“Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while.”

balance coping energy Mar 19, 2019

"Sir, if you'll not be needing me, I'll close down for a while."

Do you know who spoke that line? In what movie? And in what scene?

Send me an email ([email protected]) with the correct answers to all 3 parts … and I’ll give you a free copy of our deluxe edition audio book !!

Ok, so how many times a week do you just “close down for a while”?

You know, just un-plug, relax, re-charge and stop micromanaging your life or your child’s life?

And when you do close down, what is it that you do? Do you even know how to relax and calm your mind?

If your child or loved one has a complex medical condition or disability, I don’t have to tell you about all the balls you’re juggling … all the time. And how closing down for even an hour is not possible most days.

What I need to tell you is that sometimes … sometimes you have to force yourself to close down, which sounds like an oxymoron – forced relaxation!

Sometimes you just...

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“Catch them doing something right early and often” – Caregiver Leadership 101

caregiving leadership Mar 14, 2019

So you’ve just hired a caregiver ...

Or maybe you've had someone for a while ...

Or you know someone who relies on a caregiver ...

How do you keep them bringing their best?

Well, consider this obvious fact. Everyone loves to be praised and told they’re doing a good job.

I think that goes without saying.

Some of us might feel a bit uncomfortable when we get a compliment, not really knowing the right thing to say. But we love receiving them, nonetheless.

The problem is that many employers are not really good at giving compliments and pointing out when things go right. And don't forget, you (or your friend) is an employer in this situation.

The tendency is to expect that people will do a good job which means you wind up ignoring those things and focus only on the gaps in their work performance.

Help People Win!

If you’ve ever read any of Ken Blanchard’s writings, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

One of his books is rather brilliant. It’s...

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How do you maintain a balanced relationship with your caregiver?

caregiving Mar 09, 2019

“Hey, Gladys! Get me a beer!”

A friend asked me what would I do if someone in my extended family – let’s call him Uncle Ralph – talked that way to Ben’s caregiver, Gladys.

I was stumped for a moment, since that has never happened.

But it was a good question and highlighted the importance of knowing where the line should be drawn between keeping the relationship with your caregiver friendly but also professional.

Of course, “get me a beer” is way offside regardless of where that line might be.

An Employee

So, first things first. At the end of the day, you need to remember that Gladys is an employee of yours even if you’re not directly responsible for paying her.

This sets up the dynamic of an employer/employee relationship as well as the responsibilities and respectful behaviours that go along with it.

Hopefully, it’s a wonderful relationship where Gladys loves her job, she actually DOES a wonderful job, and your child or...

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"Take him home and LOVE him!"

coping Feb 28, 2019

A young mom posted online today.

She had just learned that their newborn child was born with complex medical issues which included epilepsy, cerebral palsy, and possible development delays. All the things we were familiar with.

She wanted to know how children in similar situations were doing today.

My first reaction was how amazingly strong was this mom … to have the wherewithal (you just don’t get to use that word often enough  ) AND the energy to post about this devastating, personal discovery.

Not only that but to also look for help right off the bat.

Within seconds, all the feelings and emotions from Ben’s birth 26 years ago became fresh again – things like being told he may not live the day and would likely never walk, talk or go to school.

It’s quite remarkable how these feelings can be resurrected so easily. How they never really go away.

I began remembering what it was like to be back in PICU (paediatric intensive care unit) during that...

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WARNING: The Dangers of NOT Hiring a Caregiver

caregiving stress Feb 20, 2019

When Jan and I were thrust into Ben’s world of 24-hour care with no preparation and, of course, no training, we struggled a lot … which really isn’t surprising.

We were off-balance nearly all the time and had little confidence on what to do next.

Strangely, we thought we were the exception. An outlier. So different from the rest of the world.

After all, people weren’t lining up at our door to help us figure things out. We were pretty much left on our own.

When it came to providing round-the-clock care, it all fell to us. And I would say, that’s probably how we wanted it.

He was our son, after all. Our responsibility. It was up to us to provide the care needed.

But as Ben got older, his level of care remained high. Needless to say, that just goes with the territory in the world of disabilities.

It took us a long time to figure out that we couldn’t do this on our own (or maybe it took me a long time).

A Worldwide Issue

What we didn’t realize...

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"When I See You Smile, I Can Face the World!"

coping hope Feb 12, 2019
 

How many times have you searched for answers only to find they were right in front of you the whole time?

(If you answered “Never”, then you really need to keep reading!)

Why does that happen?

Without a doubt, painful or stressful situations take you off your A-game, especially if those situations are unexpected.

If it involves a serious health issue with you, your child or some other loved one, emotions run high, and it’s tough to think clearly.

Your first reaction is to look for ways to stop the pain, right away. It’s only natural.

You want an immediate fix to the problems. But nothing is easy to find.

Too often, the tendency is to over-complicate things. Details and issues all blend together until the problem looks impossible to solve.

That’s when overwhelm sets in. You can feel defeated. And it drains you of energy and hope.

There comes a point, though, when the pressure and the barrage of negativity slows, and you can catch your breath.

When you...

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Want less stress and more control? Do This!

control coping stress Feb 05, 2019

Yesterday morning began the same as most.

6:30am alarm.

Hit snooze.

Hit snooze, again.

Get up. Unlock the back door for Ben’s assistants. Turn on the kitchen lights and back to the bedroom to get a shower.

I decide to browse my iPhone while waiting for the water to heat up and find an amusing Facebook post.

I start a sarcastic reply and then … SILENCE.

No power! The house is back in darkness. I’m taken off-guard, not really sure what happened. and feel a small wave of anxiety rise inside.

I find the power company’s website and discover that there are 1,500 customers affected by the outage.

Good! It’s not just me. It’s not the whole world, either (maybe that’s where the panic came from). But it would take at least 2 hours for it to be restored.

That's too long to go without power in the winter. So, I throw on a heavy coat and brave the -20C weather to start our generator … which, by the way, isn’t easy to do with arctic winds...

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The top 6 reasons why we accept the human cost of caregiving … but shouldn’t!

caregiving stress Jan 28, 2019

The statistics1 are staggering when it comes to unpaid, family caregivers. Whether it’s providing care to your child with a disability, your aging parent, or some other loved one, the numbers are mind-numbing.

Here’s the deal:

  • 43% say their loved one’s health is more important than their own.
  • 49% experience feelings of depression.
  • 51% don’t have time to exercise.
  • 70% feel tired most of the time.

On top of that, unpaid family caregivers in the U.S. give up $3 trillion (that’s 12 zeroes) per year in wages, pensions and other benefits.2

The scary thing about this is we fell into most of these categories when Ben was young.

We did everything ourselves. 24/7. 365 days/yr.

We didn’t ask for help. We were his parents. His care was our responsibility.

Whenever it was suggested that we should bring in a caregiver to help, we had a million reasons why that wouldn’t work.

  1. We couldn’t afford to pay anyone. Things were extremely tight...
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Stop Shoulding and Start Winning: The First Lesson to Overcoming Anything!

For a lot of families, the birth of a child is a joyous event – or, at least, it should be.

It’s a time for celebration, unlike any other. The hours and days that follow are a time when you begin to form and nurture that important bond. One that will last a lifetime.

But being told that your newborn child has a serious medical issue or disability is the verbal equivalent of “shock and awe”.

It leaves you rudderless, without purpose, and desperate for answers.

In the blink of an eye, your dreams for a fulfilling life are shattered and your plans are turned to dust.

Thoughts of playing ball with your 6-year old, or going on fishing trips, or relishing a dance recital are wiped out.

When I was told that Ben might not live the day he was born, I was devastated. Completely lost. Nothing made sense.

Before that day, I really didn’t know sadness.

I thought I did. I thought I had done all the right things and didn’t expect anything less than a perfect...

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Want Instant Stress Relief? Write It Down!

coping overcome anything Jan 12, 2019

Feelings of stress and overwhelm can be sickening. There’s no other way to describe it. But I probably don’t have to tell you that.

By definition, these feelings are overpowering. All consuming. All controlling of your thoughts and behaviours.

Often you just have to wait it out until the storms start to fade. There’s no other remedy. But sometimes the storms don’t fade or you’re never sure when that might happen.

In Ben’s early days, I wasn’t sure where I stood just about every day. There were so many heart-stopping events, so many panic incidents, so many interruptions, so many hospital visits, so many specialist appointments.

It wasn’t anywhere close to being a “normal” family life and my fear was that it would only get uglier.

About 4 months in, I began to write things down everything into a crude list of notes, thinking I could get some control over my life. It was the only way I could remember what had happened on any...

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