Even if guilt is trying to overtake you

As I was talking with someone about why I do what I do just a few weeks ago, I realized a reason that I had kept buried and was unaware of – at least on the surface.

My dad is my why. I can remember my dad coming home from my grandmother’s (his mother), who lived next door, tired, hungry and just wanting to spend time with my mom and me. He is just walking through the back door and grandma calls. He has to go back.

My mom didn’t tell me this until I was older, but my dad was taking my grandmother’s prescription pain medication – for who knows how long. After my grandmother passed away, dad finally went to his doctor for the pain. It was too late and the cancer was too far gone.

Me (how do you like the babushka?) with my dad holding me and standing next to my Grandma B.

Reflecting back on this and on what I’ve noticed with caregivers, is that caregivers put themselves ‘dead last’. I’ve heard that term before and just got it now. Jesus.

My dad is only one of the caregivers that I have known that put their physical health last for their parents, loved ones, children.

What I know is this – if you are reading this, your loved one is well cared for. They are good. I say this because I know you, the reader. You put yourself last. You are focused on making sure that your loved one has everything they need. What if you put that same focus on yourself? Go ahead. Your loved one is good because I know the high degree to which you care for them. Even if guilt is trying to overtake you.

“Caring for them is all consuming,” someone has said. It can be if you let it. What would it take for you to take care of you?

What if you said, now hang in here with me here, “no” to them sometimes? And not saying the word to them, unless you need to, and saying no in your mind to them?

For an example, say your mom says she needs tea. She’s out. Instead of dropping everything and running to the store, say that you will get it for her, and do not rush out to the store to buy it. Add it to your grocery list and next time you go to the store, get it. Now that you’ve done that, you’ve freed up some time for yourself. What will you do with that time – for you?

What will you say no to so that you can say yes to yourself?

Remember that you are doing your best – and are also going above and beyond for your loved one.

❤️Coach Wendy

P.S. I am on a mission to empower 10,000 individuals that are up to their eyeballs in caring for an aging loved one to continue being themselves without guilt and stand in their power using coaching and a simple step-by-step path. Join us at The Caregivers Collective www.facebook.com/groups/caregiverscollective/

The Simple Cure for Hospitalization & Death in Caregivers

Cheery title, right? Keep on reading for the simple cure.

What did you do after seeing your aging loved ones this Thanksgiving?

Did you walk away going, “Oh, how am I going to help them, they clearly need it?!”

Did you say to yourself, “I really don’t want my life to change if I take this on…….” And then immediately the guilt kicks in?

Or, did you dive into taking care of your aging loved one and are now exhausted, frustrated and wondering………..what about me?

All normal things to feel and to think.

Something else to consider – what are you doing to take care of yourself?

Whether you are thinking about how you are going to care for an aging loved one or are in the thick of it – answer this question – what are you doing to take care of yourself?

This is an important question.

I’ve seen caregivers hospitalized because of the symptoms of stress due to caring for their loved one.

I know caregivers that have died because they did not take care of themselves.

This is not something to play around with.

Plus, when you are taking care of yourself, your glass runneth over, as they say. Then you are able to give of that overflow to your aging loved one. It’s a win-win situation.

Post in the comments below – what are you doing to do to take care of yourself?

❤️Coach Wendy

Holiday Help is Here!

3 Ways to Not Lose Yourself in the Upcoming Holiday Madness

AND

What’s Happened to My Aging Loved One During the Pandemic & How Can I Support Them?

Are you feeling anxious about gathering with family again after not seeing them in almost two years?

Are you starting to wonder what your aging loved ones will be like (and secretly know that they will be different) and wonder how you can support them, without losing yourself?

My friend Kathleen and I have got you covered! No worry or anxiety on our watch!

Your next steps:

Click here to sign up for Kathleen’s program, 3 Ways to Not Lose Yourself in the Upcoming Holiday Madness, coming up this Saturday, November 13th at 10 AM EST/3 PM Irish time.

There are only 15 spaces left so don’t wait!

Then click here to sign up for my program, What’s happened to my aging loved one since the pandemic and how can I support them while I keep being myself? on Friday, November 19th at 12 PM CST/1 PM EST,

To convert the time correctly so you don’t miss a thing, click this link to WorldTimeBuddy

See you on the inside!

❤️Coach Wendy

Holidays are upon us. What’s happened to my aunt, mom, grandma since the pandemic?

It’s been, what, almost two years now since the pandemic started.

Have you already noticed some changes with your mom, uncle, grandparent? Things like repeating themselves, forgetting that they’ve asked you the same question 5 times, talking a lot louder than ever?

Are you freaking out? Wondering, “Oh no it’s that time. They are starting to fail and that means that I have to step in. But to what degree, what can I do, what will they allow me to do, what do I want to do?

It is your choice. Whew. Feel better? Not really? Okay let’s break this down. You have a choice as to how you react to what you are noticing. You can either: Say something like, “Mom, I noticed that you put your purse in the freezer,” or something along those lines. That’s all you have to say. “I noticed” and let the conversation flow from there. Your loved one might admit that they’ve been catching themselves doing some strange stuff as well. Your loved one might deny everything. Either way, you’ve opened up that communication.

That’s me with mom and her friends Christmas 2019.

Your second choice here, because remember I did say that you had a choice……is to ignore it and carry on as usual – until something happens.

There is no right or wrong answer here, by the way, and no judgment from me. Because I chose to ignore what I noticed with my mom until something happened. If I had it to do over again, I’d have noticed and had that conversation. And that is the reason why I’m supporting individuals who are up to their eyeballs in caring for an aging loved one, wanting to get back into being themselves. So if I had done things differently, would I be here doing this now? Hmmm. Who knows. You can’t go back, only forward.

You may be worried that if you notice and you have that conversation, you will be ‘on the hook’ for caring for your aging loved one. Not so and again you have the choice. What I know is that when you ask and have those conversations, then you can be better informed to make the decision for yourself what your role here will look like. You don’t have to have it all figured out at once. One step at a time.

Are you worried about the upcoming holidays when you see your aging loved one in person, knowing that there may be a change in them?

Are you one of those individuals I mentioned earlier, up to your eyeballs in caring for an aging loved one, wanting to get back into being yourself?

Either way, I’ve got you. Let’s talk so that you can mitigate the fear, frustration and maybe guilt you are feeling. Click here to visit my calendar and schedule your “Getting Back to Yourself” discovery call. This is a complimentary call just for you so that you can have a clear path moving forward in whatever you decide is best for you and for your aging loved one.

❤️Coach Wendy

P. S. Tell me in the comments below, what are you worried about with the upcoming holidays and your aging loved ones?

How to stay on course with your OWN life vs. being at the mercy of Aging Parent Guilt

  • What if you could stop feeling so torn?
  • What if the guilt subsided? (it may not stop.)

What if, (pause), you actually ENJOYED being with your aging parent instead of dreading it all?

This can happen for you. If you want one or all of the above do yourself a favor and sign on for a complimentary 5 day “journey” to stop feeling exhausted, frustrated, and guilty when dealing with your aging mom or dad.

WHAT IS THE COMMITMENT from you?

-15 min per day (anytime) from Mon. Sept 13 to Fri. Sept. 17 (and if you skip a day we will still love you) to be inspired and educated;

-60 min of LIVE HELP on a SATURDAY (WHOA) Sept 18 (10 am central so get the coffee brewing now and your pencils out)

Cost: no cost.

Click this link to visit my website and save your space!

The answers you are searching for are here for you.  

This is for you if:

  • You love your mom (or dad) and…you want your life back without the guilt.
  • You are caring/care-deciding for or know you will be caring/care-deciding for an aging parent. 
  • You feel like bad daughter (or son) because you want to put a parent in assisted living.
  • You have no time for you anymore.
  • You don’t even know where to begin or what questions to ask.

After this 5 day journey you will:

  • Have the answers you have been seeking.
  • Know exactly what your next step will be. 
  • Know that there’s information out there & you can find out what your options are.
  • Know that you are not alone in this journey.
  • Have your life and care for care-decide for your parent with no guilt.

Each day, I will be answering a question from the community around caring for an aging parent and also caring for yourself as the care-giver/care-decider.

I will also be walking you through my proven step-by-step path so that you can have a life of your own AND a happy, aging parent.

We begin on Monday, September 13th so be sure to register by Thursday, September 9th so that you can finally figure this care-deciding thing out and move forward with your life while you also have a happy, aging parent.

I know your time is very tight right now (what time, you say!) well I’ve got you covered.   Each day you will receive an email with my short video answer about a question submitted along with a brief tip for how you can have a life of your own AND a happy, aging parent – no more than 15 minutes long, I promise.

On Saturday, September 18th at 10 a.m. CST, I’ll be having a BONUS Q & A live call where you can get your questions answered that may not have been answered during the week.

Click this link to visit my website and save your space!

I’ll see you there!

❤️Coach Wendy

Wake me up when it’s all over……

This song played on the radio the very night I became a caregiver (and would someone come up with another name for us, please?) 9 years ago.

A few days ago, it popped up on my playlist. So much has changed in those 9 years………

The lyrics say everything that at the time I was feeling…………

🎵Feeling my way through the darkness🎵

The night ‘it’ happened.  Driving home through the darkness.  Late at night.  Lots of thoughts and fears running through my head.

🎵Guided by a beating heart🎵

Really felt like my heart and faith were all that were leading me.  I knew that if I just kept moving forward that I could ‘fix’ it so that mom wouldn’t injure herself so severely and that she would be safe.  And that I wouldn’t have to be in this horrific situation again.  That I could have some control over what happens.  (So funny, we really have no control over anything, if we think about it!)

🎵I can’t tell where the journey will end🎵

I absolutely could not tell when or where the journey would end.  Or even what this journey will look like.  It had just begun and I knew it deep in my bones.  I felt the dread and the fear and uncertainty.

🎵But I know where to start🎵

Driving home alone that night I didn’t have a plan.  I didn’t know where to start.  I felt hopeless and scared.  I had so many questions and so much unknown.

🎵They tell me I’m too young to understand🎵

I was 38 years old.

🎵They say I’m caught up in a dream🎵

Was I dreaming to think that it was possible for mom to live safely in a retirement home?  Can she pay for it?  She told me she wanted to live in a home but is that really whats best for her?

🎵So wake me up when it’s all over🎵

This was my mantra, my prayer.  Wake me when it’s all over.  The arguments and abuse from my steps.  The uncertainty.  Feeling like I had lost control over my life.

🎵When I’m wiser and I’m older🎵

Praying for wisdom in this moment and also looking to my older self to guide me.

🎵All this time I was finding myself🎵

Who knew this journey would help me find my lost self.

🎵I tried carrying the weight of the world🎵

For a long time, I did it all by myself.  I would not accept or ask for help from anyone.  It was exhausting.  Mentally.  Physically.  Emotionally.

🎵But I only have two hands🎵

It was only me………  By my own fault.

🎵Hope I get the chance to travel the world🎵

At that time, I hadn’t traveled anywhere, really.  But I did.  Although looking back at the beginning of my journey, I was thinking ‘I’d like to travel.  That’s over.’  I’d see a plane in the sky as I was driving to mom’s house to work more on clearing it out and think, ‘I wish I were on that plane.’

🎵But I don’t have any plans🎵

didn’t have any plans to travel in the beginning.  Like I said, I thought my life was over.  But you know what, once I figured things out, asked for help and problem solved, I did travel.  Oh did I!  2015 Hawaii.  2016 Italy.  2019 Hawaii again.  And all points across the United States in-between.  And mom has been well cared for during my travels.

🎵Wish that I could stay forever this young🎵

I was 38 years old.  I am now 47.

🎵Not afraid to close my eyes🎵

In the beginning, I wasn’t sleeping or not sleeping well.  So many plans, checklists, questions.

🎵Life’s a game made for everyone…………And love is the prize🎵

My prize was having my mom feel safe and happy.

Avicii – Wake Me Up – this song played the night I became a caregiver. It became my mantra. My focus point.

9 years ago I was totally in this space of ‘wake me up when it’s all over.’

Through time and space and learning and problem solving I am happy to say that now I am wiser and I’m older. And that is a great thing.

Mom is good and we just had a great conversation where we can see each other (thank you Alexa). We get to spend time together and she feels safe and happy.

I’ve traveled the world.

I’ve found myself.

Do you have a song that’s your mantra that’s got you through tough times like the one I have? What’s your song? Leave a reply below and share your song.

❤️Coach Wendy

Are you a caregiver (cringe!) and you don’t know it?

I see this all of the time.

I’m not caring for my parent……… yet. And when we dig into this we find out that you are helping with banking, running errands, making sure pills are taken.

Guess what? You may be caregiving an aging parent and you don’t realize it or are scared to admit it.

What I know is that when you acknowledge that you are indeed caring for an aging parent, then you can empower yourself with that so that you can get part of your life back AND also have a happy, aging parent.

Click here to get access to take my quiz to find out if you are caring for an aging parent.

❤️Coach Wendy

What do you do for you – as a care-decider?

My mom recently had surgery (she’s recovering really well!) and I caught myself falling into the ‘I’ll take care of everything’ trap’ again.

Here she is – enjoying some tv time in her hospital room.

I’ve learned that I had to step back and let others help with my mom. The helpers were there.  It was so easy for me to get ‘sucked into’ doing everything for her myself.  When I stepped back, I realized that mom was being taken care of – maybe not in the way I would do it, but she was being taken care of.

I got stuck in my own ‘I’ll take care of it’ and realized that was exactly where I was 9 years ago, when I first began to care for my mom, and I got burned out.  Noticing that was where I was headed again was what stopped me and cued me in to step back.

I realize that I have the luxury of stepping back – or away – and that there is a team stepping in to care for my mom.  And I feel deeply for those of you that stepping away is not nearly as easy, since I got a taste of that for myself.

In my empty pockets of time when mom was napping or eating or just generally entertained, I would go for walks to step away for a while, go home and take a nap (boy was that the best nap I’ve ever had), manicure my nails.

What do you do when you ‘step away’? Click here to Join our Facebook Community, Support for Adult Children Just Beginning to Care for An Aging Parent and let us know what you do for yourself as a care-decider.

❤️Coach Wendy 

Using Technology to assist you in caring your aging parent

I came across this App some time ago and I know it may be helpful to some of you.

I feel so fortunate that I am caring for my mom now, with all of the tech around to support me AND her.

Snug Safety

Made for people who live alone, this app checks on you at a time of day you select.  You press a green check mark on the app and receive a quote of the day.  If you fail to check in, your emergency contacts are notified.  Android, iOS

You can check out their website here.

What tech have you pressed into the service of caring for an aging parent?

Stop-n-Go

It’s amazing how many conversations mom and I have about her bowel movements. Anyone else talk about this topic more than you ever thought you would?

I had the misfortune recently of ‘dropping in’ and talking with mom over Alexa and not realizing that my husband was on a work call in the basement. His coworkers heard the entire conversation. Because it was on speaker. Which went something like:

Mom: I’m on the pot. I’ve got diarrhea.

Me: I’ll call back later.

Mom: (Not hearing me) I’m on the pot! I’ve got the runs! (Loudly)

So Steve explained to his chuckling colleagues that his mother-in-law has dementia (and a wacky colon) and some days are more of a treat than others. What can ya do?

She’s super concerned when she doesn’t ‘go’. She’s concerned when she goes too much. To the point that I call her stop-n-go.

I’m wondering if I will be as fixated on my bathroom habits when I reach her age – 85.

I just have to chuckle and share this.