As the holidays near, I can't help but think of the relatives who won't be with us as we celebrate Thanksgiving next week, and the other holidays that follow soon after: Hanukkah (we're a multicultural family), Christmas, the New Year. But while my surface thoughts are about the individual people, I find that a deeper dive leads to what I learned from them, and what they taught me about gratitude.
Some of the best stories I've heard came from my grandparents. Sometimes these were made-up tales - bits of fiction to entertain small children - but other times they were gifts of memories, personal or family histories, things that make us who we are.
As caregivers, we must be aware that the people we support often react to the change of seasons with heightened emotions. When my grandmother was first sliding into dementia, the simple act of packing away her summer clothes and bringing out her warmer winter wardrobe would make her anxious. Where were her belongings going, and would she get them back?
Remote caregiving was often spotlighted as a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, especially in the early days when much of the world was in some sort of lockdown, but the reality is that those of us who don't live near our parents are often faced with providing care and support from afar, and while it may seem easy from outside, it's really very challenging in its own way.
Whether you are a family caregiver or a healthcare professional, you give so much of yourself in the care of others. When did you take your last deep breath? The impact of not doing so affects both you and those you are caring for, so in truth, no one wins.
Balmy summer afternoons seem made for these quieter pursuits, a twist on the traditional siesta of the Latin world. I have strong memories of sharing the front porch with my grandmother on summer days, each of us with a glass of iced tea and a book, magazine, or crossword puzzle. I remember the feel of the condensation cooling my hand when I gripped my glass, and I remember the soft background noises that were ever present: cicadas, lawn sprinklers, small children playing, the occasional barking dog.
At six, eight, ten, thirteen, I was not afraid of storms, and even loved the electric crackle of lightning, and the distant (and not-so-distant) booming of thunder, which I imagined as a conversation among mythic figures, like the Greek gods and goddesses I read about in stories. As recently as 2019, I got excited when a storm bore my name, though of course I feel horrible about the damage caused by Hurricane Melissa, especially in the Carolinas.
When we launched our new website in July, 2021, we told you that a new team was on its way to you. Well, the time has finally come, and the synchronicity of all of this is making my heart sing! Our new team members are here, and we are over-the-moon excited about the caliber of the people joining us as well as their credentials and expertise in their fields.
Over the summer, we added Curves of Los Altos to our family of care partners. Since then, Mimi and Tracey have led our Caregivers' Walks and are hosting a thirty-minute at-home workout on November 2nd. More than just two women who are part of a nationwide franchise of woman-focused gyms, both are also caregivers. Here are their stories.