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The Caregiver's Cairn: Beach Time!

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Greetings one and all...

Welcome back to The Caregiver’s Cairn - a sustaining and empowering guide for caregivers and care receivers. I hope you and yours have enjoyed a lovely month since my last posting. I invite you to pour a cup of coffee or hot tea, curl up in a cozy chair, and take a deep breath. Can you believe that summer has come and gone? How did that happen? Well, some might suggest that our perception of time changes as we age. The pace quickens with each passing year. Hmmm. Don’t think I like that interpretation! Perhaps the summer seemed fleeting because every day was filled to the brim with things to do, places to go, and people to see. Yes! I readily agree with that assessment of the summer. Consequently, I am longing for some beach time.

Beach time? You may be thinking that I have completely missed the boat on this one. Don’t people usually head to the beach during the summer break? Well, some do. However, I have always been a bit of a contrarian. I love to visit the beach in the late fall—moderate temperatures, fewer people, and inviting, vacant beaches. Last year, I spent a week in November walking the beaches of a quaint Floridian island with a dear friend. We thoroughly enjoyed shelling, savoring every sunrise and sunset, and seeking the sacred in the ordinary. The pace of life on the beach creeped along in comparison to the hustle and bustle of the metroplex in which we live. Furthermore, we discovered that “beach time” provided the opportunity to look and truly see, to listen and actually hear, to touch and profoundly connect, and to explore and subsequently discover the essential ingredients of life. Needless to say, we were reluctant to leave the beach and are now counting the days until our return later this year.

In the intervening year, “beach time” has become our mantra when the pace of life becomes excessive. When life gets crazed, we chant “beach time.” It’s beneficial to have family and friends who gently remind us to slow down and take a break every so often. I also have pictures on my computer of the beach—images that trigger memories of a different time, a different place, and a different pace. Beneficial indeed when life threatens to spin out of control.

As a caregiver, it’s vitally important for you to routinely enjoy some “beach time.” You don’t have to travel far and wide to experience a slower pace and a different view of life. “Beach time” is a state of mind—a way of being in the world. Each person has a unique understand and perception of “beach time.” Consequently, it’s important for you to recognize the environment, the people, and the activities that provide a life-giving respite. Then, the next time you need a break, enjoy some “beach time.” A wee rest is good for the body and the soul. Beach time—a top priority in life!

Thanks so much for stopping by today. I invite you to share your perspective on the caregiving journey. Make suggestions. Pose questions. Provide resources. Share your story. Coming together and sharing, we will improve the process for one and all. I look forward to continuing the conversation next month. Til then, blessings to you and yours...Jane W. Barton

Do you have a question for Jane? Please email us at coaarp@aarp.org and we will be in touch soon!

Jane W. Barton, MTS, MASM, CSA is a passionate speaker, writer, and listener. Jane is the founder of Cardinal, LLC, a consulting firm that provides educational programs to assist people in confronting the daunting challenges posed by aging,  serious illness and disability. Jane is well-versed in the areas of grief and bereavement, caregiving, hospice and palliative care, change and transition, and spirituality and health. She presents innovative, transformational programs to community members, healthcare providers, pastoral caregivers, clergy, funeral service providers, and national audiences to improve the experience of people and families challenged by serious, advanced, or terminal illnesses. Previously, Jane served as Director of Education for a hospice and palliative care educational institution. She has also served as a hospice chaplain and bereavement facilitator in hospice and palliative care. Jane is a certified Spiritual Director as well as a Certified Senior Advisor. In a former life, she worked as a financial services representative and an exploration petroleum geologist and manager. 

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