode right after the other. Savor them and make the experience last - buy an episode every so often of your favorite show. This is nice because you can re-watch the episodes over and over again.

5. Not willing to spend the money? That's okay. There's ways to watch in a legal and free manner. Visit and be random with your viewing experience. Spend your time watching funny cat videos, music videos, or even of a traveler in a different country (the possibilities are endless!). The videos on youtube are without limits, so type out a line in their little search box. And watch away! You can spend countless minutes without spending a single dime.

Next week: Part 2 of 15 Inexpensive Ways To De-Stress As A Caregiver

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

You CAN Thrive

"That you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." -Ephesians 3:17-19

Rooted in Love: You CAN Thrive

 Practical Tips for Successful Caregiving

When our son was paralyzed in a fall back in 1997, we were told it would be “impossible” to care for him at home. We were determined that he wasn't going to a nursing facility, though. He came home with us after his discharge from the hospital, and he has been at home ever since. We are thankful for the support of family, friends, and the medical community which have helped make the “impossible” a reality. Every day we are thankful to a faithful God who has taught us this:

“For with God nothing will be impossible.” – Luke 1:37 NKJV

“Possible,” however, doesn’t mean “easy.” Caregiving is a marathon, an ongoing investment in the life of another human being. Since our son’s medical needs require twenty-four-hour supervision, it has been imperative that we develop strategies to cope with the pressure.

Over the years, I’ve learned some vital practical tips for keeping sane. Today I want to share one tip that has helped me.

Simplify your home

I know that's lots easier to say than to do. Especially if you're a new caregiver, you may feel like you have the energy for anything else. But life beyond caregiving does go on. Along with caring for your loved one, there are bills to pay, birthdays to remember, and appointments to make. I recently had to spend hours digging through twenty years of non-digital photos for a memorial service for a relative. Nothing was in the right place. Nothing was dated. What a mess! It was my reminder that a couple of simple changes could have kept this from happening.

Hopefully, I learned my lesson.

Trust me. Life is easier if you get organized.

1. Use what’s on hand. 

Get shoe boxes (or plastic tubs if you want to invest in them). Label them “Pics,” “2015 Receipts,” etc. Set them in a place where they will be easily accessible. When you run across a receipt, photo, or anything else you need to save, throw it in the right box right then and there.

2. Label photos immediately. 

Take the extra 30 seconds to write a date and any other pertinent info on the back of non-digital photos before you toss them into the abyss of a box. Believe me, there will come a time someone will thank you for that.

3. File, file, file. 

Place important papers and medical information in file folders and 3-ring binders. Don’t turn this into a project. Just grab some folders at the store, label them, and put them in a drawer or box that you can keep handy. The important thing is to get into the habit of tossing things in the right place right away, before they get lost in a pile or, God forbid, thrown away.

If you’re tech savvy, you can take screenshots or digital pics of bills and papers and file them digitally. Be sure to back them up on a system like the cloud, external hard drive, or flash drive.

The important thing is to know yourself. Don’t set up a system that you’re not going to use. I’m old-school, and that’s why I love using file folders and boxes. It’s so easy to just pitch them in their proper place. But do what works for you.

4. Communicate. 

Keep a large calendar in the kitchen with a pen and sticky notes nearby. This way, family members post their appointments and events on the calendar so everybody knows what’s going on for a particular day. 

Let's get started!

Just doing these things should help relieve the mental burden of trying to coordinate a home and caregiving duties. We'll be sharing more as we explore how to survive - and even thrive - as caregivers.