• Diane Cooper, RN, M.Ed. GNP

“Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things” Part 2

Male Caregivers are doing it and doing well. Dr. Odell Glenn Jr. from Lexington, S.C. is a 2017 Leon David Simmons Award recipient. He is a professional, a son, a spiritual leader and a family caregiver.

I grew up in Brooklyn, New York and obtained a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in Long Island, New York. I then went on to receive two Masters of Science degrees in both manufacturing systems and electrical engineering in New Jersey. I then worked as an engineer and then later as an associate professor in the state of Connecticut. I have recently finished the doctorate in chemical engineering in Columbia, South Carolina. I am also an ordained minister.

For the past 10 years, my primary focus has been caring for two loving parents ages 83 and 84. I believe that nothing I have learned or gained in life should be for self. I believe this so much that I am the author of a book entitled, “Caregiving: The Inspirational Manual.” The wisdom and experience that I have gained is intended to be shared to help, shape, inform or guide someone else along life’s tedious journey. In the midst of caregiving, I have managed to continue the overall mission of my life and that is to minister to the intellectual, social and spiritual needs of all people.

I get through each day by giving God thanks for all things each morning and through prayer. Prayer, wisdom and God’s guidance has given me strength, hope and direction along the journey. I compare the task of caregiving to an executive, mid-level, and entry-level management corporate career. The difference it hat it is a 24-hour a day and 7 day a week job. One works all three management styles in one day. Even if employed outside of a home, one’s subconscious is permanently aware of duties at home while away. One of the greatest challenges that caregivers must learn is to adjust to changing demands as well as to one’s own individual life and the changes that evolve around it simultaneously.

Encouraging words to other caregivers come from a full chapter in my book, entitled “Care for the caregiver”:

Tip # 79 “Accept offers of help from others. Be proactive by suggesting things for people to do with the care recipient.”

Tip #80 “Give yourself credit, treat yourself and pat yourself on the back every now and then for doing the best you can in one of the toughest jobs there is. Never wait until everything is perfect before you decide to enjoy your life.”

Tip #83 “Be realistic about how much of your time you can give. Set clear limits and communicate those limits to doctors, family members and other people who might be involved.” Tip #84 “Emotions such as anger, fear, resentment, guilt, helplessness and grief may show up. Remind yourself that His strength gives you the grace to do it. Trust the process. Trust for today and tomorrow.” Tip #87 “Exercise regularly.” Tip #88 “Eat right.” Tip #89 “Get enough sleep.” Tip #91 “Participate in a support group.” These tips are just a few that have gotten me through each hour, day and throughout the years. I use them to also encourage other caregivers.

Do you know a male caregiver?


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