Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Caregivers, generation sandwich and switch

Sometimes what seems like a straw
may just be a flute ready to be played!
Just as Olivia once was so intent on that ever so cute photo that Nana captured,
it seemed she was playing her heart out on a flute that she could later dance to the music from!
Creativity is the name of the game in
I do believe~
More times than not it will require you to have on your
"water wings"
a control of YOU in your hand
and at times it will surely curl your toes,
as a younger Kamryn demonstrates so well,
and at times it requires you to
"set your mouth just right" for the ride you will feel like you are on.
And at times it will be a wild ride indeed while other times
a ride like none other with sights and sounds and smells and experiences that you will treasure the rest of your life.
But make no mistake,
care-giving is a ride for those who are not with a faint heart.

The Elders now caring for the adults, the grands, the little ones...
Great-Aunts, Godparents, Grandparents, Extended families
now finding themselves raising a new generation and finding themselves with a new set of rules
so vastly different from their own ways, cultures, norms.
Once able to feed their families on food grown from a garden that was planted by the whole family, food washed from water from the well and distributed around a table where the family bowed their heads with thanks.
Now a table where the food is scarce,
the cell phones out and texts a flyin from here to there,
the pants on the ground unless a rope holds em up; unless that fad doesn't live where you do anymore!
Now a time of coke being more than a bottle of pop.
 A ho being something other than what is used in the garden,
and when you "are down with that" it does not mean you have the flu.
So much to keep up with, so many things to be on top of,
to be groovy is not cool,
to be "fly" is now the way to
be "fresh" but not rude.
A roller coaster looks tame in relation to all that is happening in the world of caring for our youth,
and add to that the schools that are now lowering their standards when kids do not do well on standardized tests rather than work harder to bring them UP and educate them better.
to understanding.
Those who are providing care
would do well
with support, with tips to enhance their survival and their self preservation along this arduous path of caring.
The tracks are long and sometimes isolating.
Sometimes caregivers just want to lay on those tracks and hope for the train...
So for them,
perhaps they need to know,
they are NOT alone in those feelings.
In communities across the Nation, there are those who Stand up
and find ways to get speakers in the community to hold seminars/workshops to talk to them, to help to restore some balance and empower them in ways to enhance coping.
They can find others in their communities and set up
"caregiver support groups"
and the effects and impact can be awe=inspiring, validating and make a tremendous difference.
May it help to know a few things.
YOU are not responsible for the actions of the person that led you to this place unless they are YOUR actions!
If you are the caregiver of a grandchild, niece or nephew;
you are not responsible for the actions of your adult child.

YOU must take best care of you.
Remember the friendly airline steward?
YOU must first put YOUR oxygen mask on before rendering aide to another.
tip number 1.
YOU are your most precious resource.
Enlist resources and support.
People don't know what they don't know.
Unless you ask, you will never know what you need along this journey of caring for another.
AWARENESS is the key to understanding.
*Walk or exercise daily
*Make YOU time every day
* Find someone to talk with; even if by phone or internet to feel a connection
* Laugh (even if its at yourself or the circumstances) where there is tragedy there lies comedy somewhere.
* Learn of what is out there on the streets
*Call everyone in the community to enlist help
*Know that there will be some unsettling times
*Find ways to educate, to maintain connections to YOUR traditions, your routines, while finding ways to incorporate the newness you are now in
*Concentrate on the NOW. Don't dwell in the past or become the story of why/when/how.
*Try to not look to far down the tracks, it can be overwhelming
*Practice mindfulness
*Look to your faith to sustain, to maintain, to comfort
*Talk Talk Talk to the one you are providing care for
*Learn to say NO
*Write, make a journal of things said, things that you will always have to look back on, or a video
*Look for the humor, and encourage laughter
*Be like a willow; strong enough to bend
*Make a list of 3 things, stick with the list
*Develop boundaries
*Foster Respect in daily routines
*Be Creative 
*Be careful in expectations!
Care giving is rewarding, it is Work,
it is circumstances that we often never imagined
and it is a wild ride at times.
A ride that not only is being taken by what we call the
"sandwich generation"
but by those we know as the
Elders. It is often trading places, one a child that was cared for by a parent, we know see adult children caring for the parent... Switch ups, things that no one thought could happen.

WE must teach the children that respect for the Elders has been earned, props should and will be given to our wisdom keepers.
Even when they are ready to bring out the big gun to make their point;
those caregivers are quite amazing, funny, serious and Warriors!
Whether caring for Mothers, Fathers, spouses, Children or grandchildren///
YOU just don't want to mess to much with them or
They might just bring out
the squirt gun on ya and we know what happens then~ and heaven forbid if you step on the nerve that is sometimes all that is left after a long day and exposed! Truth is truth there... walk gently, offer a smile and know when to just sit quietly and listen. Each care giver needs respite at times, each needs an opportunity to just get away and breathe for a bit, needs distraction, needs their life to be theirs for a bit in order to keep going. For so many that is a tall order and hard to fill.


Wherever you are
Whatever you are doing
Please take a moment,
light your candle
say a prayer for the Universal connection that ties us all together in this world. Say a prayer for those who are traveling to the Olympic Games that they will be safe, able to focus on their best efforts in the games rather than the threats that loom large there. Light a candle for another who is going through it, been through it, or in remembrance of someone that has been so loved and is missed now and always.

Take a moment to look at that candle mindfully, to allow it to remind you to shine brighter within, being more than you think possible with each breath you take as you look for the good.

Walk in Beauty

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