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LIVING FOREVER – TAKING CARE OF CARERS

I usually write about travel and different aspects of BJ’s life but today I’m writing about the rest of the family’s health and well being.

Recently we had a pre-planning meeting for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme). For our overseas readers, this is a new scheme which is being introduced by the Australian Government to assist people with the costs associated with their disability. It has been rolled out over the last couple of years and BJ should receive it sometime over the next 6-12 months.

NDIS Carer Checklist
NDIS Carer Checklist

The process is not a pleasant one. Actually, it’s not so much the process but the thoughts that rise to the surface while completing the form. Where we would normally focus on the positives of our situation this form and the process brings the reality to light. The pre-planning form requires people to break down exactly how much time is spent on helping the family member with a disability. While we can see BJ’s improvements and independence this form really drove home exactly how much we do for him and how much assistance he needs in his daily living. It’s hard to see tasks we assist BJ with broken down into hours and minutes. At one point I put down the form in disgust and texted a friend who had recently gone through the process and said, “Can I just put a line through it all and say we do it all?” It was quite confronting and as my friend said about her situation, “No wonder I’m tired all the time!” Like many families I think we are all just so busy ‘doing’ we don’t really think much about how much we are doing. When you love someone you are just there without thinking about it.

Thankfully there aren’t too many times when the harsh realities take over my positive outlook. The one thing the form emphasised is that Hubby and I have to live forever. We need to be here to advocate, love and care for BJ.

When taking care of family and especially when someone has additional needs it is easy to ignore your own health. It’s hard to find time to do everything for everyone else so when it comes to looking after yourself it can be easy to put it to one side for another day.

Balance is hard to find and I’m still grappling with that one. I certainly learnt some time ago that I do need to take time out for myself and definitely need some date nights with Hubby. I also need to pay a bit more attention to AJ. It’s easy to go with the flow and not fight things. AJ is a little limited with her tastes. She isn’t big on dairy products and now that she’s hit her teens I really need to pay more attention but it’s always so busy.

wheelchair walk
Walking as a family.

It has been particularly crazy around our place lately with Hubby travelling for work and I have struggled to find time to do everything. I usually try to walk every day. I am desperate to get back to it for my mental well-being as well as the physical benefits. We have tried to walk regularly as a family on weekends but I do enjoy my walks in the mornings to get my mind straight for the day.

High tea stand at The Langham Hotel
The delightful high tea at The Langham Hotel

Along with the walking we try and eat right. It’s hard with so many temptations when we travel. We definitely need to make sure we are healthy eaters when we are home.

It was therefore great timing when Breville sent me the Boss to Go Plus. I wasn’t sure how much use we would get out of it to be honest. Would it be another gadget that would be a novelty for a while and then get pushed to the back of the cupboard? Well, it has proven a hit for many reasons. AJ was super keen to get it out of the box and looked excitedly through the recipes. Hubby and AJ were in the kitchen immediately making a smoothie. There’s a winner right there. I sat on the lounge and sampled the drinks they made.

AJ couldn’t wait to unpack the Breville

AJ isn’t a dairy drinker so I’m thrilled to say that she’s now increased how much she drinks because of the ability to make her own smoothies.

Breville Boss to Go
BJ helping with the smoothie.

BJ on the other hand loves milkshakes but they of course are high in sugar. I love that he is having a healthier alternative with the smoothies and a variety of fruit.

Breville Boss to Go
BJ loves helping in the kitchen.

Not to mention he gets a real kick out of helping.

BJ loved sharing a smoothie with a mate over the weekend. Sitting around the table with friends enjoying a meal or a special afternoon tea is a fairly regular thing to do. BJ’s mate doesn’t eat much these days so it is hard for him to sit at the table and watch everyone else indulging. It was great to see him enjoying a smoothie and feeling included when he visited over the weekend.

TIPS

It’s always easier said than done when it comes to taking care of yourself. I guess everyone has to find their own balance and what is possible. At different stages it is easier to do so than others. Here are a few things that I do to try and keep myself healthy mentally and physically.

  • Fitting in some exercise is always good. I’ve always found it useful for thinking through problems and finding solutions. Time-out from a situation just allows space to think it through plus it has obvious physical benefits.
  • I find cooking ahead helps our family. Once BJ is home he is pretty keen to have our full attention so a few meals cooked ahead in the freezer helps to ensure we don’t dial for take out food.
  • Satisfying my sweet tooth with a smoothie has really helped me avoid other temptations (I’m still struggling with this one)
  • Making the smoothies ahead and storing them in the drink containers that come with the Boss to Go Plus saves me time.
  • I love getting a gift voucher for a massage which I then use when I’m feeling particularly tense.
  • Immersing myself in a feel-good movie at a movie theatre lifts my spirits no end.

As for the NDIS………… like so many other things we’ve done in the past, it’s a process. I’m hopeful it will be good and allow BJ more choices in the future. When it rolls out I’ll let you know.

Thanks to Breville for providing the Boss To Go Plus. If you’d like to learn more about the Boss To Go Plus you can check out the Breville website here.

In the meantime I’d love to hear your tips for staying healthy.

 




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