Caregivers come in all ages and are responding to just as wide span of need as they are of circumstances.
Are you a caregiver?
There tend to be two things all caregivers have in common. The first is that they are in service to someone they love or feel a commitment to help; and second is that their service, even when done out of love, is all consuming and influences the trajectory of their life.
Whether you are a caregiver or know someone who is, this article is for you. Even though the focus of my work is upon Alzheimer’s, dementia and overall aging conditions my focus is focused upon you here.
Why? Because the role of caregiver is increasing in our country exponentially to the point of it being an unpaid full time job for many who assume the job. And this has implications for every area of that person’s life all the way to every area of our health as a functioning society.
Many of my memory challenged clients with husbands or wives, moms or dads, cannot be left alone…they need to be watched and if they are not watched, they will at some point, wander off. My clients, these loved ones may be able to still feed themselves, dress themselves and even drive. Yes, they may still have a relatively functional life, these who suffer dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, yet they cannot always do these very simple tasks.
Sometimes they cannot remember what clothes they have, or who their spouses are…and anxiety worsens everything. Anxiety of the caregiver, perhaps someone just like you, that your loved one suffering will be okay…anxiety that you will fail in some small way to be there that will result in them being hurt.
When it comes to those suffering the conditions I help I am keenly aware that evidence shows they will die, eventually…There is no known cure and no known survivors. The clock is ticking and even if it ticks slowly it moves in one direction. Slowly these precious individuals lose their memories, lose the very sense of who they are and caregivers lose the very ones they love.
The prevailing logic is to encourage caregivers to return again and again to memories. There is the encouragement to support the caregivers to understand how to keep themselves healthy as they watch the decline day after day of the one in their care.
Does it have to be that way?
Sometimes decline is the path to be taken but I do not believe it always has to be that way.
If the words of Einstein could stir our hearts, ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,’ could we work together towards a different way to grow older in life and navigate debilitating conditions? I believe so.
And my research supports it. Period.
I do not claim to have a cure, but I do claim to be working towards different outcomes creating a breaking light of hope.
Now, if you read my blogs you hear me talk over and again about my modality CranioSacral Therapy. Have you read that we are finding 10-15 minutes of CST on a daily basis is influencing our clients powerfully?
YES! We are finding their memory is returning, they are finding their words more easily and they are recognizing their caregivers.
These kinds of results offer good news for everyone one aging in need of care and everyone assuming the role of caregiver. Taken seriously, the quality of relationship between both parties can go from complicated and stressful to easeful and life giving. Yes, aging can happen with greater grace.
The results my fellow colleagues and I are finding have spurred us with greater vigor to reach for the next level.
Want to learn more about the next level and how it will give you support? Tune in to my next blog.
Want to learn more about CranioSacral Therapy? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Medical science equipment. Shot in a laboratory by © Andrey Kiselev.
You have surely heard the term, ‘evidenced based,’ and most probably have a pretty accurate idea of what it means. But do you know exactly what it means? While evidence based has brought us many of the present day health care options, it continues to push us onwards beyond the mainstream paradigms into NEW paradigms.
After all, at one point or another, every great breakthrough has come about because it showed its effectiveness in achieving its aimed for goals. Can you remember back about 40-50 years ago when chiropractic was on the fringes? And yet, it is now commonplace for an individual or company to rely upon chiropractic as a part of their health plan.
Evidence based practices (a term coined by Dr. David Sackett are abounding all around us. One of the compelling methods making progress in shifting paradigms and introducing solid results is CranioSacral Therapy. In fact CST is a stellar example of what is referred to by professionals as Evidenced Based Practice, the practical application of evidenced based research and expertise.
Sitting for all to see on the Duke Library website is Sackett’s definition of EBP: EBP is “the conscientious, explicit and judicious use of current best evidence in making decisions about the care of the individual patient. It is the integration of clinical expertise, patient values, and the best research evidence into the decision making process for patient care.
Clinical expertise refers to the clinician’s cumulated experience, education and clinical skills.
The patient brings to the encounter his or her own personal preferences and unique concerns, expectations, and values.
The best research evidence is usually found in clinically relevant research that has been conducted using sound methodology.” (Sackett D, 2002.)
CST is not only showing results coming to us through the trained clinicians’ recorded data- clinical expertise; but also proving its effectiveness in the research projects attentively relying upon the above mentioned ‘sound methodology.’
This is worthy of lifting your eyebrow and piquing your curiosity to learn more.
There are notably three ways a new method’s results are proven.
The first is the evaluation of a program never evaluated before. The pure canvas can be subjected to investigation without the muddiness of having been around for many years in diverse ways.
Second is antecedal evidence, that is testimonials from patients or clients showing desired results.
And third, research subjected to rigorous scientific methodology showing desired results, which in turn are usually published.
CST is showing up with greater and greater recorded success in a category effecting our nation by the millions- patients suffering early to late stage dementia.
YES, CST is actually showing improvement in those diagnosed with conditions that are determined to be going in only one direction- progressively worse.
This is an exciting time for CST as evidence is opening new doors of confidence for doctors and patients alike. CST is slowly being included in other senior health care programs like art therapy, healing touch, music therapy and more.
As evidence mounts, co
sts decrease and practitioners increase…and the health of our nation takes a turn for the better.
*For more information about upcoming research or to participate as a client or practitioner email: email@example.com and put HP somewhere in the subject line.
What would it be like if we were rewarded everywhere we went for making healthy choices?
Imagine with me for a moment. You walk into your workplace, an environment that gives you a little bit of stress because of the deadlines you are under, or the relationships that are not happy making. Your boss calls a meeting. As you sit there he/she goes on, ‘I want to offer an incentive to each of you. Each time you use our workout room I am going to give you a bonus of 50.00 on the paycheck for that period.’
Would that motivate you?
What about this scenario? Your insurance agency calls, ‘We are giving incentives now for healthy eating. If you will submit a journal of what you are eating to us and we can see you eat 5 servings of vegetables a day and no more than 3 servings of processed bread a week, we will lower your rates by 25%.’
Would that motivate you?
What would motivate you to take care of yourself?
What would our country be like if we rewarded good behavior?
And how imperative do we find it to make changes in our country’s paradigm for health care?
What would it be like if YOU created a gap between your chronological and biological age. This would reap the benefit of energy to spend with those you love, clearer thinking in all the decisions on your plate every day, our elder generation remaining self sufficient for a longer portion of their life span, meaning less time for caregiving, less money for medical attention and more time and money to simply enjoy the beauty of life.
This all sounds great, right?
So why are the cases of organizations and groups employing this strategy so few and far between? Why is it the exception and not the rule?
Perhaps the futility of old patterns is not yet causing enough discomfort to evoke change. Growing diseases like Alzheimer’s WILL take a toll on our economy and resources if we do not do something about our attitudes around health care, including the care of our senior population.
I would like to suggest we start NOW and not wait until things are bad and force us in a new direction.
This is not to undermine the value of any of the forms, practices and ideologies around medicine only to emphasize that we NEED to focus on the simple and potent building blocks of health. If we do, this alone could turn things in a positive direction for our society. While there are many for me to share with you, here are three fundamental ones.
Number One: Choose a nutrition rich diet.
Processed foods cause inflammation, inflammation causes stress throughout the body, and stress throughout the body is going to lead to LESS health. It is simple and logical.
But are consumption of food is not based on reason, it is largely based on emotion. So the question is not how to produce the research that shows this is so, we have that don’t we? The question is how do we create the environment where it feels GOOD to eat healthy? Where it is not so much a sacrifice but a luxury because of the quality and the way we make it affordable and available?
Number Two: Make a commitment to steady exercise.
This is the same series of challenges. We have plenty of proof of the benefits of exercise and if you have a bit of a steady practice you can attest to it as well.
But exercise is still sometimes framed as ‘work,’ or ‘sacrifice,’ what can we do to alter that attitude? What sorts of structures need to be in place to make it accessible and attractive to our culture that is often over worked and under paid?
Number Three: Sleep.
Sleep is when our brain releases toxins. Sleep is when our body repairs and re-energizes. Sleep is not an option it is a necessity.
What can we do as a culture to increase the awareness around sleep and its importance? And what changes can we make to support it as an attractive choice for a world where lights and stimulation go on through the dark hours all around the world?
These are big questions, and from a large view, difficult ones to answer. However, we can begin where we are to make choices for our selves and our loved ones that put a new paradigm in motion.
From this one point we can begin to look locally, state wide and globally.
Health is not optional it is a necessity.
If we take these building blocks seriously we can even shift senior health issues like the debilitating cases of Alzheimer’s and dementia spreading like wild fire. The advantages would be our senior population moving into the role of mentor and support rather than feeling at the end of their lives they have to become dependent to the point of total care.
THIS would be life giving at its finest.
Join me in asking these questions that could change the horizon of health care for all ages and all time.
Have you ever felt there is a little truth to the statement, cranky old man? While no one wants to generalize in a negative way there oftentimes is some reason the phrase has come about in the first place. The statement leads us to wonder, ‘Why did it come about anyway?’
A plausible explanation could be quite simple. When someone older is cranky it could be that their health is compromised. Waking up with aches and pains (another one of those statements;) dealing with the inability to physically perform; feeling stressed over finances shrinking and health care expenses rising are all factors that can show up as crankiness.
But crankiness does not have to be one of the defining qualities of aging. What if crankiness could be turned to happiness?
With all the research devoted to longevity, with all the professionals (like me,) giving their entire lives to create a new paradigm we have reason to believe there is hope.Hope is not just an airy sentiment, it is the realization that our health can be influenced by our choices.
This is the time I get on my soap box, in a gracious way of course. What we put into our bodies will influence how we feel. If we are set on the quick fixes of simple sugars and processed foods we will have the high that leads to a low. But there is more to this than meets the eye. Putting these foods into our bodies is ultimately toxic. YES, toxic. Our body is put into a mode of having to handle the stress of processing these simple carbohydrates and unhealthy fats. And stress is what takes a toll. Stress breaks down our ability to think clearly. Literally. Stress and pour nutrition are the leading contributors to cognitive decline.
The downwards spiral starts here. As cognitive decline sets in, our choices become weaker and weaker and we fall into a pattern, a habit, of giving ourselves a quick fix. The quick fix causes inflammation. The inflammation causes unhappiness. The unhappiness decreases our quality of life.
Take a look at the pioneering contributions of Dr. David Perlmutter, author of The Grain Brain and Dr. William Davis, author of The Fat Belly, and you will see clearly that much of the power of our health and happiness lies within our choices. My own life’s work is to this end. To help people move from crankiness to happiness; yes, to be a source of hope. My book, The BodyEnergy Longevity Prescription gives the recipe for this hope which includes nutrition.
Many cultures have a custom of honoring those older in community as elders. And elder has a connotation to it that leaves a sense in the mouth of wisdom, life experience, and worthiness of respect because they have made the journey for many years. In this connotation is a belief the persons have a value meant to be passed on. It is as though they have reconnoitered the land we are just beginning to tread.
In America the place of our seniors has been challenged. We are a free market society where each individual is honored for having control over their future, their success and what constitutes their personal stability. Working hard and working smart for what we want is esteemed highly, and considered the way success is achieved.
This is not unilaterally true, but there is truth in the observation. For years and years people of other nations have seen America as the place of ‘freedom and democracy,’ a place where one can achieve their dreams. These are qualities worth preserving as a way we can mature as a nation. The downside of this personal agency is the relative dismissal of the community as a collection of people all having something valuable to bring to the table. And when someone loses their ability to perform in the ways society sees as valuable, that very someone may be considered a burden or even one in need.
The middle ground is the constant invitation. To preserve free market and to preserve the value of each person based on another set of criteria instead of only one set of social norms.
Could we possibly create a new way to look at the seniors in our midst? Even if they may not be able, or want to, run a corporation to make multi-million dollar profits, they do have unique gifts to share to remind us of what life is about.
As the American dream breaks down before our eyes we have the chance to let the shakeup lead us to a new paradigm. One factor would be to redefine our relationship to those aging among us.
Elders. We could begin to see seniors as elders. The very word differs from the latter. Senior denotes a chronological fact. Elder connotes a relationship to those around them.
Beginning to shift this term leads to practical implications. It leads us to ask different questions. Instead of asking, ‘What nursing home will take care of our seniors?’ We could ask, ‘What type of medical care would preserve the health of our elders so we can continue to have them and their gifts among us?’
This new question leads down a very new road, already paved with alternative modalities for health, new research in the field of gerontology, and even options of social paradigms offering a quality of life for our elders happening in our very midst.
Let’s ask new questions, therein we find answers to a new paradigm to honor our elders.