Day 46 of 99 Days to FASDay: Strategies and Self Care for FASD Caregivers

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Day 46 of 99 Days to FASDay brings a resource of strategies for caregivers by caregivers. The above graphic highlights only three general strategies provided in this great resource 2017 Parent Retreat Strategies  put together by the FASD Network of Saskatchewan (Canada).

I only highlighted three of the general strategies, but the booklet (click on link above) contains not only a list of general strategies for caregivers by caregivers, it also provides strategies specific to:

  • Meltdowns
  • Ownership
  • Confabulations
  • Cause & Effect
  • Memory Deficits
  • Environment
  • Justice
  • Employment
  • Communication
  • Dysmaturity

The FASD Network says this:

For the 10th annual Parent Retreat in 2017, the Network travelled to three Saskatchewan communities to bring caregivers from a variety of locations together to learn new information about the disability and connect with each other.

During the sessions in Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and Estevan the Network staff had the caregivers in attendance share their strategies and tips for dealing with some of the common struggles associated with FASD.

The result is this booklet, full of information taken from years of experience and developed by caregivers, the true experts in FASD.

I chose to only highlight three, because these three seem to echo how I feel generally and why I am on this 99 day journey.

First point: I have tried to be as open as I can in sharing the story of the maiden and I, while trying to respect her privacy. But unless we share, silence and stigma continues.

Second point: yes, sometimes some things about FASD do “just suck.”  It isn’t easy caring for someone with FASD. There are many great moments, but there are many low moments that are difficult, exhausting, frustrating and “just suck.” Admit it and move on.

Last point: most important in our personal journey is humour. There are some real tough times in our lives. It isn’t always appropriate to use humour, but sometimes humour can diffuse an otherwise hostile situation or prevent a situation from escalating. We also use humour to look back on some of the more difficult experiences we have had to reduce any shame or regret the maiden may feel. And I love that this last point contains a truly Canadian expression, eh?

2019 Update:

CanFASD put out a Caregiver guide which contained this graphic with some strategies to help in your role as a caregiver.

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2019 was a difficult year for me trying to be a caregiver. I went back to work full time and it was a disaster. I wrote a couple blog posts about life in the FASD lane. In 2020 for Mental Health Week, I compiled some resources/websites you may find helpful. The links are below:

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Here are three blog posts on life as a caregiver, self care, and community care:

Self Care and Messages from the Universe in the FASD Lane

What happens when no one cares for the caregiver

Mental Health Week, FASD and COVID-19

2020 Update:

This year has been an incredibly difficult year for many. And while for some it brought a pause and a chance to catch our breath, for others it brought extra hardship. Some were in the middle. No matter where you are, uncertainty was an undercurrent. Here are a two resources that may help.

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The Tolerance for Uncertainty is a free workbook for anyone to help cope with the stress and anxiety associated with COVID-19. Created by Dr. Sachiko Nagasawa. Downloadable from Bay Psychology

Weekly Self-Care Template

Eileen Devine, a social worker who works with FASD caregivers created a one page self care template you can use as a weekly guide.

I understand intimately what it is like to attempt to work and home school a child who struggles with self-regulation, self-initiation, and learning on a good day. I know how much more intense this experience is when you have a child who struggles with challenging behavioral symptoms that are often more challenging with this level of upheaval.

I know what you mean when you say this is beyond hard, suffocating, and is testing you like you’ve never been tested before. I so get it. And also, here we are. This is our current reality and within that new reality there ARE things we can do to remain resilient despite these huge challenges.

I am not talking about time-intensive self-care activities that none of us can manage with everything else that’s on our plate. I am talking about basic, core components to staying well and not simply surviving our day-to-day.

Not sure where to start in creating a plan for yourself focused on these core elements? I’ve got you covered. I created a weekly self-care template for you to use each week, to help you focus on those things that ARE In your control, things that really matter.

You can snag it by going to: Self-Care Template

And if you don’t have time to download and fill out a booklet or one page plan, here is a graphic you could save to your phone or computer:

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How about you? Do you have any advice or tips or strategies to share?

Feel free to leave any comments below. You never know – what you share may just make a difference in someone’s life.

See you tomorrow as we continue to look at caregivers for individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.

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