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Caregiver Contest Finalist Sherril: You Influence Others

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
09/20/18  10:46 AM PST

Sherril T. is from Texas, and was one of forty finalists chosen out of the over 1,000 entries to our “What Advice Would You Give to a Fellow Caregiver?” Contest. You can find our grand prize and runner up winners here.

What advice would you give a fellow caregiver?

Initially … take a step back from the situation and realize how rewarding and special this time is with your loved one. They will at some point be gone and you’ll be able to have those priceless memories plus the fact that you provided a precious gift to them. Realize too that your actions are impacting others around you. People are watching and taking note of your dedication. Growing up, I saw many instances of my father caring for both of his ailing parents and his dying younger sister. Years later, I watched as he helped his various friends who were suffering with different health issues. Dad would pick them up and take them for coffee just for a visit and to get them out of the house. He would even take them for a car ride in the neighborhood for a little change of scenery. Seeing all of his caring service to others helped me tremendously later in life when it was my time to care for my late husband and both of my parents. As a caregiver … those around you are being influenced by watching you.

From a practical standpoint though, these are some of the things that helped me with caregiving: I used a calendar dedicated solely to my loved one’s situation. I used it to write down everything in regard to doctor’s visits and especially days in and out of the hospital or nursing home, etc. This proves invaluable, especially when dealing with Medicare. When anyone asks you what they can do to help, be ready with very specific tasks. They’ll feel useful and it will relieve you to do other things. In the same vein (and it sounds so cliché) but take care of your own health. Caregiving is a tough job and you have to be in tip top shape yourself to manage everything. This is a good time to accept help from others and get them to sit with your loved one while you take care of yourself. If possible, get your loved one outside as often as you can. After my father had a stroke and was in a LTAC facility we got him in a wheelchair and went outside every day. Getting out of the room for a break and some sunshine is a huge mood booster for both the patient and the caregiver. It also allows you both to be around other people and their visitors. My father served during World War II so I took some of the old photos that he had and made them into a beautiful album. He loved sitting and going through the photos and always had great stories to share. The last tip I have to share is one that my dad used repeatedly when he was caregiving and now many of my friends and family have also. Dad wanted to make sure that the employees at the nursing home where his mother was would check on her on a regular basis when he was unable to be there. So, he bought a big clear candy jar and always kept it filled with little candy goodies. It assured that people would wander into her room, check on her and say hi, and grab a little snack! It’s now a family tradition!

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

Finalists were selected by the Marketing Team at Shield HealthCare. Those finalists were submitted to a panel of independent judges who picked three grand prize winners and five runners up. The judges included: Sandra Mitchell, Award-winning KCAL 9 news anchor and breast cancer survivor, and the Landers family: actor and comedian David Landers (“Laverne & Shirley”) who is living with MS, his wife Kathy and his daughter Natalie (“The Middle”). Click here to learn more.


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