2chicksand1oldlady

Two sisters taking care of their mom while trying to live life and find love.

Guest Post: “Don’t Lose Yourself” by Theresa Snyder

Theresa Snyder

Theresa Snyder is a multi-genre published writer with an internationally read blog

I have the pleasure of presenting a wonderful post from Theresa Snyder. Theresa is a multi-genre published writer with an internationally read blog. She is a voracious reader and her character driven writing is influenced by the early works of Anne McCaffrey, Ray Bradbury, Robert Heinlein and L. Ron Hubbard. She loves to travel, but makes her home in Oregon where her elder father and she share a home and the maintenance of the resident cat, wild birds, squirrels, garden, and occasional Dragon house guest. Theresa’s books can be purchased by clicking here.

Thank you Theresa for sharing your journey. Please enjoy this post, and share her in her quest to never lose yourself while caregiving!

What kind of advice would I give a new caregiver having been a caregiver myself for the past eighteen years?

I moved my elder parents in with me in 1996. I thought they would use our shared home as a stop off place between their ‘retirement trips’ in their motor home. That was not the case. Mother’s already poor health declined and my father suffered a heart attack which forced him into triple-bypass surgery. Mother passed in April of 2011. I still have my eighty-eight year old father living with me. Life often does not work out as we plan, no matter how well we think we have it carefully arranged.

But, I was talking about sage advice, words of wisdom I might impart on the new caregiver. I can sum it up in four words, three if I use a contraction … Don’t Lose Yourself.
Most caregivers take on the responsibility of another human being because they have a tendency to be giving and caring people to begin with. They are of the ‘Giver’ clan of humanity, rather than the ‘Taker’ clan. That being said, it is so easy to lose yourself in the process of caring for someone.

My mother and father never said, ‘don’t do such and such,’ or ‘stay home, we need you.’ I did that to myself at first. They were my responsibility. I didn’t want anything to happen to them on my watch. So, I gave excuses to friends who wanted to see me out and about. I gave up doing things that took me too far away. I put my dreams on hold to care for them. But, I am here to tell you that doesn’t have to be the case. You can pursue your own dreams and in the process share with them, making both of your lives much richer in your roles as caregiver and elder.

My journey started when co-workers, knowing I had moved my elder parents in with me, started to ask my advice on issues regarding their aging parents. I saw a need. There are many of us, over 62% of the population, who are baby boomers. A lion’s share of those will inherit the care of someone who is close to them.

I have always been a writer in my spare time. Before 1996 I had never been published. I wrote books. I kept a journal. I wrote letters in longhand cursive and never missed sending a birthday or thank you card. I decided to approach our local newspaper about doing a human interest column about a baby boomer (me) inheriting their parents (mom and dad). The editors liked the idea and I was off on my personal journey to follow my dream of being a published writer.

Writing moments were snatched whenever they arose. Mom and Dad looked forward to reading the latest about their antics and our adventures in caregiving. In 2007 mother went on hospice and I worried that she would never see the book I was compiling put into print, so I self-published a volume of the articles entitled We 3. Mom and Dad enjoyed giving those away that Christmas. We were lucky, Mother flourished for a time and would have celebrated her third year on hospice two days after she died. I’m pleased she had the joy of seeing a book dedicated to her and my father.

I managed to find and pursue my passions in the depths of caregiving. I have attained my dream and continue to work toward fulfilling it further. Whatever your passion is … Whatever makes your heart sing … Whether it is gardening, reading, drawing, going to the movies, running the latest 10K marathon … whatever. Don’t put it on the back burner. Don’t give it up completely because you don’t think you have time. You need that passion fueling you to keep your sanity as you weave your way through the maze of caregiving.

We 3 is now available on Amazon in eBook and paperback. It, and my thirteen other published books, are a testament to what can be accomplished as a caregiver and still provide the care your charges need to make them flourish.

There is a life for you as a caregiver. Don’t lose it.

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Love Who You Were Created To Be

Self-Love

Wear your flaws & quirks like a badge of honor. They’re beautiful, and make you uniquely wonderful

I posted this image earlier this week on our Facebook & Instagram pages. Self-love has really been on my mind lately; and I wanted to take a moment to let everyone know what I’ve learned over the past two years. I’ve learned you can’t become who you want to be, until you learn to love who you are. I never really understood that until I became a caregiver.

When my mom came to live with us, I really thought I knew how my life would turn out. I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life being a caregiver. I convinced myself that marriage & children just “may not be what God wants for me”; since this was where he placed me. I was completely convinced that caregiving was my “lot in life”; and I needed to make the best of it. Boy, was I wrong.

I’ve learned through lots of tears and counseling. That I was allowing my negative view of myself to make me believe that my life had to be limited because I was a caregiver.I was so filled with guilt over my decisions, that I believed I deserved to live at only a “certain level”. I thought that my only purpose was to work and take care of my family. In my mind, I was a failure on all levels. My family was miserable, my job was suffering, and I was on “auto-pilot”.

I finally started taking control back two years ago. I went to counseling, and realized that I didn’t love myself the way I should. I didn’t understand that God made me “uniquely wonderful”; and that I was given this situation because I could handle it. I discovered, “I wasn’t built to break”. I was built to grow and discover my purpose. So, I began the journey that lead me to that photo. I began praying more, laughing & smiling often, finding hobbies & purpose in my life. I began to live again, and that helped me “love me” again. It’s not easy. But, I’m so thankful to be here.

Caregivers,I want you to be here too! Don’t let anything or anyone make you feel like you’re lesser. You’re “uniquely wonderful” because of who you are, and what you do everyday. You deserve to be happy! Find your strength and see your beauty. It’s not about the exterior beauty. It’s about your heart being so full, that the love and tranquility inside shines through you. That’s what makes you truly beautiful. Take a moment everyday, and look at yourself in a mirror. Tell yourself how amazing today is going to be. Tell yourself how wonderful you are, and that you are doing everything possible to make sure your family is supported. You may not believe it in the beginning.
But, practice makes perfect ;-)!

We Love you! Now love yourself! Until we meet again

xo

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Sister 2 Sister Magazine Names “2 Chicks And 1 Old Lady” A “Fab Site to Check Out”

 

 

 

Sister 2 Sister Magazine September 2014 Cover

Sister 2 Sister Magazine September Cover

Wow! This has been an incredible week. I was coming off of a long holiday weekend 🙂 , and getting back into the routine of life ( work, errands, and all the usual fun). When I found out that we were mentioned as a “Fab Site to Check Out” in the September issue of  Sister 2 Sister Magazine. I had the pleasure of meeting Jamie Foster Brown, Owner and Publisher of Sister 2 Sister Magazine when I attended the Blogging While Brown Conference in June.

Fab Sites To Check Out Listing In Sister 2 Sister Magazine's September Issue

Here we are! We’re right under “MimiCutelips.com”, another great site to check out ;-)!!!

Sister 2 Sister Magazine was established in September 1988. Jamie Foster Brown is a visionary in the fields of Advertising and Broadcast Journalism. She is especially known for her in-depth interview style, and ability to bring a familiarity to celebrities like no one else can. So, I was honored to have an opportunity to speak with her. She was extremely kind and genuine as she spoke with all of the bloggers at our networking after-party. She thought many of us had voices that needed to be heard, and took all of our contact information to ensure she would be able to find out more about our point of views. 

Who knew that encounter would lead to being mentioned in her magazine as a “Fab Site to Check Out“. I’m so honored and excited about this opportunity. To be recognized by such a distinguished publication is incredible, and a huge responsibility at the same time. It reminds me that this is our opportunity to share our experiences authentically, with the hope that someone else will be encouraged in their caregiving journey. 

That’s why I started our blog. I wanted to provide a vehicle to show others you “CAN” have a life while being a caregiver. That you must have dreams and goals for how you want to live your life. Yes, caregiving is hard. Every day is not fun and laughter. There will be lots of tears, and moments where you feel like you’re a failure. But, there is still “LIFE”. Caregiving takes a village, and we have to begin having serious conversations as a society about how to support that village.  

This is definitely an honor I won’t forget. It reminds me of how blessed we are to have this opportunity to share our story with the world.  This is our chance to help start the “Caregiving Conversation”, while supporting others.

Thank you Sister 2 Sister Magazine and Jamie Foster Brown for allowing “2 Chicks and 1 Old Lady” to share their stories with your readers and the world. Please check out Sister 2 Sister online here or you can also subscribe here for a copy to be delivered to you. 

Until we meet again!

xo 

 

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The 2 Chicks and The “Old Lady” Are On The Loose!

We're Hitting The Road

2 Chicks & the ” Old Lady” are on the loose!!

We love to travel. Traveling has always been one of our favorite things to do. Before we became caregivers, my sister  & I were traveling every chance we got.

So, when we became caregivers that was one area of our lives we were scared to give up. But, now it’s actually just made us look at traveling in an entirely new way. Now, it’s about finding a place that is fun for us and safe for our mom. So, we have found some great places to go (e.g. Savannah, Ga, Cape Coral, Fl, and our old stomping ground, Ft. Lauderdale).

Luckily, Ft. Lauderdale is just a quick two-hour and thirty minute drive ( radar detector 😉 ). Ft. Lauderdale is like heaven to our mom. She gets an opportunity to hang out with her best friends a.k.a “The Golden Girls”; and it’s familiar. That’s really what makes it easier for us. When you have an older loved one living with you, you learn the value of familiarity for them. It keeps them calm, and helps them relax. Which is exactly what you’re looking to achieve :-). So, we decided to pack up the car for a quick vacation to end summer on the right note.

Ft. Lauderdale has it all (great food, weather, family, and the beach). When we go, we go into “seclusion” to ensure we get an opportunity to spend time with our “godmother & our extended family”. It’s so great to be able to cook, laugh, and get that extra boost of love that’s so needed sometimes. We also took a chance to stay at one of our favorite places, the W Ft. Lauderdale ;-). 

We can’t afford to stay here all of the time (Splurge Alert!!). But, from the moment you walk in and that lemongrass smell engulfs you. You already begin making plans to come back again ;-).  We LOVE this resort. They are a caregivers dream. The hotel has great accessible room options, large walk in showers (My mom is addicted to them), comfortable beds, and ocean and/or inter coastal views that will relax even the most discriminating caree (my mom is asleep in the lounger on the balcony now). The balconies have nice high and durable partitions that will help you feel safe about leaving them out there :-).  The food is awesome too! My mom loves that we can order her room service and be given an exact time that they will be there; and they always arrive before that time. Remember, it’s all about the consistency and schedule for them :-). But, it’s not all about them. There’s lots of things for you too. Caregivers need pampering, fun, and great food too :-).

All I need to say is “Bliss Spa“! I had a wonderful massage that left me relaxed and pampered. Appointments were super easy to make. All I had to do was let the young lady who checked me in know that I needed a massage, and she had me covered. They just called to confirm, and I was all set.  They really stand by their “Whatever/Whenever” level of service.

The massage and service was awesome! My masseuse, Theresa was very good. I also had a great time relaxing in the lounge and the private deck afterwards. Also, don’t forget to try the brownies 🙂

Private Deck at Bliss Spa W. Ft. Lauderdale

Private deck for relaxing at Bliss Spa W. Ft. LauderdaleMassage Room at Bliss Spa W.Ft. Lauderdale Such a nice room and they played great R&B music too!

Also, you can’t beat the amazing view of the beach. You are directly across from the ocean. The breezes are amazing. It’s the perfect place to grab a lounge chair and read, relax, and just be. We caregivers need that 😉

 

Ft. Lauderdale Beach views from W Ft. Lauderdale

Isn’t it beautiful

 

So, it you’re looking for a great place to go, then W Ft. Lauderdale is it.   Great views, service, and food is the perfect combination to make any caregiver super happy. Please check out their website now or locate them on Facebook and Twitter here.

We’ve had an amazing and relaxing time. I hope you get a chance to visit too. Just make sure you find somewhere that provides you the rest and relaxation that you need and deserve. When you’re at your best, your family will be too! Until we meet again!

xo

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