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Archive for September 16th, 2011

“Be consistently aware of the need to serve God and serve others in any and all of your actions. This is the way of the miracle worker.” Wayne Dyer, Inner Peace Card.

It seems the message of caregivers is up and center for me these days. They are brought to mind in many different ways. One chief way is the light path I tread as Tom recovers from back surgery. Intense at the very beginning, it has lightened for both of us as he progresses well. However, I am very aware of the “New Normal” in a relationship between a caregiver and the care-receiver.

“New Normal” is what Gail Sheehy talks about in her newest book, “Passages in Caregiving”, Turning Chaos into Confidence. As she points out, no one really expects it, but at some point in time just about everyone has been or will be responsible for giving care, for a sustained period to someone close to them.

I know close hand how caregiving has arrived on the doorstep of some of my own close family and friends. One has  diagnosis of early Alzheimers, already at the moderate level of cognition loss. A severe stroke, leaving one in a lengthy hospitalization stay, followed by rehab facility, but eventually homebound where the main caregiver struggles, not only with the “faster than a speeding bullet” arrival of this condition, but his own physical challenges just as this came on.

“The New Normal” makes a shocking arrival in the lives of the spouse as caregiver and the lives of adult children for mom and dad as the aging process, creeping inabilities and serious disease begins to rob their parents of a life they dreamed about and substitutes one that springs new needs on a daily basis.

Our assisted living, progressive elderly communities, and nursing homes are not the total answer to the care-giving scenes taking place across our land. There are not only “loop-holes” in our health care system of the elderly — there are downright minefields for them and their families to maneuver to have adequate care at the end of their lives.

And it is not only an end-of-life issue. Most of us go through our days fairly unaware that a New Normal is possible for any of us at any age. Coming home from my Poolates class today, there was a pretty ugly car crash scene at an intersection I go through daily once or twice.  Anyone connected to that event is looking at least at a temporary New Normal, hopefully not permanent. 

New Normal means routine life has changed for  you in more than the usual ways we all encounter daily change. New needs, new services, new “I can do — I can’t do” benchmarks are in force. New requirements of faith, strength, courage, and belief in self are called upon.

And with that the appearance of caregivers is necessary — ones who care, have always cared, but now will attest to that care in new and different ways. These caregivers are the miracle workers; maybe professionally trained, maybe not, but the care they bring to you finds its sourcelight in their heart.

 Families will all find they need what Sheehy describes as “a circle of care”, not one caregiver who is forced to play God, but a group of persons,  established with an open heart who can make a schedule of availability to serve others with their most natural gifts. It is important to search our own heart and conscience to be able to contribute to the quality of care that will be humbly and gratefully received by the care-receiver.

These are the gifts that God said come from One Spirit and  it is important for individuals to  recognize what is theirs to give. This is a foundation gemstone of the healing process. It is the grace and the ability to accept what has come before us.

As miracle workers, what we think may be the smallest and most insignificent gift is monumental in the eyes of time and God.

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