Category Archives: Tools

Dr. Seuss’ wisdom for Caregivers

It’s one of those slow and unplanned days.

My youngest is under the weather. He was up and down most of the night.  He’s tired. I’m tired. We’ve been laying low and reading books – mainly Dr. Seuss books.

DrSeussLogoMost of us have fond memories of reading Dr. Seuss’ whimsical work, being mesmerized by his vivid images, and learning life lessons that have carried us forward into adulthood.

As caregivers go about tending to the needs of others, the same attention given to caring for themselves is often overlooked.

If a caregiver finds themselves neglecting their self-care, they should stop and revisit the life lessons of Dr. Seuss. Here are the top quotes for Dr. Seuss to help bring perspective and balance to how caregivers care for others and themselves:

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

Caregivers often fall, unknowingly, into the role of an advocate for their client. It can be detrimental to the caregiver’s overall well-being if they feel their client is being underserved. The caregiver may begin to question their voice and their ability to serve their client. In cases like this, the caregiver should decrease mental pressure, remember the power of their voice, and ask questions that increase the care their client may need and deserve.

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“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Many caregivers undervalue the impact of their work because as a society, the role of a caregiver is often under or ill-defined. Caregivers should remind themselves, daily, that their role in the life of their client (and the loved ones who love their client) counts majorly. The client relies on the caregiver to share their skills and talents in their caregiving duties. If the caregiver is to continue to provide quality care, he/she must place a high value, internally, on their own work.

“Nonsense wakes up the brain cells. And it helps develop a sense of humor, which is awfully important in this day and age. Humor has a tremendous place in this sordid world. It’s more than just a matter of laughing. If you can see things out of whack, then you can see how things can be in whack.”

Caregiving is extremely difficult work and can be taxing. There are serious details and a large amount of responsibility that falls to caregivers. To increase the caregiver’s awareness of tending to their own self-care – the caregiver should stay mindful and celebrate small and large accomplishments as they support their client. They should keep a fresh perspective and be able to appropriately find fun and humor in their day-to-day work.

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“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

Even when a caregiver gets to a point when things may be overwhelming with a client or with the client’s family – they need to give themselves positive affirmations. The caregiver should remember jobs that do not receive a lot of public recognition or glory are the most important jobs. Positive self-talk is a self-care practice that can instantly impact a caregiver when he/she may be having doubts about their role.

“Sometimes you will never know the value of something, until it becomes a memory.”

Many non-caregivers are hard pressed to understand the impact of a quality caregiver. Because of this, it becomes increasing important for caregivers to have a caregiving network that will remind the caregiver they play an integral role in the legacy of their clients. Keeping this top of mind supports the caregiver in reflecting on the value of what they bring to their clients.

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“Oh, what a day. I will make it a holiday.”

When caregivers are working hard, their caregiving days can start to blend and become a blur. To focus on self-care and enjoying time with clients, caregivers should create daily reason to celebrate. This will aid in increasing a positive energy flow and support the caregiver’s positive outlook.

 

What are your favorite Dr. Seuss-ims and how would you apply them to caregiving?

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Obscure Holiday + Scary Conversation = Pro-activity

epitaph: a brief statement commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person or something past

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Today is officially Plan Your Epitaph Day.

What, it’s not on your calendar?

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Here’s 5 reasons it should be:

During “real” holidays, people are too focused on travel, food, finances, and traditions.  Room is typically not made for serious discussions (e.g. caregiving, advanced directives, wills, etc.) that can positively or adversely affect a family.

With many people fearing end of life conversations, using this holiday as an opener for a proactive discussion can expand the fearful lens to one of reflection and celebration.

Even if the family is not in one place to celebrate Plan Your Epitaph Day, the sentiments can easily be shared using technology. This allows everyone to easily participate in a low pressure situation.

This time could be used to think about relatives who are no longer physically alive but who are living in your heart and memories. Calling relatives or getting together to celebrate deceased family members’ lives during none typical times  (e.g. high holidays, birthdays, funeral anniversary, etc.) can support a family in properly mourning (meaning – not keeping memories bottled up) and keeping joyful memories at the forefront.

Writing your own epitaph, long before you need it, could potentially motivate you to work on areas of your life that keep getting booted from your to do list. This may include tending to items on your bucket list, mending relationships with family members, collecting family history, or taking steps to improve your health and well-being.

What are your thoughts about planning your epitaph before you need it? How could this be beneficial to you and your family?

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Thank you card etiquette

I love etiquette books and discussing etiquette.

This not because I want everyone to follow “the rules”, but I really like knowing the rules – the history of the rules – and how the rules can sometimes make my life easier.

When having a multigenerational household and getting along with in-laws, I think having common etiquette knowledge and agreeing to certain rules and expectations can help to lessen miscommunication, keep people mostly on the same page, and assist in not inadvertently slighting or hurting someone else’s feelings.

I had to chuckle when I heard Philip Galanes discuss the generational shift around the proper etiquette of writing thank you cards.

Ouch!

Maybe the grandmother (grandparents – to give full credit) who wrote in to Mr. Galanes worked really hard to teach her own children to write thank you cards. Perhaps she had to chase them around their childhood home to get the thank you card task writing done. It is potentially possible that she was chastised at a social function or the ladies’ mixer, in her community, because her kids failed to send out thank you cards on some Passion. And because of all these possible thank you card faux pas – this grandmother is fixated on thank you card etiquette.

And with her own adult children, maybe they hated the entire idea of writing thank you cards. It sucked, it was a burden, and they didn’t get it. If this is the case – it is highly possible these adult parents are not going to encourage or force their own children to go down the thank you card etiquette road.

I’m just making dramatic speculations here because I think the look of sending a thank you card – for this grandmother, adult children, and grandchildren – needs to be expanded.

Yes, the grandchildren should acknowledge the generosity of their grandparents. At the same time, the grandparents can engage in joyful gift gifting without expecting anything in return.

With my kids having grandparents and a great-grandmother living in other states – we get creative with saying thank you. We take a picture of our kids with the gift the grandparents have sent.

We email or text the pictures (hardcopy for their great-grandmother). This is quick and easy thank you feedback. We may even video chat and talk about the gift and have the kids verbally express their gratitude for what their grandparents have sent. With us being busy, going this route keeps us from forgetting  to say thank you.

As our days, weeks, and months are going on – if I see my kids using the gift from the grandparents, I’ll snap another picture and send it to the grandparents to show them the grandchildren are still enjoying the gift.

For myself, I enjoy sending a handwritten thank you card and sometimes my children get in the mood to do the same. With all the things I have to coordinate and navigate for my family – doing thank you card battle is definitely not on my list.

How do you feel about thank you cards?

How do your children say thank you to their grandparents?

Grandparents, what type of thank you recognition would you like to receive?

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Grow

G = Grow

Becoming a member of a thriving multigenerational household lends itself to many growth opportunities.

Everyone in the household, no matter the age, has a level of expertise that can be shared and will help other family members grow. Generational differences present a rich landscape for re-potting views, ideology, and perspectives. Keep yourself open to this type of growth.

Growing and learning can be a fun and exhaustive process. There will be some bumps during this journey, but stay focused on the opportunities the bumps present.

Your multigenerational household can keep a Growth Journal to record all the learning moments that happen daily.

Click here for the complimentary Growth worksheet.

 

Excerpted from Kanesha’s upcoming eBook: ž The ABCs of Multigenerational Living

 

 

 

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Toddler accidentally shot himself with grandfather’s gun

I was heartbroken to hear this news story about a toddler perishing because he got a hold of his grandfather’s gun. (video)

It’s so tragic and unthinkable.

Here’s the thing, there are a lot of people – I’m specifically thinking about grandparents – with guns in their homes. How are grandparents practicing the best gun safety procedures, especially with grandchildren in the home or visiting the home?

My parents have guns and I was very clear, when my daughter was born, that they needed to have the guns locked up at all times. I remember my mother being a little bit surprised that my tone and energy about this was on high pitched alert – specifically since my daughter was an infant and I had grown up with guns in the house.

Well…it became confession time. You know those confessions adult children tell their parents – and all the blood drains from the parents’ faces when they receive this new knowledge.

I’m a child of the 70s and I think – without blaming – a lot of child safety discussions, routines, and expectations didn’t not fully exist.

I found one of my parents’ guns when I was child. I looked at the guns. I touched it. I held it.

So…with that experience and now being a parent, I’m totally freaked out about guns not being locked up properly in a house.

My daughter went to a sleepover a few weekends ago. She’s been in school with her friend for a long time. I’ve meet the parents at other parties and they are very pleasant. When my daughter mentioned the sleepover, as we were driving in the car to some big box store, my first question was, “Do they have guns?

Hubby and my daughter looked at me like I had lost my mind. I really didn’t care. I told my daughter to text her friend and find out…or…risk me calling and engaging in an inquisition.

Texting it was.

When we dropped my daughter off, hubby went in and had a brief conversation.

The “sleepover” parents’ responses:

  • No guns
  • So great you asked
  • More parents should be upfront about this
  • Pick-up at 11am tomorrow

If you are wondering about having the gun discussion with grandparents and other parents, I have posted some resources below.

A Guide to Playdate Safety

A Grandparents’ Guide to Home Child-Proofing

Parents Urged to Ask Tough Questions About Gun Accessibility

Talking to Other Parents About Guns

Guns and Playdates

If you have had the gun discussion with grandparents and other parents, how did it go? What did you say?

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Summer planning

Hey IAFN Readers,

I made this video last week and I’m just posting it. Yeah, I got behind with the kids getting out of school and the Memorial Day Holiday.

So…our multigenerational nest needs some summer ideas!

Help us out. Let me know what fun, creative, easy, and exciting plans you all have for the summer.

I shared, below, our summer planning grid. Feel free to use it if you think it’ll work for you.

 

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