Monday, November 23, 2015

Thankful For Caregivers: A Poem

 Thankful For Caregivers
by Grace Thorson

I'm thankful for your ears that listen to my everyday plight,
I'm thankful for your perseverance throughout each night,
I'm thankful for your early-morning rising at dawn's first light,
With remembrance, I thank my caregiver for their day-to-day fight.

I'm thankful for your humble attitude against the daily grind,
I'm thankful for your encouraging words that always free my mind,
I'm thankful for your nursing skills that keep us intertwined,
With gratitude, I thank my caregiver for they are one-of-a-kind.

I'm thankful for your gentle prodding that forces me into motion,
I'm thankful for your honest soul in showing sincere emotion,
I'm thankful for your big heart because it's as deep as the ocean,
With love, I thank my caregiver for their ceaseless devotion.

In honor of all caregivers to their family members and patients,
thank you for all that you do! You are such a blessing!

Monday, November 16, 2015

November: National Caregiver Month

Did you know that November is National Caregiver Month? In all honesty, neither did I, not until my Mom shared that bit of info with me. It's probably not something that most people know about or truly remember. We should, though. It's not a thought that you can just brush under the rug, because more than likely, you know a caregiver. According to studies, there are millions upon millions of caregivers in America that work 24/7 with their own family members. That's quite the number!

If you have a little extra time today, I would encourage you to appreciate a caregiver in your life. It doesn't have to be huge, just a simple gesture to let someone know that you're there is often enough. But, in case you're not sure on how to help your friend, you can do these things for him or her:

1) Show them your appreciation by sending a thinking of you card.
2) Gift them a special mug, gift card, or devotional.
3) Send them a personal message on Facebook with words of encouragement.
4) Lift them and their family up in prayer.
5) Give them a hug and a smile.
6) Offer to pick up their groceries and run misc. errands.
7) Do they need a wheelchair, walker, or even a heated blanket? With their permission, start a fund to supply that needed item.

In 2014, I wrote an article on 16 Things To Do For A Weary Caregiver. If you feel led in helping us spread this appreciation to others, be sure to read my article (provided as a link above). In all truth, there are many ways that you can show a caregiver in your life some appreciation during this month. Just remember to do whatever feels best, and I'm sure that caregiver in your life will feel cherished.

Most of all, though, caregivers just need your love. Be there for a caregiver, and they won’t feel alone. And I'm sure that because of your kindness, they will know that someone out there cares about their well-being. So what are you waiting for? Go on! Cheer on a fellow friend or family member today!

In honor of caregivers everywhere, author and caregiver Pam Thorson is offering her newest book in a Goodreads giveaway. Enter for a chance to win one of ten paperback, signed copies of "Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver." To put your name in the hat, click here to join other Goodreads members in the drawing.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Ten Things Caregivers Deserve from their Healthcare Providers: A Nurse’s Wish List

The medicine has become a bewildering world for both patients and their families. Often they endure as much suffering from medical procedures and drugs as they do from their disease or disability. Our responsibility as healthcare providers is to mitigate their pain as much as possible as we provide medical care.

This November, as we celebrate National Family Caregiver’s Month, we’re offering ten ways that healthcare providers can relieve the stress caregivers endure as they care for their loved ones.

As a nurse and full-time caregiver myself, here is my wish list of what caregivers everywhere deserve:

1. Two ears, turned all the way up.

Someone to listen is often the most important need of the caregiving family. If we are paying attention, the family will tell us what they need. Sometimes it’s not what they called about.

2. A teamwork approach. 

Acknowledge their knowledge. We may think we know what’s best for them. But giving them a voice will help them to both deliver and receive for themselves the best care possible.

3. Real words. 

Our caregivers are intelligent people learning a new language. Sometimes it just takes a bit of translation.

4. A streamlined approach whenever possible. 

A lot of unorganized information thrown at a person is overwhelming, as is the stress of trying to negotiate the bewildering world of programs. Help them target what may work best for their situation.

5. Everyone on the same page. 

It’s frustrating to call three different times and get three different answers. Knowledgeable medical staff is a must.

6. Longsuffering. 

Have patience with those struggling to grasp medication changes, physical therapy orders, or application instructions. The person we’re talking to may have just been up all night with an ailing spouse or child. They may be elderly themselves and dealing with their own health issues. You may be the only person they can vent to.

7. The ability to step down from the soapbox.

It’s important to resist projecting our own agenda into their situation. Just give them what they need. 

8. Professionalism.

Give the family the dignity they deserve.

9. Empathy, not sympathy.

They should feel better after talking to their healthcare provider, not worse. We want them empowered, not pitied.

10. Quick response time.

Don’t leave them hanging without some resolution.