Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I'm Moving!!

You're Invited...

to a very special celebration of life!

I know I haven't been around here a lot lately. It's been for a good reason: I've been hard at work with my son Kevin on my new WordPress website at http://www.pamthorson.com.

Today it's almost finished. It's definitely time to invite you to join me there! I think you're going to enjoy the new features. The website and blog are conveniently located in one place. Be sure to check out the blog posts; I've added pictures and updated them, and from now on all new posts will be posted there.

I love the sliders and resource features. Simply click on the picture to go to the post. Now you can get to CMADDICT.COM to find the newest Slightly Obsessed devotional every Wednesday just by clicking the link there.

I'm especially excited to introduce a new series called Unstoppable, which features the true stories of  real families who are conquering life's challenges one day at a time. If you're looking for the story of the popular little three-legged pony named Molly, you'll find it there. She's not an urban legend - she's a real survivor of the Katrina hurricane and a victor in her own right with her amazing owner Kaye Harris.

If you know a family that deserves to be featured in a future story, feel free to nominate them by sending me a message on the contact page. Be sure to ask their permission first before you send me their names and e-mail address.

I hope you make the move with me. And check in frequently, because we're not done yet. There's more to come!

Special thanks to Kevin for his hard work, patience, and expertise in helping me create the new site. It's time to party!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

5 Ways to Ease Caregiver Strain

My latest issue of Nursing 2013 came in the mail yesterday. Usually I set magazines aside for later reading, but the title article on this one caught my eye immediately:

Easing the burden on family caregivers

I've been a full-time caregiver of a high-level quadriplegic son for sixteen years. I love my job, but I'm always willing to learn anything to ease the workload. I grabbed it and scanned past the clinical stuff to get to the end. I wanted to see what their ideas were for "easing the burden."

As I guessed, there was no magic bullet, no miraculous new methods for helping family caregivers. There were, however, some things worth noting. Today I've pulled out a few of their ideas and added a few things we've learned over the years to share with those who care for loved ones.

5 Ways to Ease Caregiver Strain:

1. Learn to depend on others for help.
Caregiving is a marathon. No one can take on such duties day after day after day without respite or assistance. It's hard to ask others for help, to feel needy. But those around you may wish they could help somehow and just not know what to do. If you're not comfortable with having them take over the actual caregiving duties, you could see if they would be willing assist you in chores once in a while. If you have the financial resources, you can also pay for such chores as yard work and picking up groceries to save valuable time and energy.

Getting help not only relieves the physical burden, it allows both caregiver and patient a chance to interact with others, a vital necessity for both physical and emotional health.

2. Adapt an assertive, rather than a passive, coping style. 
Those who are naturally more passive are more susceptible to crumbling under the burden of caregiving. They tend to stay isolated, worry more, ask fewer questions, and develop a negative attitude.

A healthier coping lifestyle involves actively taking charge of the situation, asking questions and pursuing the answers that will benefit both the caregiver and the patient.

3. Learn all you can.
Understanding what is happening to your family member is crucial to providing the best care with the least amount of emotional strain. Research the disease process or injury, available treatments, and the usual prognosis. It's especially important to know such basic techniques as how to correctly turn a person in bed, infection control, and bed sore prevention. Know what community, church, and government resources are available.

4. Be kind to yourself.
Caregivers often put the needs of their loved ones ahead of their own needs. In order to take good care of others, you need to be good to yourself, as well. This is easier said than done, since it's often hard to find time for anything besides work. Try to give yourself permission to care for you. Your family member needs for you to be well.

Hospital emergency departments employ a term called "triage" to decide which patients should be treated first. The idea is to put the most important cases at the front of the line. Do this with your life. Develop your own triage system to care for the "worst first" in your day. If a chore can wait until tomorrow and you're exhausted, put it at the end of the line. This works well for emotional issues, too. Don't waste your tears on things that aren't worth your energy.

5. Talk to someone.
Develop an emotional support system. Have at least one or two people who you can call when you need to cry, vent, or just talk. Don't just run to those who will agree with everything you say, though. Develop friendships with those who will listen and speak the truth. It's a two-way street; engaging with others gives our lives new perspective. It may even ignite a fresh appreciation for all we have gained through our own situations.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A Psalm for the Dark Days

It was one of those days, he was tired of the maze, 
Struggling in the mud and the mire.

That was the day I just happened to get in his way.

This Wednesday over at CMADDICT, I did something a little different for this week's devotional. I've been cleaning out my office this last week, and I ran across some song lyrics I wrote years ago. I'm sharing them with you in the hope it will encourage you on your dark days.

Life beats us up and wears us out. The temptation to pass our frustrations and anger on to others is powerful. What do we do on those days when we give into the darkness?

Click here for this week's devotional offering: Slightly Obsessed: A Psalm for the Dark Days.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest Awards Gift Certificates and T-Shirts Share Your Photos and Be Entered to Win + Vote for the Winner

Today I've been asked to share with my readers an opportunity to enter a photo contest sponsored by caregiverlist.com. They're giving away Amazon gift cards and t-shirts to those submitting the best pictures. Here's your chance to share that great pic and win. If you're a caregiver and submit a picture of yourself and your senior clients or family members, be sure you have permission to share their photo.

Caregivers provide much more than just assistance to seniors, often becoming the emotional support for their senior clients as they continue to confront the process of aging.

Caregiverlist, the career and training center for professional senior caregivers, announces a summer photo contest to honor professional caregivers.  

Caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides, and Certified Home Health Aides may submit a photo of themselves with a senior client to the Caregiverlist Summer Photo Contest for Senior Caregivers. The contest starts Monday, July 8, 2013, and runs through Saturday, August 31, 2013. Winners will be announced before Labor Day. The Caregiverlist Facebook page hosts the contest.

Contest winners will be chosen based on popularity via voting.  Caregiverlist will award $100, $50 and $25 Amazon gift cards to the top 3 voted pictures and free t-shirts to the runners-up.

Photo submissions that feature some creativity and uniqueness will bring competition to this contest. Caregiverlist expects that the caregivers, Certified Nursing Aides and Certified Home Health Aides who submit “fun” photos will gain more votes. Those who submit photos should share their photo across social networks and with friends and family to encourage more voting.
Caregivers may submit their photo on Facebook and vote for caregiver and senior photo submissions here.
Caregivers also may always submit a job application on Caregiverlist to be considered for part-time, full-time and live-in caregiving jobs and find online caregiver training.
Good luck!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Lost in Space

The earth reels to and fro like a drunkard
And it totters like a shack,
For its transgression is heavy upon it,
And it will fall, never to rise again.
-Isaiah 24:20

They were intrepid. They were bold. They wandered space encountering monstrous aliens and fearsome worlds. The story line in the old sci-fi television series Lost in Space was as cheesy as the aliens, but it fed the new interest in the world above us ignited by the space race. This theme was revisited on a slightly more sophisticated level with the Star Trek series Voyager.

No trip to outer space has yet revealed signs of the Borg, though, but instead has offered us a breathtaking glimpse into the expansive mind of God. High above our heads, planets spin at God's command; the sun blazes at exactly the right distance to sustain life on Earth; the constellations and nebulae thrill us with their serene beauty. The only dastardly creatures to roam the galaxies are the unseen leagues under the command of Satan.

Even then, the skies hold little interest for them. 

After all, the battle is here, on Earth, the only piece of God's real estate actually lost in space. While the universe whirls obediently at His word, our planet alone lurches headlong toward destruction as its inhabitants brazenly moon their Creator. The angels watch in amazement, the demons cackle in amusement, and creation longs for the day the rebellion is finished.

Earth was created to be the best of God's work, a blue jewel in the crown of the King. But our sins rained down death upon our heads and a curse that could only be broken by royal intervention. And intervene, He did. God is at work in our world, redeeming a people for Himself and displaying the majesty of His grace to His entire realm.

It may not look like it, but each day brings us closer to rescue. At precisely the right moment, Christ will return to deliver His people, end the rebellion, and restore the planet to its intended glory.

For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly,
but because of Him who subjected it,
in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption
into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.
And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit,
even we ourselves groan within ourselves,
waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons,
the redemption of our body.
-Romans 8:19-23

Today those who trust in the Lord Jesus wait for Him, aliens trapped aboard a toxic rocket hurtling through space as nations battle to throw off the final restraints to all-out lawlessness. The world appears to be running into the fire. A conflagration is coming, but the Lord Jesus has given us a powerful promise:  

Take courage; I have overcome the world. -John 16:33  

God, we are told, is the Blessed Controller of all things. Nothing surprises Him, and nothing is beyond His power. We are safe in His hands, and we will be delivered. We are not lost in space. With our eyes on those beautiful heavens from which our Redeemer will appear, we say with the Apostle:

We are looking for new heavens and a new earth,
in which righteousness dwells. - 2 Peter 3:13

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

No Robots Allowed

It clanked unceremoniously as it goose-stepped around the living room, a silver contraption of motors and noise. Occasionally it stopped and lowered its jaws as it emitted a metallic bark.

Could this metal contraption earn our love? Click this link and head on over for this Wednesday's devotion:
Slightly Obsessed: No Robots Allowed.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Learning to Smile

We met in the cabinet aisle at a DIYer store. We talked there for probably an hour. I've lived her desperation. I understand her pain.

What do we do when we can't escape the rain? Click this link: Slightly Obsessed: Learning to Smile