Caregiver Stories and Stress Solutions.offers ten short stories, including some about Dr. Tom DeLoughry’s stumbles and successes as his mother’s caregiver. This free book, as well as the accompanying Less Stress, Better Health and More Love workbook, developed with Kathy DeLoughry, offers dozens of well-researched solutions to help caregivers and their loved ones to:
- solve each piece of their Wellness Puzzle and
- work more closely with the professionals who provided their medical, emotional, spiritual and complementary care
- improve the satisfaction of both caregivers and aides
It is the starting point for online program and workshops (see below) being developed by the Living Well Community Collaborative, a consortium of non-profits and individuals who will learn from each other’s successes and stumbles
This evidence-based program integrates music, story-telling, videos and eLearning to help participants. It also stimulates support WITH and BETWEEN the professionals who provide medical, emotional and spiritual care – as well those who offer alternative strategies such as acupuncture, chiropractic, meditation, massage, tai chi, yoga and more.
The simple, yet versatile, skills we teach (as outlined by two poems and four Satisfaction Skills) can:
- help three generations to help themselves and each other
- reduce the burnout of caregivers and the turnover of aides
- prevent or control chronic illness
- increase the beauty (i.e., the love, oneness, connectedness, or awe) you will enjoy inside you and around you
- improve the wisdom of your decisions
Our strategies are summarized by a simple poem that is detailed on the back cover of our Less Stress, Better Health and More Love workbook (as illustrated below). This workbook is published under a Creative Commons license so you can use or improve our text or graphics without seeking prior permission.
About 90 percent of over 3,000 workshop participants agree that this program can help them to:
- stop stress, at least for a moment, before your hours of peacefulness grow into days of satisfaction
- control chronic illness
- forgive themselves, others or God, (as evidenced in this evaluation of a typical workshop)
The core concepts and graphics in the Less Stress, Better Health and More Love workbook are published by Dr. Tom DeLoughry under a Creative Commons license Thus, counselors, social workers, nurses, physicians, ministers and others may freely improve or distribute any of the Living Well content or graphics for use in their own materials, lectures and/or sermons without needing to seek prior permission.
A SIMPLE SYSTEM TO SOLVE MANY PROBLEMS
Seniors, adults, teens and caregivers often struggle with a range of emotional and medical problems that are addressed by a bewildering array of solutions. By contrast, Living Well uses an evidenced-based systems approach to help participants Create a Happier Story while learning from their successes and stumbles and collaborating closely the professionals who provide their medical, emotional and spiritual care.
Traditional approaches to care typically focus only on the most urgent symptoms or the current crisis while ignoring the other pieces of the Wellness Puzzle.
Often, the social determinants of health are ignored. “Patients” are encourged to be passive, rather than volunteering to help create a better world, even though volunteering, by itself is “good medicine” that can reduce lonliness, depression and mortality. By contrast, two of our stories, Because of All the Pictures, and Like a Different Person, encourage participants to discuss the benefits of volunteering. And, in our final workshop, Choices for Change encouraged participants to consider local social action initiatives as well action-oriented Spirit Groups and the rich resources for satisfaction available through AARP’s volunteer portal.
YOU’RE INVITED TO IMPROVE LIVING WELL!
The core concepts and graphics of Living Well are published under a Creative Commons license so that counselors, social workers, nurses, physicians, ministers and others may freely improve or distribute any of the core Living Well content or graphics for use in your own materials, lectures and/or sermons. We will convene quarterly “continiuous improvements” meetings of the professionals, volunteers and aides that are using (and improving!) Living Well, so we can learn from each other’s experience.
We intend to evaluate the program through self-reported surveys; (that include CDC validated items measuring emotional and physical health). In addition we will assess: caregiver burnout and turnover rates among home health and hospital aides who participate in “Living Well” as one component of their mandated annual training.
WORKSHOPS, SKILLS and POEMS
The program consists of:
- Less Stress, Better Health and More Love – a four part online workshop for seniors, adults and teen
- each participant will creates a personal plan to reduce stress (and acheive medical and other goals) by using the Learning Poem (Choose your goals and check your signs. Take some steps and learn each time) .as prompted by “Success and Satisfaction Journal (see below)
The bottom of each page, prompts participants to “beware of blinder-vision”; use the Satisfaction Skills (i.e. awareness, appreciation, action and acceptance); and consider the “Wellness Puzzle.”
- Improving Outcomes for Professsional providing Medical, Emotional and Spiritual Care – a two part program for professionals to discuss (in the first sesion) how using the “Learning Poem” can improve outcomes and how the “Satisfaction Skills” can improve communication and satisfaction with care. In the second session, they discuss their successes and stumbles in implementing this with their patients, clients and/or members.
- Living Well Collaborator’s Conference (as described above under “You’re invited to improve Living Well”)
The Learning Poem helps particpants focus on one or two specific problems. The Healing the Whole Person Poem, (illustrated below as published on the back cover of the workbook) reminds participants not to just focus on the most urgent problem or the immediate crisis. Instead, after a Learning Plan is in place to address the emergency, the Planning Plan prompts them to: 1) use the Wellness Puzzle as a guide to assess all the factors that might help or harm; 2) find help in the community and online; 3) continue using the Satisfaction Skills to improve communication, reduce stress and avoid “blinder-vision”; and 4) use mutiple Learning Plans to address each specific issue and discuss it with the professionals who provide your medical, emotional and/or spiritual care.
To learn more our workshops and training programs for professionals, volunteers and aides, please sign up for our newsletter. (coming soon) We also encourage you to read:
- the free “Less Stress, Better Health and More Love” workbook; (currently being revised)
- “Caregiver Stories and Stress Solutions”
- “Friendship: A novel about love, hope and music.”