Tag Archives: activities

Teens and Caregiving Part Two

 Tips for Caregivers-4

Inevitable Changes With a New Role of Caregiver

When you accept the role of primary caregiver for a sick or elderly relative, your family takes on the responsibility too. If you still have children at home, the addition can be both a blessing and a stress.

Children of all ages and stages can be notoriously self-oriented but having a human under the same roof who’s relatively helpless and vulnerable is a constant reminder NOT to think of themselves first. Even if the children aren’t responsible for the manual tasks of providing personal care, they’re on-call to provide companionship and attention and to help the person in other ways around the house.

It’s important to be sensitive to signals when the kids in the house are feeling the stress of the new situation. Even seemingly minor adjustments (like having to change where you sit at the dinner table) can trigger a meltdown when combined with the compounding changes like modifications to environment, schedule, routine, traditions, a likely increase in visitor traffic through the house, equipment in the home and possibly a shuffling of room assignments.

Best Advice To Date

The most profound advice I got was from a friend who took care of her dying mother in the last 6 months of her life. Stacey has 4 children about the same age as my own. When she learned that I would be caring for my aunt in our home, the only advice she gave was to attend and to drive my kids to as many activities as possible. I was surprised since transportation might be the easiest thing to delegate to friends and family members who want to help in this new situation but she was right.

Three Reasons This Advice Was So Great

1. Time and Attention is at a Premium

My (or my husband’s) presence at a game during an otherwise chaotic time provides a measure of security to the child, even if they’re unaware of it. My time is not my own and there’s less flexibility to make it theirs. Carving out time to spend time with any of the kids makes a difference. If you make this point non-negotiable with your family and support network, it creates some predictability in an otherwise unpredictable situation. Practices and games are usually scheduled well ahead of time which gives everyone plenty of notice that you’ll need help at home during those times.

2. Car Rides Can Be Quiet and Private

One-on-one time can be difficult to find and time in the car with you gives a kid a chance to talk about things that are on his mind. Even if you don’t talk about the subject of your new circumstances, it can help you gauge your child’s mood and pick up any underlying concerns.

3. A Mini Respite

Committing to this simple, routine chore forces you to physically remove yourself from your environment which allows you to decompress and take a break. Arranging time away from the house (and your added responsibilities) for other events might be a hassle so you probably have a tendency not to. Practices and games are relatively predictable so they’re also easier to plan for.

Whether it’s a 15 minute run to the field for a practice drop-off or sitting in the stands for a two hour game, the time can provide a much-needed but efficient respite for you since you’re also supporting your child.

Even if I’m not always able to arrange it, I’m grateful for my friend’s advice and believe it’s been key to keeping us all moving forward during a major change in the household.

I would love to hear your tips for caring for teens and a sick or elderly family member simultaneously.

This is part 2 in a series about caring for teens and a sick or elderly family member simultaneously. You can read part 1 here.

the road to being home

Being Back Home!

the road to being home

The best roads always lead back home!

I’ve had sort of a whirlwind June. Luckily I had no plans for an “intentional summer” or big DIY projects like last summer, otherwise, I would be feeling frazzled and defeated right now. The first weekend took my girls away. Kate has since returned. After Mark got a mini-retreat with Hannah at my aunt’s, he came home, too.

Junior tennis

Backhand: weapon of choice

Luke spent the 2 weeks after that training all day, every day for a big tennis tournament in Lancaster. Although he lost a 3 set heart-breaker in the first round, he kept winning in the back draw and ended up playing in the finals of the back end. He got a lot of great matches and played really well overall. The logistics of that tournament were tricky since every day is unpredictable. Mark left with him on Friday, I stayed behind while Mark’s baseball team played their play-offs (and won the championship!) I ended up leaving home on Monday mid-match, willing to turn around if Luke lost but he ended up winning. Mark left him with another tennis friend who also was still alive, I intercepted Luke and we were there for 2 more days.

I’ll pick Hannah up this weekend and we’ll all be under 1 roof for the first time in 3 weeks. Hannah asked to stay with my aunt for another week. Since she has no formal obligations and my aunt is really enjoying and benefitting from her company, I agreed.

As I mentioned in his birthday post, Mark is LOVING baseball and loves being with his team so I fully committed to allowing him to play All-Stars. This is a first for us. Usually, I like to leave July and August open for us to go to our cabin in the mountains on the weekends. In the past, both boys have been ready for the season to be over after play-offs and played a few post-season games. It turns out that Mark’s team will likely play throughout July and I agreed to take him to a tournament overnight 3 hours away. He’s looking forward to staying in a hotel and he really loves being with this group of boys, one of whom is his best buddy in the neighborhood so that makes it nice.

This summer, I’m letting life happen. It’s been a little hectic but enjoyable. The kids being older and more self-sufficient helps. As much as I’d like to finish some projects around here and at the duplex, I’m not stressing about it. We still evaluate each opportunity or obligation as it is presented. I really want to allow the kids to have unique experiences if they’re able. Cost is always a factor so, we’ll try to make it work.

Traveling up and down the Pa Turnpike hasn’t been bad but it makes me realize how much I love Being Home 😉.