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  • Writer's pictureKitty Edwards

Knowing When It's Time

It can be difficult to know when your loved one needs more care than you can give.

Conscious caregiving helps us to track our own health and develop external and inner resources so that we know when it is time to make a change.

David, who is caring for his wife Anne with Alzheimer’s, felt his energies faltering. Even though he had extra help during the day, he could not sleep and guard her at night. He knew then it was time to seek out a nursing facility for Anne. There wasn’t a room available at David’s first choice so he settled for an alternative nursing facility that turned out to be noisy and uncomfortable for Anne. Sadly, it took five months before a transfer was possible. She is doing much better in the new home.

Valerie, who cared for her son Matthew with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, knew that her health was compromised by the caregiving that he required. However, she vowed not to put him in a nursing facility. She worked hard to see that Matthew graduated high school and maintained a group of friends. When he died at age 23, Valerie had already suffered a stroke and struggled with diabetes and high blood pressure. She was only 43, but the wear and tear of caregiving had taken its toll.

Deb, who is caring for her adult son Joshua with Multiple Sclerosis, had to return to work after a messy divorce. She knew then that she had to seek out the right MS nursing facility for Joshua. She chose a facility in Colorado and moved Joshua to establish his residency. For a year she commuted back and forth from Texas to get him settled. When she finally moved to Colorado herself, she was exhausted.

Deb, a licensed therapist, wanted to find new tools to care for herself in this new reality. She began training in an indigenous medicine wheel program. She learned to step into ceremony to help heal herself and others. She worked with spirit animals as her guides along the way.

Working with mythical animal guides can expand your intuition and your perception of the world around you. You can choose an animal from a deck of animal cards or simply notice which animals cross your path during your day.

Butterflies can teach you about transformation. Rabbits might teach you stillness. Wolves will teach you about community and working within the clan. I find animal guides to be a tremendous help in my caregiving.

When I have a big decision to make, I set aside time to listen to their wisdom.

Gathering Spirit Animals

Working with animal spirits can be a powerful ritual when you invite the animals in as companions and guides on your caregiving journey.

Tips to Know When & Where to Find Additional Help

Caregiving requires a huge effort and can be so time consuming you miss the signs it has become too much. Or you may see them but not be sure of your options.

Here’s a quick overview to help.

Is it time for in-home support? Can you use an extra hand with all the daily responsibilities? Are you struggling with the physical tasks? Do you work and need a skilled caregiver to fill in?

In-Home Care is based on you and your loved one’s individual needs and schedule. Hired caregivers provide help from preparing meals to performing medical tasks to self-care activities such as bathing. Find the right level of support.

Is it time for Respite Care? Are you overwhelmed and desperate for a break? Do you feel overly stressed and frustrated? Are you way behind on other responsibilities?

Respite Care is emergency temporary care providing short-term breaks from a few hours for up to a few weeks. And it can be in-home or at a local nursing facility. Check out the National Respite Care Locator

Is it time for a Long-Term Nursing Facility? Do you constantly feel exhausted, resentful, and unable to keep up? Are you concerned about your loved one’s safety? Are your loved one’s needs escalating beyond your abilities?

Nursing Facilities offer safe, round-the-clock care that includes meals, medical support, physical therapy, and social services. National Nursing Home Locator

Is it time for a Memory Care Facility? Are you stressed and anxious due to the changes in your loved one’s behaviors— aggression, lack of self-care, wandering off, or falling?

Memory Care professionals create a unique environment supporting the specific needs of dementia patients. National Memory Care Facility Locator



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