Conquering Fear – How To Fight Your Phobia

By Roz Jones

Being a caregiver can be a scary thing, especially when we are new to the field.  The guide shares a few ideas for conquering some of those fears and phobias when taking care of a loved one once and for all! Please note, the fear of enclosed spaces (claustrophobia) is used as an example – though the steps are applicable to any fear. 

1. Expose yourself to fear. 

If you have a phobia, you probably go out of your way to avoid the thing that causes you to feel afraid. In the claustrophobia example, you may refuse to use lifts, as they make you feel uncomfortable.  

Unfortunately, by avoiding the scenario you fear – the lift – you are actually increasing your overall fear. Avoidance does nothing but make a situation worse, and you need to face the fear before you can conquer it. That means getting into a lift, even if just for one floor. Make yourself do it.  

2. Positive reinforcement. 

After you have forced yourself to confront your fear once, you need to make it a positive experience. This can be having a dessert you enjoy following your ordeal, or buying something nice from your favorite store. Do this as soon as possible following your first attempt to confront the fear – in the example, you should dive into a cupcake the second you step out of the lift. As a caregiver, you should always show your support to your loved one as much as possible. Let them know you understand their fear, and that you are there to help them conquer it. If you are the one experiencing fear, let your loved one know and ask them for their love and support while you conquer it.

3. Rinse, and repeat. 

The way to conquer a phobia is to do the above, over and over again. As you do so, you will learn to manage the fear, and you will also learn that there really is no danger in what panicked you. By continuing to deliberately expose yourself to your fear, and then allowing a congratulatory moment when you succeed, over time, you will rid yourself of the fear forever. Be a team! The caregiver and the loved one receiving care can help each other conquer their fears, together.

Overcoming fear can be intimidating. In order to be the best caregiver you can be, conquering your fears are a must! If you need guidance on how to do this, you need to pre-order my new book, Lifted. It will include a workbook that will help you work through each step.

Are You Productive or Just Busy?

By Roz Jones

Have you ever observed someone who seems to be busy all the time, but doesn’t really get anything done?  Do you feel that sometimes you’re in the same boat?  How do you know if you’re productive or just busy? It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the everyday tasks when taking care of a loved one. As a caregiver it’s important that we manage our time efficiently, not only to give proper care to our loved one, but to also make the necessary time to take care of ourselves.

Do you have goals?  People who are productive generally have goals and focus all of their work on achieving those goals. Of course there are always going to be distractions and obstacles when taking care of a loved one but those distractions don’t take priority over the big picture.

Do you focus or multi-task?  People who multi-task often seem very busy.  They’re always doing something, but they’re rarely doing any one thing very well. Tackle each obstacle you face as a caregiver directly, you’ll be more productive if you focus on doing one thing at a time.

Do you delegate?  Sometimes you may take on tasks that would really be better to delegate to someone else. It can be easy to want to say yes to every task because you want to provide for your loved one. But you might be able to delegate personal tasks while keeping the focus on business tasks. This will improve the quality of care given to your loved one, and minimize the personal burnout you feel as a caregiver.

Do you say no?  People who are productive know how to say no to something that is going to take them away from their own important work.  It’s okay to say no when you really don’t have time to fit in one more thing. Don’t feel guilty when saying no to certain tasks related to your loved one. Instead, feel reassured knowing that this will benefit both of you in the long run.

Do you let some things go?  It may sound counterproductive to erase some tasks from your to-do list.  But you may find that you have given yourself tasks that really won’t move your vision forward and will take up extra time.  It’s okay to scratch something off the list and go a different way.

Do you have a schedule?  People who are productive tend to have a schedule for each day of what needs to be done and when.  If you’re not planning ahead, chances are you’re staying busy but not productive.

Do you complete projects?  You can be busy doing something all day long, every day and never get a project completed.  If you find you’re starting a lot of things without finishing them, it’s time to look at your priorities and become more productive.

Do you feel peace?  When you spend your time very busy but not accomplishing much you might feel a sense of anxiety. You may worry about all the things you need to do that aren’t getting done. Try as best as you can to remain present in each moment. Rather than expressing a sense of anxiety, this will help you express gratitude appreciating the time you get to spend with your loved one.

But when you’re productive, you can actually feel peace when it comes to work.  You know what’s important and you have a plan to get it done on time. 

It can be easy to get overwhelmed with the everyday tasks when taking care of a loved one. As a caregiver it’s crucial that we manage our time efficiently. Not only to provide the utmost of quality care to our loved one but to also make the necessary time to take care of ourselves. If you are struggling with how to manage your time, you need to pre-order my new book, Lifted. It will include a workbook that will help you work through each step!

2 Legal Documents Everyone Needs Before They get Sick

By Roz Jones

Being ill is no fun. Neither is being unable to participate in making personal medical decisions. If you are unconscious or unable to articulate your consent for treatment, a medical provider or next of kin may have to make them for you. Preserving life is always the plan, but sometimes, believe it or not, you may not want that to be the plan. It is often easy to become overwhelmed and emotional when taking care of a loved one. Don’t let that stop you from preparing for the next steps. As a caregiver it’s important that we plan ahead for all circumstances.

Here are a few scenarios where life-saving measures might not be your first choice:

Scenario #1. A terminally ill patient with a disease like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s may not want to be fed through a tube or given antibiotics after a certain stage of their disease.

Scenario #2. A brain-damaged individual who will have to live indefinitely outside of their home in a facility may not want to be on a breathing tube or dialysis or other artificial life-saving machines.

Scenario #3. Someone with a pacemaker or other device may want it removed if their condition worsens to a certain point.

Under certain circumstances, life-saving measures make perfect sense. When recovery is likely and quality of life is high, it is worth the effort and time it takes to recover or endure life-saving measures. However, there may be times or circumstances where a caregiver needs to draw a line in the medical sand.

There are two legal documents that will make it clear to providers and your family that you do not want measures taken and if you do, what they are and when they stop.

An Advance Directive
A Do Not Resuscitate
(DNR)

An Advance Directive: An Advance Directive is a tool used to make end-of-life decisions ahead of time, alleviating medical staff and your family from having to make them. Your Advance Directive is a legal document that you can add to your will or trust so it is easily accessible if it needs to be enforced.

A DNR: A document that denies life-saving measures if your heart stops beating or you are unable to breath on your own.

These documents will help caregivers prevent life-saving measures that might prolong suffering or low-quality living. Consult your primary care physician to learn more and make the decisions that are right for you.

To get more information on end of life planning, be sure to purchase your copy of my upcoming book, Lifted. Enjoy!

Become the Toughest Version Of Yourself

By Roz Jones

Often, when we dream of being better people or improving our lives we think of our finances. We want to have enough money to afford cars, houses, holidays and all the nice things in life. Would that be enough or even possible if we did not have inner strength? Without being the toughest versions of ourselves? Toughness is one of the things we barely give thought to and when we do, it is often when we are cornered. We try to be tough when we are left without any other choice. As caregivers, this happens all too often because of the amount we take on.

We often associate being tough with having muscles, masculinity, a serious face, being inflexible, or being mean to others and the likes. Those are some of the most common connotations, but, does being mean, having muscles, masculinity, inflexibility, and keeping a straight face make you mentally tough? You can be all those things and still be ‘weak.’

It is important to note that we can never achieve perfection. The world around us and our situations keep changing, and will continue to do so. Therefore, we will need to either keep up or stay ahead to survive and remain relevant. To walk the path we dream of without wavering, we need our inner strength to match our dreams and purpose. We must be brave, determined, and focused among other things. We must be able to conquer your fears, doubts, and other weaknesses to be able to stand up against the world and reign. You need to be willing to keep growing and becoming a better person than you were yesterday.

To become the toughest version of yourself, you need to equip yourself in the following ways;

Work on your mental health – Your mental health is everything. The greater part of your being depends on it. Being mentally healthy is mostly about maintaining a positive state of mind. Your mental state determines your perceptions and how you respond to external pressures. If you are mentally strong, every other form of toughness is just a bonus. Mentally healthy people know how to choose their battles, are confident, are emotionally intelligent (control their emotions rather than being controlled by emotions), are strong-willed, and are not easily derailed from their main goal. A positive state of mind allows you to be in control of your life and enables you to make good decisions. As caregivers this is particularly important when facing fears.

Stay physically healthy – There is a connection between physical and mental health. Poor mental health puts one at risk of physical health and vice-versa. Also, you find satisfaction in your ability to conceive an idea and also be the one to execute it or see it through. You easily achieve goals and learn more when you are directly involved in making decisions as to how things should be done. Therefore, ensure that you exercise to stay fit, strong, and energized. It also helps you refresh your mind and relieve stress. One of the most important aspects of physical health that you need to prioritize is eating healthy. Your choice of food has immediate and long-term effects. Eat food that will help you stay alert and energized throughout the day while ensuring that you won’t be affected in the long run. 

Improve your skills – We live in a competitive world, all while being required to work with a team. It is not enough to acquire a skill and end there. Become the best possible. You do not want to feel like you are not as good as your peers, nor do you want to be the weakest link in your team. Being good at what you do gives you confidence and makes it easier for your voice to be heard. With good skills and the will to continue learning you will be respected and unstoppable as a professional.

Show love – They say ‘love conquers all’. It empowers you, while it denies entry points to anyone who wishes to be enemies with you. When the negative energy sent your way is met with love, the enemy is disempowered and it will not be long before they run out of plots. Choosing love helps maintain positivity, focus on that rather than focusing on unnecessary fights. Build meaningful relationships whenever possible. Love will most likely earn you respect and win people’s hearts. You will always need people on your side, especially when things get tough. 

Build a strong support system – Even the most mentally stable people do go through tough situations. They lose hope and get close to giving up. It always helps to have people who will give you the support you need to get back your strength. As a caregiver, this support system is exponentially more important for you because you cannot do this alone!

Caring for Elderly Parents

By Roz Jones

Joanne’s mother, Betty, had rheumatoid arthritis for years.  Suddenly and unexpectedly, Betty was disabled by the pain, fatigue and limited mobility that she had feared since her diagnosis.  

Joanne convinced her fiercely independent mother that living alone was no longer an option. Joanne, the eldest of four children, knew that caring for her sick mother fell on her shoulders.  Joanne was a legend in the circles of her family, friends and colleagues for her ability to act with grace under pressure.

Joanne took two weeks of vacation from her job to cook and freeze meals for her husband and three children before she flew to her hometown to assist her mother. Joanne wondered how she would coordinate her mother’s care from a distance. Supporting her husband as he built his new business, nurturing her kids and directing a major project at work already made her feel that she was running on empty.  

You may relate to Joanne’s story.  One out of every four Americans cares for a friend or relative who is sick, disabled, or frail. That’s 46 million Americans who offer unpaid help to a loved one.  If they were paid caregivers’ compensation would exceed last year’s Medicare budget! Also like Joanne, you become a caregiver, and try to do it alone, shrouded in secrecy. 

Solo caregiving compromises your ability to nurture yourself and others. Let’s take caregiving out from behind closed doors.  For your sake and the sake of those who count on you, please get help. Caregivers are competent people who feel that they should be able to do this job.  Yet, many soon find themselves unprepared and ill-equipped to manage the sometimes daunting tasks, such as managing a complex medical regimen, remodeling a house so it’s wheel-chair accessible, or even finding someone to stay with their loved ones so they can go out to a movie without worrying their relatives will fall on the way to the fridge.

If you are a caregiver, you know that this act of love has its costs.  You stand to forfeit up to $650,000 in lost wages, pension and social security.  Add to that is the personal cost to your well-being, as your new demands leave you less time for your family and friends.  You may give up vacations, hobbies and social activities.  Finally, caregiving places a burden on your health.  Caregivers are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, depressed immune function and even hospitalization.

Instead of reaching out, caregivers become isolated.  Many who assume the caregiving burden fit the profile of the giving family member, like Joanne, who does not want to trouble others with their problems.  Some fear the consequences of disclosing their new demands to coworkers or employers. Caregivers are further challenged by the cultural conspiracy of silence.  Our youth-centered society turns a blind eye to the unpleasant and inevitable reality that all of us age and die.  This leaves both caregivers and care recipients unprepared.  Look no further than the path of Hurricane Katrina to witness the consequences of a lack of planning.

What can you do?  Start talking about the “what ifs” and make a plan.  If you aren’t sure where to start, I am here to help! Book a Family Caretaker Help Session and leave our meeting with your care plan in hand!