by Vicki Rackner MD
We start a new year in a new world. We will build
successful lives with different tools and measure
success with different yardsticks than in years
passed. This is the time for creativity and innovation
in all parts of our lives.
My friend Suzy and I stumbled on an arrangement that
works so well it feels like cheating. It started simply
enough. A few years ago our families got together for
Sunday night dinner. It went so well we did it the next
week then the next. Now it's our two family ritual. I
offer some details in hopes that you can create similar
magic in your own life as a busy caregiver.
Suzy and I are both single parents of only children.
Both of us work full time outside of the home. Suzy's
daughter Mia and my son Meir are the same age and
they enjoy each other's company. Sometimes they
almost behave like siblings. Suzy is an imaginative
parent who brings out the best in kids. Cooking,
however, is not on her top 10 list of favorite activities. I
love cooking and enjoy it even more when I'm not
distracted by my son. When the kids were younger,
Suzy would take the kids out to play while I made
dinner. We ate, and then enjoyed some performance
the kids put together. Each of us contributes to the
evening. More importantly, each of us contributes in a
way that that is effortless.
Sometimes Suzy mutters something about imposing
on me since I do the cooking. I'm quick to remind her
that the only thing she is imposing is her belief that
cooking is burdensome for me like it is for her. I
remind her that cooking is a great pleasure for me.
Plus I'm as grateful for the smiles she helps put on
the on the kids' faces as she is for the meal.
Caregiving is a labor-intensive job and an expensive
undertaking. Time, money and energy are all tight.
The purchase of services that give you personal time
and emotional nutrition may feel like luxuries you think
you cannot afford. Yet, help with cleaning, cooking, or
childcare/eldercare services as you exercise may
mean the difference between successful caregiving
What if you could create arrangements like Suzy and I
did? What if you could spend more of your time doing
things that brought you joy and less time doing things
that drained you? Further, what if you could find ways
of doing things that need to be done in a way that
works for you?
Caregiving is not a solo sport. While you've heard this
a million times, here's something that may be news
for you. Caregiving is hard for everybody; it's just hard
for different people in different ways. Once you know
what's easy for you and what's hard for you, you can
join forces with others to create win-win solutions.
You can construct a life as a caregiver that works for
you. Consider pooling resources with neighbors,
friends and family. Barter your way to caregiver
Here are some caregiver barter ideas:
* Trips to the pharmacy
* Make a meal
* A manicure
* Mow the lawn or shovel the snow
* Take someone to a doctor appointment
* Weekly vacuuming
* An hour of home maintenance
* Walk the dog
* Take the kids to swim lessons
* Play cards with an elderly parent
Would you like to bring a message of hope to your next caregiver event?
If you are planning a caregiver event, you want to
assure that your speaker offers a message that
makes the lives of caregivers better today. A
caregiver's time is too precious to waste.
Consider inviting Dr. Rackner to speak at your next
meeting. Here's what conference attendees say about
* Fantastic speaker. Kept our rapt attention and had
a lot of interesting solutions.
* Thank you Dr. Rackner for your words of
* Excellent presentation, a very wonderful way of
speaking --you connect really well with others.
* Very well presented - much insight into people's
needs and cares.
Here are some keynote presentations you could
share with your meeting participants.
What about ME?
The ultimate caregiver dilemma
It happens to everyone. Caregivers neglect their
own needs, then try to ignore their guilt, resentment
and anger. Learn how to care for the caregiver, and
manage dark feelings so they can serve you rather
than imprison you.
The Elephant in the Exam Room:
REAL barriers to good partnerships between patients,
doctors and caregivers (Hint: it's not just having
the right list of questions to ask your doctor) What
REALLY gets in the way of good health care? If you're
like most people, it may be fear and embarrassment
and the need to be a good/nice patient. Get some tips
for handling the elephants in the exam room.
Perfect Health: The myth, the fantasy and the
Christopher Reeve was the picture of perfect health in
the days he played Superman. After Mr. Reeve's
accident he wanted to end his life. Then something
happened. Mr. Reeve became a real life Superman as
he immersed himself in his new life in his new body.
Learn how to embrace health and feel whole even if
the body is wounded.
To learn more, please contact us at 425 451-3777 or
drop us an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © Vicki Rackner MD, 2009