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Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Caregiver Village

I can't imagine what it's like to have Alzheimer's...or watch the one you love slowly disappear into it's grasp.

 It's been hard to see my Aunt Sue staying so steadfast and strong while the loving uncle I grew up with has struggled with facing the diagnosis...then denial...and now the memory losses. The years my father had cancer was difficult. I didn't think at that time anything could be worse. I was wrong.

Now...on the job...I see both...cancer patients die every day here....and I chase loved ones down the street with Alzheimer's, rescue them, and encourage the families to seek help and at least get Project Lifesaver if they can't afford the expensive in home health care or a resident health home. If I had a choice, I would choose cancer.

I have to say my Aunt Sue showed me what it is to love ...really.

Without further ado...let me introduce you to Caregiver Village...
Family Caregivers Can Find Relief from Stress
By Sharon K. Brothers, Exec. Vice President, Caregiver Village

If you’re like a lot of family caregivers you might be feeling stressed, overworked, overscheduled, exhausted and lonely.  You might feel like you’re all alone, doing a job that’s just too big, with no one cheering you on.  You’re probably getting a lot of second-guessing but not much support from your family.  You might be feeling like it’s just too hard. Have you ever done something really, really hard – for fun?  Have you trained for a marathon, a century bike ride, a hike up a mountain?  If you’ve ever done this you probably remember feeling exhausted many times during training and the event.  BUT – here’s the big difference – you were doing it by choice.  You were in control.

Imagine the difference between running a marathon by choice and running 26 miles because someone is forcing you to do it. The big difference is in how you experience the stress.  Running a marathon – or doing anything else that’s really, really challenging – is stressful.  But when you do it by choice - when you’re in control - it makes all the difference in the world.  Your body interprets the stress as a good thing.  You feel exhausted – but like you’ve achieved something BIG. 
If you’re doing something this challenging because you feel forced to do it the negative stress can make you sick.  You’re at risk for all kinds of illness, including stroke and early death, just from the negative stress.
The work of a caregiver is hard.  It’s exhausting much of the time.  You don’t earn a medal for doing it – you should, by the way – but you’re also doing something that’s an even greater achievement than completing a marathon.  You’re giving of yourself: your time, your energy, your work.  And you’re doing it selflessly.

In Caregiver Village (http://www.caregivervillage.com/), a virtual community that is filled with family caregivers caring for people with all kinds of problems, the hard work of family caregivers is celebrated.  Tips, suggestions and tools to reduce the stress of caregiving abound in the Village.  Even more importantly, caregivers share their stories through journaling and in group discussions, giving each other help with problems, support and encouragement. There’s even a game to give caregivers a break while they follow the travails of Cara and her friends, learning along with them how to better manage some of the tasks and stress they encounter along the way. Caregiver Village is a community specially designed for family caregivers so they no longer need to feel alone, stressed, and without choices.  Instead, they can feel proud, supported and happy with the hard work, and the tremendous gift of care and time they are giving to their family.

Check it out.

And if you so feel inclined...click on my badge at the top right of my page to help the fight against Alzheimer's.