Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Keeping Peace While Caregiving

Episode 21

 

 

Rayna and Aly explore family dynamics and the importance of finding peace in your caring season.

  • Finding your roles are important.
  • Your core values make a difference in how your season goes.
  • Family might not be your team members and that’s OK.
  • Caregivers who have been there done that encourage you to build your team and take care of you too.
  • Take a deep breath when you are finding yourself feeling frantic.
  • Learn to find inner peace your way.
    • mediation
    • go on a walk
    • journal
    • exercise
    • yoga
  • Caregiving has two sides- peacefilled moments and overwhelming emotions.  Learn to flip the coin to the otherwise when you are on the negative side.
  • Identify the core values of your family and team to help you with the mission of caring in a way that is most important to you all.  It will help you stay on the same page and keep the peace.

Core Values and Caregiving Exercise

Download this simple Core Values Exercise to take the first step toward peace in your caring season.

Transcript

*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Rayna Neises: Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living loving and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises your host and Aly Neises, your cohost. And today we’ll expound on the family dynamics in caregiving and finding peace in response to my interview with Bosede Santos. Bosede’s story of caring for her mom was just unique and such a special relationship, between her and her family that I thought today, being able to talk a little bit more about family dynamics would be a good place to start.

Aly Neises: I agree she kind of fell into being the caregiver.  she put everything on hold and just went, which I think that alone is unique. It doesn’t always happen as quickly as I think it did in this situation. I do think part of that is because how dire everything was at the beginning, how terminal they thought she was. So she just dropped everything and went. And I, I love that. That’s such a beautiful thing that not everyone gets to have even if she would have only had those moments, but she got years out of that still, which I think is also very unique. The family dynamics that she has with her siblings and the way that they leaned on each other and just all kind of took care of mom together. It wasn’t just one person.

Rayna Neises: Well, my sister we’re a long-distance apart, but nothing compared to Nigeria to Scotland. So that was a whole different, concept whenever she was saying that her parents were in Nigeria and there were siblings there who obviously cared and wanted to help care for mom and dad in the season. But the doctor and the best treatment for her was in Scotland. And so that was amazing that that worked out that way. And then they also had her brother there in Scotland as well. But I think it is a challenge as we look at families teaming up to figure out what roles work best for each person and how to keep everybody involved and a part of that, you know, I was 220 miles away. my husband and I made that decision for me to drive up there and be present with my dad. My sister was just a couple miles from my dad, but being able to find our roles and being able to work together as a team was so important in our caregiving season.

And it definitely was something that it seemed like with Bosede they really came together and figured out how to support. Obviously close relationships, but as she even said in the interview, they’re raised, this is just what you do. You step up and take care of your parents.

Aly Neises: I believe that a lot of that is you’re exactly right. It’s how you’ve raised the core values that are within you, that you’re taught from a young age, that family wouldn’t have had it any other way. There, I have no doubt in my mind that whatever was going to be thrown at them, that they were going to accomplish it and they were going to do it together. So I love that in your situation, you had your sister as well, and you guys kind of work together to make that dynamic work in the best possible way to take care of your dad. And I don’t think like we’ve talked about this before, is that I believe that if that situation had been any different, number one, he wouldn’t have gotten the care that he needed. Or that he would have been as happy and as healthy and been that way as long as he was, it just, it doesn’t happen. So I think family dynamic when it’s working and it’s doing the things that it should be doing, we feed off each other and we work together to work towards this common goal of walking our parents home. That journey gets easier, but I think it, it also gets more attainable. It’s you’re sharing that load with everybody. It’s not just on your shoulders. And we’ve talked about that before, in her example, we’ve talked about building a team and having these people around to support you in her example, it was her family. Those are the people that supported her. It doesn’t always look like that. You’re going to continue to build that team, whether it’s caregivers or churchgoers or neighbors or friends that become family, you depend on all these other people, but again, you have to do things in order to survive, Bosede talked about how you can’t pour from an empty cup.

You can’t give what you, you don’t have. Things like that things we’ve already talked about before. I just find it so interesting that we frequently are having very similar conversations, but I think it’s because these caregivers have been through very different situations overall, their stories do not look the same. They all have been different, but they all have the same issues and the same insight and the same things that they want to pass forward to others.

Rayna Neises: I agree. And I think that’s, what’s so important for our listeners to really hear that there is this common thread throughout each person’s story and the true way to be able to walk your parent all the way home and not have regrets is to be able to hear what we’re saying and say, okay, if I don’t have a team or I don’t have the family dynamic that I need, I’m going to look for it somewhere else. Or if I’m finding my physical health is being affected by this. I’m going to take a step to do something different. And I hope that that’s what they’re hearing over and over again is that these things, if you do them in the middle of your season, it’s going to make your season one that you won’t be, regretting you won’t feel like you gave up everything and have nothing left. You will be able to look back, at your time of caregiving and appreciate what you gave at the same time have a life to walk back into. And I think that is so important. This is a season there’s going to be sacrifices, but this is only a season and this is a season that is precious and rare. And you will only walk this road one time with your parent. Listening to what caregivers are saying really can make a difference. I also think she said she went at too fast of a pace. She carried too much, even though she had that support of her husband and her brother, she still had a tendency to carry it all on herself. So if you find yourself going at this frantic pace, trying to be everything to everybody, Take that deep breath and move into the next thing, which is finding peace. And that’s what she said would be the thing she would really encourage people to do is to find a way to have that inner peace that they need.

Aly Neises: I love that she had talked about. Looking on the inside of yourself and finding that inner peace, so that you know, that you’re doing the right things. If you’re at peace with the decision, and if you’re at peace with how the situation’s going and, and I’m not talking like a hundred percent of the time, but your core is that this is the right thing. And we are doing right by mom or dad, or I’m doing the right thing. You can find that piece. It makes that journey even easier to walk. I think when you have this, this drive, this kind of compass, that’s pointing you in the right direction. Otherwise, I think it’s easy to be burnt out. I think it’s easy to lose sight of the end goal. I think it’s really easy to just want to give up, especially when the days are hard. Because those days do come, we all know that. So to be able to look on the inside and see that inner peace, I think is a beautiful thing. Bosede talked a lot about her inner peace is found with God. and I think that’s a great avenue for a lot of people. I do think sometimes that finding our inner peace has to be a journey as well. It’s not something that I think you just wake up one day and you’re like, Oh, today I feel really peaceful. And this is just how it’s going to go. It’s a journey. And so in order to go on that journey, sometimes you have to do some growing and drudging through to get to that point.

So some ways that you could find inner peace are meditation, just finding a calm spot to sit and think and process going for a walk. I live in the country. We go on a walk every night. It’s my time. Like I just process all of the things I did that day. It’s my time to let things go. Kind of have some conversations in my head, processing, and then we move forward and I feel better. I know journaling is very effective for a lot of people. I have stacks of journals that I’ve written, trying to process through things that I’ve gone through in my own life. Things like even exercise or yoga or simple things like that can kind of help you find that inner peace, but you have to be able to find your own way and find your journey and figure out how you’re going to get to that point.

Rayna Neises: It’s important to realize too, that just because you found it in one moment like you said, you weren’t going to have it every moment and finding that place in which you know how to come back to that centering, you know how to come back to the place of peace when you’ve been thrown off track because there’s times that you will lose it. There’s times that emotions are going to overcome. We’ve talked about those emotions, that anticipatory grief, truly, that grieving of your loved one and what they once were. All of those things. Are going to happen. And in the midst of it, I often refer to it, it’s like a two-sided coin. We have the good side and we have the bad side and we have to acknowledge both of those. But when we’re in the moment of discomfort, frustration, whatever negative emotions, finding how to flip that coin back over to the peaceful side. What works for you? Like you said, is so important to identify, and then also to feel the stress and to know when you’re have the coin flipped so that you can take the step that you need to take to flip it back over and not allow yourself to stay in the negative place for too long. Anxiety, all of those things are typical in the process of caring for someone you love of saying along goodbye is hard. And so they’re normal, but staying in those places, not moving through it, processing through it is where you get yourself into trouble. So I think if you can visually think of how do I flip my coin?

How do I find peace? How do I do this? What works for me and being faithful to do that. Like you said, if you do it daily, you definitely live in peace longer, but sometimes, as a caregiver, life is just really busy, and stopping to flip the coin is not something you always think of. So I’m just encouraging you as caregivers to really seek out what it is that will help you to move back to that place of peace.

Aly Neises: One thing we’ve always talked about is that it doesn’t have to be big chunks of time either. You know, being able to maybe find multiple ways to find your inner peace is going to be more healthy for you and more helpful, I only have. Five minutes before dad needs to take his meds and we go do the next activity. So during these five minutes, I’m going to sit my coffee and sit in silence, or I’m going to read a couple pages of my book or whatever, being able to find multiple ways to try to find some peace throughout your day is going to help you tolerate and endure some of those really hard times, because like we’ve said, They’re going to come. Unfortunately, that’s just part of the process. So I think sometimes we go through those hard times to make the sweet times even just a little bit sweeter so we can enjoy them just a little bit more because when they start coming less than less, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and burnt out and lose sight of the end goal.

Rayna Neises: Yeah, I think identifying those core values as a really key piece and to come back to family with the core values, I think is also a part of what’s important is pretty much your core values are almost as individual as you are. As far as your set of core values, you probably have a common core value, one or two, if not more with your family members.

So I think sometimes getting on that same page with what that core value gives you that mission gives you that direction. Like I said, the mantra that I used was happy and healthy does this make dad happier, healthy, happy, and healthy. And so just putting everything through that lens, it’s kind of, those were the core values for us in that season. So knowing your personal core values gives you the endurance and the focus to care and to make the journey all the way, but identifying core values that you and your family members can come around can also give you more strength. And working together to continue to move forward to the ultimate goal.

Aly Neises: I believe that to find. Those commonalities within your team is gonna give you the inertia and the endurance to be able to handle it. I think we tend to attract people. That are common to us, even that have similar values and thought processes and things like that. Those are the people we tend to surround ourselves with. So even if you don’t have those family members, when you look for your team members, these people that are going to be with you throughout this journey, you’re going to still look for those people that have the similar core values that you are.

But they’re also going to look to you probably as the family member to be that compass, to direct them in the right way, to show them what things that are important to you. So that they’re also important to them. I think that’s sometimes we lose sight of that as well.

Rayna Neises: And I would encourage you listeners as a caregiver if you’re bringing help in not just family, but anybody lay out those things to them, explain to them why this is so important to you. Our family had a legacy of caregiving because my dad cared for my mom. One of the things I shared with the caregivers that came in is here’s a picture of my mom. My mom had Alzheimer’s for 12 years. My dad had her in the home right here with him. He had some support, but he took it on, he embraced that role and took care of her the best that he could all the way to the end. And this is what we’re doing for him. This is what our family does, and we’re inviting you to be a part of that, but this is what we do. I think it really did lay it out there and say, come be a part of this mission. And here’s the mission it’s to keep him happy and healthy it’s to provide for him the care that he was able to provide for my mom. I think there was a lot of strength in that.

Aly Neises: I agree.  I believe that when you are laying that groundwork, it’s going to be easier to be like, Hi, remember, this is our goal is come back, cause sometimes people near off, we get distracted, we get bogged down, we got other things going on. So if we can, if from the beginning, we’ve already laid that groundwork so that everyone understands what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I think it’s easier to bring people well back to that as well.

Rayna Neises: And part of that, I think coming back into your core value is also then winging back to piece is part of what we were looking for with people that helped to bring peace. So especially in disease, like my dad’s there’s so much confusion. There’s so much frustration as the brain is shrinking and they’re not able to process and they’re not able to make sense of everything.

So helping him find peace, finding the ways that worked for him to recenter him and to help him feel safe and taken care of was important. So it was important for us as caregivers, as a team to talk about what’s working in that way and share those things with each other, as well as to be able to say this is important that we have a peaceful environment that there’s not chaos because the chaos doesn’t work well for him. I think it’s interesting how those things kind of work together, how important it is to have the ability to find your own inner peace and to also then offer that to the person that you’re caring for in aiding them to find their inner peace too.

Aly Neises: Helping the person you’re caring for they’re the reason why we’re here. They’re the important piece it all kind of surrounds them and how they are doing, things like the environment and the people you surround them with, and all of that contributes to their own peace. And we want that journey for them as peaceful as it has been for us. Like they’re going through this stuff too. So if we can help them make that as easy as possible to walk them all the way home, for this season, then that’s what we want to do. I think that’s what we all want to do its why we’re here. So.

Rayna Neises: And communication keeps coming to mind. As we talk about that, not only the dynamics within the family or within the team, communication has to be a crucial and part of that as well as with the person that you’re caring for they’re experiencing this journey differently than I am because I’m looking at what I’m losing, they’re losing it, you know?

So it’s being able to have that open communication so they can tell you what they need to have peace in this journey. Each person on the team as well, this is what I need. This is what I’m missing. This is. This would really help me, you know, those kinds of things that can bring us back to a place where we’re all at peace, which would be the ultimate goal, but definitely focusing on the person you’re caring for I think sometimes it’s easy to lose that focus of what they need emotionally, physically, we have a tendency to see that a lot easier, but emotionally, how do we support them and help them have as peaceful of a journey as possible?

Aly Neises: So if this has kind of started you thinking about what you need to do to find your own inner peace, and have you ever thought about what is important to you? Your core values, not only as a person but as a caregiver, if you need some help working through some of that, you can go to the website and there’ll be a free download and fill it out and kind of work through some of that. Maybe even that activity will help you find some peace but that’s all we want for you guys is to be able to. Figure out how to find peace so you can continue this journey so you can walk your parents all the way home.

Rayna Neises: Thanks Aly, for having this deeper conversation about, I think some of the most important keys to a successful caregiving season, and that is being able to have the communication that you need to keep the relationships in the family, as well as in your team, in a healthy place so that whenever your loved one is no longer here, you still have relationship with those that you love. And being able to find your own inner peace, which is such a key to just successfully making it through caregiving is a hard, hard journey. But when you have peace, it can be so worth it. And we just want to encourage you, listeners, to find what you need to do that. We hope that you’ve enjoyed hearing more about this today, and definitely visit our website at ASeasonofCaring.com/ podcast to be able to get your free download, to explore your core values today.

And just to a reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have medical, financial, and legal questions, please contact your local professionals and take heart in your season of caring.

Thanks for joining us and we look forward to seeing you next time!

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Meet Your Hosts

Rayna Neises, ACC

Your Host

An ICF Certified Coach, Pod-caster, Author & Speaker, offers encouragement, support and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.

Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected.

Rayna Neises & Aly Neises

Aly Neises, RN

Your Co-Host

A registered  nurse, has worked in healthcare for over ten years. Currently she is a case manager for hospice taking care of terminally ill patients and their families.

Her passion is to help and care for others.

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4 Things you need to know as you begin your season of caring

4 Things you need to know as you begin your season of caring

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