I was thrust into caregiving when my son was in a tragic accident but soon found that there's a whole world of "us" out there! Many times we find ourselves alone. Even the church can disappear quickly and good friends distance themselves because our world has changed. But God does not change with circumstance. My faith is what has carried me through and these devotions will hopefully help us all make one more day - encouraged in Him.
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For Long-Distance Caretakers, Neighbors Can Be a Lifeline to Loved Ones in Need
Are you providing care for a senior loved one who lives in a different city or state? When you’re a long distance caretaker, it can be stressful not knowing whether your loved one is safe when you’re away. But if your loved one has a network of neighbors and friends to help you out, it can make life a little easier for you both. Here are some ways you can get to know these neighbors when you live out of town:
Send an Introduction Card
If you want to get to know your loved one’s neighbors, a simple card or handwritten note can be a warm way of introducing yourself. People love getting cards and positive pieces of mail. You can provide your contact information and some information about your loved one in the card, if you feel comfortable doing so. For neighbors that have already proven themselves to be helpful to your loved one, consider sending a thank you note or a little gift card to show your gratitude for their assistance. Don’t forget to keep these people on your mailing lists for holidays to further build a warm, caring connection.
Find an Organization to Help
When you don’t live nearby, it can be really tricky to try and get to know your loved one’s neighbors. Luckily, there are local organizations that can help you and your loved one make these important connections. In Denver, organizations such as A Little Help, are connecting seniors to neighbors who can offer assistance, friendship and caring when they need it most. These programs also reach out to younger generations, connecting seniors to high schoolers and middle schoolers who can assist their elderly neighbors with tasks around the home. You can do a quick web search to see if there is a similar program in your loved one’s area.
Make Some Phone Calls
If you can get contact information, why not give your loved one’s neighbors a call to introduce yourself? You can let their neighbors know that you are available if needed and ask them for resources that could help your loved in the area. Even if you don’t make an intro phone call, having the contact information for people living near your loved one is a smart move. You never know when you may need to reach out to get help checking in on your loved one or helping them with a difficult task. You can also keep a list of emergency numbers in case you need to help your loved one from afar.
Use Social Media
It’s easier than ever to connect with family and friends with the growing popularity of social media. You can connect with the neighbors of your loved one through social media to make contacting them an easy task. There are even social media sites dedicated to specific neighborhoods. Sites including NextDoor are specifically tailored to encourage communication between neighbors and neighborhoods. Once you’re logged in, you can even look up people on a map to see who lives around your loved one. There are benefits of social media for seniors as well, so connect your loved one, too.
Say “Hello” During Visits
Being the primary caretaker for your senior family member most likely means a couple of visits from time to time. When you’re in town, try to make some time to get to know the neighbors in person. Pick up some baked goods or bottles of wine and make some house calls to say “hello” and connect with people living in the area. Or, if your loved one feels up to it, host a little house party for the neighbors. All you need is a couple of hours of conversation and some light refreshments to get to know your loved one’s neighbors a little better.
For seniors living alone, having a network of neighbors and friends can be a real lifesaver. By taking the time to get to know the people around them, you can give them this helpful network while giving yourself peace of mind when you are far away.
Social isolation is real, for caregivers. Actually, most of us dealt with it LONG before the COVID pandemic. It was almost amusing, if it hadn't been so serious, to see people whining and crying about having to stay home and "miss" all the social interaction. I wrote a post welcoming them to our world. Many of us have lived a life of social isolation for years. Our "norm" just become more complicated during the pandemic. I guess the aloneness is what made this scripture stand out in my private devotions this morning. It's a familiar passage, and yes, I was reading it because yesterday was Thanksgiving, and giving thanks was on my mind. Psalm 100 is just five short verses and I really enjoy the New Living Translation, but any translation or paraphrase is good! Verse three is the one that stood out to me today. It says Acknowledge that He is God! He made us, and we are His. We are His people, the sheep of His pasture. I noticed, of course, that the caregiv
There always seems to be a catch doesn't there? I think as caregivers we find ourselves in spots with catches a lot! The things that should be simple to navigate or often complex due to caregiving responsibilities. simple things like going to grab a prescription that's ready or swing by the grocery store are much more difficult when you have to take into account the care of a loved one. People may say, It's easy - just go - but by the time they get to the "go" part our minds are burdened with all it takes to just go. For me, it means clothing and transferring another whole human being! lol - There's no just jumping in the car and heading out, right? It's opening and lowering the ramp - getting the chair in the van and situation properly. Then, getting all the buckles in place and secure before we can "just go." Sometimes God's answers seem to be complex too. In Psalm 50 verse 15, God says He will rescue us - all we have to do (just....) i
Do you ever just get too tired? Do you ever want to quit? Do you ever sit down for a whole 30 seconds and think about not getting back up? Ever? Who am I kidding? Sometimes I forget who I'm talking to. Lol. As caregivers, burnout is real. But the problem for most of us, is we don't get a break even in the midst of burnout, right? Let's face it. If we had a bit more help we might avoid burnout - but once we feel that we are in a season of burnout and stressed out - there's still no help. It's easy to feel stuck. I try to do a few things to avoid burnout and to cope. Someone told me one time that I had learned how to live even in the midst of the situation. I think she was right. I have learned to slow down and enjoy an afternoon cup of tea (or coffee!!!). I try to get outside as much as possible because sunshine and fresh air are essential to a healthy life. Some days that means sitting on the patio so I can see Chris in the recliner through the window. But I'