15 Ways to Stay Sane While Caring For an Elderly Parent

I’ve been caring for my 96 year old mother for several years now so this is a subject that is very close to my heart and one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.  I recently ran across this excellent article on Huffington Post from a few years ago that I wanted to share with any of our readers who may be dealing with the ups and downs of being the primary caretaker of an elderly parent.  I have personally experienced almost every point that the author makes and I would have appreciated knowing a lot of these suggestions in the beginning of my journey.
Unless you go through it you will never understand how really difficult it is to take on the role of caretaker and how important it is to have support.  I am very blessed that I have an awesome and helpful husband who loves my mother almost as much as I do and steps up when I need him to.  I also have a couple of very sweet sons who embraced having their Nanny in our home since they were small.  They’re grown now and I think that having her with us so much of the time has contributed to their great sense of family and the responsibility of honoring and caring for family members.  The overwhelming pressure is always there that I am ultimately the person who’s responsible for her care and medical issues.  My mother recently fell and broke her leg and the constant care has been very overwhelming.  I feel like at times that I am drowning in the responsibility of taking care of another person who is getting weaker and weaker and the help I’m receiving is getting less and less.
One of the most emotionally complex and difficult things a person can experience is taking care of an elderly parent. I recently spent time tending to my aging, widowed father, and thought I’d pass along these 15 points, each of which I found to be significantly helpful during this phase of my own life.Accept that things have changed. When a parent starts in any way depending upon their child, a world has turned upside down. Be prepared for that radically new paradigm. Old roles may not apply; old methodologies may not apply; old emotions may not apply. Be prepared to work from — and write — a whole new script.
  1. Accept that things have changed. When a parent starts in any way depending upon their child, a world has turned upside down. Be prepared for that radically new paradigm. Old roles may not apply; old methodologies may not apply; old emotions may not apply. Be prepared to work from — and write — a whole new script.
  • Take it slowly. Taking care of an elderly parent is generally a marathon, not a sprint. Don’t rush it. You and they both are in uncharted territory. Let the process reveal itself to you; to the degree that you can, let whatever happens unfold organically. As much as you lead what’s happening, follow it.
  • Expect nothing emotionally. At the end phase of their life, your parent might open up to you emotionally and spiritually; they might express for you the love that, for whatever reason, they haven’t before. But they also might not do that; your parent might even more tenaciously cling to their crazy. If as you care for your aging parent you bond with them in a new and deeper way, of course that’s fantastic. But going into caring for them expecting or even hoping for that to happen is to wade into dangerous waters. Better to have no expectations and be surprised, than to have your hopes dashed.
  •  Expect their anger. When you start taking care of your parent, they lose the one thing they’ve always had in relationship to you: authority. That’s not going to be easy for them to give up. Expect them, in one way or another, to lash out about that loss.
  • Give them their autonomy. Insofar as you can, offer your parent options instead of orders. It’s important for them to continue to feel as if they, and not you, are running their lives. Let them decide everything they can about their own care and situation.
  •  Ask their advice. A great way to show your parent love and respect — and, especially, to affirm for them that they are still of true value to you — is to sincerely ask them for advice about something going on in your life.
  • Separate their emotional dysfunction from their cognitive dysfunction. Insofar as you can, through your conversations and interactions with your parent, learn to distinguish between their emotional and cognitive dysfunction. The patterns of your parent’s emotional dysfunctions will probably be familiar to you; those, you’ll know how to deal with. But their cognitive dysfunction will probably be new to you. Track it; react to it gingerly; discuss it with your parent’s health care providers. Mostly, just be aware that it’s new, and so demands a new kind of response. This is a part of the process where it’s good to remember point No. 2.
  • Love your health care providers. During this phase of your life, you don’t have better friends than those helping you care for your parent. Cleaning person, social worker, physical therapist, nurse, doctor, caring neighbor — treat well each and every person who plays any role whatsoever in caring for your parent. When they think of your parent, you want everyone involved in their care to have good, positive thoughts; you want them to want to care well for your mom or dad. Steady kindness, and little gifts here and there, can go a long way toward ensuring that’s how they feel.
  • Depend upon your spouse. You may find that your parent is more comfortable relating to your spouse than to you. Though that can certainly hurt your feelings, don’t let it. It’s simply because your parent doesn’t share with your spouse all the baggage they do with you; mainly, they’ve never been the dominate force in your spouse’s life. Your spouse and your parent are peers to a degree that you and your parent can never be. Let that work for you. Depend upon your spouse to be as instrumental in the care of your parent as he or she wants to be.
  • Protect your buttons. No one in this world knows your emotional buttons like your mom or dad does. Surround those buttons with titanium cases and lock them away where your parent couldn’t find them with a Rorschach test. Unless he or she is an extraordinarily loving and mature person, your parent is bound to at least once try to push your buttons, if only to establish their erstwhile dominance over you. Don’t let them do it. You might owe them your care, but you don’t owe them your emotional well-being. With your parent, let “No buttons for you!” be your motto.
  • Prepare for sibling insanity. Expect the worst from your sibling(s). For perfectly understandable reasons, many people go positively bonkers when their parents start to die. Money, childhood mementos, furniture and possessions from the family house, money, diversified assets, money, the will… you get the idea. Prepare for the coming crazy. Do not participate in it yourself. Insofar as you must, of course protect yourself. But no amount of money on earth is worth your dignity.
  • Take care of yourself . It’s so easy to surrender to the care of your aging parent more of your life than you should. But you serve well neither yourself nor them if you fail to take walks; to stretch out; to eat right; to make sure you spend quality time away from them. Make taking time to rejuvenate yourself as critical a part of your care routine for your parent as you do cooking their meals or making sure they take their meds. Your life still needs to be about you.
  • Talk to a friend. If you have a friend with whom you can regularly meet and talk, or even chat with on the phone, do it. During this time the input and love of a friend is invaluable to you. Sharing what you’re going through with someone not immediately involved with it can be like a life preserver when you’re bobbing in the ocean. As soon as you get involved with tending to your parent, call your best friend, and tell them that you’re going to be depending upon them to do what friends do best: care, and listen.
  • Have fun. One of the things we most need in life is the one thing we most readily jettison once we begin caring for an elderly parent: fun. Fun! Have some! Have lots! Rent a Marx Brothers movie. Wear a goofy hat. Make your parent wear a goofy hat — when they’re sleeping, maybe. Whatever it takes. But remember: A day without fun is like a day where you almost go to jail for pushing your old mom or dad down a stairwell. Whenever, wherever and however you can, truly enjoy.
  • Pray or meditate. Life doesn’t offer a lot more emotionally salient or complex than caring for an aging parent. Accordingly, then, open yourself up to God, whatever that might mean to you. Be sure to with some regularly get down on your knees, or sit comfortably in a quiet place; close your eyes; breathe deeply and slowly; and wait to come over you the peace that surpasses understanding. What you’re undergoing with your parent right now is bigger than you, your parent, or anyone else involved.  Do not fail to avail yourself of the great and mighty source from whose perspective it has all, already, been resolved..
I know that I am truly blessed to have my 96 year old mother still  here with us and I try to appreciate every moment.  I know that she doesn’t like growing old and being dependent on her children so I try to take every day one day at a time and not worry about the future and what it looks like but I admit the days are getting longer and harder every day.  I can only do my best because that’s all I can do and I may need to ask for more help very soon – I’m almost there.  Because after all I may be dependent on my children someday and I hope they can do their best for me.

It’s Not Too Soon for Great Holiday Gift Ideas!

I know it’s a little early to shop for the Holidays but is it ever really too early to get some great ideas?  I have a few products that are perfect for people on your list.  Like that guy in your life that’s hard to shop for, the sister or bestie who loves jewelry and even that relative who is totally into health and fitness.  Another great thing about these products is that you can find on them all on online!

Let’s start with Delicora Jewelry because everyone in my family loves jewelry including me and this line is just lovely. Delicora jewelry is uniquely lightweight and has a delicate and simplistic style. Every collection in this line is made using hypoallergenic 14k gold filled and sterling silver materials for even sensitive skin to enjoy. The collection includes a wide range of semi-precious stones intended to capture a woman’s confidence, natural beauty and individual style. I love this about the company too – Delicora prides itself on its charitable DNA and for every piece sold, 20 meals are donated to fighting hunger through Feeding America.  They also just launched their Fall collection!  Check out this darling set of earrings that are perfect for that person who likes classic but understated jewelry.

Pricing is very affordable and runs from $25 – $100 and up to $150 for some sets.  To order go to their website at:  Delicora where you can get a 15% discount on your first order for signing up to get on their email list.

Geekey
My husband is a pretty handy guy so when he saw this product he basically geeked out about this go-to-tool!   He immediately put it on his key chain in anticipation that it will be a great thing to have the next time he doesn’t have his huge tool box with him.  The Geekey has so many uses but is super small – the size and shape of a house key! Incredibly Geekey has 16+ tool functions in the palm of your hand. Crafted out of 420 Stainless Steel, it takes on big and “tough as nails” jobs, yet measures in millimeters and remains lightweight.  This is a really great gift idea for your husband, boyfriend, or dad.  The Geekey is available on Amazon and runs about $26.99 but if you have Prime it’s only $20.69 right now!

 

Hudson and James

This line of products includes clean collagen, supplements, and skin care.  The collagen comes in two different flavors, chocolate, pink lemonade and unflavored.  Our sample was the chocolate flavor and I have to say it’s really delicious.  It is very flavorful with no after taste and melts very well in my coffee every morning. You can drink it in water as well.  I really like the fact that it’s collagen and protein in one product and can get the benefits of both in one drink.  There are so many benefits to gain from adding collagen to our everyday regime such as improving skin, hair, nails, bones, and joints not to mention it supports gut health.

Hudson and James also has a line of supplements that I would love to try and includes Vitamins A-D-K and something really intriguing called Daily Zen.  Daily Zen is a special Ayurvedic formula that includes 17 curated botanical, adaptogen, and herbal properties that delivers an abundance of antioxidants that help support health and longevity.

The Hudson and James  beauty line is also vegan and cruelty-free.  The skin care line is free from aging carcinogens, toxins, synthetic color, fragrance, glycols, DEA, TEA, parabens, paraffin, nitrosamine releasers, and lauryl sulfates.  Many of the ingredients are sourced from sustainable farms or co-ops to help provide fair wages and valuable income to support women, families, and entire communities. We believe in quality over quantity, which translates to no mass-produced ingredients.  Any product from this line will be perfect for your health conscious gift recipient. Go to their website at: Hudson and James

So as you’re starting to think about the holidays check out these fun and thoughtful gifts.  They’re also available to order online so even better!!  Happy shopping and stay safe!

 

Support Small Businesses and Shop These Great Finds!

Looking for a birthday, baby or graduation gift?  I have found some perfect places for you to shop and they’re all on line! During these tough times it’s important that we support small businesses who may be struggling.  A lot of us are relying on popular e-commerce sites to do our shopping but because these sites are much more popular we have found that the ship dates are much longer than we are used to.  The list below are small businesses that offer unique gifts, are well stocked and ready to ship to you right away!

The Short Years – Baby Book and App that is a gift new moms will cherish for a lifetime! The app easily allows busy moms to create (and actually finish) a beautiful baby book in just five minutes per week.

Hudson Candles – luxury candles that are made with all-natural coconut blend, essential oils sourced from France, and metal-free wicks. The letterpress labeling and packaging give it a sleek, elegant, and clean look.

ACouplePuns – delivers sweet messages accompanied by disarmingly darling drawings on superb card stock that is scored, folded and packaged by hand.

DefineMe – vegan, cruelty-free and eco-friendly line of fragrances looking to empower. They launched its scented, moisturizing hand sanitizer spray DefineMe HANDS a few short weeks ago.

ella+mila – highly sought after brand of cruelty-free, vegan nail polish line that offers over 140 color shades to date! In addition to being chip-resistant, quick-dry and high-shine, ella+mila nail colors are classified as a seven chemical-free product.

Eat Like a Woman –  line of shakes, bars, and cookies that are organic, plant-based, and gluten-free. Clean nutrition specifically for women.  Did you know that women have different digestive needs than men and develop heart disease differently than men?  This is very timely information to have with the pounds some of us have put on during the Pandemic or need to know so that we can learn to eat and live more healthy as women.  I’ve tried the bars and they are really delicious!  I will be ordering more!

Eila Chérie – quality and luxury shouldn’t be compromised due to the price tag. This price inclusive line of handbags, sunglasses, and watches are designed with modern looks and are thoughtfully crafted, using only premium materials.  The companies catch phrase is “Live the champagne lifestyle on a lemonade budget”.  Love this because their products are really expensive looking but don’t have an expensive price tag.  The Olivia watch is comfortable to wear, has a sharp and clean design with a very cool marble watch face.  The small gold heart shaped earrings with etched logo comes in a black velvet box and really cute packaging.  This makes it a perfect graduation or birthday gift for that special lady in your life!

Sonoma Wool Company – on a mission to help you rediscover the wonders of wool. Collection of home goods, from luxurious bedding to long-lasting Dish Drying Mat.    Did you know that untreated wool is naturally water resistant?  The design of the Dish Drying Mat is attractive and allows you to store easily store it.  Your friend or mom will love this very unique and useful gift!

Takobia – with over 300 designs of earrings, necklaces, and bracelets, the wholesale brand adds simple elegance with a touch of modern flair to your attire.

 

So as you’re trying to find that perfect gift to order online (because that’s how we’re shopping these days) check out these small  businesses first!  Happy shopping and stay safe!

 

Arcopedico are The Coolest Shoes Ever!

 

 

 

 

 

What a great find these shoes are!  If you’re like me, I’m ALWAYS looking for a shoe that’s comfortable and cool but cute too!  Arcopedico Shoes have all three “must have’s” – they are cool, comfy, and cute!  Who would think they would be cool in the summer too but they are!  At last I have found a great option for myself and all of you comfort shoe seekers out there!

Real Posh Mom Review:

Arcopedico shoes are handmade in Portugal and have been around for quite a while (since 1969) but they have been consistently adding different styles and features to their product line.  I was recently asked to partner with the company and received a sample several weeks ago to try out.  I have to admit that I was skeptical at first because I am a sandal wearing girl in the summer.  As I get older if my feet get tired and achy I am not a happy camper, I become a bit of a grouch you might say.  But I’ve been wearing the sample of Arcopedico’s Sec V shoes this summer and I have to say they are VERY comfortable and your feet REALLY do stay cool during the summer!   I NEVER wear tennis shoes in the summer because my feet get so hot and sweaty but the shoes’ nylon knit fabric is so breathable and stretchy that it didn’t bother me at all and my feet do not get sweaty at all!  They are super easy to get on and off and will be great when I’m on vacation and going through airports and security.  Arcopedico‘s Sec V shoes are very lightweight (they only weigh 7 ounces) and almost feel like you are not wearing shoes at all.  I am very pleased with how well this shoe performs throughout a day of running errands, going to lunch dates, and doing chores around the house and pool/yard.   I don’t have much of an arch in my feet and the shoes gave me great support and the soles are not slippery at all.  These shoes are absolutely perfect for traveling and miles and miles of sightseeing!

 

About this Fabulous Shoe:

This particular style of Arcopedico ( Sec V) is the original style from the 60’s and is still their top selling style.   This shoe is in the “Knit” line and features a blend of techno elastic technology with the use of a special knitted nylon fibers that provides a controlled freedom of your foot shape.  The shoe is lined with a soft interior for barefoot wear and a built-in SanSmell technology to promote an antibacterial environment.  The shoe also has an updated removable foot bed and features a patented twin arch support system that distributes weight over the entire plantar surface which helps keep your feet nice and dry and not tired. The shoe has a sporty grip sole and was nicknamed “Shocks” for the shoe like durability but with a sock like feel.

I chose black for my pair of Arcopedico‘s (because I wear so much black) but they come in a variety of colors and really cute patterns! They are incredibly comfortable and come in a variety of great styles and designs – they even have some really cute sandals and boots!   I will definitely be purchasing another pair to take on my anniversary trip this fall!

Other Wonderful Features:

  • Variety of fun (and classic!) colors and patterns
  • Nylon knit upper provides controlled freedom and promotes healthy circulation
  • Water resistant
  • Washable
  • Certified biodegradable, which makes them highly sustainable and earth-friendly – including the packing!

Where to Find These Amazing Shoes:

Arcopedico Shoes are available at a variety of shoe retailers throughout the US and on line through Amazon, Zappos, etc.

Go to their website to find out more at:  https://arcopedicousa.com/  You can see all of their products and stay up to date on new styles and sales!

 

 

Last Minute Mother’s Day Idea! Sips by® Monthly Tea Subsciption

Okay it’s almost Mother’s Day and you still can’t think of anything to get your mother right?  I have the perfect last minute but fabulous gift idea for you!  Give her the new monthly subscription service Sips by™— that delivers a fully curated box of new and intriguing teas straight to her door!

About Sips by™     
Sips by is a new monthly, personalized and multi-brand tea subscription service that matches you with a tea expert who learns your tastes and sends you 4 unique teas to try each month.  It’s an Austin-based startup founded by a small group of tea lovers who want discovering tea to be fun, personalized, and affordable.  Each box is truly unique to your preferences!

Reasons to fall in love with Sips by™:
• Each month is completely customized, featuring 4 teas (15+ scintillating cups)  uniquely selected for you and your profile.
• Discover 100+ artisan brands from around the world.
• You can choose from both herbal or caffeinated options.
• Expand your palette with unique flavors and blends.
• Receive exclusive offers and coupons.
• Great for gifting the tea novice or afficionado for those special days like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthdays, Valentine’s, and Christmas!
• Vegan options available.
• Affordable monthly service at only $15 each month.

Every month your mother will think of you when her personalized Sips by™ box of teas arrives!  Your gift will continually be enjoyed by her as she relaxes and savors her teas and she will be reminded how much you love her!

Boxes are just $15 a month and can be gifted in 3, 6, or 12 month packages AND there is a 10% discount on your first box when you sign up!

Visit www.sipsby.com to learn more and to sign up for your own taste bud adventure.