Yvonne Whitley shares her caregiving journey with her son Charles, as well as some words of wisdom for anyone in a similar situation.READ
Maura Horton, The Care Coach, is a voice of guidance and experience for caregivers and their families. She was her husband’s primary caregiver during his decade-long battle with early onset Parkinson’s disease. While caring for him, Maura pioneered the concept of adaptive clothing that prioritized function and fashion equally. She invented a patented magnetic closure system for clothing and launched MagnaReady®, the world’s first magnetic shirt.
Maura continues to be a driving force of the adaptive movement, working to develop holistically inclusive designs that span tech, wellness, home, beauty, style and more. A spokesperson in the industry, Maura has been quoted in major media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Prevention and Caring.com. She has appeared on major television news networks including CNN, The Today Show, CBS This Morning and Fox News. Maura has also been a guest speaker at the American Parkinson Disease Association’s Magic of Hope Gala, the Davis Phinney Foundation Little Big Things conference, and the White House’s Design For All Showcase.
Caregiving can be riddled with guilt. There can be internal voices in our head that we struggle with daily. Guilt for not being or doing better. Guilt for things we think we could have done or guilt for things we shouldn’t have said. Not every day, every moment or every interaction is perfect, and we all have moments where we would like a redo. It is important not to dwell on it. We will be better the “next time” if we forgive ourselves.
We often take notes or journal about who we are taking care of for reference or to bring to an upcoming doctor visit. We do this to document change, see patterns and or progressions. Why not jot down information on you… the caregiver… How you are feeling? Was it a good day for you, too? Was there something you noticed about yourself? This is extremely helpful so you can also look back and remember how you were feeling during a certain time or situation. You might be pleasantly surprised to see gratitude and love recurring in your notes.
Ask for help! Conversations often go like this, “Please let me know if I can help in any way,” and our responses are often “No thanks” or “I will,” and yet we rarely do! Don’t wait until the ship is sinking to ask for help. Surround yourself with people who want to help, even if it’s just in a small way. Help is cumulative. It all adds up. We, as humans, seem to function better with purpose. Accept someone else’s purpose to help you.
Self-reflection is often hard but so very important in being the best we can be. Take a minute to breathe, gather thoughts and look inward. Take time to value the accomplishments you may have had. Take time to be thankful for a good moment or a laugh. Take time to see how strong you are.
“Comparison is the thief of joy.” Theodore Roosevelt. Try to not compare your journey or day to someone else’s. In caregiving, you will have unique challenges, layered with complicated decisions. What you may choose for you or your loved one will be different than others and that is OK! There isn’t a formula for caregiving. You cannot assume just because something may have worked for someone else, that it will work for you. Find your path.
When game planning your day, week, month or morning, learn to simplify. We have often been taught that the more we do in a day, the better. However, when it comes to caregiving, we need to make things less daunting. Trim the things that wear you down during your day. Simplify your life. If something intimidating lies ahead of you, try to break it down into small steps to achieve your goal. Know that living an uncomplicated life can help make things seem more manageable.
This month, I am recommending two helpful options by authors Nadia Narain and Katia Narain Phillips. Both options are authentic and practical-based solutions for Self-Care and developing healthy habits. I am particular to the sensible sound advice of health from the inside out. You will want to come back to them time and time again!
This gorgeous daily wellness journal is a great way to set your intentions and take note of the things that make you feel good. Filled with pages that reflect on everything from goals and things we are grateful for to water intake and sleep habits, this book helps practice mindfulness, keep the focus on you and guide you during these difficult times.
It’s important to remember that there’s a lot we need to feel grateful for these days. This journal and pen set help you keep track of all these things, whether it’s having a supportive family, a job you love, or something as simple as a beautiful, sunny day. It even includes how to create a gratitude vision board. All the tools you need to feel good and grateful.
Supporting caregivers, the invisible backbone of the healthcare system. This free platform creates, congregates, and coordinates day-to-day to tasks. You create a team, and they handle the details by coordinating practical support, communicating updates and ensuring you are not alone. .DOWNLOAD
Put your intentions out there with this intention capsule. You write down your intention, wish or goal. Place it in the capsule. Wear closely. Available on a chain, as a choker, or bracelets, this small token is a reminder that your goals and wishes are valuable.SHOP