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What are you doing to take care of yourself?

hvml

Registered User
Oct 10, 2015
297
North Cornwall
I have got a lot out of being a carer really and it will give me great positive associations in times to come. I went on a diet and exercise plan, with the help of my brother's partner, and lost 4 and a half stone. Woohoo! I have got myself a smart phone and gone on line to find the best prices on some things for myself and my partner, such as clothes, shoes, kitchen gadgets and a suitcase. I have recently done Stoptober and got myself off the roll ups and onto E-Cigarettes. Double woohoo!! I have learned a lot from caring for my Dad and decided that when I hand over the reins to my brother, I'd like to go into it as a career.

On a more daily basis, I have joined TP, which is a great help information wise and supportively. I have started knitting again after years of not doing it. When I am sitting with Dad, it makes the repetitive conversations less onerous and I have something great ( and stripey) at the end of the day. I have got into Frank Sinatra, who is Dad's favourite singer, so we watch him together and sing along loudly! I have got into baking and keep something tasty in the tin for coffee time. I also fit some exercise into the day.A lovely neighbour comes to sit with Dad a couple of times a week, so I get out in the fresh air for a power walk , or if not, I do half an hour on the treadmill.

All these things broken down into their component parts, coupled with the long distance support of my partner and my brother and his partner to watch TV with in the evenings, the upside balances, if not outweighs, the heartache of being a carer for Dad in his 90s.

Thanks so much for this thread and thanks for sharing. Xx
 

Bear44

Registered User
Sep 28, 2015
126
USA
I'm lost, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with running two households, taking caste care of my dad and 3 kids. No time for me yet
 

Chuggalug

Registered User
Mar 24, 2014
8,007
Norfolk
Another question -

So, do you laugh much? Like I said - new territory here for me, this dementia demon. I love to laugh. But I've noticed I'm not laughing. Of course not - you are in a tough situation now. But you do know that laughing releases important endorphin's that our body needs. It's healthy. So is crying. But lets focus on laughing.....

So do you laugh? Do you find ways to laugh? Like a favorite funny movie? Listening to a comedian? Utilizing your Vodka Hobby, Kevinl, can make you eventually laugh!! AHAH!!

What say you?
I insist on laughter. Funny vids on YouTube; joke books; old telly progs like On The Buses and the like. I've even got a couple of audio laughter tracks! Living alone means I can laugh as loud as I like at anything silly :)
 

Candlelight 67

Registered User
Nov 4, 2013
167
West Sussex
I too need to laugh. It does help. I love watching things like the Likely Lads, Black Adder and Only Fools and Horses.

Because I don't live with my mother I can read loads, binge watch box sets. I also find Mindfulness helps. Also a walk. Not forgetting the Mooc courses .
 

DMac

Registered User
Jul 18, 2015
535
Surrey, UK
For me it is exercise, but mostly swimming. Blissful, slow, breaststroke or front crawl up and down, up and down....clears the brain fog better than anything else, I find. Oh, and a sit down in a steam room as well. In there, I just sit. I don't even think - I just sit.

I realise I'm lucky to have membership of a gym that has these facilities.
 

canary

Registered User
Feb 25, 2014
12,153
South coast
I like birdwatching. We have bird feeders in the garden and hubby and I have binoculars. Like a previous poster hubby and I go to local nature reserves and wetland centres.
In the evenings I knit whilst watching TV with hubby and I have a group of knitters (knit and *****!!) that meet once a fortnight which gives me something else to think and talk about.
Hubby and I are committed Christians and we both go to Church activities.

Ooh er, Ive been censored! The knitting club really is called that and I didnt think it was that bad
 
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MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
I'm lost, I'm trying to figure out how to deal with running two households, taking caste care of my dad and 3 kids. No time for me yet
Bless you!! Run through Starbucks - you deserve it. If you were ever a reader, MAKE yourself find a Best-Seller you can escape into or something you've been wanting to read and put it on your nightstand...and pick it up before you drop to sleep. If you have Netflix, farm your kids out one evening/find a sitter for your dad if he lives with you, or wait until he's asleep and watch your movie with a bowl of popcorn. If you don't have Netflix, stream something or RedBox a movie or just rent one or BUY one cheap at Walmart!! But FIND an evening that is just yours. Get a sitter for everyone and go out and sit in the corner of a lounge and just listen to the band and have a warm drink!(and fight off the gentlemen - no time for that right now!! HA!) My point is - find a date, set it, plan it and keep it and do it JUST FOR YOU. And then, do it regularly - like once a month. Work it into your budget. It will become your "light at the end of the tunnel". I ignored this advise years ago and burned out. My family suffered...along with my health. When I listened to that advise, I became a better parent and wife and friend to myself!!!

Small steps. Do one "something" now! It'll help - I promise!!! :)
 

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
I insist on laughter. Funny vids on YouTube; joke books; old telly progs like On The Buses and the like. I've even got a couple of audio laughter tracks! Living alone means I can laugh as loud as I like at anything silly :)
Yes!!!!! I came across silly cat videos and then found a funny hamster video that made me cry I was laughing so hard!!

Don't know if you knew this actor, but back in the 60's and 70's, Jerry Lewis was a well known comedian/actor in his day. There is a movie called "Who's Minding the Store?" that he stars in. I finally found it on DVD and bought it. I wore out my VHS tape!! HA! There are some scenes in that movie that also make you laugh to tears. I have sometimes pulled that movie out and just rewound to those scenes and watched them over and over. I felt much better then!
 

CollegeGirl

Registered User
Jan 19, 2011
9,524
North East England
I like birdwatching. We have bird feeders in the garden and hubby and I have binoculars. Like a previous poster hubby and I go to local nature reserves and wetland centres.
In the evenings I knit whilst watching TV with hubby and I have a group of knitters (knit and *****!!) that meet once a fortnight which gives me something else to think and talk about.
Hubby and I are committed Christians and we both go to Church activities.

Ooh er, Ive been censored! The knitting club really is called that and I didnt think it was that bad
I'm so curious to know what that censored word was, lol :D
 

Shedrech

Volunteer Moderator
Dec 15, 2012
9,034
Yorkshire
Now I really want to know the name of the knitters, canary :D

This has really got me thinking - specially the laughter question. I too noticed that my face seemed to be in permanent frown and although I appreciated a funny moment, say watching a sitcom, I didn't seem to have the oomph to actually laugh - as though I felt everything was so serious with dad I had no right to enjoy anything. SILLY I told myself - really, out loud, when the penny dropped. So I gave myself back the permission to find things funny and laugh and giggle. I told myself to smile when I saw something I liked, and it's slowly becoming natural to do so. And I'm getting much better at sharing a daft moment. The best part is I actually found myself relaxing with dad more and we've had some truly ridiculous conversations - and I've made him smile and laugh and given him the chance to make me giggle. Precious.
So, I agree hmvl, grim though this caring stuff can be, there are benefits too.
I've also put up a bird feeder recently and love watching the antics of the blue tits - had to slightly realign the feeder when a squirrel found it that first day, an amazing few minutes watching that animal's dexterity - had NEVER seen a squirrel in the garden before that! Love being out in the garden and walk into town rather than bus it whenever I can - lovley views round here (scrunching through fallen leaves today)
I research family history, look into local history and volunteer for the local society so am making friends too. It was tough moving so far to be near to dad, so I'm pleased I've found a way to spend time with like-minded people.

PS Buster Keaton - love the folks on Gogglebox - The big bang theory = brilliant.
 
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MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
I wonder whether it rhymes with 'stitch' ???

A friend goes to a 'stitch and *****' group ;) xx
YES!!!! My step-mom, whom I lost in 2004, LOVED to sew. She "smocked"?? I guess sewing people will know that...? But, like my monthly scrapbooking group, her lady friends met monthly and called themselves "Stitch and .....!" I always blushed hearing that come from my proper "Southern Bell" step-mom!! AHAHAHA!!
 

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
Now I really want to know the name of the knitters, canary :D

This has really got me thinking - specially the laughter question. I too noticed that my face seemed to be in permanent frown and although I appreciated a funny moment, say watching a sitcom, I didn't seem to have the oomph to actually laugh - as though I felt everything was so serious with dad I had no right to enjoy anything. SILLY I told myself - really, out loud, when the penny dropped. So I gave myself back the permission to find things funny and laugh and giggle. I told myself to smile when I saw something I liked, and it's slowly becoming natural to do so. And I'm getting much better at sharing a daft moment. The best part is I actually found myself relaxing with dad more and we've had some truly ridiculous conversations - and I've made him smile and laugh and given him the chance to make me giggle. Precious.
So, I agree hmvl, grim though this caring stuff can be, there are benefits too.
I've also put up a bird feeder recently and love watching the antics of the blue tits - had to slightly realign the feeder when a squirrel found it that first day, an amazing few minutes watching that animal's dexterity - had NEVER seen a squirrel in the garden before that! Love being out in the garden and walk into town rather than bus it whenever I can - lovley views round here (scrunching through fallen leaves today)
I research family history, look into local history and volunteer for the local society so am making friends too. It was tough moving so far to be near to dad, so I'm pleased I've found a way to spend time with like-minded people.

PS Buster Keaton - love the folks on Gogglebox - The big bang theory = brilliant.
OH Shedrech - thank you for putting that thought into my head!! We had the most awesome birdfeeder in our previous house and I need one now!! I love watching the birds! I am putting that on my Christmas List! (my sons always say..."WHAT could Mom possibly want this year?" :)

And we love watching The Big Band Theory!!!

Johnny Depp starred in a movie called "Benny and Joon". (1993) Kind of a sleeper compared to many of his other blockbuster movies. But it's a favorite of ours. Sweet movie. He plays a young man who is a bit "slow", but imitates Buster Keaton wonderfully. I read that Johnny Depp did actually study Buster Keaton exhaustively for that movie!!
 

mancmum

Registered User
Feb 6, 2012
402
Hand embroidery

In week 1 of father moving in I had to embroider his name in the new jacket because he refused to believe it was his. About 20 vintage tablecloths later I have now started knitting as well. Putting the stuff on the settee stops him sitting right next to me and mixing me up with my mother. I had an idea of hiring vintage linen. At the moment I just lend them out occassionally to charity functions. Was offered #150.00 for the last one but even on the minimum wage there was over a 1,000.00 pounds worth of work in it.

I am very very concious that I am not able to take the exercise I should be doing or take care of myself properly. Massive toothache resulted in meltdown when receptionist would not move appt by 5 mins to allow me to dump father on the memory cafe.
 

Bear44

Registered User
Sep 28, 2015
126
USA
Bless you!! Run through Starbucks - you deserve it. If you were ever a reader, MAKE yourself find a Best-Seller you can escape into or something you've been wanting to read and put it on your nightstand...and pick it up before you drop to sleep. If you have Netflix, farm your kids out one evening/find a sitter for your dad if he lives with you, or wait until he's asleep and watch your movie with a bowl of popcorn. If you don't have Netflix, stream something or RedBox a movie or just rent one or BUY one cheap at Walmart!! But FIND an evening that is just yours. Get a sitter for everyone and go out and sit in the corner of a lounge and just listen to the band and have a warm drink!(and fight off the gentlemen - no time for that right now!! HA!) My point is - find a date, set it, plan it and keep it and do it JUST FOR YOU. And then, do it regularly - like once a month. Work it into your budget. It will become your "light at the end of the tunnel". I ignored this advise years ago and burned out. My family suffered...along with my health. When I listened to that advise, I became a better parent and wife and friend to myself!!!

Small steps. Do one "something" now! It'll help - I promise!!! :)
Mil you are too sweet and funny.
Starbucks is a must. [emoji6] I do have 4 books waiting to be read, but by the time I'm done with homework, laundry, etc I'm out like a light. I've got my dad on a pretty good routine now so hopefully I can get a little me time.

My father is still living on his own but I do everything from cleaning to shopping, bring him meals twice a day. But it's the least I can do, he has always taken care of me.

I'm trying to find a balance with my new life, it's getting easier. Oh did I mention we also own a business so oh is working 6 days a week.
 

MILVascularDem

Registered User
Oct 14, 2015
44
Deep South in the USA
Mil you are too sweet and funny.
Starbucks is a must. [emoji6] I do have 4 books waiting to be read, but by the time I'm done with homework, laundry, etc I'm out like a light. I've got my dad on a pretty good routine now so hopefully I can get a little me time.

My father is still living on his own but I do everything from cleaning to shopping, bring him meals twice a day. But it's the least I can do, he has always taken care of me.

I'm trying to find a balance with my new life, it's getting easier. Oh did I mention we also own a business so oh is working 6 days a week.
Yep- I can totally relate! Except my sons are now both in college - so that helps a lot on the youn'ans front!! Except we were blissful empty-nesters to be interrupted by having a new child moving back in with us - she happens to be 86 years old! HA! We are business owners, too, which is probably the only reason my MIL can live with us in the first place. We are computer software developers - started 13 years ago and have always had our offices in our home. You can move anywhere with this type of business....again - that was the only reason we could move to come live close to her. I felt like it was God's timing to allow the boys to move out in the timing that she moves in. Kind of a tease, though, to give us 1 year of bliss......then WHAM!!! And I have to confess our caring for her is a "duty-care" rather than one of wonderful love. She's never been the most pleasant person to be around - even pre-dementia. (however - I'm not quite sure when her normal personality ceased and the dementia began......they both resemble each other in odd and eerie similarities.....hmmmm?? :confused:;))

She lived in an independent "elderly" apartment for 2 years before this ultimately happened. And the last year she was there, I was over there at least twice a day trying to coax her to get up, eat, bathe......finally we realized she could not do any of it on her own anymore and it was easier and cheaper to just move her in with us. I'm not sure who was kicking and screaming more - her or us?!!! HA!

You know - it's really interesting - my husband and I now have scheduled date nights twice a week just to keep us sane. We just had a date-day today- tried to go to a college football game, but the rain we are having today changed those plans and drove us back home. That's ok - she prefers to be in bed ALL day on rainy days. Saves us money on the sitter anyway.

Anyway - we were talking hypothetically - it if were either of our dad's that were living here - how we'd be so different. We both so adored our fathers. They both were awesome men - in completely different socio-economic backgrounds, but both successful in their own communities. My dad was a well educated executive who was publicly mourned when he died from brain cancer in 1987. I recall at his funeral when my sister and I were escorted into the church, people were standing on the sidewalks outside his huge church wanting to get in and they couldn't because it was full. My husband's dad on the other hand died in 1994 of lung cancer. He was a brick-layer/salt of the earth/kindest man you'd ever meet and although there were many at his funeral, it was still small and intimate. But he was just as important and successful as any one else I'd ever known. If either of these men were in that bed instead of my MIL, I'd be weeping and fawning over them day and night. And they both would have been so gracious and humble and thankful - at least until the disease changed them, perhaps. But at least I would have known their beauty was still just under their skin.

Not so with MIL. I've read so many times here that folks are even more heart broken because they had wonderful relationships with their loved ones and this awful disease changes them. I wonder why that happens? That is the ultimate in cruelty. And if that theory were universal - I'd start seeing a sweet little girl in that bed, but instead all I'm seeing is her getting worse in her attitude and demeanor. She's always been so self-center and self-focused and amazed when I or ANYONE would go out of their way to help someone or something just to do it - not to get anything in return. Being selfless has always been just so foreign to her. She has always sat in amazement when I did something for her not out of duty, but from the example that my own dad taught me. Whereas both our fathers DID give unselfishly - all the time. There are STILL people coming up to us telling us things our dads did for them. But no one will ever be coming up to us about MIL. I guess I'm just on a pity-party rant today. I have nothing to rant about - I'm blessed beyond what I ever deserve.

It's been over 20+ years we lost our dads and not a day goes by that I don't think and ache for at least one of them. I pray you have that kind of dad relationship? What about your mom?
 

Mango

Registered User
Mar 16, 2014
45
New Zealand
My coping strategies include...

  • I try to get up a bit earlier in the morning than I really need to. I potter around, do general tidying, play with our dog etc. before I go to work. It means that the day at least starts off in an orderly fashion.
  • Exercise - a quick lunchtime walk and an evening walk with the dog on weekdays. Longer walks in the weekend. I used to swim in the mornings, but cant fit that in now...
  • For at least 15 mins at night, reading before I go to sleep. I find if I don't end the day in the different world, the worries of the current one keep me awake!
  • a nice cup of tea, or if after 5pm a glass or two of wine!
 
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