Caregiver Ten Commandments

I came across these Ten Commandments for Caregivers online.  The author is listed as unknown.  However, I felt that it was important to share with you dear readers.

Caregiver Ten Commandments


Ten Commandments for Caregivers
Ten Commandments for Caregivers

I       Thou Shalt not be perfect or even try to be.

II     Thou shalt not try to be all things to all people

III    Thou shalt sometimes leave things undone

IV    Thou shalt not spread thyself too thin

V     Thou shalt learn to say “NO”

VI    Thou shalt schedule time for thyself and thy support network

VII   Thou shalt switch thyself off and do nothing

VIII  Thou shalt not even feel guilty for doing nothing or saying “NO”

XI    Thou shalt be boring, untidy, inelegant and unattractive at times

X     Especially, thou shalt not be thine own worst enemy, but be thine own best friend


Which commandement do you struggle with the most?

7 Ways to find Caregiving Help without Breaking the Bank

Caregiving can be exhausting and we all need a break.  There is no way a person can be a caregiver 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for 365 days.  If so they will become very isolated and depressed.

But, when you live on a budget, where do you find caregivers to help without breaking the bank?

  1. Siblings—ask your siblings to step up to the plate and help out. Every family is different and
    Don't be afraid to ask for help
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help

    depending on how many siblings you have the chance for a break is greater for some people than for others.

  2. Adult children—if you have adult children {or even grandchildren} ask them to come and help you. Helping provides a greater understanding for what you are dealing with on a daily basis and more support.
  3. Neighbors—if you are friends with your neighbors ask them if they would mind helping.
  4. Friends—ask friends to come and visit and help out.
  5. Church members—ask friends at church if they would be willing to help out
  6. Ask for references—ask your friends and neighbors if they have any suggestions for an experienced caregiver that can help out. Many have been caregivers or are caregivers and may be able to refer someone that has experience and are affordable.
  7. Caregiving agencies—most caregiver agencies will come and sit for a minimum of three hours. Even if you hired someone to come once a week for three hours this will provide a much needed break.

How do you find caregiving help?  Which of these have worked best for you?

7 Ways to Get a Break from Caregiving

As a caregiver, often one can feel isolated and cut off from society.  You discover you need time for yourself and a break from caregiving.

So what are some ways to reconnect with society and friends while also helping yourself?hope and comfort for caregiver

  1. Go out to lunch or a cup of coffee with a friend—having time with a friend is much needed and is a great break from your duties, as well as catching up with others.
  2. Have a shopping date with a friend—even window shopping allows time for a break.
  3. Get a job—I have a friend who cares for her husband. For a break, she works for four hours a day three days a week at a local supermarket.  Her daughter sits with her husband so she can help.  This lady has expressed what a huge help this is to just get out of the house and away.
  4. Go to church or a Bible study

    caregiver need to care for themselves
    caregiver need to care for themselves
  5. Take a class—often libraries, community centers and local colleges/universities offer a wide range of classes that are either free or affordable. These can be anything from a one to two hour class to meeting for six to twelve weeks at a time.
  6. Volunteer—many places are looking for volunteers that are dependable. Be up front about what time and hours you are able to offer.
  7. Join a club—find a book club, gardening club or another group with an interest you enjoy. Ask your friends and church members or search on a website such as
  8. Bonus—Go see a ball game or enjoy a concert.


How do you get out for a short time period?

7 Benefits of a Caregiver Support Group

We all need support when dealing with caregiving
We all need support when dealing with caregiving

Caregiving is stressful.  Each caregiver deals with the stress in different ways, but the one thing that is evident is that it takes a toil on the mind, spirit and often even the body.

As an Activities Director I see this stress in a variety of different ways every day.

So I searched for an answer and decided to start a support group.

What are the benefits of a support group?

  1. A listening ear—we all need to vent and get our feelings out. This provides a safe place to release all of the frustration and tension that builds up.
  2. People that understand—the people there are in the same circumstance and know how you feel.
  3. A friendly smile—we all need a friendly smile and comforting nod.

    You Are Not Alone in your journey
    You Are Not Alone in your journey
  4. An outing—a chance to get out of the house for a short time
  5. Resources—other caregivers can provide resources that have been helpful to them to research and use.
  6. Tips and Suggestions—again, those in the support group can provide tips and suggestions to help with issues and frustrations.
  7. Opportunity to brainstorm—this group provides an opportunity to brainstorm for issues on how to overcome an obstacles or frustration.
  8. Bonus—New friends—this group provides you with the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

As a caregiver, I strongly encourage you to search for a caregiver support group in your local area.  If one is not available, then start one.

What benefits have you found in a support group?

Pause, Praise and Pray

“I go to work to get away.”  A lady in the support group I lead admitted rather sheepishly.

Take time to Pause, Praise and Pray
Take time to Pause, Praise and Pray

Caring for a loved one is very tiring and trying.  A loved one with Alzheimer’s, that needs constant supervision, is even more of a trial.

Caregiving cannot be a lone support.  Don’t be afraid to admit you need help and to ask for it.

We all need a break.  Whether it’s to work, to go shopping, to do something special for ourselves or be pampered.  Don’t be afraid to get away.

No one can go 24/7 without becoming exhausted, depressed and eventually physically ill.

I enjoy reading the blog Living in the Shadows of Alzheimer’s.  While documenting her life with her husband that has Alzheimer’s, Sherri often reminds herself {and her readers} to take time to Pause, Praise and Pray.

How do you take time to pause, praise and pray?

3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver by Kathleen Brown

Today, I am thrilled to welcome Kathleen Brown to Caregiving Monday.  She is going to share lessons she has learned from being an Alzheimer’s Caregiver.  This seemed very apropos today, because Wednesday is World Alzheimer’s Day.  Welcome, Kathleen!


3 Everyday Lessons for an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
by Kathleen Brown

Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking
Sapphires were once associated with clear thinking

I discovered Mom had Alzheimer’s during a September trip. September. Its flower is the forget-me-not; its gemstone, the sapphire. Sapphires were

once associated with clear thinking. As I began caring for Mom, in the house where I grew up, I hoped the clear thinking part was for me.

If you’re an at-home caregiver, you know it presents unique challenges. My first weeks with Mom felt like one emergency after another; I was on adrenaline overload. Then I began noticing the miracles: tiny ones (finding one of Mom’s shoes in the trash can), and huge ones (Mom suddenly agreeing to a long-needed bath). Feeling the Lord’s presence and help, I calmed down and began to learn. Fear not—you’ll see miracles, too.

Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.
Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.


Three of the Biggest Everyday Lessons


#1-You always have options.

In the beginning I thought there was only one right way to accomplish any care task. Wrong. There will always be more than one way to do what you need to do. Finding the best way, however, means we must look at all the options.

Example: Doctor to Mom: “Exercise.”
Mom to doc: “No.”
Solution: Two carts at the mega-store. While Dad shopped with one, Mom used the other like a walker, happy to stroll with me all around the store.


Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival
Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival

#2-Be ready to laugh.

Laughing in the face of Alzheimer’s is absolutely necessary for survival. The day Mom opened her mouth and I saw her dentures were in upside down, I smiled when I wanted to cry. After I fixed them, I laughed. Her poor gums were no longer being bitten by false teeth! Humor is an invaluable companion in caregiving.


When you need strength, you’ll have it.
When you need strength, you’ll have it.

#3-You will make it, even through the most difficult times.

When you need strength, you’ll have it. When you need words, they’ll come to you. When there’s nothing you can do to help your loved one, she will, against all odds, help herself. I can’t tell you how it happens—who can explain a miracle?—but I can tell you that resolution

always comes. Expect it.

Expecting solutions widens your field of vision. You’ll find resources and strategies you won’t see if your eyes are closed in despair.

We hope effective treatments for Alzheimer’s will come—someday. Ways to cure and even prevent it. Until then, our peace will be in knowing we can help our loved ones through it. We can.



Kathleen Brown
Kathleen Brown


Kathleen Brown is a writer, speaker, and firm believer in everyday miracles. The author of A Time for Miracles: Finding Your Way through the Wilderness of Alzheimer’s, she focuses her work on needs of at-home Alzheimer’s caregivers. You can reach Kathleen through her blog,, or by email to



All pictures courtesy of and are free creative commons pictures

We All Need Someone to Listen

Caregiving can be very trying at times and we all need someone to listen.

We all need a listening ear
We all need a listening ear

We all need someone with whom we can share both our frustrations and the funny moments.

Now that my grandmother is living with Mama, we discover the need to share and vent has become even more important.

At least once a week, I’ll receive a text or call from Mama to share her conversations.

Two of these sound something like the following:

“It’s 6:30 and she’s pulled the shade down.  Never mind that it’s still light outside.”

“Mama had a frosty for lunch.  I said, “I guess you don’t want any ice cream since you had a frosty” tonight.  She said “I can eat a little.  The frosty was for lunch.”

Sometimes it’s the small things we need to share.  That’s okay.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone?

Who listens to you?

Caregiving Monday: When a parent moves in

Recently we moved my grandmother in with Mama.  This is a learning process for everyone involved.

The time has come for a transition in the life of our elderly loved one
The time has come for a transition in the life of our elderly loved one

Finding time alone is even more difficult.  Even if Mama goes back to her bedroom, my grandmother will come to check on her if she’s back there for more than a few moments.

Trying to explain that she needs time to herself goes unheeded. So what do you do when a parent moves in?

However, there are ways in which we can receive help.

  • When I’m in town I’ll take my grandmother off on errands or to ride through the countryside for a while
  • Mama and I will run errands together, which gives us time to talk and share
  • I’ll stay with my grandmother, so Mama can run errands
  • We ask friends {from time to time} for help
  • We hired someone to take her to church and doctor appointments {this also helps Mama so she does not have to take more time off work}

How have you dealt with a parent moving in with you?

Caregiving Can’t Be a Lone Sport

“I can do it alone.”  I’ve often heard this from caregivers.  They think they can do it all alone.

However, we can’t!

Caregivers need help and support
Caregivers need help and support

I recently heard a story from a woman that had a stroke in her early 20s.  Her husband insisted on caring for her by himself for the next twenty years.  He refused to accept help from anyone.  Now they are divorced and to receive the care she needs, she is in a nursing facility.


  • Caregivers cannot carry the burden alone.
  • We all need time to rest and recharge our batteries.

Often we hear of the caregivers that pass away long before the one they are caring for.  This is because they wear themselves out.

As caregivers we need to:

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for there
  • Develop a schedule and strategy that will work.
  • Bring in or hire a team that can support you.
  • Explore your options and local resources.
  • Take time for ourselves
  • Remember we need a team or village

How do you prevent from making caregiving a lone sport?

10 Benefits of Hospice

hospice 2




Recently, I’ve learned of several families that placed a loved one in hospice.

This is never an easy decision. There’s no easy way to prepare for this.

However, I’ve worked with hospice on numerous occasion.

Some of the benefits of hospice are:

  1. Helps in decision makinghospice
  2. Offers support groups
  3. Offers spiritual support
  4. Certified and knowledgeable workers in the end of life stages
  5. Provides knowledgeable feedback
  6. Oversees the final preparations {such as contacting mortuary, having death certificate issued, etc.}
  7. Provides services to you at home, in a hospital, at a nursing facility or at their own facility
  8. Continues to care for your loved one through a decline—while usually this is for six months or less, at times their services extend beyond this time period. If the loved one improves they can be discharged and later readmitted when a decline reoccurs.
  9. Give the patient and their family a sense of dignity
  10. Respects the patient’s wishes
  11. Bonus: Lessens financial burden of being in the hospital

How has hospice been beneficial for you?

12 Ways to relieve stress and anxiety

The day has been stressful and you find that you are anxious.  Your loved one has been demanding today and you need to unwind.

Some ways to relieve stress and anxiety include:

Take time to pamper yourself and relax
Take time to pamper yourself and relax
  1. Bubble bath
  2. Take a walk
  3. Exercise or dance
  4. Read a book
  5. Find a quiet place to sit, listen to the birds and sip a cup of tea or coffee
  6. Deep breathing techniques
  7. Journal
  8. Talk to a friend
  9. Use scents that are soothing, such as lavender, with candles or room fresheners
  10. Play with a pet or child
  11. Laugh
  12. Get a massage

How do you relieve stress and anxiety?

Importance of Caregiving Support groups

Caregiving can be a very lonely task.  After all you spend hours or days with the person being cared for.

During this time family, friends and co-workers may not understand all of the strain and frustration you feel.

These groups are important because they provide an outlet of discussion with other likeminded individuals.  These individuals are experiencing the same concerns and struggles and need to vent or talk through their problems. support

However, there are groups where you can find support.

A few places to find support include:

  • Alzheimer’s organization
  • Church support groups
  • Facebook groups
  • Online support groups
  • Workplace support groups
  • Meetup Groups

Other places to check include:

  • Doctorcaring for caregiver
  • Local Agency on Aging
  • Family caregiver support program
  • Skilled nursing or rehab center

Where have you found caregiving support?

13 Ways to Reduce Stress

Last week, I discussed the stresses of caregiving and how it can affect your health.

So what are some ways you can reduce stress?

Find a way to relieve stress
Find a way to relieve stress
  1. Take time for yourself
  2. Make list of what needs to be done
  3. Prioritize
  4. Be willing to say “no”
  5. Ask for help and then accept the help
  6. Stay physically active
  7. Keep a sense of humor
  8. Research caregiving resources in your community
  9. Don’t feel guilty
  10. Don’t try to be “perfect”
  11. Join a support group
  12. Make time for family and friends
  13. Above all, make time for yourself


How do you deal with the stress of caregiving?

9 Symptoms of Caregiver Stress

Caregiving is very stressful for caregivers.

Caregiver stress can lead to:

Caregiving is stressful. We need to remember to care for ourselves.
Caregiving is stressful. We need to remember to care for ourselves.
  1. Exhaustion
  2. Anger
  3. Guilt
  4. Loneliness
  5. Depression and anxiety
  6. Health issues
  7. Higher levels of obesity
  8. Weaker immune system
  9. More long term medical problems

As a caregiver, it is important to remember that you matter.  We must take care of ourselves in order to properly care for our loved ones.

Dealing with Family issues

Time and again I hear about various family issues with families.

This can run the gamut from one child carrying the burden of caregiving alone to money and legal issues.

Caregiving is very tiring and quote

On top of this many caregivers are working jobs and caring for families in addition to their caregiving duties.

Caregiving takes a village.  The more people on your team that can share the burden, the easier it is for everyone.

However, that is seldom the case and often one or two people are left with the burden all on their own.

So what can you do if you need help?

  • Be honest and ask
  • Explain the situation and needs to others
  • Hire a team if you’re able to

Sadly, there are times when no solution is found between other parties.  I hear stories where this is the case on an almost daily basis.

I wish I could provide a solution.  However, the only answer I have is to pray and seek God’s guidance.

Caregiving Monday: 10 Ways to Care for the Caregiver

Caregiving can be very stressful on the caregiver.

Caregivers need time to relax, unwind and have some “me” time.   Balancing self-care is important.

Pamper yourself
Pamper yourself

What are some ways to do this?

  1. Exercise—exercise is good for the body and also helps the mind. Exercise also helps to relieve stress.   Take a walk, go to an exercise class, put in an exercise video, ride a bicycle, take a dance class, etc.  Find something you enjoy doing and can do on a regular basis.
  2. Pamper yourself—take time to pamper yourself whether it is a facial, massage, or mani/pedi.
  3. Create personal space—if your loved one lives with you, find an area in your home that is just for you. An area where you can just rest and relax without the added worries and stress of caring for a household and family.
  4. Make a list—write a list of things you would enjoy doing if you had the time. At least once a month try to pick one item to mark off your list.

    Enjoy some music and go dancing
    Enjoy some music and go dancing
  5. Schedule the time—schedule the time, make sure you have the time off and take the time for yourself. Even if it is an hour or few hours we all need time for ourselves.
  6. Mini Vacations—arrange for a mini vacation. Take a weekend and get away with your husband or by yourself.  Arrange to have someone cover the shift and go somewhere for a break.  You can stay in town, go to a nearby retreat, or go a few hours away.  If possible try to get away on a quarterly or bi-annually place to rejuvenate yourself.
  7. Enjoy a hobby—find a hobby you enjoy and take time for the hobby. This can be anything from reading to gardening to knitting/crocheting to DIY projects to anything else you enjoy.
  8. Music is always good to relax and unwind with. Put on some soothing music or go out dancing.
  9. Develop a routine—find a routine that is best for your needs and circumstances. Find ways to implement time saving techniques into your day.
  10. Journal—journaling your feelings, thoughts and emotions is a great way to express your feelings and be honest with yourself. You can also keep a thanksgiving or gratitude journal to remind yourself of what you are thankful for.  On the more stressful days look back over the journal for a reminder.

How do you find me time amidst your caregiving obligations?