A professor at Boise State University and member of the Idaho Caregiver Alliance Leadership team, Sarah Toevs, spoke about Idaho rural communities and Idaho family caregivers during the AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop.
Created in partnership between the National Alliance for Caregiving and the National Council on Aging, this Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers is a wonderful resource. The guide provides data on falls, reasons for increasing stability and physical fitness, what resources are available for caregivers, and much much more.
In this segment of Shared Caregiving Stories, our very own ICA member Jeannette D. Mayer shares her view of how Andrew Luck’s retirement from the Indianapolis Colts parallels the experiences of being a family caregiver.
Traditionally it has been thought that a caregiver is female and 50+ years of age. This is no longer the case. Men now encompass 40% of the family caregivers now providing care. And there are more than 10,000,0000 millennials who have stepped up to the caregiving plate. It’s time we recognize caregivers come in all shapes, genders, and ages.
Guest blog by one of Idaho's caregivers, Jeannette D. Mayer.
Stand Closer, It's Shoter than You Think
This age-old joke never gets old. How many of them can you think of? How many of you have some hanging in your bathroom? They all are great to get a giggle.
Now to get to the touchy part: when we are talking about men with brain injuries and/or spinal injuries, these jokes are no longer funny. Traumatic brain and/ or spinal injuries can create incontinence issues, which can be frustrating, hair pulling, puddles of disasters. This is true not only for the man, but also for his family. Nothing is worse than walking into the bathroom and stepping into a puddle of wetness in the middle of the night. The smells, the yellow stain on the bathroom mat, the fighting with him to clean up after himself are endless battles. Battles that many times fail, especially when dealing with traumatic injuries. Often these men don’t have the mental abilities to understand what is happening to prevent these accidents from occurring.Trying to change his behaviors is frustrating for you both.
I’m here to tell you to KNOCK IT OFF. This is a battle not worth battling. A war that is non-existing.
Incontinence is not just frustrating for the family, the spouse, the parent, the caregiver. It is even more frustrating and embarrassing for our Veteran, Our American Hero who would like nothing more than to leave a clean a floor and front of the toilet. We haven’t even covered the even more unmentionable “number two” mishaps. That’s another smelly messy embarrassing story line.
There is hope with a simple solution.
First, remember to breathe (maybe breathe through your mouth instead of your nose) – these happenings are out of our control. We can’t control them from happening so let’s embrace what we can do.
Second, now that you have accepted this new ever changing daily normal let’s prepare for these uncontrollable moments.
How do we prepare? That’s the fun part.
·Put a couple bathmats that are small and don’t have the rubber backs (this way they are easy to wash & dry) in front of the toilet. Pick some fun bathmats that make you both smile.
·Keep a roll of paper towels and bathroom cleaner by the toilet – so when the mishaps occur, all you need is right there for an easy clean-up.
“Alakazam” the magic is created for you both! Short, sweet, simple fix.
Does this mean you will never have your frustrating moments? Nah, they will still come. Let them come. Embrace them. After all you are human with real feelings and emotions. Just do your best to not let them take over.
As a caregiver, we carry so many extra responsibilities. Learning to control what we can while letting go of what we can’t will help us keep being successful caregivers. We can’t fix what isn’t working correctly in our wounded Veterans. However, we sure as heck can find ways to not only help support them, but also help support ourselves in the process. Finding these simple little tricks will keep us keep moving forward.
Find ways to simplify your life, this is another way to promote selfcare.
We are a Military Family who is American Made!
We Reach Higher, Dream Brighter, and Hold on Tighter.