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Caregiver Contest Runner Up Gail: Attitude Adjustment

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
04/03/19  12:24 PM PST
Attitude Adjustment

Gail S. is from Windthorst, TX (North Texas) is a wife and mother of six adult children, and she and husband, Joey, have 12 grandchildren. The entire family is dedicated to helping Bruce, 35, with severe cerebral palsy, reach his full potential in a happy and healthy way. Gail’s hope is for other families to benefit as much as they have from her “Caregiver Hint” –  a calmer, more peaceful home environment. When notified that she was a runner up, she wrote: “Thank you for allowing me to be a contest winner!”

What tips do you have for care at home?

AN ATTITUDE ADJUSTMENT!

Our 35 year old son has severe Cerebral Palsy with Seizure Disorder, behavioral problems, and limited fine motor skills.  He is a bright, loving young man, but has difficulty communicating except through a few words, expressions, and body language.  He gets very frustrated, then angry, hence the behavioral problems.

As his parents and full time caregivers, it is a challenge to wear the many hats it takes in keeping our son thriving as a happy, healthy and social individual and not succumb to caregiver strain or burnout.

We have found that WE can set the “Tone for the Day,” even altering most situations, by carefully selecting the words we use and the tone of our voice.  If he has had loss of bowel or bladder control, not making it to the bathroom in time, he is embarrassed and angry.  We diffuse the situation by apologizing that WE didn’t hear him approaching the bathroom and getting him in on time.  We use a light, cheerful voice with a smile on our face, taking the blame away from him and putting it on ourselves. It’s all about altering our actions and reactions to what goes on around us. He works so hard trying to maneuver his wheelchair, to communicate and to help us out.  In demanding situations, staying upbeat and optimistic can lighten our load and diminish stress.  Even when we are all exhausted, we have found if we use this method, he is so much more cooperative, with less balking and outbursts.  We have less frustration and have seen quite an improvement in his attitude and interactions.  We call it an “Attitude Adjustment” for All of Us!

So, our best advice in helping to change HIS attitude and lift HIS spirits, is to first check OUR OWN!

“Celebrate what we have instead of what we long for!”


Click here to head to the contest home page and read more advice.

Winners were selected by a panel of independent judges: Maggie Bermudez, the Manager of Professional Training and Healthcare Services at Alzheimer’s Los Angeles; Alethea Mshar, a blogger, mom of two children with Down syndrome and a frequent contributor to Shield HealthCare’s GROW community; and Joy Hooper, a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse and the head presenter of the Wound Care Education Institute’s ostomy webinars. Click here to learn more.

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