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Caregiving and TMS Pain

Discussion in 'General Discussion Subforum' started by Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021), Aug 19, 2013.

  1. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Caregiving for those injured or sick or the elderly can cause emotional and physical pain for many people. I tried caring for my elderly mother for two years but it wore me out so much I had to give up and ask the family for help. That left me with guilt and my back pain last year led me to Dr. Sarno’s book Healing Back Pain. From it I learned about TMS and my repressed emotions causing me pain. I journaled and meditated on that for some time and that led me to forgive myself and her, which led me to become free of my back pain. I wish I had had more knowledge of how to care for my elderly mother at the time, but didn’t. I winged it. Now I know more and want to share it and others’ knowledge and experience as caregivers. Few if any web sites on being a caregiver directly mention TMS, but I find that it’s there. It’s in how we care for ourselves while we care for others. Or, actually, how we do not care for ourselves while we care for others.

    About 44 million American families and friends provide unpaid care to another adult, sometimes around the clock. Wives, daughters, sons, partners, fathers, nieces, brothers—they provide approximately 80 percent of the long-term care in the United States.

    The Family Caregiver Alliance has some good advice for caregivers. Their web site offers suggestions on care strategies, community resouces, family issues, and hands-on care, and they also offer poublications with practical information on caregiving. They also have an online discussion group in which caregivers connect with each other.

    Some of the topics the Alliance covers are: hands-on skills for caregivers, caregiving and sibling relationships, caregiver depression, having your elderly parents move in with you, communicating with a doctor, taking care of yourself while being a caretaker, strategies for dementia caregiving, hiring in-home help for caregiving, out-of-home care options.

    I will write more about each of the topics in this thread. I hope others in the TMSWiki.org/forum will contribute their experiences and ideas on caregiving, especially how their caregiving caused pain and how, through TMS knowledge of healing by way of identifying repressed emotions (in the caregiver or the person receiving the care) helped relieve pain or stress.

    Hands-on Skills for Caregivers (these suggestions are mainly directed to caring for the elderly, but can be applied to anyone in your care):

    When you’re a caregiver, finding time to take care of your own physical needs is difficult enough, but taking care of the physical needs of someone else is even more challenging. Assisting someone else to dress, bathe, sit or stand when they are upset, agitated or combative—often the case when caring for someone with a brain disorder such as Alzheimer’s disease—requires special strategies. The following five techniques can make taking care of a loved one’s physical needs easier.

    Approach from the front and retain eye contact. When assisting someone physically, do not approach him/her from behind or from the side. This can startle and confuse the person in your care, leading to increased levels of agitation and/or paranoia. Instead, approach from the front. Touch the care recipient on the shoulder, upper arm or hand, and tell them what’s going on. Use a calm voice to walk him/her through the whole process. For example, “Okay, let’s stand up. Good. Next, we are going to… .” Retain eye contact throughout the duration of the activity.

    Elicit your loved one’s help. Even when frail, your loved one might be able to shift his/her weight or move his/her arms or legs to make physically assisting them easier. Some examples are: “We’re getting ready to stand now, mom, so lean forward as far as you can,” or, “Can you move your leg, honey, so I can change the sheet?” A little help from them means a lot less work for you.

    Allow the person to finish what they’re doing. If, as a caregiver, you are running late, the tendency is to hurry your loved one, too. However, this rushed atmosphere is very difficult for care recipients, especially those who suffer from memory loss or brain impairment. Though you may try to sound calm and encouraging, it’s easy for loved ones to pick up our “anxious vibes.” So, even if running late, allow some time to finish the current activity before moving onto the next. For example, “Mom, after you finish that last bite of cereal, we’re going to get you dressed and ready to see your friends.”

    Utilize the major bone and muscle groups. When physically assisting a loved one, pulling or supporting them by their hands or arms is not only difficult, but may lead to injury for you and them. Instead, utilize the major muscle/bone groups.

    For example, when taking someone for a walk, stand directly behind and to the left of him or her. Place your left hand on their left shoulder, and your right hand on their right shoulder. In this way you are walking with your loved one in a comforting hug rather than pulling or pushing them. And when turning someone in a bed, utilize the large bones in the hip and shoulder, and the large muscles in the legs. Pull them toward you with your right hand over their hip or at the knee, and your left hand at their shoulder. Finally, when pulling someone to a standing position, it’s best to use a transfer belt (one can be purchased at any medical supply store for around twenty dollars).

    Once they are sitting at the edge of the bed or chair, pull up on the transfer belt, “hugging” your loved one close, again, utilizing their large muscle groups in the shoulders and the back. Remember to keep your back straight and to always change position by moving your feet, rather than twisting at the waist. And before going home from your next doctor’s appointment, ask for a referral to an occupational therapist who can help you develop your transferring skills.

    Allow for Their Reality. Remember to accept your loved one’s reality, even when assisting with a physical task. If, for example, your spouse becomes shy because he/she thinks that you are a sibling and doesn’t want to get undressed in front of you, don’t force the situation. Try leaving the room and coming back in a couple of minutes. Perhaps on a second or third attempt your spouse will recognize you and be amenable to your care. If all else fails, consider the situation. Is it an emergency? Changing a loved one’s soiled garments cannot be delayed. However, if a care recipient is being difficult and doesn’t want to take a bath or wash his/her hair on a particular day, that’s okay. Plan on doing it at a later time that day or the next day, when your loved one may accept your help.

    Finally, don’t try to physically assist with caregiving unless you can. Injuring yourself will not help the situation, and will often make your caregiving responsibilities that much more difficult. If you find yourself in a nonemergency situation where you are unable to physically assist your loved one (for example, after he/she slides from their chair to the floor) call your local fire department and request a “fireman’s assist.” They will come to your aid.

    More on caregiving will be posted here in the near future. Meanwhile, please share your caregiving experiences with us. Did it cause pain? Did you find relief through TMS practice and techniques? What advice do you have for other caretakers? Thanks and stay well.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and plum like this.
  2. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Oh Walt, you beautiful soul. Not simply for the posting of this but for the act of really listening and responding. What a different and wonderful world we would live and love in were the powerful and not-so to do as you have done.
    Many thoughts bubble and I am not sure I have time to give them life right now (loss of time, loss of personal time...every carer knows this), so I shall settle for now by saying yes and thankyou and more anon.

    For the moment I will steal a few minutes to lie back and gaze at the moon (so big is she tonight that she us surely made out of cheese), and listen to the world below me (small joys of living in a flat. there is a tender godlike aspect to hearing folk come and go, and unintentionally eavesdrop on their conversations), and feel good that you and Annie are out there.

    Warmest wishes my dear.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    I wish I had the soul of my dog Annie. Now that's really a soul!

    I used to love hearing my next-door neighbor play the piano, the old "Barbershop songs," wafting into my house on summer evenings.
    She relaxed the whole neighborhood.

    I do the next best thing and play restful CDS of those songs and quiet classical and Jackie Gleason and meditation music.
    Annie seems to like that, too.

    My dog before Annie let me know how she felt about rock music. I never played it, but a girlfriend came over one night with a record of the soundtrack of the musical HAIR. When the first track began to play (it was loud), my big black lab Chelsea sat up and howled, then ran into the kitchen.

    I took the record off and told my girlfriend, "I have too much respect for my dog's taste in music." My girlfriend looked at me as if I was nuts.

    I can't understand people (of all ages) today who listen to loud rock music. At parties, they can't even hear each other talk. Maybe they like
    it that way, so they don't have to listen to anyone talking.
  4. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt I had to take care of mom about 2 weeks before her passing,
    it was different though cause of terminal cancer.
    My dad was different though, he was strong and demanding at 92
    worked his whole life and one day around 90 just set down and didn't get back up.

    I had to go over after work many days and get him outta the floor, it broke my heart
    To think I couldn't have been there sooner- he would pull me too him
    or it was like he was still wrestling me even at the age of 90.

    I knew that wasn't the case, he was just so strong.
    My oldest sister stayed most the time with him and that's good.
    He loved the hospice nurses and often just smiled while I was there
    especially when the nurses came in- like I thought they were his girl friends:)

    Pops was a character , reminded me of how you said your Mom flirted
    I had to acknowledge I did the best I could to help Pop

    Your part on how to pick them up is awesome,
    I could see me hugging and helping my mom and dad as I read your story.

    I remember mom wasn't about to let the nurses change the sheets with me in the room
    I understood why- she was firm with that, they didn't ask if id like to leave.

    My mom and I had a close, close relationship
    She took on most the role of my mom and dad

    Thanks for the post Walt, The memories are tearing me up

    Good tears, I love you brother.
    plum likes this.
  5. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Simply sending you the warmest, longest embrace.
    Peace and Blessings my dear one.
  6. Eric "Herbie" Watson

    Eric "Herbie" Watson Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thank You Plum,
    Your the Best.....
  7. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Thanks Walt, for your generosity of spirit.
    I think that Respite Care is one of the best things we can offer a caregiver. If someone volunteers to "sub" for them, even if only for an hour, it allows the caregiver some much needed time away. Respite is a kind of ministry that many people can and do offer.
  8. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Gigi, I agree with you on the great help respsite care can give. Even hour off can help a caregiver recharge their batteries.

    Here is another entry with Avis Carlson's advice about aging and caregivers...

    from her book IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME:

    “We used to be admonished about ‘getting old gradually.’ Nowadays (1977), the phrase is ‘successful aging.’

    “Whatever the wording, the scientists and crusaders interested in us and our [senior citizen] problems are pretty well agreed on the essentials for a ‘good’ old age: sufficient income to provide an adequate diet, comfortable housing, and proper medical care (and then the wit and the will to make that income really provide those essentials); an active mind and some genuine interests; a feeling of being needed and useful; and a basic life-loving attitude.”

    Those are essentials for us at any age.

    “Old age is very far from being the serene meadow that young or middle-aged writers used to picture it as being. It is a time of struggles and decisions not less harrowing than those at any other stage of life.

    “In at least one way, however, these struggles differ from those of earlier life: they are more hidden. Indeed, any reasonably bright old person knows that if he wants to retain the company of his juniors [including siblings who care for them] he had better keep the struggles hidden!

    “Old people have a bad reputation for grumbling. During our time all of us have known seniors who complained themselves right into isolation. If we still have any sense at all, we know that if we talk much about our worries and pains, even our contemporaries will give us a wide berth, and our children will see as little of us as their sense of duty permits. If we don’t want to be isolated, we had better appear untroubled, even if what we really want to do is let forth a loud, clear gripe.”

    These are thoughts for caregivers to think about, especially siblings caring for their elderly or infirm parents. Those in their care may be suffering, physically or emotionally, but may keep their gripes hidden. Avis was not a doctor or a psychiatrist, and neither am I, but what she tells about aging and caregiving is, hopefully, food for thought, and very likely differs from person to person and situation to situation.

    If you have thoughts or experiences on the above entry, I’m sure a lot of people in the TMSWiki family would like hear about them.

    Caption for photo below: "We love you, Grandma!"

    Eric "Herbie" Watson and plum like this.
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Another entry from IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME.

    But There Are Some Pluses

    … to growing old.

    Avis Carlson says in her book on aging and caregiving,
    IN THE FULLNESS OF TIME, that as she moved further along into old age and talked with others of advanced age, that she discovered that for herself and most others, along with the painful limitations and withdrawals, there are some real compensations.

    Hopefully, her observations on pluses to growing old can benefit
    those growing old and those who may be their caretakers.

    “Old age is only a stage of live,” she writes, “like infancy, childhood, youth, or middle age. Like all the others, it is a time of change in both body and person, and like any time of change,
    it brings the possibility of growth. It can be a time when the personality comes into its final bloom.”

    Avis says these compensations do not come to us on silver platters. We must look for the rewards and, as she puts it, “carefully build them into the framework of our everyday attitudes and habits.”

    She said that finding a plus about growing old is not enough. It must be thought about, walked around, turned over in the mid, absorbed into the person, enjoyed.

    Avis Carlson did not know the label TMS but she knew the value
    of reflecting on our lives to help us live happier and more pain free. She suggested a mental form of journaling when she said,

    “The Senior who has thought about his blessings is likely to be much better company than the one who sits and mourns his troubles. And he, therefore, is much less likely to be lonely.”

    Maybe sibling caretakers of a mother or father can get them to think about the blessings they experienced in their lives. The happy events, the fun times with those they love or loved.

    What are some of the pluses of growing old? Avis says one of the big ones is the pleasure of grandparenthood. Older men and women can enjoy their infant grandchildren without the obligation of proving for them, as in the old saying, “all the pleasure and none of the responsibility.”

    While parents may see their children as mischief makers, grandparents can laugh at the mischief and probably recall when the grandchild’s mother or father caused similar mischief. And grandparents know that many troublesome traits of children are only signs of growing up and will disappear in the natural course of events.

    The grandparent is basically a spectator. He can enjoy the experience of watching life repeat itself in a new time and place.

    Avis Carlson said that thinking about and absorbing the pluses of old age can be a highly creative process.

    There are more pluses to old age for seniors and their caretakers
    to think about, in the next entry in this series of posts.

    Please send any thoughts on this posting or related thoughts.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson and plum like this.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    Walt, there's much richness in these posts. It's humbling to admit that for the longest time I fell into the assumption that at some golden point in life, everything rightly falls into place. How silly. Why on earth should it? I suppose it is little more than wishful thinking, a hope that one day we leave our troubles behind and enter into a mature freedom, reminiscent of childhood innocence yet grounded in a life well lived. I am sure this is possible but is anything but a given.

    My mum has long said that she looks in the mirror and is surprised by the old biddy staring back. She feels the same inside as she always has done so who is this strange old bird? I have a sense of this myself. I realise that while mirrors don't lie, they don't tell the truths about us either.

    I muse too on my parents problems, things only I know of. I think of my mother-in-law and what rests unspoken. I'm aware of her loneliness and dependence and how they challenge her big, loud spirit but I can never really know.

    Perhaps then the ultimate gift of tms is not relief from pain, as wonderful as this is, but a peace and harmony within oneself, a rolling sense of relationship between oneself and life. And as with all couplings, this relationship embodies grace and grit.

    Lovely, lovely postings Walt.
    God Bless You for being a touchstone for what matters in life.
    Ellen and Eric "Herbie" Watson like this.
  11. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Him plum. You mention "It's humbling to admit that for the longest time I fell into the assumption that at some golden point in life, everything rightly falls into place. How silly. Why on earth should it?"

    We can always hope that we have some golden point in life. And earlier you mentioned looking at a really big moon.
    That's a golden point.

    There's a newspaper in the Chicago area for seniors called Keenager News and the issue that just came this morning had an article by a priest on that subject.

    "Our golden years don't automatically happen," he writes. "We have to create them.

    "Life is good, but that doesn't mean it will be easy or without problems. If we expect our 'golden years' to be trouble-free, we are setting ourselves up for disappointment."

    (I know you're not).

    He adds, "If we admit that life will always involve some work, we are better set to appreciate what we can. As we observe Labor Day in America, let us resolve to continue 'laboring' in our lives toward contentment. Not only will we benefit, but those around us will, too.

    "The golden years are the time to follow one's dreams and fondest desires to the extent we can.
    The best is yet to come."

    He gives us some good thoughts.

    Let the moon shine on us. The stars, too. Up where God lives.
    Eric "Herbie" Watson likes this.
  12. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    More pluses in growing old

    From the senior citizen wisdom of Avis Carlson in her book
    In the Fullness of Time:

    She says that next to the pleasure of watching a new generation appear in one’s life, as was posted here in the last installment, she says the most obvious compensation is the new freedom that comes alongside the disadvantages of retirement.

    “Liberation from the alarm clock my not be a very noble freedom, but for many people it is a real one.”

    She says that factory workers and office workers and executives all share a sigh relief when they retire. Factory workers may be bored from the repetition of their work and, as she says, “feel trapped in a dull and physically exhausting job, and look forward to and end to it.” But office workers and executives have the
    “rat race” to deal with.

    Many people who look forward to retiring have no plan for what to do afterward, beyond taking some time off to fish or do nothing. Some large corporations have set up programs to “prepare” their older workers for retirement.

    Keeping physically active and mentally alert after retirement are important ways to stay healthy. Some take up hobbies or go on trips to visit distant family or just sight-see. Others do volunteer work and some even take on a part-time job.

    “Some Americans seem to be ‘born competitors.’ They appear to need to outdo others: win the games and the prizes, make more money, acquire more status, ‘go up” faster and farther. Many of them seem to enjoy the competition for itself, especially if they are successful in it and are therefore able to punch up their self-esteem to the desired level. Playing the game hard and winning it seems to be the driving motors of their lives.

    “For all such born competitors, retirement may be a disaster, not only for the drop in status and income, but for the goalless hours likely to come with it. This may be the reason that women seem to move into old age easier than men do. Many of us never really had work-related goals.”

    But for some people, getting free from the necessity to compete may be a real boon. Their values or principles may have conflicted with those of the organization or the individual employer. Freedom of not having to “toe the line” laid down for them, and to abide by their own standards may be a real blessing in retirement. They may be freed of the necessity to impress anybody.

    “Even if she is given to lamenting her uselessness now that the children have gone their own ways, the elderly housewife can also relax and may, if she is honest with herself, find it rather nice to be done with the responsibilities they laid upon her.

    “Enjoying one’s emancipation from today’s workaday world may not be anything to be proud of, but it can be enjoyed, and I for one don’t mind doing so.”

    Walt’s thoughts on the above:

    My mother retired after years as a Bell Telephone Company switchboard operator (before cell phones, of course). She enjoyed her retirement but wanted to be useful, so she volunteered to cook for the priests at her church, without pay. (She said they ate well.) She shopped for and cooked their evening meals and they were treated to some of the best dinners from a wonderful Austrian cook.

    My stepfather did not retire well. He had been an executive and missed the status that entailed. When he began to just sit and watch television and drink, she suggested he volunteer or get a part-time job. He got a part-time job at the local public library but felt inferior with the less-educated man who was his immediate boss.” One day their friction erupted into my stepfather punching the man and the police were called. My stepfather got off with a reprimand and loss of his job. He went back to watching television and drinking. But it cut his life short. There had to be a better solution for him as to how to retire, but he didn’t find it. Now I believe he had a lot of repressed emotions that led to him drinking and being so angry all the time. He had had two failed marriages before marrying my mom. He must have had a lot of unhappy things to think about in retirement.

    If retirement is not anything you or a loved one is looking forward to, and there is no plan for the future, perhaps a senior citizen group counselor can be of help with suggestions.

    As for myself, I have no intention of retiring. I love researching and writing and hope to continue doing that until the lights go out.

    Knock on wood, but I don’t think I will come down with Alzheimer’s. Research and writing, a lot of it having to do with writing about old movies, keeps me remembering the names of what actor was the cab driver in a movie, who played the maid, the cop, or the fan dancer in a film. My memory for that trivia is fantastic, as it is for others who can remember the names and clubs of sports stars. Or crossword puzzles can keep the mind active.

    What’s in your mental wallet?
    Ellen likes this.

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