Joys of Caregiving


 A Blog from Digital Sisterhood Network Founder Ananda Leeke

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Happy November Digital Sisters,

I believe caregiving is rooted in the spirit of compassionate service. When I serve compassionately and give back to others, my heart opens and fills with joy. Click here to read AARP’s Bulletin on the unexpected joys of caregiving.

Over the years, I have learned that caregiving happens in many ways. It can be a short-term project that a wiser family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, or person needs help with. It can also be a daily, weekly, or monthly series of activities that support the wiser person’s needs as they navigate the aging process, daily life, health concerns, financial matters, or transportation.

Photo Credit: CNet.com

Photo Credit: CNet.com

Recently, I used my digital skills to support a family member’s short-term project. It was a Digital Sisterhood moment for me. Here’s what happened. While I was visiting my 74-year-old aunt one evening, she asked me to give her a tutorial on how to use her brand new tablet. The digital sister inside of me jumped for joy! We spent 90 minutes reviewing her tablet’s features, experimenting with her camera by taking photos and recording short videos, and exploring numerous apps including one that would allow her to read the Holy Bible. She wanted to find one that would be easy for her 97-year-old mother to use for her weekly Bible study class. So we researched options and downloaded several free apps that she plans to show her mother. When we finished the tutorial, my aunt hugged me and told me how much she appreciated my support. I smiled and said it was my pleasure to help her become a digital sister!

Photo Credit: AARP.com

Photo Credit: AARP.com

This month, I invite you to celebrate National Family Caregivers Month by sharing your caregiving stories through AARP’s “I Heart Caregivers” online initiative. “I Heart Caregivers” is set up as a microsite for people to share stories about being a caregiver. It includes a newsletter signup for regular emails about caregiving and links to AARP’s caregiving resources. Check out AARP’s blog about the initiative.

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caregiving5-aarpkclogo

Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

 

AARP #ThanksProject: Saying Thank You to Caregivers in November


Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Happy November! Happy Early Thanksgiving!

This month, the Digital Sisterhood Network is honoring National Family Caregivers Month by joining forces with AARP’s Thanks Project to express deep gratitude for the caregiving work provided by America’s 42 million caregivers, many of whom are women and our fellow digital sisters.  AARP created ThanksProject.org to encourage and allow individuals to post messages of support and thanksgiving for and about caregivers.  We think it is an awesome way to express digital affirmation and gratitude in a public forum that builds a community of support and inspiration. It also informs  others about the important roles caregivers play in their loved ones’ lives. Now that’s a great way to do something special for someone!  And here’s the deal: IT IS FREE and EASY to do. So click here and leave a message that honors a caregiver you know and/or caregivers in general.

Photo Credit: AARP

Photo Credit: AARP

Another way to say thank you to caregivers is by providing resources like AARP’s caregiving guide, Juggling Work and Caregiving by Amy Goyer, an expert in aging and families. Goyer’s book tells her story as a live-in caregiver to her parents and offers insight and inspiration for caregivers.

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

You can also thank caregivers by showing them AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center. The web site has great articles and tips that caregivers can use to support their wellness journey as they care for their loved ones. You can now access AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center on your iPad!

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

AARP is a nonprofit organization that helps people who are 50 and over turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities, and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security,  and retirement planning.

Logo by Dariela Cruz

Logo by Dariela Cruz

AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport campaign

AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport campaign

 

Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham Discusses Importance of Women Caregivers at the Blogalicious Tech Summit


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AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport campaign

During the Blogalicious Tech Summit that was held on April 18, 2013, at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center in Washington, D.C., Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham of New Mexico discussed the importance of making sure women caregivers have the resources they need to provide the best care possible to their loved ones. Congresswoman Grisham personalized her comments when she shared several stories about serving as her mother’s primary caregiver. Her stories reminded me of how important it is to provide women caregivers with online resources and tools they can use to support their self-care and loved ones.

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D-NM) at Blogalicious Tech Summit held on 4/18/13 at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center

Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham, (D-NM) at Blogalicious Tech Summit held on 4/18/13 at the Microsoft Innovation and Policy Center

If you are a caregiver or have family members, friends, or colleagues who serves as caregivers, please encourage them to visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center. The web site has great articles and tips that caregivers can use to support their wellness journey as they care for their loved ones. See several links below.

FYI – You can now access AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center on your iPad!

AARP is a nonprofit organization that helps people who are 50 and over turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities, and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security,  and retirement planning.

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Disclaimer: This blog post was written in support of Digital Sisterhood Network’s Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

Digital Wellness Resources for Women Caregivers – AARP CareSupport Campaign


DSN_LLL150

AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport campaign

AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport campaign

Happy #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday!

Today, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is sharing information about digital wellness resources for women caregivers as a part of our Leadership, Lifestyle and Living Well initiative and participation in AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign. AARP is a nonprofit organization that helps people who are 50 and over turn their goals and dreams into real possibilities, strengthens communities, and fights for the issues that matter most to families such as healthcare, employment security,  and retirement planning.

Photo Credit: AARP.org

Photo Credit: AARP.org

AARP’s web site and social media presence offer a diverse portfolio of resources to its membership of more than 37 million and the general public. AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center is one of DSN’s favorite online destinations. Here’s why. There are plenty of great articles and tips that women caregivers can use to support their wellness journey as they care for their loved ones. Check out our list of favorite resources below.

Be sure to join AARP’s online chat on how to stay healthy while caregiving with Dr. John Whyte, author of AARP New American Diet, today  from 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Click here to access the chat. Be sure to use the Twitter hashtag #cgchat  and follow @AARP.

Also, plan to celebrate National Nutrition Month in March by visiting the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ EatRight.org site and incorporating the “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” tips and resources into your daily life.

Womenshealth.gov

Womenshealth.gov

Photo Credit: WomensHealth.gov

Photo Credit: WomensHealth.gov

Women’s Wellness Resources:

Check out WomensHealth.gov, an online resource center managed by the Office on Women’s Health in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health  at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Click here to find the fitness and nutrition  resources.

Did you know that the Office of Women’s Health sponsors National Women’s Health Week? It will be held on May 12-18, 2013. Click here for more information and resources that can support women caregivers.

I have included additional caregiving, meditation, and yoga resources below that women caregivers can use to nurture their bodies, minds, and spirits.

1) Caregiving Resources

2) Meditation Resources

3) Yoga Resources

AARP #CareSupport Campaign — Holiday Gift Suggestions for Women Caregivers Who Give So Much


Happy Holidays 2012!

Happy Holidays 2012!

Happy Holidays All!

The holiday season is a great time to honor caregivers who give so much of their energy and time to loved ones who are unable to care for themselves throughout the year. As a part of the Digital Sisterhood Network’s participation in the AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport Campaign, I have included a list of holiday gift suggestions for women caregivers. Enjoy!

AARP #Caresupport Campaign

AARP #Caresupport Campaign

Gift Suggestions for Women Caregivers:

1) Call or visit her and just listen to what she says. Listening is a true gift.

2) Volunteer to do something that can help her life run smoothly during the holiday season.

3) Cook her a healthy meal and sit and eat with her.

4) Make a collage card that expresses positive thoughts and phrases that describe her personality.

Collage card

Collage card

5) Take a digital photo that reflects a peaceful and calming experience. Print and frame it as a gift (CVS, Duane Reed, JC Penney, Kmart, Kohls, Walgreens, or Target have great frames).

Digital Photo of Summer Flowers

Digital Photo of Summer Flowers

6) Create a tea sanctuary in her home that allows her to sip tea and chill out!

Tea Moment

Tea Moment

7) Create a book of inspiring quotes (you can find sketch books or blank books at CVS, Barnes & Noble, Target, Utrecht, or an art supplies store)

Inspiring Quote Book

Inspiring Quote Book

8) Write a thank you letter or poem on a peaceful and calming piece of stationary or a lovely card.

9) Purchase a gift card for coffee, tea, and a snack; a journal; and/or a magazine she would like to read. Help her schedule some “me” time so she can enjoy a cup of tea or coffee while writing in her journal or reading a magazine.

"Me" time at a tea cafe -- reading a magazine and writing in a journal

“Me” time at a tea cafe — reading a magazine and writing in a journal

10) Purchase a piece of jewelry that is created by a woman. Visit MaidenNation.com for more details.

aarp-maidennation

11) Buy a spa package that allows her to relax and get a manicure, pedicure, and massage.

Spa Day

Spa Day

 

NOTE: This blog is a sponsored post that supports AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign.

Digital Sisterhood Network’s #CareSupport Campaign Honors National Family Caregivers Month in November


Photo Credit: AARP

National Family Caregivers Month logo

Happy November!

This month, Digital Sisterhood Network (DSN) is honoring National Family Caregivers Month by participating in the AARP Blogger Kitchen Cabinet #CareSupport Campaign. The annual observance was established by the National Family Caregivers Association in 1994 during the week of Thanksgiving. In 1997, President Clinton signed the first presidential proclamation. As interest grew in family caregiving issues, National Family Caregivers Week became National Family Caregivers Month. The Presidential Proclamation that President Barack Obama signed on November 1, 2012, describes the essence of National Family Caregivers Month:

“National Family Caregivers Month is a time to reflect on the compassion and dedication that family caregivers embody every day. As we offer our appreciation and admiration for their difficult work, let us also extend our own offers of support to them and their loved ones.”

Photo Credit: AARP & Ad Council

Women represent a large percentage of today’s family caregivers. They are the daughters, mothers, aunts, sisters, spouses, partners, friends, and neighbors who answer the call of helping relatives and loved ones. As sheroes, they give selflessly as they devote countless hours in service as they parent, cope with their own health challenges, work full-time in careers, and run businesses and organizations. Their efforts bring comfort, social engagement, and stability to those they love. They make their families and communities stronger. But who cares for them? Who makes their lives easier?

Badge created by Dariela Cruz

Those two questions are two of the main reasons DSN adopted the #CareSupport Campaign as its first campaign for the Leadership, Lifestyle & Living Well Initiative. Since DSN launched as a media channel that serves as a self-care, self-discovery, and social justice movement for women in social media, we have encouraged women online and offline to take care of their emotional and physical health by embracing “living well” as a necessity in their lives. DSN founder Ananda Leeke has also promoted self-care practices in women’s lives through her work as a Reiki Master practitioner, speaker, workshop facilitator, and yoga teacher in one-on-one clients sessions, online video series, yoga classes, conferences, and workshops. Beginning next week, Leeke will use DSN’s #DigitalSisterhood Wednesday weekly Twitter celebration to bring awareness to family caregiving and promote AARP’s #CareSupport Campaign resources. Be sure to join @DigitalSisterhd on Twitter on the following #DigitalSisterhood Wednesdays: November 14, 21, and 28 from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Many of these resources will be posted on DSN’s Facebook page. In addition, Leeke will share some of her personal experiences with family caregiving, the lessons she has learned, and the importance of women seeking resources to help them provide better care to themselves and loved ones later this month.

AARP RESOURCE: Visit AARP’s Caregiving Resource Center for more information.

DISCLAIMER: All opinions mentioned in this post represent the views of Digital Sisterhood Network.