I’m Fine!

FineWhenever someone asks me how I’m doing, I usually have the same response, “fabulous”.  I started using this response several years ago, because I recognize it not only adjusted my mind-set but the responses I received from the person asking were priceless.  Some would follow-up with “Really?”, others would make comments such as “What are you drinking, I want some!”, others would laugh, most would smile.  I became conscious of the idea that what I put out there as far as my attitude during my day is a choice and that the spirit in which I answer will affect those with whom I have come in contact.

Several years ago I was at a wonderful presentation by Greg Risberg on Hugs & Hope.  During the program Greg went though the different hug “techniques” and then talked about the use and meaning of the word “fine”.  Have you ever noticed that in passing conversations when asked how things going, most of us answer “fine”? Recently at a doctor’s appointment when asked how I was feeling I answered “fine”.  We use this word to mean “OK” or “alright” or, if said with clenched teeth to our spouse “you really stepped in it this time buddy” (lol).  Become aware of how often this word is used in our day to day lives by those around you without even realizing it. It’s a passing response to a random question usually asked out of politeness.

Anyway, during his seminar Greg shared his definition of the word “Fine”:

  • Frustrated
  • Irritated
  • Neurotic
  • Exhausted

Sounds more like what most of us are truly feeling right???  So what steps can we take to change our “fine” into “fabulous”?

Points to Ponder:

  • No matter what is going on in the world around you that you cannot control, you can always control your response to it.  Being “fabulous” is a choice that you can make right now and the responses you receive will continue to lighten your spirit.
  • Let your face know what’s going on.  You can’t be fabulous with a sour puss.  Try spending today being conscious of your demeanor and put a smile on your face.  Maybe even say a random “hi” to people you pass in the grocery store who look like they just sucked on a lemon.  Smiles are contagious! (no joke try it!)

When someone tells you they are “fine” respond with “sorry to hear that” and watch how a real conversations evolves from that simple response.  It will affect your life in ways you could not even dream of.

Choose to be fabulous today!  Smile randomly and become contagious!

For more support visit: AlongComesGrandpa.com

Posted in aging, caregiving, encouragement, It's fun to laugh, just stuff, working caregiver | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Forgiving Abusive or Neglectful Parents (Part 2)

For many, forgiving parents will undoubtedly be difficult; particularly in cases where a parent was abusive.

However, it is in these cases that we must be even more diligent about practicing forgiveness. To not do so and to choose to continue to live in the grip of what happened means that a part of one’s self must still mentally dwell upon the abuse, even if in our subconscious.

In doing so, the exact same feelings created by the abuse are allowed to continue and we constantly relive these horrible events in order to keep those feelings fresh and alive.

So then, even when a parent never apologizes or takes responsibility for her or his actions, consciously releasing bitterness associated with their memory and endeavoring to forgive them, instead, allows us the freedom to overcome the abuse and stops its control over our lives.

We are all  familiar with the phrase “Time heals all wounds?” This is one I often hear people say as they try to brush aside traumas and hurts in their lives. In all actuality, time doesn’t heal anything, time simply passes. It is what we do with our lives while time is passing that either helps us, heals us or keeps us stuck.

Forgiving does not condone what someone else did, it simply releases us from the pain of their actions and sets us free.

(to be continued)

For more support visit: AlongComesGrandpa.com

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Your Presence is Requested

A conversation with my niece prompted me to re-post this blog.

This is the ACTUAL couple who sat in front of us (Yes, I understand the irony of taking a picture of them)

A few years ago my husband, Paul, and I were ecstatic to be able to attend a preseason Chicago Bears game.  The sweltering heat could not deter us from arriving early for tailgating on the parking deck and then onto the excitement of the game. We arrived at our seats with great expectation of watching the game LIVE!

Many of the seats around us were empty, including the two directly in front of us.  During the second quarter a couple arrived to fill those seats.  From the moment they sat down they were a distraction.  The woman spent most of the game playing with her phone, standing up to take pictures, holding her phone up over her head (and in front of my face) to video tape the game.  Her husband mostly utilized his phone for what it was originally created for, to make calls, apparently to other people at the game because he would randomly stand up and look around and wave.  At very few points did this couple actually WATCH the game. 

Paul stopped me on several occasions from saying something to them as they, for the hundredth time, stood up, blocking my view to take a random picture.  I tried to keep my focus on watching the game and enjoying time with my husband, however; this couple created quite a challenge for me.

Their almost complete attention to their phone technology got me thinking about how much of our lives we miss out on because of the distractions that all of the technology, ironically designed to keep us more connected, has created.

Points to Ponder:

  • When was the last time you went to a movie, play or concert without Tweeting or Face-Booking about it?
  • When was the last time you played a board game with your family or friends?
  • Most importantly, how could your current relationships flourish if you spent focused time relating to those around you without the distraction of the phone or computer?

As a lot of my life is spent in front of the computer and on the phone, I try to have phone/computer free times in my week to just be present with my husband, friends and neighbors.  I’ve realized that, while technology has made me more connected, it has also created an environment where I am more focused on what people are posting on Twitter and Face Book than the people right in front of me.

So take time today to turn off the phone and computer and give the gift of your undivided attention to the people right in front of you (after you re-post this to all your social media).

For more support visit AlongComesGrandpa.com

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Forgiving our parents: It’s crucial to our well-being (Part 1)

I wanted to re-share this great 2-part post written by Susan Avello.

Most parents love their children desperately. There is not much that a mother or father is not willing to do in an effort to love, nurture and protect their children. However, because parents are human beings and, thus, are subject to human frailties, parents do sometimes emotionally scar their children. Without forgiving their parents, these same children then grow up and encounter difficulties in their adult love relationships.

Sometimes the hurt inflicted by a parent is indirect an unintentional, such as may be the case in parents who divorce or parents who remain together, but model unhappy marriages for their children. Other times, a parent’s harm is more direct, as is evidenced in cases of child abuse or neglect. Whether intentional or unintentional, however, being hurt by a parent can cause a person to grown up with bitter feelings and resentments that affect daily life and their relationships with others.

Beginning a Journey of Forgiveness

As many divorcees can attest, such bitterness fuels the blame often placed on parents for the failure of a marriage, or general feelings about the current state of a person’s life if they are unhappy after a divorce. These are among the reasons that we must work at forgiving our parents, however.

In order to move forward to a better life, past hurts and disappointments have to be forgiven. This does not mean that the hurt will immediately cease or that actions will be forgotten. However, forgiving parents involves coming to grips with what has taken place, fully accepting whatever has happened and the fact that one cannot go back and change events.

Recognizing that releasing bad feelings about the person and/or events is necessary in order to move forward and is crucial for your mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

(to be continued)

For more support visit: AlongComesGrandpa.com

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Having a Heat Wave

Summertime tips for Caregivers

Seniors are especially at risk in high heat situations. Large stretches of the USA are experiencing extreme temperatures.

Here are some summer heat tips for helping elderly loved ones avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion

  • Encourage fluid intake.* Water is best.  Pick up some bottled water to keep in their fridge.  It’s easy to grab and can help them track their water intake. Some fruit has a high water content (such as cantaloupe) is also helpful.  Remind them that sugary drinks, caffeine, and alcohol act as diuretics so fluctuating those fluids with water is key.
  • Make sure their air conditioning is working and turned on. Whether in an effort to cut expenses or because many older adults, especially those on blood thinners, get cold easily, they may not have their air conditioning turned on.  However; they may not recognize that being in air-conditioning can help them avoid heat stroke/exhaustion.  Explain the reasoning behind having the air on and then find them a sweater to wear in the house.
    • If they do not have air-conditioning, consider going to a mall, movie theatre, museum or city cooling center.  Another option is having them stay with a family member until the heat wave passes.
  • Take a cool shower or bath, especially in the evening before going to bed.
  • Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing that breathes.
  • Discourage activities such as cooking/baking in the oven as well as thorough housecleaning during heat waves. 
  • If going outside, apply sunscreen and keep it on hand for re-application.
  • Regularly check in on elderly relatives, friends and neighbors in person if possible. If you live far away, contact another relative or neighbor who can stop by and check on them.

Know the signs of heat stroke (i.e.: flushed face, high body temperature, headache, nausea, rapid pulse, dizziness and confusion) and take immediate action if you or your loved one is having any of these symptoms.

For more caregiving support visit AlongComesGrandpa.com

Posted in aging, boomers, caregiving, eldercare, elders, health care, taking care of yourself, work/life/flex, working caregiver | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dinner with Dory

(Photo : Twitter / @JustJared)

Recently an acquaintance shared the story of going to dinner with some long-time friends and their elderly mother.  She said “It was like having dinner with Dory from Finding Nemo”.  The mother, you see, has some very prevalent memory issues.  Throughout the dinner she often repeated herself as well as repeated questions to others that had previously been answered.   The atmosphere at the table quickly turned awkward as the woman’s adult children were frustrated by the repetition and their “need” to correct their mother over and over and over and over.  You get the picture.

When those we love have memory issues it can be frustrating and embarrassing in social settings.  So how can we cope with the “Dory” in our life without becoming frustrated, making guests feel uncomfortable, as well as potentially escalating the situation into a public scene?

  • Pre-plan the outing 
    • When going to a restaurant get the menu ahead of time.  Ask others to pre-pick their meal and help your loved one choose their meal, this way there are no need for menu’s that can increase confusion.
    • Choose a restaurant that is familiar and call ahead of time to make a reservation and request a table in a quiet area of the restaurant (not close to the front, near the kitchen or in a primary pathway to the bathrooms).  Keeping distractions to a minimum can assist with focus.
    • Choose a time of day when the restaurant won’t be as busy.
    • Explain to guests ahead of time that Mom is having memory issues so that they are not surprised by the repetition or other potential erratic behaviors.
    • Stop correcting – It simply doesn’t work because, to state the obvious, they don’t remember!  This tactic only creates frustration and awkwardness for both you and the guests.
    • Just answer the questions – people who already struggle with advanced memory loss can become increasingly confused when in a social setting especially in a foreign environment (outside of their home).  Confusion, repetition as well as agitation are part of the disease and cannot be “fixed.    It takes only seconds to answer their questions, so why not save yourself the aggravation and just do it.

Most importantly, be loving in your responses.  They are not repeating themselves just to annoy you.  They cannot control their confusion but you can control your reaction to it.

For more resources and support visit AlongComesGrandpa.com

Posted in aging, eldercare, It's fun to laugh, Memory Loss | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fighting Imaginary Foes

Fighting Imaginary foesToday, in my allotted few minutes of brainlessness when I play online scrabble against the “robots” I realized that when I won the game I found myself smugly amused as if I had defeated some a real opponent.  In reality, my scrabble foe does not exist, there is no person on the other side of the program who is “out to get me”, it simply a computer program designed to simulate an opponent.  However; this led me to contemplate the idea of imaginary foes.

I imagined how many people, me included, have perceived people around us including family, friends and co-workers as someone who is “out to get us” for some unknown reason.  This, if left unchecked, gives rise to a conspiracy against us with the goal of dashing our hopes and dreams.

Example: Sally shared with friends at a casual dinner that her CEO had put in charge of a large project at work.  It was one of those “this is the biggest project you’ve ever been handed and I want it done yesterday” type of initiative.  She expressed her frustration with the project, managing the personality filled team and creating the best format in which to present the information to her senior management team.  As she completed her story, a friend asked her a very peculiar question… “Do you think your CEO is setting you up to fail?”

With that question a conspiracy theory was hatched.  It was shocking how quickly this group of smart, capable women jumped to the conclusion that her boss was plotting against her.  The group speculated on his “true” intention in giving her the project.  It didn’t occur to them that the CEO knew she had the skills and talent to do the project, which she did, and would most likely exceed his expectations.  No!  It had to be an evil plot to destroy her reputation so he could get rid of her.   With one simple question Sally was at war with an imaginary foe, her CEO.

Points to Ponder:

  • Do you often create a story about the intentions of others instead of asking clarifying questions?
  • Do you think others are upset with you but you don’t know why?

By simply asking clarifying questions of our perceived foes, we would likely learn about a personal struggle they were having in which we played no part and what they need is a real friend instead of an imaginary foe.

The reality, at least for the majority of us, is that no one is out to get us.  The only “foe” we have is the one we’ve created in our mind. If we put our energy into encouraging and empowering ourselves and reaching out to our “foes” to see if they need a listening ear instead of creating and perpetuating false conspiracies, we might be amazed at how we find ourselves with more friends than foes.

For more support visit AlongComesGrandpa.com

Posted in against all odds, eldercare, health care, just stuff, taking care of yourself, truth shall set you free, work/life/flex, working caregiver | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment