Saturday, November 18, 2017

Criticism is a Poor Way to Ask for Help

Diane Sawyer was interviewed on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show.

Oprah asked Sawyer about her famously good marriage to Mike Nichols. Sawyer said the best piece of advice she was given for marriage was this: “Criticism is just a very poor way of making a request—so maybe, instead, you could just make the request.”

I loved that. How many times have I lobbed a critical remark instead of asking for what I wanted? Have you ever done that?

Saying, “You are selfish and lazy” is just a very poor way to ask: “Can you help me?”

And, “You never listen” is often a chicken’s way to say, “Could you sit with me and listen to me for five minutes?”

It’s also in the realm of not expecting the one we love to be a mind reader. And, by now we know that “He should know…” is for teenagers and we are grown-ups in relationships that we chose.

Don’t you think Diane Sawyers marriage advice is great? 

“Criticism is just a poor way of making a request.” So, maybe, just make the request.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Holiday Gift Ideas to Brighten the Season for Caregivers

This week we welcome Beverly Nelson from with suggestions to make nicer holidays for family caregivers:  

Caregivers are the unsung heroes of families and the healthcare industry.  They carry a heavy burden when it comes to the care and tending of others. If you have someone on your shopping list who is a caregiver, consider giving an especially meaningful gift this holiday season.  

 Who are the caregivers?  Most of us will be caregivers at some point in our lives.  In 2012, over a third of the American population gave unpaid care to someone with a chronic health condition.  According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that percentage will steadily increase as the population ages.  Most of those people providing care also hold down other jobs.  

 Caregiver stress.  Caregiving is physically and mentally demanding.  As time goes on, those performing the role of caregiver often experience negative effects from the burden of their duties, developing what is termed “caregiver stress.”  Symptoms include depression, anxiety, a weakened immune system, increased risk for chronic disease, obesity, and an inability to concentrate.  

 Gifts for caregivers.  Because being a caregiver is such a stressful role, consider a gift of self-care.  Encourage any caregivers you know to do something indulgent and good for their mental health.  Experts at The SeniorList recommend gifts “that help the caregivers in your life feel recognized, appreciated and pampered.”  Here are some great suggestions:

Give them a break.  According to some experts, the best gift you could give is an experience or service.  Do their shopping or housecleaning, prepare a meal and deliver it to them, or give them a respite for a day or overnight.

Create gift certificates.  Think through what this caregiver might really need and make gift certificates “redeemable upon demand.”  The Washington Post suggests you could make six certificates for 29 venting sessions.  You can make gift certificates for delivering meals, housekeeping, or that overnight respite, too.

Create a personal treasure.  The Caregiver Space suggests creating a keepsake such as a scrapbook or memory album.  Make it especially sentimental and if the person in care is still able, interview him or her and include the information.  

Photo collage.  Put memories on the wall in a photo collage.  You can always include some handwritten notes in the collage along with the photos.

Food delivery.  Your caregiver might really appreciate a monthly or weekly food delivery service.  Join a food club and make the caregiver the recipient.  The Adventurous Writer recommends clubs that offer baked goods, fruit and cheese, coffee or chocolate.

Spa day.  Consider an outing at a local spa, complete with massage, pedicure and facial.

Two tickets and a certificate.  Give two tickets to an event your caregiver will enjoy, along with a certificate for you to give respite while the caregiver goes out with a friend or significant other.

Aromatherapy.  Put together some candles, room sprays, oils and lotions in a relaxing scent like lavender.  

Gourmet gift basket.  Assemble favorite coffees or teas along with chocolates, shortbread, spreads, and dried fruits and nuts.  

Organizer or calendar.  Select an organizer with a luxurious cover or a calendar with inspiring, hopeful quotes.  Make sure there is plenty of room for writing notes.

Periodical subscription.  Periodicals can be set down and returned to as the caregiver’s time permits.  Consider a magazine relating to a favorite hobby, such as birdwatching or cars.

DVR subscription.  Give the opportunity to record the shows your caregiver is missing.  He or she will enjoy catching up when things settle down.

Journal.  Many caregivers find journaling helpful for reducing stress.  Find a special journal and include a luxurious pen.  

 Celebrate caregivers!  
 Caregivers carry a heavy load and can easily become run down physically and mentally.  Show the caregivers in your life they are appreciated during this holiday season.  Give them gifts that pamper them and are meaningful.

by: Beverly Nelson of