“Strap in for the Ride”

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In my last post I mentioned that I took a second place win and tie in Vitas Healthcare’s Caregiving Story contest. You never know where experiences will lead you, but having been on this wild yet interesting and loving journey called caregiving, it has made me all the better person for having been on it.

Here’s my story “Strap in for the Ride”, which I believe is informative yet told with humor if I should say so myself. I mean where else will you learn about the Home Depot being good for supplies.

“Strap in for the Ride”

When I started blogging, I dubbed myself a “master caregiver.” Not because I was by any stretch of the imagination a master at it when the role was bestowed upon me. It was more the irony of it, or putting it out there to the universe: that’s what I was going to become as I took care of my mother, who had Alzheimer’s.

For those of you who are trained for the role, you already have a leg up. For those who, like me, became a caregiver unexpectedly, strap in for the ride.

Being my mother’s caregiver definitely had its challenges. There are accidents. You find yourself always doing laundry, giving medication, scheduling appointments—scheduling everything. But I would never trade it in for the world. Oftentimes you feel as though you are behind the eight ball, so to speak, that you’re reacting to situations instead of proactively acting, and that it may take a moment, if ever, to get ahead of the caring curve.

It’s in those rare quiet times that you have to prepare for the next day and week, that you need to make your to-do list, the doctors list, contact list, shopping list and what-friend-can-I-call-today list. Caregivers have little to no “self” time, and when it came to planning my life’s future, that ceased. I didn’t want to think of future things, because I was unsure of what that would be for me. I had to learn (with the help of my therapist) that at some point I had to be selfish with my time.

You need to think about something that you want to do and try to find a way to do it. Whether it’s getting your hair done, going for a manicure or going for a walk, see if you can put something in place that will give you free time. Look into a daycare facility, respite or a good friend who could give you that free moment.

You also have to learn how to be fast on your feet and, yes, at times, think unconventionally. I triumphed at 10-minute grocery shopping and doing the “Target 5k” (no such thing) in record time. And, boy, did I shine when handling a big oops moment with Mom and finding out how great the Home Depot can be when you need supplies. Yes! The Home Depot!

As a caregiver you must have compassion, but you can’t get rattled when accidents or unexpected things happen. Caregiving is a true test of heart and a true test of physical and mental will. It can be tough and often is not rewarded. And yet it’s one of the most rewarding roles. In the midst of my journey dealing with Mom’s Alzheimer’s, she forgot many things. But she never forgot to say thank you.

To see all my article on the Vitas website and all of the winners go here: Family Caregivers Share Their Personal Experiences  and to get to my click on the title.

Pamela

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

will be started below and to see my full submission and other’s stories

It’s a Second Place Win for My Caregiving Story

Spa Finders

“Everyone has a story and never would I have imagined that mine would include caregiving. But that wild, interesting, testing, most challenging, yet rewarding role has led me and is leading me to new places and on new adventures. Little could I have imagined it would not only lead but feed my creativity…. “

The above is what I wrote with my picture post on Instagram. I was quite surprised to receive notice that my entry about caregiving tied for a second place win of a mighty nice gift card amount from Spa Finders. Vitas Healthcare hosted a contest (see the post Caregivers: Share Your Experience for a Chance to Win a Spa Gift Card) that I shared with you all to enter. I was a newbie to who they are and what they do, before I entered my submission, but having spent some time visiting their web page, I’m glad to have been a part of their contest and to now be a part of their resources.

Please visit their site here especially if you’re in the Florida area and see what services they offer and how they may be of assistance to you.

Pamela

My Walk to End Alzheimer’s, NYC, October 18, 2015

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This year was the first year that I participated in the Alzheimer’s Association’s Walk to Remember in New York City. I was so excited to be walking in honor and memory of mother Susan Rivers and my Nana Reid. And though I had an excitement to be participating in this event, it was bittersweet because it also reminded me of my loss.

My team was or is rather Susie’s Stars because I’m rolling with the same name next year and I was able to raise over $800 in the short amount of time from when I decided to toss my hat into the walking ring! I was extremely humbled and grateful from the outpouring of love and donations that supported my efforts and the Alzheimer’s Association.

Here are some pictures from my day and my Instagram picture video at the end:

 

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With actor/advocate David Hyde Pierce

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Team Gotham – cast from the hit FOX TV show Gotham. (L-R) Robin Taylor, Chelsea Spack, Drew Powell and Corey Michael Smith.

 

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The END of ALZHEIMERS starts with ME!

 

More… #walkforalzheimers #endalz #RiversidePark #nyc #alzheimersawareness #walk2endalz

A video posted by Pamela Rivers (@pamelarivers_) on

Pamela

Caregivers: Share Your Experience for a Chance to Win a Spa Gift Card

Contest Word Raffle Drawing Jackpot Prize

That’s right, you could win a Spa Gift Card courtesy of VITAS Healthcare.

In 500 words or fewer, share with VITAS Healthcare the challenges and rewards, large and small, you’ve experienced while caring for a loved one. Tell us what no one knows about caregiving until they become a caregiver. Submit your essay, in the space below, on or before Monday, November 30, 2015.

VITAS Healthcare® is a pioneer and leader in the hospice movement since 1978, is the nation’s largest provider of end-of-life care. Their name is derived from the Latin word for “lives” and symbolizes the VITAS mission: to preserve the quality of life for those who have a limited time to live.

For more information about their contest go here: VITAS Healthcare Caregiving Contest.

To learn more about VITAS Healthcare and the services they provide go here: VITAS.

 

 

Pamela