Chat For Caregivers
The Story Behind My Nickname(s)
What’s in a nickname(s)? I have had several nicknames throughout my life. My first nickname was Pispa when I was a toddler. My maternal grandparents and family gave me that nickname which originated with my uncle (Mom’s brother).
My nickname growing up was Nita, shortened from Anita. I signed everything with Nita, and everyone at school called me Nita, and I referred to myself as Nita. I finally used my birth name after high school.
After retiring as an educator, I acquired another nickname while caring for my parents. I started the day I retired and “moved” to Texas. I flew back and forth while caring for Mom and Dad to see my husband. Upon my arrival the first night, I found a note on the stove that read, “Winnie, Welcome Home!”
What’s in a nickname(s)?
I love my parents, and caregiving has been a well-chosen second “career” with no pay. I am an unpaid family caregiver, and I had the support of my parents, an online chat, and my parent’s medical staff. If you are a caregiver or know a caregiver and need emotional support, join our chat. We are an online support group for caregivers. Join us and chat live at 7:00pm PST. Maybe another family caregiver can offer suggestions. We are a small group of caregivers who meet online to support each other and other caregivers. We have caregivers in different regions of the United States and beyond.
Essential Advice for Caregivers
For caregivers supporting Aging Parents who don’t have serious illnesses but require assistance, here are a few pieces of advice. Encourage open communication with your parents, especially if you haven’t been with them for an extended period of time. When you return home to care for your aging parents, you are still a child in their eyes. The roles have been reversed to a certain extent.
Having regular conversations with them will help you understand their needs, preferences, and concerns. Maintain an open and supportive environment where they feel comfortable discussing their needs. It may not happen immediately, but it will set the foundation for the future as they age. With each piece of advice I have learned from my experience, I present some anecdotal scenarios so you can avoid some of the pitfalls.
Establish Open Communication
When I arrived, Dad was still playing golf 3x a week. Mom went everywhere with him because Dad had learned not to leave Mom alone at home for very long. She and I would him and wait for him to finish a round of 9 holes. We read. Mom read her magazine, and I read my book. We talked and bonded again. At the beginning of my journey, I was there mainly to assist Mom and keep her company.
Empower your parents to maintain as much independence as possible. Identify areas where they can manage independently or with minimal support, allowing them to retain their sense of autonomy and dignity.
Dad was still driving, and I rode in the back seat. That lasted a few weeks. When I arrived, I flew and used his car for errands. I decided to buy/lease a car and offered to drive so they could enjoy the scenery and talk to each other. Dad still went a short distance for errands while Mom and I stayed home. He wasn’t ready to give up driving.
Create a Supportive Network
Contact friends, relatives, or local community organizations to build a support network. This can provide assistance, companionship, and social engagement for your parents, easing the burden on you as the primary caregiver.
When I arrived, my parents depended on each other, and my brother, ten years younger than me, lived with them. He worked, and after observing their relationship, it was clear he wasn’t there to help. I suggested Mom visit her sister instead of staying in the clubhouse waiting for Dad.
Friends and Family
She lived close enough to the golf course for a short visit. My cousin sells Medicare insurance, and my parents changed their Medicare insurance at her suggestion. She checks in periodically and offers advice. I benefited from the close relationships my parents developed.
Plan For the Future of Your Aging Parents
Assist your parents in planning for their future needs, such as legal, financial, and healthcare considerations. This may involve discussing options like long-term care insurance, advanced directives, or exploring community resources that offer aging-related services.
I did not think further ahead at the beginning. I did wonder and expressed some concerns, but my parents dismissed the idea thinking they would live forever, I imagined. Dad was adamant about controlling their situation, and I could not persuade him otherwise. I was still their daughter, and he couldn’t remove the child from his daughter. It wasn’t until he fell and fractured his hip he agreed with the advice of the doctor and human resources division at rehab. We did discuss the above and proceeded with a limited POA. I was then aware of what future steps I should take as I cared for them.
Remember caregiving is a demanding role. Every person and relationship is unique, so adapt these suggestions to suit your parents’ specific needs and your own circumstances. Your love, support, and dedication as their caregiver will undoubtedly significantly impact their lives. It’s essential to prioritize your own self-care whle providing support to your elderly parents.
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While Dad is writing his column in his office, I am teaching Mom how to use the iPad. She had said a few days earlier, “Everybody has Facebook. I want Facebook”. It is the best way for Mom to keep up with Family.
Our Chat Support
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With Chat For Caregivers, you’ll have access to a caring community of like-minded individuals who share their experiences, triumphs, and challenges. Engage in meaningful conversations, seek advice, and find solace in the company of fellow caregivers who truly understand what you’re going through. With sustained interaction you become part of a growing family of caregivers dedicated to supporting other caregivers.
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Visit our caregiver community today and experience the transformative power of compassionate connections. Together, we can navigate the caregiving journey with strength, resilience, and unwavering support.
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What is it like during the migration: Chat For Caregivers
I am a retired educator, and upon retirement, I started caring for my parents in El Paso, Texas May 24, 2018. I am a long-distance caregiver, and taking care of Mom & Dad was easy in the perspective of the following years. It has been 5 years since, and I am reflecting on the current political situation. Living in El Paso, I never thought of our maids being a product of illegal immigration. Growing up, we had maids taking care of us, living with us, and they were all living across the border in Mexico. I never gave it a thought until now.
Caregiving on the Border
While Caregiving Mom and Dad, there eventually came a time when I needed help. Dad was receiving an honor for Legends of the Sun Bowl at the Sun Bowl game in 2020, and he wanted me to walk with him across the field. I couldn’t go because I had to take care of Mom. She had hurt her shoulder and couldn’t raise it. Dad was placing her nightgown over her head. She raised her arms too high and felt a sharp pain. The doctor advised her not to move it, surgery was out of the question because of her age, and her arm was placed in a sling. Caregiving was becoming a challenge.
I asked my brother to go with my Dad to the Sun Bowl. He agreed, and instead of walking with him, he dropped him off. Four days later, he fell at home and fractured his hip. I needed help. Brother has always been there for the parents, lived with them for several years before I came, but never had to do things for them except maybe drive them to different events. Dad, a retired sports editor, is a freelance writer and writes a column twice a week in the local weekly paper. Brother drove Dad to his interviews, book signings, and UTEP football and basketball games.
Hiring a Caregiver
After Dad fractured his hip, I had mentioned it would be harder to care for them both before he came home from rehab. His doctor gave me a number to call an agency recommended by their insurance. The girl we hired for Mom was wonderful. She has a “green card” and a work permit. She spoke limited English but understood the language. Mom is bilingual and bonded with her. She lived with her boyfriend, the head custodian for an apartment complex. Going back and forth over the border was fine. She and Mom bonded.
My Cleaning Crew
I also hired a carpet cleaning company and found out the husband and wife were illegally living here under the radar. I hired them to clean the carpet and the house weekly. Very cheap labor, but the husband was deported midway through 2021, and his wife continued to clean. Immigration caught up with him. Their children are citizens. His daughter is in San Antonio going to school/college, and his son is in high school but sowing his oats. He’s been in trouble and had a baby last year. While he was in Juarez, his father called me and proudly announced he would be a grandfather. The husband returned with this latest wave of migrants. El Paso is 75% or higher Hispanic.
Legal vs. Illegal Immigrants
It is essential to ensure that caregivers who work in the United States are legally authorized to work in the country. If the caregivers I hired are illegal immigrants, it could put myself, my parents, and the caregivers themselves at risk.
Mom’s caregiver came from an agency. The girl I hired revealed and showed me her green card in our discussions. She had to wait five years before she was considered legal. Many in the community are outraged that citizenship comes so easily for them after having to take the test and go through all the legal hoops to become a citizen. Mom’s 95-year-old friend is German and came to the States after WWII. She is a US citizen, not because she married a soldier. She actually went through the process.
Hiring at the Racetrack
I am also reminded that years ago, we trained horses at the local track, and my husband hired grooms for the horses. When Border Control came by, they would run and hide. Border Control made frequent inspections. Word spread quickly. Mobile phones were nonexistent then. Yes, we were questioned, but we never gave them up—cheap labor, grateful folk, and ready to make life easier for themselves. Thirty-five years later, the policy changed under Obama.
Teaching on the Border
As a teacher, I had a classroom of 16 students with limited English for one year. It was an immersion classroom. To continue teaching this class the following year, I had to take a bilingual test which I still needed to pass. I couldn’t translate a Spanish passage. Therefore, I was not considered bilingual. My parents raised us to speak English, and they spoke Spanish when they didn’t want us to know what they were talking about. My older brother and I eventually learned some out of “necessity.”
The parents in the immersion class didn’t involve themselves with education and rarely attended school events. The involved parents were here legally. Most don’t vote and are very conservative and religious. Border control was and still is active in El Paso. El Paso was considered one of the safest cities consistently until recently.
My parents live two miles from the New Mexico/Mexican border and 10 miles from downtown. I eventually had to hire another caregiver to care for Dad. This caregiver was hired through the agency and was born and raised in El Paso. The work ethic between the two was so different. She felt entitled, and the other was grateful to have a job.
The Immigration Debate
I’m not against immigration, but the current situation here is inhumane. Controlled border immigration is humane. It’s compassionate and considerate of the human condition. Currently, South El Paso is a tent city. Too many came across at once, and it was chaotic. The City did not have government-funded rooms available for the influx. The administration didn’t consider that. The living conditions are inhumane. The officials were frustrated and needed more communication with the administration.
Things will surely change with the current state of affairs. As I write this, The Durham report was released, and we are on a fast track for change.
What happened to our country? Unaware of my realm outside of caregiving, I am here and aware and occasionally take a peak at what is happening in our country.
I am here and aware of my #caregiving duties.
Caregiving is a selfless act that requires patience, compassion, and dedication. As a caregiver, I have had the privilege of caring for my parents, who need my help the most. All caregivers, whether their family members or clients, find it a rewarding experience to see the smile on their faces and the appreciation in their eyes, knowing that we positively impact their lives. I am here and aware, but I was unaware of what was happening outside my realm of caregiving.
However, caregiving has its challenges. It requires time management, prioritizing tasks, and handling stressful situations. Caregiving has taught me the importance of self-care and the value of seeking support from others. Despite the challenges, being a caregiver has filled my heart with joy and taught me lessons in empathy and gratitude that will stay with me forever.
I have been taking care of my parents for four years after retiring in 2018. I taught generations of students, and just as caregiving, it filled my heart with joy and taught me lessons in empathy and gratitude. It served me well while taking care of my parents.
The World Outside of Caregiving
I was deeply involved in caring for my parents, and several events have given me great pause lately. All I listened to was Rachel Maddow, Dad’s favorite news. As a long-distance caregiver, I cared for them and would come home and hear news from my husband. He listened to the late-night radio on his paper route. He has two jobs to help support us while I am caring for my parents in another state. I heard two different views of the world.
The first two years were uneventful until January 2020. Dad fractured his hip at age 92. Then while recovering at home, we had an electrical fire. We moved to an apartment. Mom and Dad decided to refurbish the house so they could live the rest of their lives at home.
Then Covid hit. I was involved in their care. We moved back to the house 4 months later. Travel was restricted during the lockdowns. You can imagine what I was going through and how I was feeling. We all have empathy for each other, and our experiences during the covid years affected us all differently. Dad developed a severe case of anxiety which increased my anxiety.
In May, when I went home, my husband was filling me in on all the news he was hearing since I couldn’t come up for air as I was drowning with my caregiving duties. He warned me to avoid giving the booster to my parents. Please don’t take the vaccine, he told me repeatedly. I am so grateful I listened to him. Currently, I am back home, and the world has changed. What happened to our country?
Chat GPT and AI
I decided to ask AI: “As an AI language model, I cannot comment on the situation of our country without specific information. However, I suggest you catch up on the news and current events by regularly reading reliable news sources that provide different perspectives. This will help you stay informed and form your own opinions on the current state of our country.” That was not the best advice. Later I found out the news was censoring information by omission. Little did I know it was a coordinated effort.
Writing and Sharing
I shared my publication on Twitter in 2022 and eventually moved to Substack. Caregiving and sharing my experiences have helped other caregivers. In 2022, I started a Chat room for caregivers after the one we had used folded. My experience in the classroom enhanced my computing skills. Four of us have been the core administrators of chatforcaregivers.com.
Chat for Caregivers
Chat for Caregivers focuses on caregiving, not politics, the state of the world, or our country. Caregiving and caregivers have a place to gather information, support, and coping strategies. Our group provides access to resources and information that can help caregivers better understand their loved one’s conditions and learn how to give the best care possible. We are a source of validation and comfort, as caregivers can share struggles and feelings with others who understand and empathize with our experiences. I have shared how I coped with the events of 2020.
As I published on Twitter, I received unsolicited news updates. I have been using Twitter since 2009, and what was coming through shocked me! Twitter became my go-to platform for news. Sharing on our platform has raised caregivers’ awareness as they care for a loved one. So many have experienced losses and grief.
Now my husband and I are on the same page regarding world events and our country’s affairs. His radio show is no longer available because of censorship; now I know why. We are experiencing free speech on Twitter, and I am ever so grateful for that space. I have decided to get involved. I am a wife, a daughter, a mother, and a caregiver. Prayer is urgently needed.
The Sea Change in Politics
So much has been imposed on our society, especially in our schools. Our school district always struggled for money; now, it has 8 billion. However, I question where that money came from. I have also learned about corporate media, Transgenderism, SEL, and CRT. CRT was a test the students took in our district. Now CRT means something entirely different. AI condensed this for me, and I am aware of the transgender and WOKE ideology. I have heard that it is a very controversial app, and I have discovered why. This is the explanation I received for both transgenderism and WOKE ideology. As an educator, I am extremely distraught about the effect of all this on children.
“Woke” ideology refers to an awareness and understanding of societal issues related to systematic oppression and discrimination, such as racism, sexism, classism, and ableism. This ideology promotes social justice and challenges traditional power structures to bring about equality and create a more just society.
Transgenderism refers to the experience of not identifying with the gender assigned at birth. It is recognized as a valid and diverse identity within the larger LGBTQ+ community. Transgender individuals may identify as male, female, both, or neither and may choose to undergo a medical or social transition to live in alignment with their gender identity. Transgender individuals often face significant discrimination and marginalization in society, and the transgender rights movement seeks to promote their equality and fight against such discrimination.”
Caregiving continues to be my haven. I pray for normalcy as I know it and pray for freedom. I taught in a conservative community 2 miles from my house. Our Republican governor has made a difference. Nevadans voted the Democrat governor out because of the lockdowns. We are hopeful but continue to pray for our constitutional republic, the United States of America. I have been dedicating my time to interacting with other caregivers and writing on Substack.
Chat For Caregivers: We want to provide a connection between caregivers who can help each other along their journey. Chats are scheduled during the day, and you may connect to one of our scheduled chats at 9am/6pm PST (Noon&9pm) EST.
The Family Caregiver-Caring for my Parents
Caregiving is an important role that family members often assume. The Family Caregiver can be responsible for caring for their loved ones who are disabled, chronically ill, or aging. Caring for a loved one can involve various tasks, from assisting with daily activities such as bathing and dressing to handling medical care and coordinating appointments.
The Family Caregiver and Stress
Being a caregiver can be a rewarding experience, allowing individuals to provide support and care for their loved ones. However, it can also be challenging and stressful, particularly if the caregiver is balancing work, family, and other responsibilities.
Caring for you and me
A family caregiver needs to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Self-Care may involve reaching out for support from other family members, friends, or community resources or seeking respite care to allow for time off. Chatforcaregivers.com
Caregiving can also have financial implications for family caregivers, who may need to reduce their work hours or take time off to provide care. Caregivers need to understand the financial resources available, such as Medicaid and Medicare, and any caregiver support programs offered through their employer or community organizations.
Overall, being a family caregiver can be a challenging but important role. By taking care of themselves and seeking support, caregivers can provide the best care for their loved ones while maintaining their well-being. Me-time is usually last on the agenda. Worse, we can sometimes feel guilty about taking the time required to take care of ourselves. So getting started with self-care can be challenging.
The Family Caregiver
I wish I had been a little more prepared for the challenges of being a full-time caregiver. When I started, Mom and Dad were fairly independent. Dad asked for help when he was 90 years old. As a result, I flew to be with them the day I retired. Mom needed me, and I was happy and fully committed to caring for them both.
Dad sent this email asking for help 2 weeks before I retired. I asked for a personal day; I am an educator and helped Dad. Then, I realized how much Dad really needed me when he first asked 6 months before. The first year was easy enough, but I was on a steep learning curve when Dad fractured his hip Jan. 2020. I had been with them for 18 months. Learning so much from that first incident from the aides, nurses, and doctors, made it easier for me day by day. The social services department at Dad’s rehab was very helpful, provided resources, and introduced me to the POA. In fact, it was there that we had the first POA. I was grateful for all that information and was provided with resources to help me along my journey.
Caregivers, we are here to support you. We provide a safe and open space—at no cost to you— where you can be honest about what it’s like to care for someone with a serious disability or illness. You can use our space to ask anything, share, and vent. We are here to support, listen, help you through rough times, and chat about mundane things for an escape. As you are browsing, if there is anything we can assist with, please don’t hesitate to reach out. firstname.lastname@example.org
As a caregiver, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed occasionally. However, if you have reached your breaking point, it’s essential to take action to ensure that you are getting the support you need. Here are some steps you can take for A Caregiver’s Breaking Point:
A Caregiver’s Breaking Point: Relieve the Stress
- Take a break: It’s essential to take time for yourself to recharge and rest. Find someone you trust to take over your caregiving duties for a few hours or days. That someone could be a family member, friend, or professional caregiver.
- Seek support: Talk to someone you trust about your feelings and experiences as a caregiver. Join a support group, either in-person or online, to connect with others who are going through similar challenges.
- Ask for help: Be bold and ask for help from friends, family, or community organizations. Many people are willing to lend a hand, but they may only know how to help if you ask.
- Take care of your physical and emotional health: Ensure you eat well, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Practice self-care activities that you enjoy, such as reading, knitting, or gardening.
- Consider getting professional help: A therapist or counselor can provide tools to manage your stress and help you cope with your caregiving duties.
A Caregiver’s Breaking Point
Our chat is available daily if you need a safe place to vent. We understand and can offer support and feedback. We are family caregivers, and our response is purely informative and does not provide advice or medical opinion. However, here are some potential advantages of entering a caregiver chatroom when you have reached your breaking point:
- Support: Visiting our chatroom can provide emotional support as you interact with others who might be going through similar experiences. You might find people who share your feelings, offer encouragement, or have helpful suggestions.
- Relief: Speaking to others about your caregiving experiences can provide relief and a sense of release for your emotions. The chatroom can be a safe space to vent your frustrations and share your story.
- Education: By chatting with others, you learn new information about caregiving that may benefit you in the long run.
- Empowerment: Chatrooms offer a sense of empowerment as you connect with others and gain knowledge and self-confidence about your role as a caregiver.
- Access to resources: We often connect you with resources, including counseling services, support groups, and volunteer organizations that offer help with caregiving responsibilities.
Chat For Caregivers
12p.m. ET (11 a.m. CT, 10 a.m. MT, 9 a.m. PT)
9 p.m. ET (8 p.m. CT, 7 p.m. MT, 6 p.m. PT).
Caring for a family member can be challenging and emotionally overwhelming, particularly when you are in a different state and away from your comfort zone. My journey as a long distance caregiver started four years ago. I meet other caregivers during our conversations on various social media sites, I have met novices and seasoned carers. Three caregivers and I run a chat for caregivers.
We are compassionate, loving, thoughtful caregivers who bounce around ideas, ask and answer questions and share stories. Meeting new people and engaging in different conversations while staying in our comfort zone is fulfilling. We have expanded and invited all caregivers seeking support, friendship, and a safe haven to join us..
Caring for my aging parents in Texas, while my heart aches for my home in Nevada, has been a journey of mixed emotions. Each day brings new struggles. I struggle with their physical and mental health while also dealing with the frustration of not caring for them alone. I often feel helpless and lonely. After 30+ years, my friends have moved, but I have a cousin with whom I connect when I have a free moment. She works for Medicare and provided my parents with the best supplemental insurance.
I am filled with sadness as I try to reconcile the fact that my parents are inevitably getting older and their health is deteriorating before my eyes. The weight of my responsibility as their caregiver can feel overwhelming, but it is also an opportunity to cherish every moment I have with them.
Despite the difficult challenges, I am grateful for the time I have with my parents. I hold onto cherished memories from my childhood. I find ways to create new experiences with them. Although it can be heartbreaking to witness their declining state of health, I try to remain optimistic. I focus on the love and care that I can provide for them. Through this process, I have learned the true value of family. I cherish every moment that we have together. I am grateful for being present for every moment.
Long Distance Caregiver Support
Certainly, I can understand how challenging and emotionally overwhelming it can be for a family caregiver. You are away from your comfort zone. According to the National Institute on Aging, a long-distance caregiver is anyone living an hour or more from the person who needs care. I found support through the local Area Agency on Aging. Our chat offers emotional and social support for family caregivers. Join us at Chat For Caregivers.
We are caregivers. I started my journey when I retired in 2018. Dad asked for help, and I was willing to do it as often as possible, traveling back and forth before retiring. Caregiving has been a difficult road. After retiring, it was a full-time job.
It’s a difficult road, but I know I am not alone.
I learned I needed to remain healthy late in my journey. There was no time as my parents needed me more than ever. I didn’t make time for myself; I am not sure I could have. Self-Care was the advice I heard most often.
“You need to remain healthy yourself” was an often repeated phrase from friends and Mom. On the other hand, Dad would have panic attacks and suffer from anxiety whenever I was out of sight. I would need a nap, and I could hear Dad coming down the hallway (his walker wheel squeaked). Therefore, I would never really nap, but at least I put my feet up.
As my “job” became more difficult, I found a site that helped me and may help you the same way. This site is a free support system for those who have experienced what you are experiencing now.
Use The Live Chat To Connect With Someone Who Cares About What
You’re Going Through Today!
Resentment and Guilt
Well-meaning friends often compliment the caregiver they know. They will say things like,
“You are doing a good job; you are an angel; stay positive, and take care of yourself’. A friend told me the advice was always well meant, and I always forced a smile, but inside, resentment flared.
Why do we feel resentment when our friends and family talk about what a good job we do as family caregivers? As I meet caregivers in our chatroom and other online settings: social media, and forums, I discovered that caregivers commonly feel resentment and guilt when they receive compliments for their hard work. I often did as I cared for my parents. Caregivers often feel like they don’t do enough to help or that the care provided is not enough, so when someone compliments them for their job, it can feel like an extra burden rather than a reward.
Some caregivers also experience guilt from not being able to do more for their loved ones, or they may feel like they are not genuinely doing enough and aren’t worthy of the compliments they receive. Additionally, due to the stress and strain of being a caregiver, the last thing some caregivers may want is to be given more attention or praise. With time I learned to accept the compliments for what they were, a testament to my faith that I was doing the best I could.