Embracing Your Culture Later in Life

Embracing Your Culture later in Life

As we look back at the Fall Harvest celebration last week, it is a great time to reflect on how our culture has impacted how we choose to navigate through life. While growing up in a community with a strong native presence I am often saddened by the lack of involvement my family chose to have with traditional ways of living.  Whether my parents did not see the true significance of traditions, or were simply protecting us from the stereotypes Native Americans were susceptible to, we did not openly share our membership with our tribe. 

As I ventured out on my own, I quickly tapped into the resources given to tribal members in our area.  During my undergraduate studies, I was eager to study the ways of our people and particularly, working with our Elders. After graduation, I was blessed to be hired as a social worker in our tribal social services department.  It was there that I met so many wonderful people who taught me the ways of our people. It was then I knew I would make it my mission to embrace my indigenous roots. 

Fast forward to today, I have a beautiful daughter who will grow up knowing her background.  She has been given her native name by a tribal elder, “Waabishkaa Waawaashkeshi Kwe” which translates to “White Deer Woman.” To celebrate this occasion, we hosted a traditional feast, a fire and prayer. For her first birthday, we also celebrated with a traditional meal of Indian Tacos.

What I have learned through this journey is it is never too late to learn about yourself and where you came from.  I challenge all of you to dig deep, find your roots, and embrace your culture for yourself and future generations. 

As always, Advocates For Seniors, LC is here to help with whatever you may need. 

Embracing Your Culture Later in Life

It’s a very special month for me, as this time last year I was preparing to bring my sweet girl into the world. In one week, we will be celebrating my sweet Laila’s first birthday. It sounds cliché, but “Where has the time gone?”

Navigating Life as a Working Mom

Navigating life as a working Mom, along with caring for aging parents over the last year has been a challenge. I am in, what is considered The “Sandwich Generation,” a middle-aged adult sandwiched in between caring for their aging parents and their own children. According to The Pew Research Center, 1 in 10 parents are caring for an adult in addition to their children. They spend about three hours per day on caregiving duties, split between their children and their parents. 

Juggling Work and Caregiving

Just yesterday, I made multiple phone calls to arrange durable medical equipment to be delivered to my parents’ home, attended one of their telehealth appointments, all the while juggling work and managing a very busy toddler.  Thankfully, I have siblings who carry their share of responsibility, as well as a very understanding and flexible employer. Whether you are on this journey alone, or sharing responsibilities with other family members, here are some things I have found helpful when managing these demanding caregiver roles:

  1. Schedule, Schedule, Schedule: I couldn’t manage being without my Google Calendar! My appointments are color-coordinated for work, personal, and family. I also am able to privately share the family appointments with my siblings, along with assigning who is responsible for which tasks need to be done.

  2. Enlist non-family caregivers: We have to admit when we can’t do it all, so enlisting outside agencies for support is sometimes necessary. Convincing my parents of the idea of a “stranger” coming into the home was no easy task, but thankfully they recognize the need now and are open to some assistance. This provides some much needed respite for my siblings and I.

  3. Self-Care for the Caregiver: Caregiver burnout is common and happens often with those caring for their loved ones. Signs of burnout include emotional and physical exhaustion, withdrawal from things of interest, changes in appetite and weight, difficulty concentrating, and lack of energy. Be sure you are doing the things you need to care for yourself-rest, proper nutrition, exercise, etc.

  4. Be Prepared Financially: Dual caregiving can be expensive. While some insurances assist with expenses, a lot can be out-of-pocket. Check with your local Area Agency on Aging to find out what benefits are available. Assistance with utilities, meals, etc. may be available. 

Now that you have read my list, what tips can you offer to help navigate this caregiving journey? Comment below.

As always, Advocates For Seniors, LC is here to help with whatever you may need. 

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