Saturday, October 9, 2010


Many of you know that Martha (MM) and myself have both been embroiled in care taking situations for loved ones for quite some time now.  We do it out of love and a bit of obligation, but we do it well with compassion, patience and tolerance.  To say that it is stressful is the WORLD'S GREATEST UNDERSTATEMENT

Most evenings we spend a few minutes emailing back and forth commiserating over the days troubles and surprises.  Often it makes us chuckle and laugh which by my standards is soooooooooooooo necessary to help US with the stress.  For me, just knowing that my friend knows what I'm going through relieves a lot of stress and reminds me that there is always tomorrow.  We're both Virgos and about the same age so there are enough similarities that I honestly believe we think alike.  I know I sometimes receive an email just after I have hit send on one to her which is a relief as I know we were in the same "place" at the same time.  Many times we could have even written each other's emails because our days were so similar.

These days the difference comes because I am now helping to care for an aunt who has been placed in a care home while I'm also caring for her husband in their home who had triple bypass surgery and Martha is caring for her mother in her mother's home while taking care of her family in her own home.  We are both basically caring for 2 homes, but I can walk away from my aunt at the end of the day and know that there are at least 2 caregivers on staff for the night in the event my aunt needs help.  This should bring relief. Instead it brings grief.  Many times MUCH grief.  

We have all heard about the horror stories in the news of abuse by caregivers to the elderly and infirm.  For every story we have heard I guarantee you there are a hundred times more stories we haven't heard.  My aunt has been complaining for some time about the manager of the house she lives in as well as one of the nighttime aides.  Many times we were inclined to believe much of it to be exaggeration. There are so many examples to choose from, but right now many of those cannot be spoken of while resolutions are pending. 

Most of the residents of the home are there through guardianship and don't have many visitors and while I have no actual proof, I believe that the "manager" (and boy do I use that term loosely) does not like family around because she can't do things her way and in her time.  She's loud, rude and downright mean.  She treats family members like they work for her and demands "respect" in "her facility".  Yep, you heard me right!  This though is yet another story.

The man that owns the house is going through financial difficulties and has cut back on many things, one of which is the cook.  The manager of the house is now doing all the cooking (well supposedly, but that's another story). She cooks by her terms "Louisiana style".  From what I can tell, "Louisiana" style is a euphemism for lazy. The food is now being served with all the bones and gristle.  My aunt is sight impaired and has severe dyskinesia, involuntary muscle movements, that makes her dexterity difficult.  She cannot cut meat from a bone or detect it in a bowl of soup or stew. There is a serious choking hazard here. Personally I see not removing the bones before serving it to patients as pure laziness and neglect.

Martha and I  of all people do understand how difficult this type of work can be physically and emotionally.  But, I personally believe that anyone entering a paid position caring for patients should have a patience and tolerance that is reflected by their words and actions as well as the necessary knowledge of the disease(s) to understand the nature of the symptoms and side affects.  If they cannot offer any one of those criteria then perhaps they should be looking for different work.  If they cannot or will not follow the prescribed protocol for caring for patients as I suspect is the case in certain instances with my aunt (i.e. removing her night time meds without consulting the Dr.) then they should not be in this position either.   

I know my horror stories have left Martha feeling a little queasy about getting her mother into an assisted living situation.  But the moral, yes there is a moral! is that the family needs to stay involved, ask questions and not be afraid to follow through with governing agencies as we are doing now concerning my aunt and her care.

The biggest moral is that the caretaker MUST take care of themselves or they are of no good to anyone! The caretaker being stressed only creates stress in the patient that becomes a vicious cycle.
Now for something fun.  The holidays are coming much faster than many of us would like so I offer you this easy and fun recipe that will thrill the kids for Christmas.

Now for something fun.  The holidays are coming much faster than many of us would like so I offer you this easy and fun recipe that will thrill the kids for Christmas.

My great aunt who I only got to see a couple times a year used to make these every year special for me and I would wait out on the front steps for her to arrive just to see them and know they were there. Oh and her too! She always made them soooooooooo pretty and perfect!
(these are better when they are made a few days ahead)
30 large marshmallows (or 1 jar marshmallow cream)
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 teaspoon green food color
3 1/2 cups cornflakes
Red Hots
  • Combine marshmallows, butter, vanilla and food color in top of double boiler. Heat and stir frequently until well blended.
  • Gradually stir in cornflakes until well blended.
  • Drop onto wax paper and arrange into wreath shapes. I plop them onto the wax paper and then push out from the center to form the wreaths.
  • Decorate with red hots.
  • Let cool.
  • If your house is warm - chill in refrigerator until set.

1 comment:

  1. I'm definitely going to have to add your Wonderful Blog to my Favorites List on my Blog now, as I peruse your Archives I've found so much to Delight and to Inspire. I am a Caregiver... helped look after aging Parents for many years {Dad now deceased, Mom now in Hospice in another State with my Brother checking in on her}... and currently for my Disabled Husband who has Traumatic Brain Injury, and two Special Needs Grandkids who we've had since birth {Kinship placement} but I Adopted in Nov. of last year. Yes, taking care of the Caregiver can be one of the hardest parts... and connecting with other Caregivers is vital so that one does not feel so Alone in the usual challenges and wide range of emotions one feels when you're the one being relied upon by vulnerable Loved Ones. Blessings from the Arizona Desert... Dawn... The Bohemian


Thanks for stopping by. Please leave your ingredients for this recipe we call life!