Caring for Your Carer

If we are lucky, we have friends, family and/or partners to help and support us – but do you let them know how much you appreciate them? Love them? Couldn’t live without them? These are our care-givers. (In case you didn’t know, I love you, Mommy! I appreciate you and I can’t live without you!)

Thank You!

I really appreciate you,
Your helpful, giving ways,
And how your generous heart
Your unselfishness displays.

I thank you for your kindness,
I will not soon forget;
You’re one of the nicest people
I have ever met.

Carers provide unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness or who are frail & aged. There are currently over 2.6 million unpaid family carers in Australia, more than 770,000 of whom are primary carers – the people who provide the most care (Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009) Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers).

You Didn’t Have To

Thank you for what you did;
You didn’t have to do it.
I’m glad someone like you
Could help me to get through it.

I’ll always think of you
With a glad and grateful heart;
You are very special;
I knew it from the start!

On average carers spend approximately 40 hours per week providing care.  It is estimated that carers of someone with a mental illness spend on average 104 hours per week in the caring role (Mental Health Council of Australia and Carers Australia (2000) Carers of People with Mental Illness).

Help and Caring

Thanks for doing what you did;
You are kind beyond belief;
Your help and caring calmed me down,
And gave me soothing relief.

Carers often experience reduced physical, mental and emotional health once their caring commences.  Over time the effects of caring may intensify. It is also important for the carers to look after themselves. Carers also need to manage stress, eat well and exercise.

It Doesn’t Seem Enough

I want to tell you “Thank you,”
But it doesn’t seem enough.
Words don’t seem sufficient–
“Blah, blah” and all that stuff.

Please know I have deep feelings
About your generous act.
I really appreciate you;
You’re special, and that’s a fact!

Caring can be physically and emotionally exhausting. Regular breaks from caring can help relieve their stress and exhaustion.

For All You Do

Thank you so much for all you do;
You’re truly a delight;
When my life overwhelms and does me in,
You make everything all right.

The people who care for us often have no choice about their roles. The constant demands of caring and the many changes in family life may bring about a range of feelings and emotions. Some people may feel a sense of satisfaction about being a carer. Others may feel angry and overwhelmed at times. These emotions can be difficult to cope with.

Priorities

Thank you…
for thinking of me
and then wondering
how you could help.
Thank you…
for doing what you did,
instead of being too busy,
or just forgetting about it.
Thank you…
For inking me
on your priority to-do list,
when you have
so many other things to do;
I am honored;
It meant a lot to me.
Thank you.

Maybe it’s time to celebrate and acknowledge the vital role carers play in our lives. Maybe it’s time to say Thank You, I Love You, You’re Fantastic?

 You Made My Day

I appreciate your kindness
More than words can say;
The very nice thing you did for me
Really made my day!

You could drop over with a fruit platter, cake or a bunch of flowers, just to say hello and acknowledge the great job they are doing. You could write a short note of appreciation and leave it in their letter box. You could give them a voucher for a massage or one from a retail outlet like a book shop.

There are so many ways you can say ‘thanks’ to a carer you know or know of.

Poetry by Joanne Kuchs

Fighting (and Losing) Against the Clock

It appears that a biological measurement of premature ageing may be linked to FM pain. I wonder if this explains why my body feels eighty instead of forty…

In a new research study, researchers examined the length of telomeres, which are specialized structures at the ends of chromosomes that deal with replication and stability of genetic material. A telomere is a repeating DNA sequence at the end of the body’s chromosomes. The easiest way to think about it is to imagine them as the aglets (plastic tips) on the ends of shoelaces that keep them from fraying.

*** The human body is an organism formed by adding many organ systems together. Those organ systems are made of individual organs. Each organ contains tissues designed for specific functions like absorption and secretion. Tissues are made of cells that have joined together to perform those special functions. Each cell is then made of smaller components called organelles, one of which is called the nucleus. The nucleus contains structures called chromosomes that are actually “packages” of all the genetic information (DNA) that is passed from parents to their children.***

Over time, as cells divide, telomeres shorten and as such are regarded as a marker of the aging process.

When comparing telomeres from women with FM to those of healthy women (sorry, men were ignored again), researchers discovered that the telomeres from the FM sufferers tended to be slightly shorter, but not to a significant degree. However, higher pain levels were associated with shorter telomere length. Further, those with higher pain and higher depression scores had the shortest telomeres, with the difference being approximately equal to six years of ageing – not quite the forty extra years I was looking for.

Additionally, shorter telomeres were linked to higher pain sensitivity and lower gray-matter volume in brain regions dealing with pain.

Researchers concluded that premature cellular ageing appears to be linked to chronic pain, which implies that chronic pain is a more serious condition than has typically been recognized – which hopefully means that more research will be conducted into chronic pain conditions like FM.

Unlike FM (oops, just a bit cynical!), there is a huge interest in slowing the aging process so a fair bit of research has gone into which nutrients help keep your telomeres long. (It is not known yet if this slows the ageing process, or whether it merely slows premature aging due to FM – but both would help us!)

Nutrients that appear to affect telomere length include:

  • Omega-3
  • Vitamin B12
  • Vitamin D3
  • Zinc
  • Iron
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E

Omega-3, B12 and D3 are among the most commonly recommended supplements for FM.

If you’d like to see iHerb’s selection of supplements, click here. Use Coupon Code LHJ194 to get $10 off any first time order over $40 or $5 off any first time order under $40.