This past winter my husband slipped on ice and ruptured his quadriceps tendon.
And oh, how quickly I was reminded of the physical and mental demands of caregiving.
Surgery was required and he began a three-month process of recovery. At the time, I was creating this series, teaching workshops and working with private clients.
I was overwhelmed with all the additional responsibilities.
I called on friends for help with errands and to sit with him when I was out, but the tasks of bathing, toileting, and physical therapy could only be done by me. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience with the physical requirements of caregiving, and I know how important it is to perform these tasks in a safe manner.
One challenge was letting go of my need to be perfect.
Some days went well. Others did not.
I had to forgive myself when I spoke with a condescending tone that implied, “Not again.” I intentionally slowed my verbal responses to his requests so that I could temper my emotions. I analyzed my words to see how I could speak with more compassion.
I stopped saying, “What do you need?” and replaced it with, “How can I help?”
His physical therapy was a challenge due to memory issues that are all too common with his age. He often did not understand the intention of the physical therapist.
And each day was a new beginning because he had forgotten what we had achieved the day before. Fortunately, we were given videos to review each exercise. I joined in and did all exercises with him. We laughed our way through flexions, extensions and peacefully held our stretches for two minutes together.
Letting go became my daily practice.
I let go of expectations.
I let go of time.
I learned to pause and give myself time to reset myself, often by practicing the Sunflower Ritual. I would pull in the warmth of the sun, the grace of the moon, or the strength of the earth.
This ritual restored my emotional balance throughout the day.
The Sunflower Ritual helps you show up as the best person you can be every day.
Tips for Assisting with ADL (Activities of Daily Living)
Support for your body.
The physical aspects of caregiving can cause injury if the proper techniques are not used when lifting, transferring and assisting in your loved one’s daily activities. The resource section below includes a library of training videos and information that will teach you how to protect your body while supporting your loved one.
Support for your well-being.
The emotional demands of caregiving can cause injury to the relationship between you and your loved one without even realizing it.
Practicing these few tips can help reduce this risk and make your time together more enjoyable.
Remember Respect. Do your best to speak and treat your loved one as an adult. Even if they don’t seem to understand what you are saying, your tone makes a difference. If they seem confused, break the activity into small tasks. This makes it less demoralizing and creates healthier interactions. And you gain self-respect for being respectful.
Practice Patience. Allow your loved one as much independence as possible when completing self-care activities. It can help to show an example of what needs to be done and then gently guide if needed. Allowing independence can increase confidence and engagement from your loved one. And you experience more peacefulness in the process.
Honor Dignity. Allow your loved one to have as much privacy as possible when assisting in sensitive activities like bathing and toileting. Cover areas of the body that don’t need to be exposed. Be matter of fact during the process, avoiding unnecessary comments. This makes it less humiliating for them. And you feel more at ease with these activities.
And remember, practicing the Sunflower Ritual is a great way to get grounded, revitalized and restored.
Activities of Daily Living: Tips & Tricks for the Caregiver (Recorded presentation)
Spring Clean Your Energy Body by Morgan Garza