By Sally Abrahms
When is the last time you were asked, “What can I do to make your life easier?” Maybe never? That is about to change.
Our new blog is designed to do just that: make your life easier. That might be saving you time by steering you to fabulous resources or saving your sanity by validating your feelings about what you're going through.
If you're a family caregiver, you're likely to be overwhelmed, stressed, and time-starved. You need information right now. You may be caring for a spouse, parent or (here's where it gets even more stressful) even an in-law and a parent in separate states, or two needy divorced parents. Or, parents and step-parents.
We might be a technology company, but we are also adult children, wives, spouses, daughters- and sons-in-law, relatives, friends, and neighbors who are touched by the same issues you are. We also wonder: is it normal to feel the way I do? Am I being selfish? Why do I feel guilty so much? Will this ever end? What about me? We promise to explore these thoughts.
Of course, there are rewarding things about family caregiving. (Do we really need to tell you what they are?) What we don't have to tell you is that your role also brings mind-boggling strain.
Smart, easy to use technology is one way to ease that strain. It can't take away your pain, but it can reduce stress, solve safety and peace- of-mind problems, and offer both you and your loved one more independence and freedom. Yet technology is just one tool to make a caregiver's life easier.
You also need other kinds of knowledge we will provide. For instance, there are cool, nationwide creative arts initiatives-- dancing, acting, storytelling, playwriting, music, and painting with top-notch professionals--for those with Alzheimer's and their caregivers as well as for boomers and seniors with no dementia. These programs can enrich your life, keep you socially connected, and be fun. But you have to know that they exist and how to find them in your area.
We'll tell you about the best websites and apps for family members to share information with one another, from a parent's weekly schedule to medical updates to observations or suggestions, and help requests.
We'll speak with experts and family caregivers like you (maybe you!), and distill their sage advice and experience. And, we'll get you ready for those icky but essential talks with your loved one about money, moving, driving, paid help, and other hot button issues. No need to scramble around the web or make multiple phone calls to find what you need. It's here.
It's true that we can't anticipate every ever-changing situation or predict or dictate the course of illness and aging. We can't change the fact that we live 2,000 miles from Mom or that our husband is 20 years older. We can rarely avoid sibling dynamics around aging parents (Oh brother, it's complicated!).
But. . .with the right information, sources, and strategies, you'll be a savvier, more effective, and—important!--self-compassionate, caregiver. You will be in control of what you can control.
In the coming months we will be exploring a range of topics that will thoughtfully speak to this stage of your life. We'd love input. What are your biggest caregiver challenges? What has been a godsend? What drives you mad? Virtual venting is healthy, but we are looking for insight, too. What have you found that works, doesn't work or outright inflames a situation?
We need to know what you want to see on this blog and what would make it valuable to you. Let's collaborate and connect, so that when someone asks, “What can I do to make your life easier?” you'll have ready answers. Naturally they will include steering them to this site!
We want to have a conversation with you. Let's have that conversation. So, what is it that will make your life easier?
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