Ellen's book will strengthen and guide you in your role as caregiver to an elder parent or relative, and help you understand your own physical, emotional, mental & spiritual needs.
We are pleased to announce that Surviving Eldercare: Where Their Needs End and Yours Begin is now available on Amazon Kindle
For this week only, you can purchase the book for only 99 cents. If you find it helpful, please let others know about it by writing a review and telling friends and family.
Below is an excerpt from Surviving Eldercare. You can also watch the video on Amazon’s Ellen Besso Page (bottom right side of the page)
Who Are You?
Women are caregivers
• Do you worry your parent might be lonely or unsafe when you’re not with them?
• Do you feel there must be more that you could be doing?
• Are you tired, stressed, resentful, guilty or physically unwell?
• Do you get frustrated and angry with other family members?
• Do you feel sad, powerless or fearful about your parent’s declining condition?
If any of the above issues resonate with you, you have joined the growing ranks of midlife caregivers. The MidLife Caregiver could be any woman… she’s the next door neighbor, the person in the next office, the woman in the grocery store, or maybe she’s us. We often don’t know the stories of other women’s lives until we stop and talk with them, then we find we share many similarities. I am a life coach, a counselor and a mother and I am one of you. My brother Johnny and I have been responsible for our mother’s well-being for the past ten years, ever since she asked us for help and opted to move to our community from Vancouver Island. During the first five years Johnny’s role was that of self-appointed case manager, looking after many details of our mother’s life, including hiring and supervising in-home care. His stress level increased over time as mom’s Alzheimer’s worsened, she became less safe and her needs more urgent. Sometimes there were phone calls to him late in the night.
Being a caregiver to my parent, who is frail physically and has severe dementia, is a much bigger responsibility than I expected it would be. For the past five years I’ve been the ‘point woman’ who oversees mom’s care. I’ve provided hands-on care including personal hygiene, taken mom on weekly outings and to appointments, hosted occasional overnight visits, bought all her clothes and toiletries and paid her bills. Additionally, I’ve given her consistent emotional support and connection to a world that slowly, year by year, slips from her grasp.
Most adult women are already caregivers of some kind or other – for kids, family, friends or coworkers. Some of us have professional careers in caregiving also (such as nurses, care aides, counselors, teachers, doctors). Although gender roles are somewhat more flexible now, when it comes to caregiving our roles and responsibilities as women are very often still assumed. We don’t feel we have much choice.
By midlife many of us are confronted with an additional caregiving responsibility – one that we may not have anticipated or given a lot of thought to previously. Only thirty-five to forty percent of women interviewed had considered and discussed the possibility of being a caregiver to their parent, according to a Journal of Women & Aging study done by Laditka & Pappas-Rogich.
The challenge of aging parents coincides with perimenopause, menopause and the beginning of new projects and transitions. We may still have adolescent or young adult children at home, or we’re grandparents by now. The ‘sandwich generation’ label that describes women squished between younger and older family members fits many of us.
The US Department of Health Womens’ Services reports that female caregivers make up seventy-three percent of all caregivers. Our average age is around forty-six (I was forty-nine when I began caregiving for my mom). Caregiving seems to be ‘women’s work’ in a way that housework was in previous generations.
Men are socialized to assume fewer caring responsiblities throughout their life than women. Additionally some research suggests that males have a different view of caregiving than women in a couple of ways. The male approach emphasizes delegating responsibility and also recognizes that there are limitations to what one can accomplish. It seems a healthy philosophy to me, and perhaps women could benefit from these ideas.
Unpaid caregiving can take many forms
A daughter who shops for her aging parent, one who lives in another province or state and hires a private local care manager, a son who manages his parent’s finances, a daughter-in-law who visits her parent in their care home and takes her on outings, or an adult child who lives with their parent all constitute caregivers. Long distance caregiving, sometimes called ‘the geographic crunch’ or ‘suitcase caregiving’, is a worrisome job, and it is becoming more common as baby boomers and their parents age and live farther apart.
For two periods of time during the past ten years I’ve lived a forty-minute ferry ride plus a short drive from my mother. We were on opposite sides of the inlet between North Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, British Columbia, waiting for a bed to become available for her in a care home during each of these periods. It took the better part of a day to visit her and take her on an outing.
As she deteriorated, I felt badly about leaving her at the door of her apartment, and later saying goodbye to her at her care home, although to a lesser extent. Even though my mother had others nearby, I was unsettled and worried about what might happen when I wasn’t there, and about not being able to get to her if she had an accident or heart attack in the night when the ferries weren’t running.
I was recently invited to do a guest post on Heal My PTSD, a prominent PTSD site. I think you will find Creating a Heart Centered Life – Our Post PTSD Identity helpful, whether you are a PTSD survivor or someone looking for tools to deal with the increasingly stressful world we live in.
Almost everyone I meet nowadays says “Something’s happening”. As our world appears to be speeding up, many of us are quite challenged to find a way to live that feels healthy & lowers our stress level. Here are a few tips to help you to slow down & smell the roses!
- Remind yourself that Less is More in terms of activity during this time of change (this applies to our work, personal life & leisure time)
- Spend as much time outside as possible, it’s rejuvenating & supports our transformation
- Drink more water than usual if possible, this supports our changing systems
- Meditate, pray, ask for guidance (whatever suits you & your philosophy) – it works!
- Do something for creative release each day, e.g. singing, art, yoga, dance, walking in nature
- Use grounding techniques to deal with your stress: e.g. walk on the grass barefoot, lie on the grass under a tree (these 2 are from Ayurvedic (Indian) Medicine; Stamp your feet; Imagine roots coming out of the soles of your feet, drop them down to the centre of the earth & anchor them there
- Eat moderate amounts of high quality food
- Balance your intake of alcohol, coffee, sweets, television & on-line activities (the latter may disrupt your nervous system)
- Laugh & have fun
If you feel you’re going through a transformation, you can check out this link: Indigo Children & Adults: Symptoms of Spiritual Awakening - (It’s not just for Indigos).
Check out my second blog Spiritual Journeying, you’ll find some excellent recent guest blogs on it.
Please give us your input, using the comments section. Thanks.
I think you’ll enjoy this guest post by Dana Williams, a powerful healer who lives in our community:
THE UNIVERSE IS NEUTRAL
We are so plugged into the idea of ‘Right & Wrong’.
If we are happy, then we must be doing it right… Right?
If we are unhappy, we must be doing it wrong… Right?
Unhappiness leads us to work harder to fix it, so that everybody is happy, and, by the way, we tend to leave ourselves out of the equation.
We compare past moments of happiness, try to recreate them, but it all falls flat. So we work harder to get the happiness back. When it doesn’t happen, we blame and shame ourselves for not being good enough.
When we feel like we let “them” down and we go into judgement and wrong ourselves for not working hard enough to get their love and approval, this is the key to recovering our missing piece. In this moment of realization, we are actually doing something right !
Stay with me here …
The Universe will always match us where we are unclear, in particular with the gap in our boundaries. It will match the lowest vibration in the gap of “no” boundaries and send in the messengers to dance with that energetic match.
Years and years of matching and dancing with the old patterns put us in a trance of thinking that we are “wrong” or else we would be happy.
Often, the reason we are not happy is because we are doing it for someone else’s approval and this is wrong.
So we are actually right when we discover this.
Kinda upside down at first, but when we get it, it will automatically change our life.
“Happy” is a very subjective state. We often unconsciously give our power to close relationships to decide for us if we are allowed to be happy or not.
Let’s call back the responsibility for our own creations from the start. Hanging out in judgement, blame and victimhood is a choice.
We can be so habitually trained to be busy and working hard and not being in our truth and putting others first in order to avoid looking these frightened monkeys in the eye.
Why would we want to give all of our power over to these dancing, jacked-up, scared little tricksters? Often it is to keep us safe from our own brilliance, because this brilliance is foreign to us.
Let’s look these patterns in the eye and allow them to be released so that our clear boundaries can be the theme to send out to the Universe.
When the Universe picks up the energies of clarity and co-creation with higher vibrational personal endeavors, it will match these ~ always!
The Universe has no agenda, other than to follow our inner self talk and communication. So, living small and in fear becomes a choice when we know the truth of the above wisdom.
Make the choice to update these old habitual patterns and send out a new call through your energy so that you can witness new awareness.
Call to yourself what you want,
instead of what you don’t want.
End the “Story” !
Known as The Artist of Change, Dana Williams is trained in Energy Healing, Certified as a Transpersonal Clinical Hypnotherapist, NLP Practitioner and Advanced EFT Practitioner. Her practice is based in Roberts Creek, on the beautiful Sunshine Coast of BC. She incorporates EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques) with other healing modalities to help her clients shift and transform their lives and uses humour and intuition to move the sessions along easily and gently, to release old stuck patterns, programs and limitations.
Dana’s 2-day workshop, HEAL YOUR MONKEY MIND on April 28th & 29th will help you to look behind THE MONKEY BUSINESS and release your phobias, fears and anxieties.