Caregiving Monday: Reader Feedback

Today, I’d like to do something a little different.  I want to hear from you!caregiving2

What are some of your greatest concerns as a caregiver?

What are some of your greatest joys as a caregiver?

In what areas do you need help?

What agencies do you rely on?


Thank you for taking a moment to tell me about your joys and struggles as a caregiver!





Share Your Caregiving Story 

Creativity Thursday: 9 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity

Creativity is very subjective to the person seeing, hearing or feeling the art that has been created.  There are plenty of critics along the path to try and derail the creative and bring you down.

However, there is one person that should be your greatest cheerleader.  That person should be your parents.

So what can a parent do to support their child?

  1. Put them in classes—help your child to learn, improve and develop their skills and ability    dance class
  2. Give constructive criticism in a loving way—never put your child down.  Find a loving way to encourage them and offer advice.  One great approach to use is the orea method—start with something positive, mention what needs to be improved, end with something positive.
  3. Find a mentor—help your child find a mentor to encourage them, guide them and help them continue to develop their skills
  4. Set up their own space to work—set up a special place just for this child to create
  5. Give time each day {or week} to work on their craft—allow time each day {or week if you can’t each day} to allow your child to work on their art.  Even if it is just for thirty minutes or an hour each day, you will be able to determine the interest and dedication your child has towards his/her craft.
  6. Help them find a critique group—a critique group helps you to grow and improve your craft      unconditional love
  7. Love them unconditionally—love your child unconditionally for who s/he is and support their dreams.  Even when being realistic about a job and employment, you can support your child’s dreams in their spare time.
  8. Give emotional support—give your child emotional support.  Sometimes that is a listening ear, a hug or even bragging to others about your child’s abilities and interest.
  9. Set limits on how long you will support them financially—this is mainly for adult children, dependent on their parents and longing to pursue a career in their area of interest.  Regardless of being an actress, writer or dancer, let them know up front at the beginning what {if any} support you can offer and the cutoff date.  This way the child knows to either find work in that field or a job to tie them over in the meantime.

What have you done to support your child?



9 Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Creativity

Caregiving Monday: A Rite of Passage

90Friday is a very big day in our family.  GG* will turn 90.  This a huge rite of passage and milestone.

GG has been looking forward to this moment for the past year.  The day after she turned 89, she would tell people “I’ll be 90 in 364 days.” From that time on she has been counting down.

GG is slowing down and I don’t know how many more years she will be with us, but we are going to honor and celebrate this milestone with her while we have the opportunity.  We have a number of events included and surprises for her on this special day.

I’ve discovered that the older an individual becomes, the greater the bragging rights.  As senior adults grow closer to 90 and even 100, the greater the bragging rights they have.  I’ve even sat among a room of senior ladies, who do their best to outbid one another in their age.

“Well, I’m 89 years old and 6 months.”

“I’m 89 and 10 ½ months.”90 years

“I’m 91 years old.”

“I’m 94 years old and 9 months.”

“Well, I’ll be 100 in three days.”

This is just some of the conversation you hear among these senior adults.  I find it very sweet and heartwarming to see how proud they are of their age and the wisdom these individuals extol on the younger population.

Just as turning 16, 21, 25, and 40 were rites of passages for many of us in our younger days, each birthday becomes a rite of passage and bragging rites as you grow older.

What birthday was a rite of passage for you or a loved one?

*Name Altered


The Rite of Passage for Senior Adults

Bragging Rights for Senior Adults 

Transitional Friday: Ecclesiastes 3: 11-14, The Fear of the Lord

For the past two weeks we have been discussing God’s time and that there is a season for everything.

He has made everything beautiful in its time—think about how flowers are planted and in their own time become beautiful.  The same can be said for circumstances in our lives.    fear of Lord

He has also set eternity in the human heart—God wired us to long for eternity and to want the blessings only eternity can bring.  God made us for himself and we are emotionally wired to long for him.

yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end—we cannot begin to imagine the greatness of God and all that He has done and All that He will do.  He tells us that “my ways are not your ways.” We will never understand this until we are with Him and He reveals it to us.
 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy—God wants us to be happy.  when life is difficult this can be hard, but even in the most difficult times He wants us to be happy.

and to do good while they live—God wants us to do good while we are on this earth, this includes helping others.
 That each of them may eat and drink—we should eat and drink, but not in excess.  This is often a challenge.

and find satisfaction in all their toil—God wants us to find satisfaction in our hearts and our journey, even when we’re not at a place where we want to be.  Personally, this is something I’ve struggled with and have to continually pray from God

this is the gift of God—everything, even our hardships, are a gift from God
 I know that everything God does will endure forever—what God gives us and the lessons He teaches us through the good times, as well as through the hardships {more often through the hardships} will last forever.

nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it—God set the plan of life and no matter how hard we try, we cannot change or alter that plan.

God does it so that people will fear him—God wants us to fear Him.  We are told that  “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” {Psalm 111:10}.  Once we begin to trust God’s wisdom, then we can begin to fear Him.

Do you fear the Lord?



The Fear of the Lord 

Creative Thursday: Saying Thank You

I had several piano teachers as a child and young person.  I learned something from each of these teachers.

tough teachers              By far the hardest teacher was the one I had in high school.  She was extremely tough on me and even difficult at times.  We often disagreed.  Our biggest obstacle was I wanted to play other styles than just classical and she refused.  Even a hymn would have been nice, but she was resistant to anything but classical music.  This led me to become greatly discouraged and not practiced what she assigned as much as I should.  I’d rather play what appealed to me.

The punishment for not practicing and being as polished as she preferred was to receive a smack on the knuckles.  {I don’t recommend this.}  However, because she pushed me, I was able to receive a partial scholarship the first time I went to college.

Once I became a teacher and had my own roll of students, I was able to better understand where this former teacher of mine was coming from.  I was greatly discouraged when students did not practice or seem to care.  Believe me, a teacher can tell!  thank you

I had a greater appreciation for this woman and the discipline she instilled in me.  Ironically, today I greatly enjoy playing classical pieces; although that is not the only style I play.

A few years ago, I decided to say thank you to this woman.  I wasn’t sure if she’d even remember me, but I wrote her a thank you note telling her how much I appreciated her and all that she taught me.  I never received a reply, but felt considerably better just knowing that I had said thank you.

What teacher’s do you need to thank?



Saying Thank You to Our Teachers 

Caregiving Monday: The Longest Day

longest dayJune 21st, is the longest day of the year.  It is also the day that the Alzheimer’s association brings light to this devastating disease.

Their slogan is “Grab your friends.  Do what you love.  Honor those facing Alzheimer’s.”

In essence, they ask that you take this one day, form a team, do something that you love and raise money for Alzheimer’s from sunrise to sunset.

The longest day is this coming Saturday.  One of GG doctors brought this to my attention.  He will be participating in a sport’s camp that day.

Other suggestions are dance, rock climb, hike, cook, swim, craft, music, walk, paint, cycle, garden, card games, theatre, rollerblade,  golf, or combine multiple activities together.  This is an opportunity to put on your creative thinking cap and come up with something you love to do to support this cause.alz

A few facts according to Alzheimer’s organization:

  • Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s
  • 1 in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or a form of dementia
  • More than 5 million American’s are living with the disease
  • Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US
  • In 2013, more than 15.5 million caregivers provided unpaid care hours
  • Almost 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s are women
  • More than 60% of Alzheimer’s/dementia caregivers are women

What will you do to remember those suffering from Alzheimer’s on Saturday?




The Longest Day, raising Alzheimer’s Awareness 

Transitional Friday: Ecclesiastes 3: 6-10, God has a time and purpose for everything

Last week we began talking about the various seasons of life mentioned in the book of Ecclesiastes.   This week let’s take a look at the deep commitments and inner decisions that relate to the spirit and soul.  The two examples for each are opposites of one another. search

a time to search—there is a time when we need to search for what’s next in our life, whether it is a spouse, job, house, friendships, etc.

a time to give up—and there is also a time when these have served a purpose in our lives and we need to give these up.

a time to keep—there are some things we never need to give up, such as our morals and values

a time to throw away—sometimes there are things in our lives we need to throw away.  This can be our habits, resentments and attitudes, or physical items such as old clothing, out of date electronics or clearing out a room, attic or garage.

a time to tear—there is a time to cry or tear up, also to pull apartlove

a time to mend—there is a time to heal and bring back to gather

a time to be silent—we’ve all heard the adage that “silence is golden”; there are times when it is better to say nothing and to be silent

a time to speak—there are other times when we need to speak up and share, especially if there is something bringing harm to another person

a time to love—God is all about love and wants us to love others the way He would love them

a time to hate—we can often hate the actions of an individual or group, such as when John Newton {author of Amazing Grace} realized his lifestyle of selling slaves was wrong.  He changes his heart, hated the actions and fought to change the laws.

a time for war—there is a time when war is necessaryGods perfect timing

a time for peace—there is a time when war is not needed and we should embrace peace.

What do workers gain from their toil?—what do we gain from our efforts and hard work?  Is it worth it?
 I have seen the burden God has laid on the human race—the choice God gives us in choosing the actions to take is a heavy one.  Often the lines may seem blurred and the best guidance is to seek God.

God has a time and purpose for everything.  We need to remember to seek Him through prayer and Bible study through these life altering decisions.

Which of these decisions has been a struggle for you?



God has a time and purpose for everything

Creativity Thursday: How Do I Recover from Negative Feedback?

As creative types, people are going to either love or dislike our product.   It doesn’t matter if you’re a musician, artist, writer, designer, or dancer, there are going to be those that absolutely love what you do and those that don’t care for your style and

So how do you recover when someone doesn’t like your work:

  1. Allow yourself a few minutes to deal with the rejection and “lick your wounds”
  2. Remind yourself that this is only one person’s opinion
  3. Determine if there is any constructive feedback you can use to improve your skills
  4. Read positive feedback
  5. Get back to work
  6. Pray and Seek God

What do you do when someone doesn’t like your work?



How to Recover from Negative Feedback

Caregiving Monday: When You’re Next in Line

Within the last month, GG* has said goodbye to two of her first cousins.  One of these cousins she was very close to.  For the last year, all the two of them talked about was turning 90.  Their birthdays were only 29 days apart.  Sadly, our cousin died four days before her 90th birthday.            90

Her birthday was a bittersweet day for all of us.  We knew she was better off and no longer in pain, but we missed celebrating this monumental milestone with her.  When her son asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said one word, “Home.” We knew she was at her eternal home and that was where she wanted to be.

sadness        With the loss of both of these cousins, GG said “I’m the oldest now.” What she didn’t verbalize, but hung in the air was the statement “I’m next in line.  I’m next.”

Just as our cousin was ready, we know that GG is ready when the time comes.  However, verbalizing this to ourselves isn’t easy.  The biggest lesson I’ve learned in caregiving, is you can’t sweep things under the carpet.  It’s best to deal with the current situation and accept it, instead of living in denial.

There are days when I am exhausted from caregiving, but I keep reminding myself to love and appreciate this time with GG*.  Her statement rings in my ears from time to time, but I chose to be appreciative for this time we’re together.

What are you thankful for as a caregiver?


*Name Altered


When A Senior Citizen Loses All of Her Friends

The Loss of Friends for Senior Adults 

Transitional Friday: For Everything There Is A Season

In Ecclesiastes 3, we are told that for everything there is a season.  There are seasons of life that we love and seasons that we can’t wait to get finished with.  While we wait for the next transition, the waiting is often the most difficult aspect of our situation.  In our humanness we wonder what God is doing, why it’s taking so long and when He’ll be finished and life will be better.  At least, that’s what I wonder.

So what does God say about this.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven {v.1}: everything has a purpose under heaven.  God has ordained a season for each part of our life.  time to be born

A time to be born: at some point we were all born from our mother’s womb.

A time to die: one day we will all die.  You’ve heard the old saying the only two certainties in life are death and taxes.

A time to plant: in all of the waiting, we may be planting and sewing seeds.

A time to pluck up that which is planted {v.2}—eventually we will reap what we have planted.

A time to kill—we could take this literally, but it also can mean to end the things that aren’t good for us.  This could be a relationship, friendship, job situation or even selling a house.  Are there things in your life that are bringing you down or need to be left behind?

A time to heal—sometimes we just need to heal and work through the process of what we’ve dealt with.  This can be anything from a divorce, to losing a job, to damaged friendship or a sickness.

A time to break down—I’ve discovered the hard way that sometimes God needs to break us or situations in our lives to get us to the point we need to be so that he can build us back up.

A time to build up {v.3}—once we’ve been broken, God wants to build us back up. He wants to set us on the path He has in stores for us.

A time to weep—weeping is good for the soul, it releases the pent up emotions we keep buried.  I often cry easily, while I have family members that seldom cry.  I’m not saying one is right or wrong, I just know that I feel cleansed after a good cry.laughter

A time to laugh—laughter is good for the body.  After her heart attack, a friend had her doctor prescribe for her to laugh each day.  We all need to laugh more {at least I know I do}.

A time to mourn—we will all mourn at some point, whether it’s the loss of a loved one, a friendship, a job, a relationship, our dream house, our independence or the pain over decisions our children are making there will be a point at which we mourn.

A time to dance {v.4}—God wants us to be joyful and to express our joy.  King David danced before God in the Old Testament.  Would you be willing to dance before God?

A time to cast stones—no one wants to have stones cast at them.  Sometimes we watch the media and are so thankful that we are not the one that has made a major mistake broadcast around the nation or world.  Also, this could go back to the passage that says, “we reap what we sew.” We could be casting out stones for a new job, to build a house, buy a car, etc.

A time to gather stones—often we want to call people out on something they’ve done wrong.  Just as we do not want to have stones cast on us, we need to tread carefully when we are gathering stones.  We need to check our facts, search our hearts and pray before accusing or confronting another individual.  Gathering stones also relates to showing passion or affection for people and events in our lives.

A time to embrace—there are moments when life gets difficult and we just need a hug and the reassurance that everything will be alright.  As stated above, at times we need to just accept that we are going through and that it cannot be changed at the moment.

A time to refrain from embracing {v. 5}—there are other situations when it is best to refrain from embracing someone, no matter how much comfort you long to provide.

What season of life are you in right now?  What seasons have you struggled with?

Next week: Ecclesiastes 3: 6-10




For Everything There Is a Season

Probing the Seasons of Life mentioned in Ecclesiastes 3


Caregiving Monday—Using Caution When Combining Medications

The doctor recently prescribed a several new prescriptions for GG* to start.  We slowly started these, implementing only one new pill at a time.  We waited at least one to two weeks before starting a new one.

The reason we waited was because if there was a side effect to use, we wanted to know which pill was the result of the interaction.   elderly at doctor

GG has some medications that cause hallucinations as a side effect.  On one of these, we even asked her primary physician for a second opinion before starting the medicine.  He assured us we should start the medicine.  We felt better after having a second opinion.

elderly medicine            Thankfully someone stays with GG at night, because the night she started the new medication she was up all night.  The issue was not vomiting, as we had been advised, but hallucinations.  GG has a history of hallucinations due to medication and that is one of the reasons someone stays with her at night.  We have had to alter medications in the past due to these hallucinations.

These hallucinations can get interesting at times.  No matter how much you try to reassure GG no one else is here, run the imaginary people out or even play along with her, she often doesn’t believe you.

GG: “You think I’m crazy.”

Mama: “No, I believe you.  But you have to believe me when I tell you no one else is here.”

GG: “Okay.”     child and elderly person

Several hours later.

GG: “There’s that little boy over there.”

Me: “He left.”

GG: “Where did he go?”

Me: “I don’t know.  I guess home.”

GG: “You’re lying.  He’s right here.”

Me:  “Time for you to go home little boy.”

GG: “Now you’re just being silly.”


That’s just a sampling of the conversations we have.  At times it is difficult not to laugh in front of GG.  Other times you just have to play along and go with the flow.

mixing meds            However, if you know there is a lingering issue with medications, ask the primary physician before starting a new one.  Even if you have to get a second or third opinion.

From what GG physician has said once you get 6-8 medications mixed together, you are looking at a new ball game. So please keep this in mind when you are speaking with the physician about prescriptions.

If there are lingering issues with medications, you may want someone with your loved one the first few days of a new prescription.

What are some side effects new medications have caused in your elderly loved one?


*Name Altered



Using Caution When Combining Medications in the elderly

What are the side effects of too many medications in the elderly