Self-Care is Vital III

Caregiving For All:  March 1, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

Sweat the small stuff

° Give yourself credit for what you do.

You probably hear often what an angel, or loving soul you are for taking care of a loved one. We politely say thank you.  Yes, you are all of those and more.  You make God smile and others wonder how you do it all.  Do not let these comments slide by without including a very important wish.  I wish that I had the strength of an angel, and could feel my soul at peace.  I realize that is not possible because God only gives you enough strength for that moment.  So let go of your worries, and your soul is at peace.   That is tough to do.  We lack the faith to trust God will get us through each day’s new situations.  We go to sleep at night believing we have done our best and we give thanks.   Now it is time to find joy and happiness in your life.


° Include joy and happiness in your life.

Being a caregiver is the most difficult job I have ever done in my life.   I like to laugh and make others laugh.  My poor wife thinks I laugh too often, although I hear her trying to cover up a snicker a few times each day.  I’m not sure that I would survive this role without using humor.  Yes, I get frustrated often, but I don’t like the feeling of being down, and not under control.  When we feel the pressure and start to melt down, we make mistakes.  We say things we wish we hadn’t.  When you give up, and doubts start to creep in, you are at the end of your rope.  Find joy and laughter.  Watch a funny movie; have coffee (or beer for me) with some friends; and do something you enjoy that brings satisfaction.  Lastly, journal about your experiences.  Buy a notebook, and try to write in it every two days.  You will find that it gives you a release from your frustrations when you write down what is happening.  You can see patterns about both you and your patient that could be helpful in their care.  If you continue to struggle, seek help.  Your care receiver needs you, and so do others in your life.  You are the sunshine on a cloudy day.  For me joking and laughing make a difference.


Here are some of the best traits that every caregiver should have:

  • Patience: Those who provide home care to others need to be patient.  When I feel I’m starting to lose it, and I’m about to say something I shouldn’t, I zip my mouth shut, smile, and thank God. This is a great release for me.  Sometimes my wife sees me do this and smiles.  She understands.
  • Compassion: When someone has compassion for another they have an understanding of what the person is going through.  Be a person of compassion.  Have a heart that opens for others.  Practice compassion with all.  Let them see what compassion looks like so they understand how to share when the time arises.
  • Attentiveness:  It is easy to get distracted in the business of a caregiver.  Try to be tuned in not only to the person receiving your care but also yourself.  You have to protect yourself just as much as you do your loved one.  DO NOT feel guilty if your patient criticizes you. Listen and acknowledge their concerns, then evaluate what you need to do.
  • Dependability:  Your plate is overfilled.  You don’t use a plate, but rather the whole table.  There is so much for you to do.  Ask for help.  Be organized, but ask for help.  Be a manager, not the whole team.
  • Trustworthiness: This is important because you are dealing with a vulnerable person.  You need the support of the whole caring team.  Journaling is very helpful.

What is the golden rule in caregiving?  Any ideas?

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:

Self-Care is Vital Part II

Caregiving For All:  February 20, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister 

° Eat healthy meals and get plenty of exercise.

I am doing all the cooking now, and sometimes it is easier to just make Mac & Cheese.  However, both you and your patient must eat healthy meals.  There are quick and easy healthy meals you can get, but make sure you are getting what you need.  As we age, we eat less, and it can become easier to just do a simple meal. Check with your doctor about seeing a nutritionist.  Don’t slip into snack foods all the time.   FYI: You had better sell any stock you have in Hershey’s, as I have stopped eating their dark chocolate bars because of the high levels of lead and cadmium.  I know, I’ve been eating it since I had teeth.  At your next blood draw, check your levels of these two hard metals.  Exercise is important until the very end.  If you are not ambulatory,  you can do many exercises from your chair or bed.  Check with your doctor or therapist about which are best for you.

°  Accept offers, or reach out to friends to reconnect.

When people ask you how your spouse is doing, be honest.  Sometimes when I am frustrated, I will say she is doing great, but I’m not worth a dime.  This will get their attention.   At this moment, my spouse is doing well in her situation, because we are well-planned.  However, I miss the interaction with old friends and people whom I spent time with.  We MUST be honest.  If they volunteer to help, accept it.  Have them run errands for you.  Have them sit with your care recipient, or just visit them so you have a break.  Go out to eat with old friends, while someone cooks for your patient.  Go to a game, or a movie, or visit friends.  I have noticed that I hear less from old friends that we were close to before the pandemic.  I try to call them, but it doesn’t usually work to meet up.  There are three reasons for that:

  1. We are all getting older and it is harder to get out.
  2. Covid threatened us, so we stay home.
  3. For some it is hard to visit someone who needs special care. Don’t be upset.  Deal with it. Educate them.  Make plans, invite them over, go yourself and visit them.  Many are great Facebook friends.  These are great relationships that can help both of you. Encourage any help you can get.  Don’t just say we are OK.  Accept the offers. Otherwise, put out a sign on Facebook.  Help needed!  I’m feeling overwhelmed and need someone who has time to visit my wife so I can go out to a game for some renewal. If your care recipient can be alone for a few hours, find someone to take you fishing.  It will get more difficult later to have time for yourself, so thank them and tell them how much you appreciate the encouragement.   Give credit to those who help you (family, friends, neighbors).  Remember, that God plays a  big hand in our success as a caregiver. We sometimes struggle with God, and why God is giving us this burden or causing this terrible disease.  Find someone you can talk to about your faith.  It is easy to blame God and turn away from God.   Message or call me.  I’ve battled God.  I have been angry as Hell with God.  There are many great books to read.  I have a great list of resources.   

I will have on this important topic shortly.  Take the time to digest these tips.  Put reminders on your calendar to call someone.  Plan to attend a concert, a movie, or a game even if it is by yourself.  Take the time for your healing.   In my next blog, I will share why it is good to Give Yourself Credit and Include Joy and Laughter in your life.

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:

Self-Care is Vital Part I

Caregiving For All:  February 20, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

Self-Care Is Very Important. Since I began caregiving, I have heard these five words probably 100 times. At the beginning of my caring journey, I was reading articles in different magazines on Caregiving. Most of those lessons have been repeated time and time again. Being a Caregiver adds much more to what is Love.

° Self-care is just as important as the care you give your loved one. To love someone else, you have to first love yourself, so that you not only know what love is but also how it feels. You will hear care leaders say if you don’t take care of yourself, who will take care of your loved one as you do? Sixty percent of caregivers die or become unable to care for their loved ones. Each group is 30%

. ° Self-care helps the care-recipient learn to be under the care of others and still be well. Many helpful aids can make the life of a caregiver less hectic and worrisome. Ask your doctor, and find an online, or in-person support groups to meet with. I’m part of the Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota (LSS) online caregiver group. There are many resources available. Get a fall detection device; security camera for when you are out of the home; and create a schedule of helpers that can give you a break when you need it.

° Set limits for what you can do. When you start as a caregiver, your ability to help is probably much easier. However, as you and your care-receiver age, abilities will change and become more difficult. I had major back surgery two years ago. Although my surgery was a success, I have noticed that I don’t have the strength or durability to do the same amount of caregiving. I am learning to adapt. I wear a back brace and use a belt to move or transition my wife. She doesn’t like it, but can’t take the risk, nor should I. Ask for more help. I am creating an outline for an Emergency Plan that I use for my wife’s care that originated with LSS. If something happens to me, or I am unavailable to care for her the plan is ready to implement. Emergency Plans will be addressed in a later blog.

° Take time to get away from your caregiving and do things you enjoy. In January, I took a respite trip to Tucson, AZ. for six days. It was time that I practice what I was preaching. I have taken half-day trips for hunting, and even a couple of weekends for fishing. My Emergency Plan was initially created for my back surgery when I would be in rehab for two weeks. It worked perfectly when needed. We made some changes and improved it for my Arizona trip. We never know what can happen. We should never live on “what ifs.” These are top tips to help you during your self-care.

° You will find God is your best help. There is no doubt in my mind that I could never be a caregiver without having God as my partner. There are so many examples of how God is helping me be successful, as both a caregiver and in sharing these topics. In our recent caregivers’ online meeting, I was the only one to share how the church should reach out to help those in caregivers. This is what got me on this topic, and also got me thinking about how can I get other churches to do what God expects us to do; helping and loving those who need help. It was one of those “lightbulb moments.” It felt like God rapped me over the head with a 2×4, to get me moving. I’m excited about the project. I will share more as it develops. God bless you.

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:

You Need To Take Care of Yourself

Caregiving For All:  January 26, 2023, Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

You have either heard me say, or read that it is important for caregivers to take care of themselves.   As the snow started flying in November,  I was recognizing that I was struggling more with my attitude and finding joy in my life.  Oh, I was excited about Christmas and being together with family, but I was finding myself not as sharp and having problems sleeping.

I talked with my wife in early December, about how she felt about me visiting family and friends by myself in AZ.  She is unable to travel.  This would mean that she would need to go into a facility that offered respite care.  She didn’t say much, and I could tell she was sad. I wanted to protect her, and give her a positive experience if I did go to AZ.  Later, I explained this would be a chance for her to see what nursing home living had to offer.   Being the person she is, she told me that I needed a break.  She too was recognizing my struggles.

Around the new year, the planning started with checking the availability of flights and finding facilities for Luann.  Checking with Luann’s care manager and my online caregiver group facilitator from Lutheran Social Services (LSS), it quickly became apparent that we were not going to find a facility within a short distance of home that would take Luann.  Because of staffing shortages, facilities are unable to take short-term respite care patients.   It was now time to look at Plan B.  Who could stay with her, and what would be the cost?

Our kids were part of the planning, and they took the weekend, including the grandkids. That always makes Luann happy.

One of her friends, who visits her weekly, agreed to be with her daily during breakfast and supper, except for when Luann’s CNA was working with her.   My biggest concern was choking.  She choked two nights before I left for AZ.   I had to do the Heimlich.  That is difficult to do in an electric wheelchair or lift chair.   More on that later.  Luann’s friend would stay for a couple of hours each time to ensure all her needs were met, including getting the bed ready for the night.

A couple of years ago, LSS encouraged our caregiver group to establish an “Emergency Plan.”  This plan helps other family members know what to do and whom to contact if the caregiver should become incapacitated and not able to care for the recipient.  This was very helpful when I had my back fusion surgery in March of 2021.  During my hospitalization, my daughter had to call one of our neighbors, listed as a contact, because Luann started choking when she spoke on the phone.   The plan worked.  She was able to clear the obstruction herself before the neighbor got to her.  Luann has swallowing problems and does choke about once a week.  Most of the time Luann can clear the passageway by stretching her arms above her head.  I’m noticing now that it is getting more difficult for her to stretch her arms, so I may help have to help her.  I would say I, or another family member, have done the Heimlich maneuver about 10 times over the last 5 years.  This is important for everyone to learn ASAP.   If you would like a copy of this emergency plan, I would be glad to share it.  Message me with your email address just in case I don’t have it.

Our plan went very well.  No emergencies.  Everything was covered.  My only concern was that Luann didn’t eat what we had planned.  That will be corrected in the Emergency Plan.

For me, everything went well, except for my slip-and-slide in a tub.  I’m recovering from bruised ribs.  It was fantastic to see my 99-year-old friend and all the people who turned out to parade by and celebrate his birthday.  Eight Tucson police cars with 10 officers paraded around the block twice and then stopped for 30 minutes to take pictures and sing happy birthday.   What a great time for this very caring, Christian friend. I also got time to spend with cousins which is always worth 10,000 laughs.  Unfortunately, we are all getting older, and taking care of ourselves is very important.

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:

Caring For All:   December 11 , 2022,  Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

It has been a busy time. I thought retirement would be a much slower pace. I have been working hard since August, on a large project to be shared with church lay leaders in Minnesota. It is ready to be recorded on Monday. I will then be a writer, director, producer, technical advisor, and actor. I’m not expecting any Academy awards or Oscars. I’d love a God wink. I know God has been right beside me on this journey


Just an update on previous topics. In my caregiver zoom meeting this week, people from a senior resource group shared how to prepare for the future by talking with parents gradually, rather than all at once. Also, do it when they are well. Lutheran Social Services is sending us a yellow folder that includes a list of where their important papers are at. They still can keep them in their safe place, but this helps children to know what to do. This includes where all insurance, financial documents, will, and health care directives (which should also be given to doctors by now) are located. Also, how to find their passwords, for finances, computers, and who are their representatives. You can tell them to fill it out, but take a glance to see if they do.  They can keep it hidden as long as you know where it is.  Again, without this information, things are likely to end up in Probate.  Too many seniors still don’t want to share their information with others, including children. They want to keep it secret. This is why you need to share early. Be patient, calm, and understanding. A lawyer or financial advisor can help ease this situation. Don’t be a bully, and demand information. Recently, while riding with my son, he said that he wasn’t sure he could follow our healthcare directives, and let us die. I’m glad he told me, and I tried to be very understanding. I told him I could take his name off the decision part of the Healthcare Directives. I also said we could have a friend make that decision. I’ve put it off for a month, so it is time to getter done!


Books: There are many great books out there to help you. I especially like Max Lucado’s books. You can find a lot of good information and inspiration in his books.


Upcoming topics will include: Learn the illness; Be an advocate; Death; How do you handle loss—friends, child, or spouse.


God Bless you.  Know you are never alone.  I too struggle with loneliness, but I turn it over to God.  IF GOD BRINGS YOU TO IT, GOD WILL BRING YOU THROUGH

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:

Planning Ahead for Those Middle-Aged with Health Issues

Caregiving for all: November 15, 2022     Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

In my last topic, I shared how important it is for seniors to share their financial plans, with family, for later in life. I have found it to be important to have those conversations with your children, so they aren’t surprised by your decisions or have no clue of what you would like after you pass. This part of Planning Ahead involves talking to a lawyer, not only about a will but also about how you want your estate to be handled. When I cared for my parents, they started the process of rewriting their wills when they both were diagnosed with serious illnesses.  The lawyer helped them rewrite their wills and held a phone conference (no zoom in the late 80s) with our entire family.  My parents decided to create a Life Estate.  Since I was the only sibling living in Moorhead and close to our parents, the Life Estate was put into my name.  I am NOT going to give you details on Facebook, or the Website,  but if you message me, or contact me directly, I will be glad to give some details on what we did.  This is the statement of a Life Estate in Minnesota I searched for: The term “life estate” describes a kind of joint ownership of the real estate, such as a house. You can sell or give your home to your children, but keep the right to live in, or control the home until you die.  Each state has different laws on how to use a Life Estate.  I can give you an example of what my wife did with her family cabin.  Over a decade ago, she wrote a notarized letter to the seven family owners of the cabin (LLC) giving her share to our children.  We did this to make sure the family was aware of the change, and to protect the property if she ever needed medical assistance.  This made it easier for the family if she ended up needing nursing care full-time.  With the way their LLC is written, a share can’t be sold to anyone outside of the families that own the cabin, and their extended heirs. It is too late to create a Life Estate when the ambulance is rushing you to the emergency room.  Life Estates don’t work for every family.  That is why it is important to do this when your parents have reached retirement, or have learned of a health scare.  If your parents decide to sell your childhood home to move somewhere else to rent or buy something smaller, a good estate lawyer can help you protect their investment for the children if they desire.  Learn about it now so you understand later. There is a “look back period”  when your parents start needing special care and they need assistance, the county can look back at their financial records for the previous five years.  Again, each state is different, but your lawyer can help you navigate the laws in your state.  (e.g., your parent is hospitalized and will not be able to return home.  You CAN NOT start giving all the money away, even if it is documented in the will.)


There is another option to think about “Long-term Care Insurance.”  This is something you would want to do before you become ill and when younger.  Again, check this option to make sure it is the right fit for you.  Work with a local nationally known company with a good track record.  Out-of-state companies with no local connection could be a problem.  It is always better to be proactive, than reactive.


Losing a parent is very difficult.  Don’t make it worse by leaving your estate a big secret and well hidden.  Plan Ahead!


I appreciate hearing from you. Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think. I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you, positive or negative. My email address is attached, or you can call the church for my phone number.

God bless you and keep you. His face will shine down on you and give you peace.


Caregiving for All:   October 4, 2022    Del Larson Certified Lay Minister

It has been a little longer time since my last share. I hope to get to the next topic on Planning Ahead this week. My last post on caregiving was about the strange phone call from an elderly woman looking for a moving company. It was a hectic week last week with my 95-year-old friend. She has no family in the tri-state area. Her boys don’t seem to be involved much in her care. She had to go to the Hospital because of internal bleeding. Doctors were able to get it contained, but she wasn’t happy about not having her clothes, and the chair alarm kept going off every time she stood up to look for her clothes.

The first lesson here is not being able to understand the staff in the ER. The nurse was asking her about the bathroom and was giving her all kinds of options. Finally, I asked her 1 question. Would she like a bedpan to use? Yes, she thought that was best. I didn’t say anything to the nurse but hoped she picked up on what I did. Then the intern came in and was loud and asked numerous questions about DNR Healthcare directives. I whispered to him to be softer and have fewer choices. Again, I asked if she would like someone beating on her chest if she stopped breathing. I then asked if she would like a tube down her throat to help her breathe and again, she said no. She already had directives on file, but they needed to check again. Hospital staff is very busy, but when you are dealing with seniors you need to break it down into smaller pieces so it is easier to understand. I did chat with the ER manager later and made those suggestions. I wasn’t complaining, but rather sharing what I have learned. I told her I appreciated their efforts. You need to know. Always, show praise and appreciation for those who are caring for your loved one. You will find more support and care when you make those efforts. Please remember you are an important part of the care team.

I appreciate hearing from you. Positive or negative. Remember what I said above. Positive is always better. I think we need more positives in this angry world. My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number. God bless you and keep you. His face will shine down on you.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.
I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you. Email:

Caring For All:   Sept 30, 2022    Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

In my last post, I strongly suggested that you as a family communicate with family early regarding the end-of-life journey.  Healthcare Directives, Power of Attorney, and update your will.   Over the last couple of weeks, I have had to deal with two unique situations that correlate to this topic:

God is always working in our lives and God included me in a phone call that I received a week ago.

The woman on the phone was looking for a moving company. I tried explaining that I was not involved with any moving company.  She kept saying it was my number.  I looked up a couple of moving companies and gave her the numbers. I then gave her my name and number. I found out that she had my information. I was becoming concerned about her. She was in a nursing care center and was moving to an assisted living facility.  The connection is that she had contacted our church looking for assistance to get to church.  When I realized it was her that I sent an email, I was amazed at how God made this possible.

I went and visited with her and also the head nurse from the care facility.  She is moving from a large multiple-bedroom house to a one-bedroom assisted apartment.

Her husband died this spring, and she has no children.  The more I learned the more concerned I got.  She says she can handle everything and didn’t need any help from anyone. I had strong doubts about that.

This is what I talked about in my last post.  We all need to plan for our end-of-life journey, including couples without children. Who can help if you are the last survivor of the marriage?  As we age our memories and cognitive skills diminish.  That is why it is vital to have a plan in place. Planning should start early, so it is your plan and not someone else.

I appreciate hearing from you.  Positive or negative.  Remember what I said above.  Positive is always better.  I think we need more positives in this angry world.   My email is attached, or you can call the church and they will give you my number.

Feel free to respond, ask questions, or tell me what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:


Talk with the Family

Topic 2—Talk With The Family

Around 1990, my siblings and I received a letter from our mother.   Why send a letter when I see them at least a couple of times a week?  Surprise!  She writes to tell us that she has Parkinson’s’ Disease.  At first, you wonder why she didn’t call each of us.  As you reflect, it was apparent that this was a difficult moment in her life.  Her beautiful letter told us that she didn’t want to call each of us because she wasn’t sure if she could maintain her composer, and say everything without breaking down.  For many of us, it is too easy to just take over, and tell our parents what they should do. In this letter, mom shared her strong faith in God and her closeness to her children.  There is a lesson here.  Adult children must work on their listening skills again as parents age.  Less talk, more listening.  Fewer questions, and more listening. I have seen in my ministry where adult children want to take control of everything.  When that happens, their parents lose their value, confidence, and self-confidence.  This is the time to start a conversation, if not before, with the family to see how we as children can be supportive of our parents.

You DO NOT want to tell them you will help and are going to every appointment with them so that you can make sure they are getting the information correctly. That starts the process of them feeling the loss of control of their lives.  Ask them how you can help.  Treat them with respect.  I imagine most of us will be in that situation someday. How do we want our kids to help us?  Guide them into including you on decisions, like giving up their driving, and eventually their home.  Be supportive and encouraging.  You may need to take control right away, but do it in a supportive way rather than just becoming the parent of your parents.  Transition is different for everyone.

I got frustrated once with my mother and her driving.  She had agreed that she would only drive to church, which would take her on very wide streets and not much traffic.  Before this, she had a couple of accidents that were her fault while driving. Then one day she decided to go downtown to get her hair fixed.  “It was just for an hour, and I drove very slow,” was her response.  I think you can see the problem with driving slowly.  At that moment, I told her if she was going to go downtown, she could drive herself to all appointments.   That hurt her, and I knew I was wrong.  We are human, and our emotions can get away from us occasionally. I’m hoping these topics help you avoid my mistakes.  My wife was working part-time and usually took them to their appointments.  I was very fortunate to have a supportive wife, who was always willing to help.  In emergencies, the staff helped me if I had to leave suddenly.

Your involvement will continue to increase, until the point when they enter a nursing home.  You will still be involved in their care, but there is a sense of relief knowing they are safe.  It was 1992 when I started journaling. Not only was it helpful in keeping track of the deterioration of my parents, but it also helped me to be able to look back to see what worked and what didn’t.  It was reassuring and comforting.

Focus:  Start talking to your parents while they are still able to care for themselves, and find out what they want if their health deteriorates.  If you are the elder, talk to your children. Tell them where your documents are located.  Do a healthcare directive and share it with your children.  I have seen a few times in my ministry, where parents do not share information, or have a healthcare directive. Update your will. This is a mess you don’t want to put on your children.  If you are alone or don’t have children to take care of you later, then find a close friend or relative.  You are going to need that support.

The next topic is Planning Ahead.  Feel free to respond, ask questions, or say what you think.

I hope that you can find one thing that will be helpful to you.  Email:


You Are Not Alone

Caregiving For All:   Del Larson, Certified Lay Minister

Topic 1:  First, you are not alone.  I admit that many times I have felt alone, and like I was drowning.  I was first responsible for my parents.  Oh, I had help in their care, but I was the captain of the ship.  There were times I had images of the Titanic sinking, and I was trying to hang on.  However, when I looked around there are many lifeboats that held my supportive wife, our children, friends, relatives, and colleagues standing and waving to me. They were there for me, reaching out to grab me and help pull me out.

Worry and fear, are very strong emotions that many of us have.  I admit I might have been in the top 10 for worriers when I first started.  Yes, I still worry today about my wife, but it is so much better than my reactions 30 years ago.


  1. Journaling— Every time that issues, appointments, or calls came I put them in my journal. Eventually, when I became stressed out, I went back and read my journal. I saw all that was accomplished, and although my parents were getting worse, I was seeing that what we were doing was the best we could.  There is no doubt that God also worked with us. You will see how God has been there for us through this journey.  When I turned to God, fear and anxiety decreased.  Over time, as my faith grew, I realized how important it was to ask God for help.  My brother had an expression, “If God brings you to it, God will bring you through it!”


  1. Take care of yourself— Stop thinking you can take care of everything. You can’t!  You will only make things worse by harming your health.  Then who will care for your loved one?  You have a home, a family, a job, and other things to take care of.  My wife was excellent about picking up some of my tasks and taking my parents to appointments.  My teenage children occasionally stayed with their grandparents when needed, including my son driving them at times.  My colleagues reminded me when I looked tired or got grouchy.   Friends and relatives called, or visited to see how we were doing. Taking care of my wife for the last few years has made me more aware of taking care of myself.  When I had back major surgery in March of 2021, I was in the hospital and rehabbed for two weeks.  My wife was home by herself, much of the time alone.  With the help of Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, the caregiver group I belong to, our family developed a care plan that covered every situation. One time my daughter called, and felt that my wife was choking.  She immediately called our neighbor to check on her.  She was fine. Remember those who fail to plan, plan to fail.  With this plan in place, I was able to go ice fishing with my son and his two daughters this winter for 3 days.  Recently, I drove to Aberdeen, SD to visit my last remaining aunt. Nine hours I was gone, and my wife was covered for half of that time.  I have come to realize more and more that my health has deteriorated.  That is why I am taking the time for me to do the things that help me stay strong and sharp.  Driving for 6 hours was a soothing time.


  1. My wife, who is in a wheelchair, but can transfer to other chairs and beds, calls me a helicopter caregiver. I am always checking on her and even installed a security camera.  I have cut back on its use because it beeped every time she moved, and started to follow her. It wasn’t healthy for me.  I had to have faith. The reduced time was better for me, as I am not interrupted every time she moves.  Luann also has a Life Alert, which detects falls, or if she pushes the button, help will be summoned.  It has happened one time.  She tipped over in her wheelchair on the balcony.  I had walked our daughter out but forgot my keys.  I tried to call Luann to let me in, but no answer.  I immediately called one of our neighbors, who is on our emergency list, to let me in.  911 was on the way, and my son called me because he got a call from Life Alert.  I was able to lift the chair off of her.  She only had a bruised ankle.  I tried to lift it again later, but there was no way I could budge it.  Thank God for creating adrenaline.



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