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Welcome to Gentle Caregiver!  

WHAT WILL YOU FIND HERE?

This site is specifically for the family caregiver — a soft landing place to find information, tips, support, and encouragement.  The name of this site, Gentle Caregiver, implies compassion and gentleness toward the person you’re caring for; just as important, this site emphasizes the need to be gentle on yourself. The primary purpose of Gentle Caregiver is to help manage your stress levels through knowledge, perspective, and sharing of concerns with others in similar circumstances.

New information will be added weekly, so I hope you will subscribe to receive notification of new posts.  You can find posts listed under the categories above, and also as links (blue, bold, & underlined) throughout.  Here’s a brief summary of the categories:

  • Burden or Blessing:  It’s important to find perspective in your role as Family Caregiver as it will determine your reality and ultimately your level of stress.
  • Pills, Pills, Pills:  Learn simple steps in preventing medication errors and how to set up an individualized medication schedule.
  • The Good, Bad & Ugly:  One of the most challenging aspects of caregiving is handling difficult behavior.  The more common behavior problems will be identified along with possible causes and actions to handle them.
  • Lions, Tigers & Bears, Oh My!  Maintaining a safe environment is more than just tacking down the throw rugs.  We’ll discuss scams, fraud, abuse, and home safety among other things.
  • Stressed Out!!!  The long-term stress faced by caregivers can have serious consequences on their physical, mental, and emotional well-being.  Learn to recognize the symptoms, how stress hormones work, and ways to manage stress.
  • Developing a Care Plan:  A care plan is essential to provide continuity of care, provide structure, and monitor the person’s changing condition.  Learn step by step how to develop an individualized care plan for your loved one.
  • Negativity Be Gone!  Guilt, self-doubt, resentment and many more negative thoughts can rob us of the joys in life, and can affect our health and those around us in negative ways.
  • Your New Best Friend:  Organization is key to reducing stress.  Learn what documents to keep and how to store them.
  • Journey’s End:  Facing the end of your role as caregiver is discussed, what it meant to you, what adjustments will need to be made, how to fill the void, and how to move on with your life.
  • Resources:  Here you will find lists and/or links to helpful websites, articles, and books.

WHAT MAKES ME QUALIFIED TO OFFER ADVICE?

I’ve been there, first as a registered nurse for 10 years, then caring for my husband for 35 years following a serious auto accident.  Due to my experience on both sides of the fence, so to speak, I have much to share with you.  As a family caregiver, I did my best, and yet there were situations I could have handled better and in a more positive way.  My heartfelt wish is to help you avoid some of the pitfalls I fell into.  You will learn from my mistakes!

You have accepted this special calling as a family caregiver.  Your role is in many ways more challenging than that of a professional caregiver.  Visit the post “A Family Caregiver is Special” under the Burden or Blessing category and discover the range of responsibilities and trials facing a family caregiver.

WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS?

Your comments, questions, and suggestions are most welcome!  They will offer insight into the uncertainties and difficulties you’re currently facing.  Most importantly, I’ll be able to address your specific concerns as they relate to caregiving, which will also help others.

This blog site will be a great place to interact with those facing similar challenges.  You can do this by sharing your thoughts and concerns in the comment section found at the end of each post.  If you’re not comfortable with the public forum, please send me a message on the Contact Marti page, which will remain confidential.

SUMMARY

As a family caregiver, you’ll experience great rewards, but also more stress.  This can have long-term detrimental effects on your physical, mental, and spiritual health.  The advice I share on this site is meant to reduce stress, directly or indirectly.  My belief is the more knowledge you gain, the more confidence you’ll have.  Therefore, you will find it easier to put things in perspective.  This, in turn, will be the key to controlling stress levels.

Thank you so much for visiting!  My hope is that you will find the support you need here at GentleCaregiver.com.

~Marti