Meet fellow Caregivers - Introduce yourself

Welcome to the Caregivers group on Mayo Clinic Connect.
Caring for someone can be rewarding, but it is also very demanding and can be isolating. Let’s use this space to connect with other caregivers, share experiences, talk frankly about the tough stuff without judgement and to provide a virtual shoulder to lean on.

I’m Colleen, and I’m the moderator of this group, and Community Director of Connect. I look forwarding to welcoming you and introducing you to other members. Feel free to browse the topics or start a new one.

Grab a cup of tea, or beverage of you choice, and let’s chat. Why not start by introducing yourself?

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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Hi @sallysue This is Scott saying hello as a bit of a test message to see if you get notification.

The Caregivers group discussion does ebb and flow as caregivers have spare moments to post — or not 🙂 I remember the fact there were many weeks of caregiving when I had literally no extra time for anything outside of caregiving.

I imagine you are right, there are also folks recovering from the hurricanes too. Our son and his family live inland in Florida and while safe got hit pretty badly. Winds tore a portion of their house off and high water has cut their neighborhood off from the rest of town. Good news is they got power back on early this morning and the town is getting the traffic lights working again too. He rode out the storm since his organization was part of the evacuation process getting folks who couldn’t drive or were in care centers to shelters. Now as the inspectors OK their homes they are starting to get some of them back.
Hope your profile is working for you now!

Peace, strength, and courage!

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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Wow Scott, I’m happy to hear your son and his family are safe! I have no idea how insurance works in the US but I wish him an painless process putting everything back together.
Monika

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I’m Harriet Hodgson, a Rochester MN Health and Wellness writer, author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. This is my 20th year as a family caregiver and I’ve cared for three generations of family members. My mother developed stroke-induced dementia, and I was her family caregiver for nine years. In 2007 my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Months later, the twins’ father died and my husband and I were appointed as their guardians/caregivers. We did this for seven years. In 2013 my husband’s aorta dissected and he had three emergency operations. During the last one he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. I’ve been his primary caregiver for four years, with more years to come. These experiences changed the focus of my current work from general health/wellness to caregiving. I wrote a series for caregivers: The Family Caregiver’s Guide: How to Care for a Loved One at Home, Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers, and The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Family Caregivers. Another caregiving book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids! is in production now, and slated for spring release. I also write for The Caregiver Space, a nonprofit website. In addition, I speak to community groups on a variety of topics, with caregiving at the top of the list.

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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Thanks @mojo1965 It should work out OK and they are very thankful it was not worse. They all did OK, but were not as scared as they reported their golden retriever was! They kept saying ‘we hope he doesn’t know something to be scared about that we don’t!

Scott

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@harriethodgson1

I’m Harriet Hodgson, a Rochester MN Health and Wellness writer, author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. This is my 20th year as a family caregiver and I’ve cared for three generations of family members. My mother developed stroke-induced dementia, and I was her family caregiver for nine years. In 2007 my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Months later, the twins’ father died and my husband and I were appointed as their guardians/caregivers. We did this for seven years. In 2013 my husband’s aorta dissected and he had three emergency operations. During the last one he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. I’ve been his primary caregiver for four years, with more years to come. These experiences changed the focus of my current work from general health/wellness to caregiving. I wrote a series for caregivers: The Family Caregiver’s Guide: How to Care for a Loved One at Home, Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers, and The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Family Caregivers. Another caregiving book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids! is in production now, and slated for spring release. I also write for The Caregiver Space, a nonprofit website. In addition, I speak to community groups on a variety of topics, with caregiving at the top of the list.

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Thanks for the like John Bishop

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@harriethodgson1

I’m Harriet Hodgson, a Rochester MN Health and Wellness writer, author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. This is my 20th year as a family caregiver and I’ve cared for three generations of family members. My mother developed stroke-induced dementia, and I was her family caregiver for nine years. In 2007 my elder daughter, the mother of my twin grandchildren, died from the injuries she received in a car crash. Months later, the twins’ father died and my husband and I were appointed as their guardians/caregivers. We did this for seven years. In 2013 my husband’s aorta dissected and he had three emergency operations. During the last one he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. I’ve been his primary caregiver for four years, with more years to come. These experiences changed the focus of my current work from general health/wellness to caregiving. I wrote a series for caregivers: The Family Caregiver’s Guide: How to Care for a Loved One at Home, Affirmations for Family Caregivers, A Journal for Family Caregivers, and The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Family Caregivers. Another caregiving book, So, You’re Raising Your Grandkids! is in production now, and slated for spring release. I also write for The Caregiver Space, a nonprofit website. In addition, I speak to community groups on a variety of topics, with caregiving at the top of the list.

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Hi @harriethodgson1 and welcome to Connect. More and more people find themselves in the position of family caregiver, especially as our population ages. Your breadth of experience from caring for your mother, your husband and your grandchildren will be welcome in the Connect discussions where members ask questions, share frustrations and joys, and get support from one another.

Harriet, with 20 years of caregiving, how is your health? How do you maintain your health physically and mentally so that you can continue to care for others?

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I try to get seven hours of sleep a night. If I’m short of sleep, I take a hour-long nap in the afternoon. My disabled husband and I try to go to Dan Abraham to ride the NuStep bikes twice a week. We are eating smaller meals, at least 5-6 fruits and vegetables a day, low-fat and reduced sugar foods. Although I sometimes use convenience foods, I usually make meals from scratch to control fat and salt. Each day, I try to have 15-30 minutes to myself and love to read and write. Writing is one way I take care of myself. To avoid isolation, I stay in touch with friends via email, Twitter, Facebook, and websites. I write for three websites, the Open to Hope website, The Grief Toolbox website, and The Caregiver Space website. Helping others makes me feel good inside.

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Thanks for the like Colleen. My husband, a retired Mayo Clinic physician, and I used to be on a walking program. That ended when his aorta dissected and he had three emergency operations. During the third one he suffered a spinal cord injury that paralyzed his legs. I have arthritic hips and occasional bursitis, which make walking difficult. But we’re still chugging along!

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Thanks for the like Hopeful

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@harriethodgson1

I’m glad that you have joined our Connect community. You certainly have a wealth of experiences to share with our Members. I’m looking forward to getting to know you through your posts.

Teresa

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Thank you Teresa, and thank you for being a volunteer mentor.

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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Yesss! Thank you Scott. This is definitely back to the way it used to be and I can see posts within the last day. Thank you for the test message. We live in south Orlando and never lost power. Amazing!!! Everyone we know lost power and some are still out. Our son just got his restored last night over in the Tampa Bay Area so they are leaving this morning to go home. It’s been quite the party with my son and wife, and two grandsons 4 mos. and 2 1/2 years. Thanks. I need the support this group gives. It also shuts up friends and all their books, pamphlets, seminar suggestions etc etc. they mean well but I get tired of advice from people who don’t know. So I just say that I’m in a support group of others in my situation and then I get nice adult conversation . Thanks to everyone for being there. We are all on this thread for each other.

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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The pleasure was all mine, @sallysue For sure! Glad to hear you fared as well as can be expected during Irma. She was a beast for sure! Our kids and grands are less than an hour from your area. Small world, eh?

It is wonderful to hear you find support here at Connect. I found Connect for the same reasons and got a nice chuckle from your comment “their books, pamphlets, seminar suggestions..” I began posting here out of two caregiving frustrations.

One was the incredible isolation primary caregiving can cause not only to the patient, but also to the caregiver.

Second, I was seeking someplace I could post, share, and communicate with caregivers about what it is REALLY LIKE being a caregiver! I was so frustrated by reading article after article — many of which were given to me by well meaning folks I suppose — which were so unrealistic they made me crazy! So many of these articles focus on telling ‘super feel good’ caregiving stories of folks, which were totally unrealistic to 99% of caregivers. One told of a fellow who, while living in New York City was rich enough to fly to care for his father in California every other week and his company paid him to work from both coasts! Then a week after I was fired from my job by a young, new boss who only wanted workers who ‘focused 100% on the job’ a family member sent me an article about a caregiver who, when her husband got cancer, was told by her company she could take full time off as long as he was ill and they continued to pay her full salary and full benefits! The final straw was an article handed to me in person. This article explained how this individual viewed caregiving as a ‘tremendously uplifting experience’ for her. She was her husband’s caregiver for 2 weeks before he passed away! The person who handed it to me had the audacity to tell me I needed to ‘find this happiness’ — and this while I was in my 12th or 13th year of caring for my wife!

It is the wide shoulders, kindred spirts, and knowing support in Connect that I find so very wonderful! I am thankful so many caregivers take precious moments of their time to join in, read, SHARE, and when able post and participate here with and for caregivers.

I hope you have a sunny day in the Sunshine State today! I miss my grandkids today 🙂

Strength, courage, and peace!

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@sallysue

Colleen, I updated my profile following your steps. It is there and OK. But somehow I am off the Careg Group posts. I just thought people were busy and recovering from the hurricanes like we are but I’m thinking I changed something wrong. Could you make sure that I get back on please? I checked that I want any post that mentions me and any post from Care Givers. That’s all. I don’t want these invites to seminars. Please help me and thank you.

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Hi @sallysue
Your profile has been updated correctly. You are now subscribed only to the Caregivers group, and will receive an email of any post that mentions you.

The Video Q&A (seminars) are included in everyone’s daily digest, however. These are live online Q&A sessions with Mayo Clinic experts. We host one or two a week on a variety of topics. After the live Q&A, the sessions are archived as a video here: https://connect.mayoclinic.org/webinars/

Like Scott said, the conversations in the caregivers group went quiet for a little bit. It does ebb and flow, but is picking up again thanks to this exchange. Did the hurricane, the lead up to it and during, unsettle your sister? How are you both doing now?

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