Practical Compassion

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Practical Compassion is a blog authored by bereavement staff of GHS Hospice of the Foothills. It is intended to provide practical tips for caregivers of loved ones with terminal illnesses. This blog is taken from a monthly column published in the Seneca Daily Journal.

Are you ready?

In 2010 there were about seven potential caregivers for everyone who was over 80. This ratio is projected drop to four to one by 2030. Chances are good that many of us will need to hire a caregiver or live in a senior home when we are older.
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How we spend our waning days

When we move our clocks back one hour this week, most of us notice how the increased darkness affects our mood. Many report feeling more depressed in the winter.
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How to Help an Overwhelmed Caregiver

“Is there anything I can do?” is not a helpful question for overwhelmed caregivers. They probably want to answer with something like the following: Can you make my husband walk again so he can walk my daughter down the aisle?
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No Time to Relax

I once hosted a “relaxation table” for hospital staff, visitors and patients. I had a sand table, tactile balls, puzzles, coloring sheets and Legos (!) for passersby to spend a few minutes relaxing.
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How are you, really?

“How are you?” This common greeting can be uncomfortable for people who are feeling down.
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‘You want me to do what?’ New Demands on Caregivers

Health care has changed a great deal in recent years, and not all the changes pleasant. However, most patients agree recovering at home is better than the longer hospital stays of the past. Being in one’s own home often makes recovery easier. But earlier discharges from the hospital have changed the role of the caregivers...
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Telling Your Loved One the Truth

By Eunice Lehmacher Painful realities sometimes become part of caregiving.  When an illness is incurable, progressive or life-limiting, caregivers often wonder if they should tell their loved one the truth–that they know are dying. Unfortunately, many dying people don’t know that the treatment they are currently undergoing is either not curative or unlikely to be...
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New Year’s Resolutions for Caregivers

One in four people report some holiday let down or depression after Christmas.  Many people have disappointment related to unmet or unrealistic expectations, guilt about overindulgence, a return of loneliness, and perhaps disappointment that family members didn’t help more with caregiving.  The shorter days of winter can also be depressing. It’s time to be proactive...
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False Evidence Appearing Real (FEAR)

As caregivers, we fear that our loved one will fall, get a bad result, be discouraged, not be able to do something, or that we don’t provide good enough care. Notice that all these fears focus on the future. Since there’s pain and troubles enough in the present, thinking about the future makes the present...
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Let the children come

We tend to shield our children from pain and death, so when disease or death comes we tend to keep the details from children. Since disability and death are part of life, I encourage children to be part of the caregiving team. Even young children can bring a glass of water or a smile.
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