Caring for caregivers

140-book-juggling.imgcache.rev1375741594591.web“I’m pleased to partner with Midlife Boulevard to bring you this important public service information about National Family Caregivers Month.”

As my father’s Alzheimer’s disease progressed, I, along with my siblings and our spouses, began to be more involved with Dad’s caregiving in an effort to help our mom. Dad was prone to wandering and wasn’t sleeping through the night, leaving our mother exhausted. We would take turns watching him so she could get a break or go to her own medical appointments. Additionally, I accompanied my parents to Dad’s doctor appointments, because the input and moral support was a benefit to my mother.

I found the role-reversal of this disease emotionally challenging. The day my dad needed me to help him tie his shoes, I quietly wept while fiddling with the laces. I felt like he was bothered, too, by the fact he couldn’t care for himself. It was if the look on his face said, “I used to do this for you,” similar to the feelings expressed in this video.

It was a very stressful time for me, as I was also caring for my teenage son who had sustained a concussion while playing high school football. In addition to helping my mother and running my son to specialists, I was also working. The stress and time away from work began to take its toll, and I left my job as I was spreading myself too thin.

My circumstances were not unique. According to the AARP’s research, 42 million people in the U.S. are caring for an older relative or friend.

Recognizing the role reversal of children caring for parents, the AARP and the Ad Council have launched new public service advertisements that illustrate how the changing roles of parents and children can really impact one’s life. And since most caregivers are also working and managing their own families at the same time, this highly stressful time can put caregivers at risk for depression and anxiety, illness, premature aging, among other things, plus it can cause financial problems. Throw in the upcoming holiday season, and the combination can be extremely overwhelming. Caring for caregivers is necessary.

AARP offers support and information on their Website, where one can find articles such 10 Tips for Caregivers During the Holidays, the free eBook,  Juggling Work and Caregiving, and much more.

It is no secret that caregivers need support. Even though I wasn’t caring for my dad 24/7, it still was nice to catch a breather and talk to friends who had been there or were currently in the same position. Just having a network of people where I could vent or cry was immensely helpful.

If you are currently caring for a parent or friend, know that you are not alone. Whether you find encouragement online, over the phone or in person over a cup of coffee, it is imperative to find that support. Self-care is vital when caring for loved ones, no matter the circumstance. From one who has been there, I send you the warmest of wishes. Even though it is a difficult time, my prayer is that you will find joy in the fact that you are making a difference in the life of someone you love.

Have you been a caregiver to a parent? How did you handle the role reversal? Feel free to share in the comment section.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Posted in Alzheimer's and the family, Boomers, Mid-Life | 1 Comment

Slang used today and words I should not say

wpid-2014-11-14-13.02.19.jpg.jpeg“Slang is a language that rolls up its sleeves, spits on its hands and goes to work.” – Carl Sandburg

As a writer and an avid reader, I find words and language usage fascinating. Just call me a word nerd. Admittedly, as I have entered the digital age, I find myself being a little more lax in language and grammar rules. Some of my participles dangle, and sometimes I end sentences with a preposition and I often find myself starting sentences with “and” or “but.”

But (oops, I did it again) one thing I try not to do is use slang – at least in my writing, even though it fascinates me.

My earliest memories of slang and its usage began when I was about eight years-old. My father was all decked out in a crazy-patterned synthetic shirt paired with gold polyester pants. This fine-looking outfit was accessorized with white loafers and a matching white belt. Dad was so excited with his fashionable look, which truly went well with his gold Buick with the black landau roof.

He was, as we’d say today, stylin’.

Back then, my dad was doing his part to be relevant, with a Beatles eight-track tape and all. No work dungarees for him. Being all jazzed up, he used the first slang I can remember: “Do I look hep?”

Hep? What the heck is hep? Did he mean “hip,” which, back in the day, would be the correct term for cool? My second-grade self was burning with embarrassment for him.

Now that I am the parent, I sort of understand where dear old Dad was coming from, trying to fit in and understand the language of youth.

Our busy household has presented us with four kids, which was like raising two sets of teens a decade apart due to their age differences. One set of teens raised in the early 2000s, the other set being raised now.

Imagine my surprise, ten years ago, when I found out a hoe wasn’t always referring to garden equipment.

Imagine my surprise when I heard “junk in the trunk” and it didn’t mean the bags of discards that should have been dropped off at a donation center.

Imagine my surprise, when about a year ago, I learned that ratchet isn’t always a tool. Or that swag didn’t mean window coverings or someone’s stance.

Imagine my wonderment the first time I heard “word” not used in the way my professors taught – as, well, a word – but more as an action item.

Imagine the horror on my teens’ faces when I used the term “cray.” Even used in proper context, my usage was met with wild eyes and the insistent plea to never, ever, say that again. And for the most part, I haven’t used that crazy term, however tempted I may be.

Let’s face it. Each generation comes up with their own terms and language. And trying to be a relevant mom, I want to know what my kids are saying. I want to be, um, “hep” and know the lingo.

The fun I have trying to de-code the slang used today with this generation’s terminology is worth the struggle. I want to make sure that if I have to emphasize a point, my teens get it. For instance, when my teenage daughter is out with her pals, I want to make sure she is safe. I may say, “Stick together with your pals. I saw a sketchy character.” Back in the day, I would’ve said “shady character.” Sketchy is quite descriptive, and she knows what I mean. Seriously, I have had to take to Googling some terms just to figure what is going on. (Note to readers: if you offend easily, don’t do this. It could make your eyes bleed.)

For this generation, I know all these terms and acronyms they use are deemed “legit.” I just need some sort of word play book, probably something my own parents wished was available back in the day.

What is truly amazing is how slang used today keeps evolving! It is really difficult to know what the term of the day is, especially when, purposely, this secret language is kept from me. When I left a note for my daughter using “ratchet” and “sketchy,” her brother seemed alarmed and wondered what was worse – me using the terms, or what his sister did to cause me to use those words.

My assumption is that the latest and greatest term I have heard yet, “my stomach feels jank,” would be defined as “my stomach is jacked-up” or, in my midlife world, “my stomach is upset.” And since using “sick” can mean anything from illness to awesomeness, I guess a new term was needed.

But because I love them, I am doing my best to not have my offspring burn with ratchet embarrassment. Therefore, I vow not to speak their sketchy language, even though it dashes my dream of being that relevant and “hep” mom.

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

Did you ever figure out teen or tween speak? Let me know your favorite term!

Posted in Boomers, Family, humor, Motherhood, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Sharing life with a dear neighbor

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“A good neighbor increases the value of your property.” – Czech proverb

 

We just wrapped up spirit week, and tonight is the last football game of the season, which means if you are a senior on a varsity sport, your home will most likely get decked out in team colors.

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Posted in Family, Friendship, Mid-Life, Military Family | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Glitter-covered First of the Last

glitter

All that glitters…

Our dining table is a disaster. We bought it twenty years ago, when our family expanded from four to six. It has seen numerous dinners and holidays and homework projects. The finish is ruined. There are dots from markers and gouges from toddler flatware. If you look closely, you can see someone was upset about doing homework, and their vice-like grip on a pencil carved a few letters and numbers into the table.

There is a patch of varnish gone do to a spill of nail polish remover. And now, there is what looks like a pixie trail; the likes of fairy footsteps of silver and gold glitter, strolling across the table. Continue reading

Posted in Family, Mid-Life, Motherhood, parenting | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Happy birthday to the best mom ever!

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Flower arrangement“Happy birthday to the best mom, ever!”

I remember writing those words on her birthday cards years ago. I am thrilled to be able to do so today.

Today is my mom’s 75th birthday.

Oddly enough, as I was having my morning coffee, I came across this quiz. And, as most of you know, I am addicted to taking these dang things. Being that it is my mom’s birthday, I just had to know – How Similar Are You to Your Mom?

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Posted in Alzheimer's and the family, Faith and Prayer, Family, Mid-Life | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Soap suds fun in Lynne’s Lab

wpid-2014-08-30-12.58.55.jpg.jpeg“What is elegance? Soap and water!” – Cecil Beaton

Well here I am, back in Lynne’s Lab, playing mad scientist again. My drive for finding natural solutions to chemically-laced products has made me more aware of how simple things can be. Like soap suds.

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Posted in DIY, Going Green, Lynne's Lab, Stuff I've taught myself | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

September 11, 2001 – I Will Never Forget

dad's flagBut when I saw her again, we were different women than when we earlier stood talking in front of the preschool.

September 11, 2001

It was one of the most beautiful September mornings I can remember. The sky was crystal clear – not a cloud in the sky – just endless, gorgeous blue for as far as the eyes could see. The sun was warm and there was a hint of a breeze. The air smelled so fresh and sweet. Perfection – one of the few days of the year one could actually say the weather was just perfect.

I remember the day so well. It was the beginning of the school year, and our last baby – at age three – had just started preschool. A monumental time in her life as well as mine. Continue reading

Posted in Faith and Prayer, Family, Military Family | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments