Mindful Eating for Caregivers

Recently, I took a course on mindful eating. For me it was important, since sometimes the stress of caregiving can result in emotional eating. I found the course highly enjoyable and also informative.

You can learn more about mindfulness.

This is how the authors of “Mindfulness: Finding Peace in a Frantic World” define mindfulness:

‘Mindfulness arises when we learn to pay attention, on purpose, in the present moment, without judgment, to things as they actually are.’

Here is how they suggest you approach mindful eating:

‘Try having part of a meal in silence or without the distraction of TV or the radio. Really focus on the food-colors, shapes, perhaps thinking about how this food came to you, the sensations of eating. See how easily you taste the first mouthful and no other. What does the fourth mouthful taste like?’

Bon Appetit!

Calm Pond


Change, Loss and Hope

Yesterday afternoon I attended the Change, Loss and Hope session at North Vancouver City Library. The session was led by bereavement counsellors Carolyn Main and Kathy Schretlen with the Lower Mainland Grief Recovery Society who started us out thinking about all the things we do as caregivers. The list was long. It got me thinking about the caregiving activities I’ve done in the last little while: transporting back and forth to medical appointments, managing finances, researching and purchasing medical equipment, arranging social visits, speaking with health care professionals….

We broke up into small groups, which gave us a chance to talk to each other. Many of us realized we had strengths which helped us cope, and we also picked up tips from other caregivers for how to manage when the stress becomes overwhelming.

Personally, I think I gained strength and inspiration from caregivers who were willing to share their stories.

You might want to check out a few books, available at North Shore libraries, recommended by Carolyn and Kathy :

Caring for Yourself While Caring for Your Aging Parents by Claire Berman

The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook by Diana Denholm

Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach

Our next session is the March 25th Walk and Talk.

submitted by Josie 

Stress Busters

“If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity,
I would  have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension.
And if you didn’t  ask me, I’d still have to say it.” George F. Burns

A burst of brightness!

A burst of brightness!

I’ve been pondering how tension, stress & strain can build-up in our bodies and impact us in so many ways.

What are your signals that you’re becoming worn out from the stresses of life, and of caring for others?


A few ideas on releasing tension:

Decide on two times in a day that you will PAUSE and breathe more deeply.  Making sure your ‘Buddha belly’ rises and falls is one way to tell you’re taking nice full breaths

Write down two things you’re grateful for in life

Write a mini love-note to yourself!

Share an affirmation for someone out loud. Speaking positive words lift the spirits and often makes us smile. Did it work yet? 🙂

Give yourself a hand massage with your favourite lotion

Put some lavender oil or dried lavender near your bed while winding down before sleep. Lavender helps the relaxation process and smells great

Put on some lively music and dance away the hard parts of the day. Shaking your arms and legs to let go of negative energy can be a great thing to try too

Last but absolutely not least: Thank yourself for something wonderful that you bring to the world

The Beauty of Aging

We are a culture obsessed with youth and “youthfulness”. Now that I’m more mature, I find I like myself better. I like the feeling of maturity, the wisdom that comes with age. I love myself more, have more self-compassion, am more compassionate with others.

Like fine wine or brandy, aged cheese, stately homes, some things get better with age.

Calm Pond

Adventures in caregiving

As a caregiver you try to do what’s best, but sometimes your good intentions are declined – or blatantly rejected. This happened to me recently when my mother’s doctor ordered hip protectors for her – understandable because my mother has broken her hip twice in the last six months.

My mother was not on board with the plan. She not only refused to wear the hip protectors, which cost close to $200 for the two pairs, but she wouldn’t allow them in her room. They now sit, carefully folded, clean and unused on the top shelf of her storage closet – outside of her room.

While this may put her at risk for yet another broken hip, she  has made her decision. When you think about it, we all take risks in our lives – dashing across a busy street, walking on slippery ice, climbing on a wobbly stool. I’ve had to accept that my mother has the right to refuse those hip protectors.

In the mean time, I did some research into the effectiveness of hip protectors. Some studies found there was little benefit, while others found they did reduce the risk of hip fractures. A 2006 study, “Effectiveness of hip protectors for preventing hip fractures in elderly people: systematic review” published in the British Medical Journal summarized their findings this way: 

“What is already known on this topic

Hip protectors have been advocated to prevent hip fractures in elderly people

What this study adds

Early randomised trials on elderly institutionalised people suggested that hip fracture incidence was reduced in those using hip protectors

Subsequent randomised studies found hip protectors to be ineffective for those living at home and questioned their effectiveness in institutionalised people

Compliance with wearing hip protectors is poor”