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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

Letter from the Publisher: Take Care

Aug 29, 2014 01:34PM

“How is Mom doing?” a sibling texted our family group. My sister knew I was sitting with my 91-year-old mother at her assisted living home.

“Mom is looking at me with that blank stare,” I texted back. “She’s exhausted from going to dinner.” Feeling a little overwhelmed myself, I vented, “Hannah is yelling ‘Help’ again from the next room and Sally just wandered in with her usual packed bag, agitated that her mother, who passed years ago, hasn’t come to pick her up yet.” Then I signed off, “Just another normal night,” in attempt to lighten my mood as I put down my iPhone to go hold Hannah’s hand and reassure her that she is not alone.

Some days are better than others for Mom and her team of caregivers. The times when I am blessed with one of her sweet smiles and glimpse the enlightened soul still there behind her eyes help carry me through the periods of anxious confusion she experiences that are so difficult for all of us.

I am blessed to be part of a team that includes several professional caregivers whose heart has called them to help, despite heavy workloads and low pay, plus seven siblings to share shifts and solutions to concerns. We do everything we can to make sure that our mother is in loving, caring hands in the last stages of her life, while our own busy lives make competing demands on our time and attention.

At some point, most of us will likely find ourselves caring for a loved one suffering from issues associated with aging. Deborah Shouse’s feature article, “Conscious Caregiving: Nurture Yourself While Helping Another,” offers practical ideas for how to do it well. Although being a care partner may often feel like a burden, with an awakened approach, I’m learning how it can also be a more rewarding process than any of us imagined.

One of my favorite forms of self-care is making sure that I regularly participate in yoga classes. This month, Natural Awakenings celebrates National Yoga Month by highlighting Southwest Florida yoga studios. If you think it’s only for the fit or flexible, I encourage you to sign up for a gentle, basic yoga class and give your mind, body and soul a treat.

You’ll find plenty of ways to nurture yourself and your loved ones in this issue. Our contributors recognize that when we care for ourselves, we are better equipped to be there when others need us. Such self-care reflects a self-love that ripples out to bless all we encounter.

Happy loving,

Sharon Bruckman, Publisher

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