At the Brain Energy Support Team (BEST), we are passionate about supporting caregivers and honor their hard work and dedication.

Today, we have a special post dedicated just for caregivers.

BEST Board Vice President, BEST guest blogger and caregiver, Maggie DePuye-Phillips, is back with her informative and inspirational “Caregiver’s Corner” column. Join Maggie as she offers resources, tips and support for caregivers. Additionally, BEST offers a free monthly support group onsite at the BEST Learning Center. See Maggie’s article for more details and how you can participate.


Ah, the start of another new year usually means time to set new goal. And for caregivers, this usually means more tasks to juggle.

Whether it is to lose weight, save money, spend more time with family, take on a new hobby or even improving your time management, they all involve some motivation to implement those goals. It is quite healthy to recharge every year, establishing new goals or resetting old ones; however, when you take on more than you can handle, defeat gets in the way.

Most often, lack of planning, knowledge or even organization can be the additional culprits that ultimately will lead you down that road of failure. Fortunately, there are resources out there that can help you tackle those tasks and accomplish your objectives, no matter how complicated they may seem. Once you get into a routine, there is bound to be some “wiggle room” to accomplish even some wild-haired goals you may have on your bucket list!

From my caregiver “toolkit,” here are some simple tips:

1.  If organization of your home is one of your challenging tasks for 2015, I found a really neat website that offers de-cluttering strategies on a time-restraint budget. You will find a 52-week program that tackles ONE task per day, which takes no more than 15-20 minutes of your time. You can even receive daily emails of the respective tasks or print off weekly schedules; whatever works for you. So, what are you waiting for? Click HERE to learn more.

2. If saving money is one of your resolutions, there are many strategies to go about it. You may have read about or seen the 52-week money challenge (where you start w/$1 and double the amount every week, endingwith $1378 by December), but I have discovered a “better plan.” It’s called the “Pocket your Dollars” Challenge, a similar concept of the 52-week money challenge, but in the opposite direction. You start with the highest amount to save per week, which is $52, and decrease by a $1 every week so that by December, when the budget is tight with the holiday spending, you can still contribute to the challenge. Follow this LINK that explains more in detail.

3. If healthier eating or “releasing” weight is at the top of your list, but you are having a challenge starting and need some motivation, click HERE  for an excellent resource. This website also has wonderful suggestions on meal planning, healthy recipes and exercise strategies! Just remember to make the time for you. Your body, mind and soul will thank you later!

As I mentioned in my last article, I have been reading the “The Caregiver Helpbook by Powerful Tools for Caregivers, Third Edition” (2013).  In this amazing 21-chapter book, various topics are covered, including communication, stress management, mental health issues and the different roles of caregivers. One of my goals for 2015 is to read and complete one chapter every two weeks. I just completed the first chapter, “Taking Care of You, ” which covered managing self-care, setting goals, making action plans, seeking solutions and rewarding yourself. By keeping goals simple, realistic and specific, you learn to thrive as a caregiver. It was the perfect chapter to start the year!

Information & Resources

I come across many different websites that focus on caregiving. While researching on the topic of setting goals and organization, I discovered a phenomenal website that encompasses everything you can imagine about caregiving, covering various topics such as housing issues, legal matters, medical care and government resources. For assistance on organization, there is a section called “Checklists and Forms.” On this page, you will find many different forms you can use to better organize information for your caregiver role, including a caregiver’s log, a weekly medical chart, a sample filing system and a caregiver’s document organizer. Check it out, HERE.

Upcoming/Ongoing Events

BEST Caregiving Matters Support Group: 3rd Saturday every month from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m. We will meet at the BEST Learning Center and light refreshments will be provided. There is no fee to attend and registration is not required. All are welcome.

2/21: Communicating Effectively in Challenging Situations

Participants will engage in a discussion of various communication styles and strategies of how to communicate appropriately in a variety of settings as a caregiver.

3/21: Learning from Our Emotions

Participants will have an opportunity to learn common emotions of caregiving such as grief, anxiety, anger, denial, resentment and guilt but share coping skills that brings hope and joy.

4/18: Making Tough Caregiving Decisions

Participants will be provided tools on how to make sound, compassionate decisions, especially when faced with challenging circumstances.

5/16: Long-Term Options

Information about long-term options such as assisted living, adult day-care, nursing homes and hiring in-home care as well as the importance of wills and estate planning will be provided.

Washington State TBI Conference 2015

This year’s conference will be held on Monday, April 27 and Tuesday, April 28, 2015  at the Marriott Hotel, SeattleAirport. If you are interested in attending, a limited number of scholarsships are available to individuals with brain injury and unpaid caregivers. You must apply by February 27th. For more information about theconference and scholarship application, click HERE.

Recommended Reading:

Here are some books to add to your library on caregiving.

“The Delicate Balance: A Mindful Approach for
Professional and Family Caregivers”

By Phyllis Quinlan

“A Guide for Caregivers
 Keeping Your Spirit Healthy When Your Caregiver Duties And Responsibilities Are Dragging You Down”

By Benjamin Pratt

“Who Cares? A Companion Guidebook For The Family Caregiver’s Journey”

By Elizabeth Rawson, M.A

And as always, let me leave you with two inspiring quotes as you start another new year with renewed hope! May you be empowered with your new discoveries! Until next time, remember to embrace each moment!

“One advantage of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.” ~Winnie the Pooh

“With organization comes empowerment.” ~Lynda Peterson

Leave a Reply