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Lewes, Delaware
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November 27, 1998     Cape Gazette
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November 27, 1998
 

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38 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, November 27 - December 3, 1998 HEALTH &amp; I:IITNES'S ' Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes, ac- cepts a "caregiver's survival kit" from Gull House activities coordina- tor Cheryl Jankowski. I By Jen EUingsworth The Gull House Adult Day Care Center in Rehoboth Beach saluted caregivers Nov. 23, with an appreciation luncheon at the fa- Cility' s site. Program director Kathy Schlitter thanked Gull House's caregivers and shared statis- tics provided by the National Family Care- givers Association, the only nonprofit membership organization dedicated to making life better for all of America's fam- ily caregivers. According to that information, she said there are more than 25 million family care- givers providing $195 billion in free health- care services in the United States. While the number of family caregivers is decreasing, Schlitter said statistics indicate that the number needed is steadily increas- ing. The Gull House event was attended by more than 50 individuals, including staff, clients and caregivers. Schlitter read the poem "Caregivers are Special" and Gull House staff members presented caregivers with "caregivers sur- vival kits," small packages that included witty items such as a penny and rubber band. "A pennY so you're never broke," quipped Schlitter. The rubber band? "For when you feel like you're stretched to the limit," she explained. All kidding aside, Schlitter emphasized that caregivers are the lifeblood of Gull House and the service they provide is in- valuable. Cheryl Jankowski, Gull House activities coordinator and coordinator of the caregiv- er luncheon, also gave kudos to the care- givers. Jankowski said she is happy to be work- ing at Gull House and assured the care= givers that their loved ones are appreciated and respected. "Rest assured, when your mother or fa- ther is here, it's like our mother or father is here," she said. "We love them all." Jankowski, Schlitter and other staff mem- bers then read what clients said they were most thankful for this holiday season. Nearly each and every comment read by the staff mentioned Gull House as a reason to be thankful. Rep. John Schroeder, D-Lewes, guest speaker at the event, praised the caregivers Jen EIIingsworth photo The Gull House staff includes (l-r) Vandola Collins, activities assistant; Al- ice Buehholz, L.P.N.; Ginger Kingsley, program assistant; Cheryl Jankowski, activities coordinator;, Kathy Schlitter, program director;, Debra TenEyck, program assistant; and Connie Reed, secretary. for providing their attention and love. Schroeder said he holds a special place in his heart for Gull House, because his moth- er, Marian Schroeder, 82, was a client there for some time. While she continues to suffer from Alzheimer's disease, he said the help from caregivers is comforting. Schroeder said his family has always found their help invaluable and noted that his mother currently has three caregivers who work with her. "I know personally what you, as care- givers, do," said Schroeder. "I know what it means to me. The knowledge that morn is being fed and clothed is a great comfort to me. "I know our caregivers don't do it purely as work. They truly enjoy their duty. I can't echo enough what being a good care- giver means to me." He also read a proclamation from Gov. Tom Carper's office that recognizes No- vember as National Alzheimers Awareness Month. When asked about their experience with Gull House, caregivers, such as Debbie Walter, sang its praises: "Thank god for these people because they give my husband dignity and respect," she said. Intimacy leads to freedom and security Each person seems to perceive the intimate experience in his or her own way. In a sense, it takes a personal journey of self-discovery to learn hov to share intimacy with another person. Here are some guidelines that may help to define that journey: Know yourself. Get in touch with your own private experi- ences. In our stressed-out world, this is often hard to do because our attention is directed outward much of the time. It helps to sit - doing nothing and being distracted by nothing - and spend time in reflection and introspection. Observe your thoughts and feelings. The brain has a pleasure center - close your eyes and imagine yourself experi- encing pleasure. Become familiar with those parts of yourself that are strong and feel whole and inte- grated. Learn to feel comfortable with that part of yourself that senses calmness, confidence and peace. Some people like to spend a few minutes every night before bed, perhaps with just a candle burn- ing, reflecting on the events of the day. Others prefer to keep a daily journal of their private thoughts HEALTH TOPICS Joel Vanini, L.C.S.W. Joel Vanini has a private practice in Georgetown. She is available at Bridge Coun- seling Center, 856-9190, or by e-maik <bridge@ce.net>. and feelings. Until you know your own private feelings, it is difficult to share them with someone else. Communicate with another person. Share what you know about yourself with another per- son who can be trusted. This in- volves several steps. First, you need a sense of com- mitment to that person. Strangers passing through your life are not the appropriate people with whom to share your deepest feelings. In- timacy has to be reserved for an- other person who will be there over the long haul - a close friend, a partner, a family member, or if we're lucky, a soul mate. You also need a feeling of trust. If the other person is not able to appreciate the delicacy of what you are sharing, it is futile to try to achieve intimacy. In the worst case, your words might be held against you later, and this can be very damaging and may lead to cynicism and distrust. Knowing whom to trust involves acquiring good judgment about other peo- ple. A trustworthy person is one who can honor and respect you for sharing your most intimate expe- riences. Finally, you need to un- derstand that intimacy involves making yourself vulnerable. The guarded and defensive per- son will never find true intimacy. Finding intimacy means taking a risk opening yourself up, sharing that which is the most personal part of yourself with another per- son. Can the other person handle it? If they can, you are no longer alone. Intimacy is reciprocal. A healthy intimate relationship is one in which both partners know themselves and are able to come together with a sense of equality. Certain relationships are not meant to be reciprocal - the thera- pist-client relationship, for exam- ple, often involves a high level of deeply personal communication, primarily on the part of the client. Perhaps the most intense and last- ing levels of intimacy are achieved when both partners are able to share equally with each other. As the listener, you have to be able to honor and respect the openness, vulnerability and courage of the one who is commu- nicating very personal ideas and emotions. Value judgments, criti- cisms and advice giving have no place in intimate communication. The goal is to appreciate and ac- knowledge the validity of the deepest feelings of the other per- son. If you are conversant with your own personal thoughts and feelings, you may then have the ability to truly appreciate - and even feel alongwith - similar ex- periences on the part of the other person. Keep the light alive. Once two people have entered into a deep level of sharing, they usu.ally want to stay there. If there is true equal- ity between the two, they achieve a balance which feels right and that they don't want to lose. If one of the partners feels the need to lessen the level of intima- cy, the probability of conflict in- creases. The clue to avoiding mis- understandings is to maintain your commitment and trust during these natural cycles, which occur within any relationship. Intimacy takes work and a sense of maturi- ty. To shirk the responsibility of keeping an intimate relationship alive invites a return to isolation. The intimate relationship is healthy. It is perhaps the highest form of why we enter into rela- tionships in the first place - to end loneliness and to share our deep- est and most. personal self with a "trusted partner: Humans are social beings and we respond physically to the experience of intimacy. People who have intimate rela- tionships live longer and healthier lives and they report more person- al happiness and satisfaction with the way they live. Intimacy gives us a sense of comfort, security find a sense of being loved and accept- ed. It gives us the freedom and support to stay true to the special " qualities that define each one of us as a unique person. Caregivers honored at Gull House celebration