Assurance …Not Answers

December 29, 2017
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When The Answers We Demand Don't Appear

When struggling with loneliness and isolation, dark thoughts often grip us as caregivers.  We fearfully cry out for someone to tell us what to do, where to go, or how to cope. Simply put—we demand answers.  Furthermore, we want an explanation of why these difficult events are happening to us in light of a good an loving God. 

Some Answers Won't Make Sense Right Now

When just a toddler, our oldest son fell and lacerated his chin, and I had to hold him down while he received stitches. I’ll never forget the look of terror in his eyes and his screams. as he endured what, for him, was horrifying.  He had no way to understand what was happening or how to cope.  As he struggled, I avoided trying to explain things like stitches, infections, and antibiotics to a crying three-year-old, and instead gently assured him of my presence and that he would be okay.  Soon, the doctor finished, and I held our son and dried his tears.    

How are we any different when traveling in the often-long valley of the shadow of death?  While our Heavenly Father seems to rarely give us the answers we demand, He does give us the assurance we need.  The assurance of His presence and His love for us.

From YOUR CAREGIVER MINUTE With Peter Rosenberger

Fight What’s Closest

November 8, 2017
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From YOUR CAREGIVER MINUTE WITH PETER ROSENBERGER 

Sometimes as caregivers, we look at the problems in our field of view and subsequently try to tackle all of them at once. The healthier approach is dealing with what is nearest to us. My martial arts instructor often tells me to “Fight what’s closet!”  A distant opponent can wait until we deal with the obstacle directly in front of us. Difficult things may lurk on the horizon for caregivers, but fixating and fretting over them is unhealthy. Planning is appropriate, but we better serve ourselves and others by focusing on what lies within our grasp, rather than living in the wreckage of our future. Sometimes it’s as easy as just doing the next right thing …which may be taking a nap, calling a friend, or even visiting your own doctor.  Look, we both know that more challenges await us, but let’s deal with today …what’s closest …and do the next… right… thing.

Some Days We’re The Pigeon. Some Days We’re the Statue

October 20, 2017
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It's easy for us as caregivers to think we're singled out for mistreatment. While we often WILL be taken advantage of and treated disrespectfully, there are times when we ourselves treat others poorly. How does knowing that help us be a better caregiver? In this Caregiver Tip of the Day from my show, we unpack: "Some days we're the pigeon. Some days we're the statue."

Take Time for Stillness or Make Time for Illness

October 12, 2017
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From YOUR CAREGIVER MINUTE with Peter Rosenberger.  

September 24 2017

September 24, 2017
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Today's Show:

Caregiver tip of the Day

"If you don't make it worse, it counts as a win!" 

 

“Give Me Solutions!”

September 11, 2017
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Caregivers are often put on the spot to somehow fix whatever happens to be the crisis of the day —or the hour.  Some people feel free to stress the obvious, and then impatiently demand the caregiver come up with an answer.

"Give Me Solutions."

Caregivers don’t need others to rehash the same problem we’ve obsessed over.  Furthermore, we don't need "bystanders" to place another unreasonable request upon our shoulders. By evenly stating, "Give Me Solutions," we detach from the ownership of satisfying an onlooker's lack of understanding. Asking those individuals for solutions, and then just being quiet—gives them a moment’s pause to consider the complexity of the caregiver's world. In addition, maybe, just maybe, a moment's pause provides them with an opportunity to embrace some humility when engaging suffering.  Regardless of the humility or lack thereof, a moment's pause provides caregivers with a distraction to extricate themselves from the conversation.   Read the rest of this entry »

You Can’t Drive A Tuna Casserole To Work

August 22, 2017
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Struggling with her husband’s significant medical issues, a woman I know felt burnout and worn paper-thin. Furthermore, while trying to hold it all together, her car broke down. In addition to all the other burdens she carried, transportation soared to the top of the list.  Finally working up the courage to ask someone in her church for help, a church member met her plea with compassion.
 
“We’re going to pray for you, and I will bring you a meal!”
 
The offer from the friend came with great sincerity and enthusiasm.  
 
Awkwardly, she replied, “I really want your prayers …I appreciate the thought of the meal …but I really need the car fixed!
For caregiver, it’s takes courage to ask for the specific need.  The fear of being rejected and feeling ashamed looms large for many us.  Yet, there is no shame in having a need. Furthermore, caregivers asking for help is a sign of wisdom.  
 
In moments like this woman's, it's so meaningful and insightful when asked specifically about the car, the appliances, the home.  Remember, "...You can’t drive a Tuna-Casserole to Work!"  
 
Praying and meals for folks who suffer, as well as for those who care for them, is wonderful, but digging deeper allows us to do more than be a tuna-noodle helper.

About Peter Rosenberger

Peter Rosenberger, a thirty-year caregiver, is the author of Hope for the Caregiver.  

Peter hosts a weekly radio show for caregivers on 1510 WLAC, broadcast Sunday’s at 3 PM CST.  In addition,  Peter serves as the president and co-founder of Standing With Hope.

The author of four books, Peter earned 2nd dan (degree) black-belt in Hap-kido, and is an accomplished pianist.  He recently release his new CD, Songs for the Caregiver.

 

Radio Show for Family Caregivers

Peter Rosenberger's radio show for family caregivers can be heard each Sunday at 3PM CDT on Newsradio 1510 WLAC.  The show is streamed world-wide through Iheart Media.

Don’t Believe Everything You think

August 5, 2017
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"My Mind Is A Dangerous Neighborhood to Walk in Unaccompanied!"

Physical Isolation is one of the most challenging issues Caregivers face, but our thoughts become isolated, as well.  In those lonely moments, our minds can play tricks on us, and take us down dark roads.  Like a pilot flying through clouds without looking at instruments, we can quickly become disoriented.  In those moments, we need external input ...an emotional GPS, if you will ...to help us regain our heading and proceed safely.  We don't need to believe everything we think! I don't know about you, but my mind is a dangerous neighborhood to walk in unaccompanied! The book of Proverbs tells us to trust in the Lord with all our hearts and to not lean on our own understanding.  You know why that's in there? Because we lean on our understanding!! Serving as a caregiver is simply too difficult to do alone.  Don't lean on your understanding, ask for guidance and help. Don't believe everything you think!

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Stewardship vs.Obligation for Caregivers

August 5, 2017
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Caregiver Stewardship instead Obligation

"I've Got To," "I need to," "I have to."  These are all statements made by all caregivers at some point, and, sadly, all too frequently.  The feeling of obligation drives us to push ourselves to dangerous stress levels for our health, finances, and emotional stability.  The way we can push back is to recognize that we don't own the problem.  We didn't cause it, and we can't fix it.  We are stewards.  Stewardship frees us to accept we are doing the best we can with what we have.  Feeling obligated can quickly takes us into resentment, which will only compromise our ability to live healthy lives and serve as healthy caregivers.  Adopting an attitude of stewardship, however, helps us breathe easier and treat ourselves with mercy—all of which equips us to be a better caregiver.

The DELTA DOCTRINE for Caregivers

August 4, 2017
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The DELTA DOCTRINE For Caregivers

While flying Delta Airlines to Atlanta one day, I discovered that flight attendants state the best advice for caregivers – all day long:

“In the unlikely event of the loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the ceiling.  Securely place your mask on first, before helping anyone next to you who may need assistance.”

That small directive, what I call “The Delta Doctrine,” contains applicable wisdom for so many life circumstances - but probably none as poignant as for those of us serving as a caregiver for a chronically ill/disabled loved one.

Compassion and love often mistakenly lead us to hold our own breath - while trying to help someone else breath, but once we make that decision, it is only a matter of time before we find ourselves gasping for air.  If we are unable to breathe, how can we help anyone else?

The Attendance Record of Caregivers

August 3, 2017
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Caregivers Performance vs. Attendance Record

All too often, Caregivers judge themselves mercilessly over their performance.  With a supremely critical eye, we  berate ourselves, while also allowing others to do the same.  If we choose to judge ourselves, however, let's at least be fair and judge ourselves on the whole.  Part of that is to fairly look at our attendance record—which is nearly perfect.  We keep showing up!  What is that worth to our loved ones?  It is certainly worth taking a moment to acknowledge the extraordinary commitment and resolve of caregivers.

Caregiver Identity Loss

August 2, 2017
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The Lost Identity of Caregivers

The loss of our own voice, our melody—our identity, is a landmine with disastrous effect. That’s why I spend so much time on this issue for my fellow caregivers. We avoid this by reclaiming our identity and acknowledging our feelings out loud.  Using our own voices we can express, “I’m tired,” “I’m lonely,” “I’m scared,” “I’m angry,” or “I’m weary,” and seeking the help we need.

Caregivers can also reclaim healthy identities by cultivating trusted and appropriate relationships.  In those relationships, caregivers can safely express feelings and challenges with someone who understands their needs. Not limited to just friendships, a relationship with a trained mental health counselor can help sort through issues.

Discretionary Valor

January 2, 2015
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Sometimes, the best victory we caregivers can have is to not make things worse.  There is such a thing as "Discretionary Valor."

We’re Not Going To Understand Some Things

December 8, 2014
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You ever have someone come up to you and either brashly tell you why you are dealing with hard times ...or even try to speculate what God is doing? If not, wait ...it'll happen. It's not what we DON'T know ...it's what we DO know.


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There’s No “There” to Get

December 5, 2014
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Have you ever heard the phrase, "We're getting there ...we're getting there?

For caregivers, there is often "No 'there' to get!"

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