Archive for category Caregivers

[f/b Post] HOW DO I EXPLAIN WHAT I FEEL?

By Monti Skiby. 9/9/2019

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: ένα ή περισσότερα άτομα και κείμενο

Disappointment is difficult to to face. We have pre-conceived ideas of how someone or something is going to happen. There can be expectations in order to receive acceptance. We see it in children who receive a low test score. Others who can not hit a home run or make every basket they try. Valentine’s Day may come and go and no one remembers. It happens all the time in various situations. Throughout our entire life we are disappointed and we disappoint others. Not with the intent of disappointing but trying to meet someone elses expectation (s). Searching for acceptance and meeting expectations from others often develops into “part” of our identy.

When a person survives a brain injury it is common to have a loss of identy.

Many of us are no longer able to work or be the wife, husband, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, sister, brother… we once were. Some can not provide for their family any longer or fill the position as they once did as a mother, father, grandparent, aunt/uncle or have a position of making decisions for the family. Each one of the things I mentioned is a loss of a purpose we once had. Our purpose needs to be re-identified.

We are taught from a very young,”what do you want to be when you grow up”? A police officer, a fire fighter, a teacher, a lawyer, a mommy, a daddy…. determining our worth and identity by the job or position in the family we have. Is is “WHAT” we are. Never do we ask children “WHO” do you want to be? Compassionate, peaceful, spiritual, loving, gentle, hateful, angry…. Being identified by a job or position in the family is external to who you are. Not the characteristics which have developed inside within you.

“WHO” you are involves your character as a person. It comes from traits you develop as your inner self. A reflection of your emotions, mental state, spirituality, feelings towards others, feelings toward yourself, ability to think of someone other than yourself. When we loose the identity society has identified by “WHAT” we are we feel like a failure.

Same happens when a person survives a brain injury, “you just got fired from your life”. No longer able to work, be a husband or wife, etc … I’m sure you get the point. How do we feel? Like a failure. Unable to do what was once the roles we played. The hats we wore as teacher and mother/father and aunt/uncle, brother/sister. Now we need to depend on others, not being totally independent any more, and not be able to think as we once did. It takes longer to process thoughts, answers or even to understand what was said.

The rug has been pulled right out from under us. Having to look at “WHO” we are for the first time in our life. Learning to identify characteristics within you is Hell. Territory not travelled before. We believe; we have lost the position of being equal, we no longer are able to provide for others as we once did, we think we have or are losing everything we had.

All of these things can not be seen but only felt. Feeling worthless comes easy. Explaining it to someone does not.

Do not abandon us. Do not treat us as if we are at fault. We are not stupid. We have a brain injury which will heal for the rest of our life. We have not changed as a person. We now have limitations.

Having someone who cares about you is very difficult to find. Many people leave because they do not understand, don’t want to understand, want “WHAT” you were before, they can not find the love and acceptance to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Expectations have to be eliminated. There is no room for pre-conceived notions of what must be done for acceptance. There never should have been expections in the first place.

I was a swim coach for a young group of kids years ago. 1st rule for parents was there would be no negative comments made to child (ren).

2. Parents were not allowed on deck. Even at swim meets. They sit in the bleachers (as long as no negative remarks).

3. If they persisted in negative remarks they were not allowed at the practices or meets.

There were 6 yr olds who had to be taught to swim. There was a 9 yr old who was deaf. There were young teens who believed they could do nothing right. I loved this group of kids.

The kids were taught not to compare times with other kids at meets but to focus on how their times improved from the last meet. Smiles came from shaving off 2 seconds, 5 seconds and even 12 seconds. The teen who said she could not do or accomplish anything shaved off seconds every meet and she smiles as the seconds came off. If the kids swam in 3 meets they received a metal from me for good attendance & doing the best they could do. If they swam in 6 meets another metal for attendance & doing the best they could. Same for 9 meets. The 12 kids succeeded no matter what. They learned self respect, responsibility of following through and setting goals. 9 of the 12 went to go to the State Meet because of their times and achievements.

We are the same person. Our personality and abilities have changed. The person is the same. Loving someone enough to help them heal is a genuine love. This is for ourself, friends and family.

Hope this helps. God has kept you alive for a reason. Love you. By Monti Skiby.

 

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: ένα ή περισσότερα άτομα και κείμενο

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[WEB SITE] Disability and sex: why can’t disabled people have a sex life?

Why can’t disabled people have a sex life?Wheelchair user Caroline believes that we are just as entitled as anyone else to have lots of fun, whether that’s travelling, shopping or even being pleasured in the bedroom. Yes, she’s tackling the taboo of disability and sex with her book Wheely Lots of Fun. Read on to find out more and tell us about your experiences.

My name is Caroline and I have arthrogryposis, which is not easy to say even when sober. I’m also 49, with two wonderful kids and an equally wonderful, supportive husband. I blog on disabled issues, fight for better disabled access to the high street and I also build websites.

Arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC) is a rare condition, divided into three groups, namely amyoplasia, distal arthrogryposis, and syndromic arthrogryposis. Amyoplasia is characterised by severe joint contractures and muscle weakness. Distal arthrogryposis mainly involves the hands and feet. I suffer from both Amyoplasia and Distal Arthrogryposis.

I became a full-time wheelchair user roughly 15 years ago, due to scoliosis of my spine. I used to walk with leg braces (also known as calipers) and remember how difficult it was when I lost my independence, but that’s another story.

Having been disabled for some time now, I am passionate about fighting for disabled people’s rights to enjoy the same full life as anyone else. Why should we be any different?

Caroline in her wheelchair with pink hair and headrest

Tackling the topic of sex and disability

I am in the process of writing a book called Wheely Lots of Fun’ about having a sex life as a wheelchair user.  I feel that this is, in particular, an area where disabled people are not represented at all  – there is little or no literature on the subject. Yes, there are medical journals and other ’professional’ opinions, but nothing on a personal level.

This is where I hope my book will make a difference. While I am trying my best to give correct and informed advice about having a sex life as a wheelchair user, my book is written very much on a personal level, as I use my own experiences to guide me.

Disabled people are asexualised in the media

The media seems to completely ignore the fact that disabled people have sex! How many disabled people do you see on TV, let alone in a romantic role? If we are portrayed in a film in a romantic role, we always seem to be portrayed as the victim.

The media contributes greatly to telling society what is perceived as ’normal’ – what we should look like, eat, wear and do? But whose ideal is this? Where did this originate? Who knows?

Health professionals should talk about sex

It’s not just the media either; the medical industry is probably the worse. Because my disability is so rare, doctors never discussed with me anything about having children, or even if my disability would be a factor. So here I was, four months pregnant (I didn’t know I was pregnant until then) with my first child and having to find someone who could give me some information.

Surely something of this magnitude should have been discussed with me? I can’t help but wonder whether this was because they didn’t believe I would ever want or have children. This would mean I’d had sex – surely not?

So I decided I wanted to publicise the fact that disabled people do have sex, enjoy sex and will always continue to do so.

Sex as a wheelchair user

Heart shape made up of lots of colourful wheelchair symbols

Sex in a wheelchair is not an easy task, I can tell you! In my book, I share my findings about how, if you make a few changes and are somewhat creative, you can enjoy sex as a wheelchair user. When talking about my own experiences I highlight both the ups and downs (pardon the pun!) of life as a wheelchair user, as well as and how to have a fulfilling and satisfying sex life.

I also talk about relationships and how they are beneficial to your health, and I talk about the taboo surrounding disability and sex and how this can impact our lives.

Why is disability and sex a taboo?

So, what does ‘taboo’ mean? The dictionary’s definition is: “Proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable”. Based on this definition, disabled people having sex or any kind of sexual relations is deemed as improper and/or unacceptable. What a load of tosh!

Obviously, I can’t speak for every disabled person, but I’m sure I can speak for a lot of you when I say that we all ultimately want the same thing – a happy, safe, fulfilling and satisfying sexual relationship with our partner. How this is achieved, of course, varies from one couple to the next and I explore this in my book. Disabled people have the same issues as any able-bodied person wanting to have a sex life. We all have self-confidence concerns.

We all have physical barriers, although obviously wheelchair users have many more. Finding a partner? Well, let’s just say that my dating days were not a pretty sight.

Yet this taboo is made all the more difficult by the challenges of finding someone with whom to have open and informed discussions – especially when so many people believe that disabled people don’t or shouldn’t have sex.

Why sex is good for you

So it’s important that we break down this taboo. Why? Well did you know that sex is good for your health? According to some scientific studies, a loving relationship, physical touching and sex is good for reducing your blood pressure.

Sexual arousal sends the heart rate higher and the number of beats per minute reaches its peak during orgasm. Some studies show that the average peak heart rate at orgasm is the same as during light exercises, such as walking upstairs.

It’s also been shown that having heart disease doesn’t have to hold you back. Experts say that as long as you can do everyday tasks without any pain, you can have sex. Of course, I’m no GP, so if you have any concerns in any way, please speak with your GP first.

I think the media is just starting to wake up to the different types of people in the world and are starting to represent them better, including disabled people. Television, magazines and the like are showing more disabled people every day. Let’s hope it goes from strength to strength!

By Caroline 

We want to help break the taboo of talking about sex and disability. Share your experiences of being held back or made to feel ashamed by commenting below or on Facebook and Twitter. Or, why not share your tips too 😉

More on Disability Horizons…

via Disability and sex: why can’t disabled people have a sex life?

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[WEB SITE] The Top 10 Caregiving Blogs for Caregivers – Caring Village

Being a Caregiver can be tough and unfortunately, life doesn’t slow down to give you time to learn how to care for someone you love. This is why caregiver blogs, which provide resources and information (often from other past or present caregivers and/or industry professionals) can be extremely helpful in navigating your caregiving journey. Below is a list of the top caregiving blogs online including Caring.comThe Caregiver SpaceTransition Aging ParentsThe Caregiver’s VoiceCareGiving.comEldercareABCeCareDiaryDaily CaregivingCaring for Parents Made Easy, and Caring Village’s own resource section.

Caring.com

Caring.com is a leading online destination for those seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. Their mission is to help the helpers. They equip family caregivers to make better decisions, save time and money, and feel less alone — and less stressed — as they face the many challenges of caregiving.

The Caregiver Space

The Caregiver Space provides a safe and open space—at no cost— where visitors can be real about what it’s like to care for someone dealing with a serious disability or illness. Use their community forums to ask questions, share experiences, get real answers, or just get things off your chest.

Transition Aging Parents

Transition Aging Parents is a blog written by Dale Carter, a respected voice for adult children of aging parents. Since facing her own mother’s health/life crisis in 2008, Dale has established herself as a voice of reason, as she has traveled around the country from the Midwest to Atlanta, through Florida and New York City. She shares her message of how to approach any change or crisis in your aging parent’s life with clarity and confidence. Since immersing herself with authors and experts in the field of gerontology, she has expanded her reach to adult children across this country. She wants to now show you how to guide your aging parent(s) so they can thrive and find joy in every stage of their life.

The Caregiver’s Voice

Founded in 1998 by Brenda Avadian, MA, TheCaregiversVoice.com serves family caregivers and professionals who work with adults with cognitive impairment or dementia caused by Alzheimer’s, stroke, related illnesses, or trauma.

CareGiving.com

Denise M. Brown launched CareGiving.com in 1996. The site features the blogs of family caregivers, weekly words of comforts, weekly self-care plans, daily chats, a Community Caregiving Journal, free webinars, and daily chats.

EldercareABC

The ‘ABC’ in EldercareABC stands for ‘About Being Connected’. So come in, get connected and have your say about what information you need. Most importantly discover a group of people that are here to support you and who you can support in your own way.

eCareDiary

eCareDiary is a web community created based on the founders experiences as caregivers for their parents who were diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as Parkinson’s, Type II diabetes, and dementia. Having backgrounds in the healthcare system, they found coordinating long term care to be difficult and frustrating because of the lack of good resources available online. They created eCareDiary.com as a centralized place to help families with care coordination by offering comprehensive online tools, expert content, and resources.

DailyCaring

DailyCaring is for the 43.5 million adult family caregivers who care for someone 50+ years of age. They’re perfect for family caregivers who use the Internet to find solutions for day-to-day challenges, help with important care decisions, and advice on how to plan for the future. They also cater to help professionals in the aging care industry.

Caregiving for Parents Made Easy

Caregiving for Parents Made Easy is a site designed to give you some tips and tricks for navigating the caregiver role. If you’re new to caregiving, this site provides places to turn for caregiving resources, as well as general resources for older adults.

Caringvillage.com

Caring Village is a caregiving assistance platform that makes caring for an older loved one safer,easier, and less stressful. The Caring Village suite of easy-to-use mobile apps, interactive dashboard, and marketplace allows families to easily communicate, collaborate and coordinate caregiving activities for their loved ones. With insightful content and preparedness checklists, Caring Village helps provide you with all the information you need to be the best Caregiver you can be.

via The Top 10 Caregiving Blogs for Caregivers – Caring Village

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[WEB SITE] 7 Helpful Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

Caring for a loved one can be rewarding but stressful

Ways to Avoid Caregivier Burnout

GETTY IMAGES

Support groups and online resources can help caregivers deal with stress.

En español | Caring for a sick or dying loved one can certainly be rewarding, but it can also be stressful. Indeed, nearly half of all family caregivers say they are “somewhat stressed,” and more than a third are “highly stressed,” according to the National Alliance for Caregiving/AARP “Caregiving in the United States 2015” report. If you’re one of them, here are some tips that will help you avoid burnout.


1. Remind yourself that your work has value.

Never forget that what you do is worthwhile, in all sorts of ways. According to an AARP Public Policy Institute report, about 40 million family caregivers provided 37 billion hours of care for parents, spouses, partners and other adult loved ones worth an estimated $470 billion in 2013, up from $450 billion in 2009. How much is $470 billion? It’s nearly as much as the total sales of the world’s largest companies, including Walmart ($485.9 billion for the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2017).

2. Find ways to mass communicate.

Of course everyone wants to know how your dad’s surgery went, but it can be exhausting trying to inform people individually over the phone or by email. Sites such as CaringBridge allow you to send messages to everyone all at once. Other similar sites include PostHope and MyLifeLine.org.

3. Join a support group.

The Family Caregiver Alliance has a family care navigator tool to help you locate resources, including support groups near you, and also gives you the ability to join an online caregiver group. You can chat online with other caregivers in the same situation on AARP’s website, too. Services and support in your area can also be found through Eldercare Locator, a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging. In addition, the Alzheimer’s Association and CancerCare websites offer information on support groups. The Well Spouse Association is another good source if you need help connecting with other caregivers.

4. Get organized.

Seek out simple tools like calendars and to-do lists that can help you prioritize your responsibilities. Work with your loved one to create an inventory of where important items are kept. It’s essential to know the location of certain documents: Social Security cards, marriage and birth certificates, a will or trust, the deed to the house, and insurance and bank account records. Staying organized will give you peace of mind and leave you better prepared down the road.

5. Nurture the positive relationships in your life.

You may be overwhelmed, but take time to talk with friends and family you are closest to. Spend an evening with someone who is a good listener. Limit your interactions with negative people who will drag down your mood and perspective. Surround yourself with those who appreciate you and really care.

6. Give yourself a break.

You can’t keep going 24/7. Everyone needs a break — even caregivers. Ask a friend or relative to take over for a few hours every so often so that you can take a walk, catch a movie or go out to dinner. Eldercare Locator also can help by providing area-specific recommendations for services such as home care, meal plans and transportation options. Find out about adult-day-care centers in your community, which sometimes provide care in a group setting for older people who need supervision.

7. Don’t forget to take care of your own health.

Set a goal to establish a good sleep routine and to exercise a certain number of hours every week. Be sure to eat healthy and drink plenty of water. And see your doctor for recommended immunizations and screenings. Tell your physician that you’re a caregiver, and bring up any concerns you may have. A daily relaxation and meditation practice can be beneficial, as well.

 

via 7 Helpful Tips to Avoid Caregiver Burnout

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[VIDEO] Living With A Stranger: My Husband’s Brain Injury

Why We Created This Video

 

Traumatic or acquired brain injury as discussed by the media and the medical profession often fails to accurately portray the devastating and lifelong consequences brain damage can also have on a spouse and the entire family.

We created this video to offer a different perspective on the lifelong aftermath of brain injury, focusing on a person who has not actually sustained the injury but suffers from its consequences. Spouses and people close to brain injury victims may feel overwhelmed and find it difficult to explain their emotional roller coaster. We hope this video will assist in communicating the difficulties they themselves face. The impact on the spouse, family, and loved ones of someone who has sustained a brain injury are often neglected and overlooked. Their needs must be examined and addressed.

Although families are aware of the importance of the brain, very few families know of the consequences of a brain injury. Often, family members observation of physical improvement leads them to unrealistic expectations regarding cognitive, emotional, and behavioral recovery. Recovery and rehabilitation of these functions may take a long and uneven path, particularly when there is damage to frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, most vulnerable in auto crashes and falls. Those suffering the tragic consequences of a concussion, may have no visible physical symptoms, creating a false assumption that the injury was insignificant.

A once generous, articulate, cheerful, and socially appropriate person, however, may be transformed into a self-centered, verbose, depressed, and unpleasant person shunned by members of his or her own family. These more subtle changes in a person with a brain injury unfortunately envelope and affects a spouse, left alone to cope with the tragic aftermath.

A spouse or significant other may be constantly fearful of upsetting his or her loved one and may become isolated from others. One person’s brain injury has devastating effects on the entire family constellation, with a spouse or significant other functioning as both caretaker and liaison to the world. Spouses require support as well to learn to cope with the long-term consequences of brain injury.

Possible Consequences of Brain Injury to a Spouse, Significant Other:

  • Isolation
  • Clinical Depression
  • Divorce
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Neglected healthcare

New responsibilities assumed by a spouse following a traumatic brain injury:

  • Household Responsibility
  • Parenting Responsibility
  • Income Responsibility
  • Decision Making
  • Caring for The Injured Spouse

Support Services for Spouses to Consider:

  • Brain Injury Spouse Support Groups
  • In Home Assistance: Home Health Aides and Personal Care Assistance
  • Respite Care

Problems Your Spouse May Have:

  • Change in Sleep Patters
  • Decreased Ambition and Initiation
  • Dependency
  • Depression
  • Impatience
  • Impaired Self-Control
  • Inflexibility
  • Inappropriate Public Behavior
  • Irritability
  • Memory Impairment
  • Self-Centered Behavior
  • Sexual Disinterest or Sexual Preoccupation
  • Sleep Disturbance
  • Temper Outbursts

Important Resources for Spouses, Significant Others and Family Members:

Organizations

Important Information

Publications

About Shana & Michael

Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen.

Shana De Caro and Michael V. Kaplen are personal injury attorneys dedicated to assisting brain injury survivors navigate the road after traumatic brain injury. With extensive experience in representing victims of brain trauma, they are prepared to guide brain injury victims through the legal obstacles they will confront and recover full and fair compensation for the harms and losses their clients have suffered as a result of someone’s careless or negligent conduct.

De Caro & Kaplen, LLP is a New York personal injury law firm focused on representing victims of brain injury. Our attorneys have the knowledge and skill to make a crucial difference in the lives of brain injury victims. Specialized brain injury cases require a law firm with the experience and proficiency to assist brain injury victims through the most difficult legal challenges in their lives following a traumatic brain injury.

Shana and Michael are nationally recognized for their advocacy on behalf of brain injury victims. Shana is in her second term as an officer, and a member of the board of directors of the Brain Injury Association of America . Michael is a three-term past president of the Brain Injury Association of New York State and current Chair of the New York State Traumatic Brain Injury Services Coordinating Council. They have been designated Preferred Attorneys for the Brain Injury Association of America.

Their opinions on traumatic brain injury are frequently sought by The New York Times, USA Today, The Daily News, Fox News Network, and others. They are widely respected throughout the legal, medical, and judicial communities. The two regularly lecture lawyers, medical professionals, and judges, across the nation on how traumatic brain injury clients and cases should be evaluated and handled in and out of the courthouse.

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[BLOG POST] Mental Health Resource Library – Live Well with Sharon Martin

Protected: Mental Health Resource Library

resource library

Welcome to my library of free tip sheets, printables, worksheets, and more! Feel free to download any or all of them and use them for your personal development.
These documents are for educational purposes and not designed to diagnose or treat any psychological or mental health problems.

Codependency & Relationships

Family Roles in an Alcoholic Family

Know Yourself Better

Self-Care

cheap or free self care ideas

Perfectionism

overcome perfectionism
Perfectionism Quiz

Anxiety & Stress

6 strategies to conquer overthinking
Guided Visualization to reduce anxiety

Other

codependency books

Holidays

via Mental Health Resource Library – Live Well with Sharon Martin

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[HelpGuide] Helping Someone with PTSD

Helping a Loved One While Taking Care of Yourself

Women embracingWhen someone you care about suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), it can leave you feeling overwhelmed. The changes in your loved one can worry or even frighten you. You may feel angry about what’s happening to your family and relationship, or hurt by your loved one’s distance and moodiness. But it’s important to know  that you’re not helpless. Your support can make all the difference for your partner, friend, or family member’s recovery. With your help, your loved one can overcome PTSD and move on with their life.

Living with someone who has PTSD

PTSD can take a heavy toll on relationships. It can be hard to understand your loved one’s behavior—why they are less affectionate and more volatile. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells or living with a stranger. You may have to take on a bigger share of household tasks, deal with the frustration of a loved one who won’t open up, or even deal with anger or disturbing behavior. The symptoms of PTSD can also lead to job loss, substance abuse, and other problems that affect the whole family.

It’s hard not to take the symptoms of PTSD personally, but it’s important to remember that a person with PTSD may not always have control over their behavior. Your loved one’s nervous system is “stuck” in a state of constant alert, making them continually feel vulnerable and unsafe. This can lead to anger, irritability, depression, mistrust, and other PTSD symptoms that your loved one can’t simply choose to turn off. With the right support from friends and family, though, your loved one’s nervous system can become “unstuck” and they can finally move on from the traumatic event.

Helping someone with PTSD tip 1: Provide social support

It’s common for people with PTSD to withdraw from friends and family. While it’s important to respect your loved one’s boundaries, your comfort and support can help the person with PTSD overcome feelings of helplessness, grief, and despair. In fact, trauma experts believe that face-to-face support from others is the most important factor in PTSD recovery.

Knowing how to best demonstrate your love and support for someone with PTSD isn’t always easy. You can’t force your loved one to get better, but you can play a major role in the healing process by simply spending time together.

Don’t pressure your loved one into talking. It can be very difficult for people with PTSD to talk about their traumatic experiences. For some, it can even make them feel worse. Instead, let them know you’re willing to listen when they want to talk, or just hang out when they don’t. Comfort for someone with PTSD comes from feeling engaged and accepted by you, not necessarily from talking.

Do “normal” things with your loved one, things that have nothing to do with PTSD or the traumatic experience. Encourage your loved one to participate in rhythmic exercise, seek out friends, and pursue hobbies that bring pleasure. Take a fitness class together, go dancing, or set a regular lunch date with friends and family.

Let your loved one take the lead, rather than telling him or her what to do. Everyone with PTSD is different but most people instinctively know what makes them feel calm and safe. Take cues from your loved one as to how you can best provide support and companionship.

Manage your own stress. The more calm, relaxed, and focused you are, the better you’ll be able to help your loved one.

Be patient. Recovery is a process that takes time and often involves setbacks. The important thing is to stay positive and maintain support for your loved one.

Educate yourself about PTSD. The more you know about the symptoms, effects, and treatment options, the better equipped you’ll be to help your loved one, understand what they are going through, and keep things in perspective.

Accept (and expect) mixed feelings. As you go through the emotional wringer, be prepared for a complicated mix of feelings—some of which you’ll never want to admit. Just remember, having negative feelings toward your family member doesn’t mean you don’t love them.

Tip 2: Be a good listener

While you shouldn’t push a person with PTSD to talk, if they do choose to share, try to listen without expectations or judgments. Make it clear that you’re interested and that you care, but don’t worry about giving advice. It’s the act of listening attentively that is helpful to your loved one, not what you say.

A person with PTSD may need to talk about the traumatic event over and over again. This is part of the healing process, so avoid the temptation to tell your loved one to stop rehashing the past and move on.

Some of the things your loved one tells you might be very hard to listen to, but it’s important to respect their feelings and reactions. If you come across as disapproving or judgmental, they are unlikely to open up to you again.

Communication pitfalls to avoid

Don’t…

  • Give easy answers or blithely tell your loved one everything is going to be okay
  • Stop your loved one from talking about their feelings or fears
  • Offer unsolicited advice or tell your loved one what they “should” do
  • Blame all of your relationship or family problems on your loved one’s PTSD
  • Invalidate, minimize, or deny your loved one’s traumatic experience
  • Give ultimatums or make threats or demands
  • Make your loved one feel weak because they aren’t coping as well as others
  • Tell your loved one they were lucky it wasn’t worse
  • Take over with your own personal experiences or feelings

Tip 3: Rebuild trust and safety

Trauma alters the way a person sees the world, making it seem like a perpetually dangerous and frightening place. It also damages people’s ability to trust others and themselves. If there’s any way you can rebuild your loved one’s sense of security, it will contribute to their recovery.

Express your commitment to the relationship. Let your loved one know that you’re here for the long haul so they feel loved and supported.

Create routines. Structure and predictable schedules can restore a sense of stability and security to people with PTSD, both adults and children. Creating routines could involve getting your loved one to help with groceries or housework, for example, maintaining regular times for meals, or simply “being there” for the person.

Minimize stress at home. Try to make sure your loved one has space and time for rest and relaxation.

Speak of the future and make plans. This can help counteract the common feeling among people with PTSD that their future is limited.

Keep your promises. Help rebuild trust by showing that you’re trustworthy. Be consistent and follow through on what you say you’re going to do.

Emphasize your loved one’s strengths. Tell your loved one you believe they’re capable of recovery and point out all of their positive qualities and successes.

Encourage your loved one to join a support group. Getting involved with others who have gone through similar traumatic experiences can help some people with PTSD feel less damaged and alone.

Tip 4: Anticipate and manage triggers

A trigger is anything—a person, place, thing, or situation—that reminds your loved one of the trauma and sets off a PTSD symptom, such as a flashback. Sometimes, triggers are obvious. For example, a military veteran might be triggered by seeing his combat buddies or by the loud noises that sound like gunfire. Others may take some time to identify and understand, such as hearing a song that was playing when the traumatic event happened, for example, so now that song or even others in the same musical genre are triggers. Similarly, triggers don’t have to be external. Internal feelings and sensations can also trigger PTSD symptoms.

Common external PTSD triggers

  • Sights, sounds, or smells associated with the trauma
  • People, locations, or things that recall the trauma
  • Significant dates or times, such as anniversaries or a specific time of day
  • Nature (certain types of weather, seasons, etc.)
  • Conversations or media coverage about trauma or negative news events
  • Situations that feel confining (stuck in traffic, at the doctor’s office, in a crowd)
  • Relationship, family, school, work, or money pressures or arguments
  • Funerals, hospitals, or medical treatment

Common internal PTSD triggers

  • Physical discomfort, such as hunger, thirst, fatigue, sickness, and sexual frustration
  • Any bodily sensation that recalls the trauma, including pain, old wounds and scars, or a similar injury
  • Strong emotions, especially feeling helpless, out of control, or trapped
  • Feelings toward family members, including mixed feelings of love, vulnerability, and resentment

Talking to your loved one about PTSD triggers

Ask your loved one about how they may have coped with triggers in the past in response to an action that seemed to help (as well as those that didn’t). Then you can come up with a joint game plan for how you will respond in future.

Decide with your loved one how you should respond when they have a nightmare, flashback, or panic attack. Having a plan in place will make the situation less scary for both of you. You’ll also be in a much better position to help your loved one calm down.

How to help someone having a flashback or panic attack

During a flashback, people often feel a sense of disassociation, as if they’re detached from their own body. Anything you can do to “ground” them will help.

  • Tell your loved one they’re having a flashback and that even though it feels real, the event is not actually happening again
  • Help remind them of their surroundings (for example, ask them to look around the room and describe out loud what they see)
  • Encourage them to take deep, slow breaths (hyperventilating will increase feelings of panic)
  • Avoid sudden movements or anything that might startle them
  • Ask before you touch them. Touching or putting your arms around the person might make them feel trapped, which can lead to greater agitation and even violence

Tip 5: Deal with volatility and anger

PTSD can lead to difficulties managing emotions and impulses. In your loved one, this may manifest as extreme irritability, moodiness, or explosions of rage.

People suffering from PTSD live in a constant state of physical and emotional stress. Since they usually have trouble sleeping, it means they’re constantly exhausted, on edge, and physically strung out—increasing the likelihood that they’ll overreact to day-to-day stressors. For many people with PTSD, anger can also be a cover for other feelings such as grief, helplessness, or guilt. Anger makes them feel powerful, instead of weak and vulnerable. Others try to suppress their anger until it erupts when you least expect it.

Watch for signs that your loved one is angry, such as clenching jaw or fists, talking louder, or getting agitated. Take steps to defuse the situation as soon as you see the initial warning signs.

Try to remain calm. During an emotional outburst, try your best to stay calm. This will communicate to your loved one that you are “safe,” and prevent the situation from escalating.

Give the person space. Avoid crowding or grabbing the person. This can make a traumatized person feel threatened.

Ask how you can help. For example: “What can I do to help you right now?” You can also suggest a time out or change of scenery.

Put safety first. If the person gets more upset despite your attempts to calm him or her down, leave the house or lock yourself in a room. Call 911 if you fear that your loved one may hurt himself or others.

Help your loved one manage their anger. Anger is a normal, healthy emotion, but when chronic, explosive anger spirals out of control, it can have serious consequences on a person’s relationships, health, and state of mind. Your loved one can get anger under control by exploring the root issues and learning healthier ways to express their feelings.

Tip 6: Take care of yourself

Letting your family member’s PTSD dominate your life while ignoring your own needs is a surefire recipe for burnout and may even lead to secondary traumatization. You can develop your own trauma symptoms from listening to trauma stories or being exposed to disturbing symptoms like flashbacks. The more depleted and overwhelmed you feel, the greater the risk is that you’ll become traumatized.

In order to have the strength to be there for your loved one over the long haul and lower your risk for secondary traumatization, you have to nurture and care for yourself.

Take care of your physical needs: get enough sleep, exercise regularly, eat properly, and look after any medical issues.

Cultivate your own support system. Lean on other family members, trusted friends, your own therapist or support group, or your faith community. Talking about your feelings and what you’re going through can be very cathartic.

Make time for your own life. Don’t give up friends, hobbies, or activities that make you happy. It’s important to have things in your life that you look forward to.

Spread the responsibility. Ask other family members and friends for assistance so you can take a break. You may also want to seek out respite services in your community.

Set boundaries. Be realistic about what you’re capable of giving. Know your limits, communicate them to your family member and others involved, and stick to them.

Support for people taking care of veterans

If the person you’re caring for is a military veteran, financial and caregiving support may be available. In the U.S., visit VA Caregiver Support to explore your options, or call Coaching into Care at (888) 823-7458. For families of military veterans in other countries, see the section below for online resources.

Authors: Melinda Smith, M.A., and Lawrence Robinson. Last updated: June 2019.

via Helping Someone with PTSD – HelpGuide.org

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[WEB PAGE] Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself – Mayo Clinic

Caring for a loved one strains even the most resilient people. If you’re a caregiver, take steps to preserve your own health and well-being.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

As the population ages, more caregiving is being provided by people who aren’t health care professionals. About 1 in 3 adults in the United States provides care to other adults as informal caregivers.

A caregiver is anyone who provides help to another person in need, such as an ill spouse or partner, a disabled child, or an aging relative. However, family members who are actively caring for an older adult often don’t self-identify as a “caregiver.” Recognizing this role can help caregivers receive the support they need.

Caregiving is rewarding but stressful

Caregiving can have many rewards. For most caregivers, being there when a loved one needs you is a core value and something you wish to provide.

But a shift in roles and emotions is almost certain. It is natural to feel angry, frustrated, exhausted, alone or sad. Caregiver stress — the emotional and physical stress of caregiving — is common.

People who experience caregiver stress can be vulnerable to changes in their own health. Risk factors for caregiver stress include:

  • Being female
  • Having fewer years of formal education
  • Living with the person you are caring for
  • Social isolation
  • Having depression
  • Financial difficulties
  • Higher number of hours spent caregiving
  • Lack of coping skills and difficulty solving problems
  • Lack of choice in being a caregiver

Signs of caregiver stress

As a caregiver, you may be so focused on your loved one that you don’t realize that your own health and well-being are suffering. Watch for these signs of caregiver stress:

  • Feeling overwhelmed or constantly worried
  • Feeling tired often
  • Getting too much sleep or not enough sleep
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Becoming easily irritated or angry
  • Losing interest in activities you used to enjoy
  • Feeling sad
  • Having frequent headaches, bodily pain or other physical problems
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs, including prescription medications

Too much stress, especially over a long time, can harm your health. As a caregiver, you’re more likely to experience symptoms of depression or anxiety. In addition, you may not get enough sleep or physical activity, or eat a balanced diet — which increases your risk of medical problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Strategies for dealing with caregiver stress

The emotional and physical demands involved with caregiving can strain even the most resilient person. That’s why it’s so important to take advantage of the many resources and tools available to help you provide care for your loved one. Remember, if you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for anyone else.

To help manage caregiver stress:

  • Accept help. Be prepared with a list of ways that others can help you, and let the helper choose what he or she would like to do. For instance, a friend may offer to take the person you care for on a walk a couple of times a week. Or a friend or family member may be able to run an errand, pick up your groceries or cook for you.
  • Focus on what you are able to provide. It’s normal to feel guilty sometimes, but understand that no one is a “perfect” caregiver. Believe that you are doing the best you can and making the best decisions you can at any given time.
  • Set realistic goals. Break large tasks into smaller steps that you can do one at a time. Prioritize, make lists and establish a daily routine. Begin to say no to requests that are draining, such as hosting holiday meals.
  • Get connected. Find out about caregiving resources in your community. Many communities have classes specifically about the disease your loved one is facing. Caregiving services such as transportation, meal delivery or housekeeping may be available.
  • Join a support group. A support group can provide validation and encouragement, as well as problem-solving strategies for difficult situations. People in support groups understand what you may be going through. A support group can also be a good place to create meaningful friendships.
  • Seek social support. Make an effort to stay well-connected with family and friends who can offer nonjudgmental emotional support. Set aside time each week for connecting, even if it’s just a walk with a friend.
  • Set personal health goals. For example, set goals to establish a good sleep routine, find time to be physically active on most days of the week, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.

    Many caregivers have issues with sleeping. Not getting quality sleep over a long period of time can cause health issues. If you have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, talk to your doctor.

  • See your doctor. Get recommended vaccinations and screenings. Make sure to tell your doctor that you’re a caregiver. Don’t hesitate to mention any concerns or symptoms you have.

Respite care

It may be hard to imagine leaving your loved one in someone else’s care, but taking a break can be one of the best things you do for yourself — as well as the person you’re caring for. Most communities have some type of respite care available, such as:

  • In-home respite. Health care aides come to your home to provide companionship, nursing services or both.
  • Adult care centers and programs. Some centers provide care for both older adults and young children, and the two groups may spend time together.
  • Short-term nursing homes. Some assisted living homes, memory care homes and nursing homes accept people needing care for short stays while caregivers are away.

The caregiver who works outside the home

Nearly 60 percent of caregivers work outside of the home. If you work outside the home and you’re a caregiver, you may begin to feel overwhelmed. If you do, think about taking leave from your job for a period of time.

Employees covered under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act may be able to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave a year to care for relatives. Ask your human resources office about options for unpaid leave.

You aren’t alone

If you’re like many caregivers, you have a hard time asking for help. Unfortunately, this attitude can lead to feeling isolated, frustrated and even depressed.

Rather than struggling on your own, take advantage of local resources for caregivers. To get started, check out the Eldercare Locator or contact your local Area Agency on Aging (AAA) to learn about services in your community. You can find your local AAA online or in the government section of your telephone directory.

Jan. 19, 2018

via Caregiver stress: Tips for taking care of yourself – Mayo Clinic

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[WEB SITE] Family Caregiver Guide: Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injury (Module 1) – BrainLine

The Defense Health Board, The Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center and The Department of Veterans Affairs
Family Caregiver Guide: Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injury (Module 1)

Module 1 Summary

In this section, you can find basic information about:

  •  the parts of the brain and what they do
  •  the causes of traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  •  how the brain changes after TBI
  •  how the brain begins to recover.

You can use this information to understand:

  •  how the brain works
  •  what you might see during recovery
  •  why you might see changes in how your service member/veteran
  •  thinks and acts due to a TBI.

TBIs are classified by how severe or serious they are at the time of injury. TBIs range from mild (concussion) to moderate to severe.

This module provides information on moderate to severe TBI. Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers who work with TBI guided
content.

As you read through this document, ask your health care providers to explain what you don’t understand.

Some key points are:

  •  The brain is the body’s control center.
  •  The parts of the brain work together to help us think, feel, move, and talk.
  •  A TBI is caused by a penetrating injury or by blunt force trauma to the head.
  •  TBI is very common in both civilian and military populations.
  •  Many different health care providers will help diagnose and treat your service member/veteran with TBI.
  •  It is the goal of health care providers to minimize complications, the things that can go wrong after the injury.
  •  Many service members/veterans with TBI go through common stages of recovery. Each person, however, progresses at his or her own pace.
  •  Recovery from a TBI may be measured in weeks, months, or years.
  •  Promising new research is showing the brain’s capacity for healing.
  •  There are many ways you can support your service member/veteran with TBI throughout his or her recovery.

Be hopeful. The brain is very good at repairing itself.

Read some of the chapters in this module:

Posted on BrainLine July 5, 2012.

 

via Family Caregiver Guide: Introduction to Traumatic Brain Injury (Module 1) | BrainLine

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[QUOTATION] Brain Injury is …

Η εικόνα ίσως περιέχει: φαγητό

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