My Cozy Family

Parenting Special Teens & Adults

Tag: special needs moms

What Will Happen to My Special Needs Children When I Get Old?

caring disabled adult child

Staying healthy is essential to caring for a disabled adult child.

Caring for Your Disabled Adult Child into Your Old Age

I recently had lunch with my friend, Sarah, whose teenage son has CHARGE syndrome. We were talking about our children’s futures as we parents age. I have only ever met one special needs parent who did not worry about this, and that was because she expected her daughter to die in early adulthood. For those of us whose children can look forward to a normal life span, it is a scary proposition as we consider them facing life without us.

Moving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with DisabilitiesMoving Out: A Family Guide to Residential Planning for Adults with Disabilities

As a special needs mom, do you worry what will happen to your child when you can no longer take care of her?

Sarah inspired me when she shared her strategy. She told me, “I decided I need to remain alive as long as I can for him. So, I determined to always make the healthy choice.” She went on to describe that in every activity, every meal, whenever she has a choice, she makes the healthy choice.

I adapted that for myself, and I tell myself, “This time, I will make the healthy choice.” It is overwhelming to think of never enjoying a hot fudge sundae or always having a salad instead of pasta. But, THIS TIME I will make the healthy choice for my kids.

It really works! Try it!

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Will you make the choice today to stay healthy so you can grow old caring for your disabled adult child?

I can choose to be a healthy senior or a run-down old woman.

How long I stay healthy and vigorous is to some degree up to me, and depends on the habits I am forming now. My 79 year old mother lost considerable weight when she was 60, and switched to a vegan diet in her 70s. I am not sure I could eat a plant-based diet, but she is on no medications at her age, and I think that is pretty remarkable!

There are a lot of things about getting older we can’t control. But, there are things that we can do to avoid being decrepit for as long as possible, and I think my friend is right when she says we have a responsibility to our children to do as much as we can to stay strong and healthy. I know when or if I get too far gone to take care of my girls, it is going to be rough. No matter how good the group home, no one is going to love my children as much as I do. It is not going to be as good for them as my home has been.

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Our special needs children are going to need us to stay healthy as long as possible.

Can I Start Eating Healthy?

I want to eat healthy!

I am the first to admit, I have deplorable eating habits. I am a stress eater, and I have plenty of stress pushing me to eat. I love chocolate, bagels with lots of butter, and I drink too much beer. I am almost 100 lbs. overweight, which I don’t do enough to get rid of. I am certainly no role model. Nor should I be lecturing anyone on taking care of themselves, because I am the WORST!

This is a struggle many of us share, though, isn’t it? Don’t you think so? As women, as mothers, and especially as mothers of children who have special needs. Our caregiving role is stressful and isolating. It makes it hard to get out of the house to shop for healthy food, and it is hard for us to find the time to exercise, even if we could get out of the house to do so.

Sarah’s strategy of making the healthy choice works for me. I may not be able to commit to a gym membership or a yoga class right now, but today I can make the healthy choice to go for a walk or spend an hour gardening.

I decided to make two healthy changes in my diet. One was to stop drinking soda, juice or beer and replace it with ice water or tea. Sometimes it is a struggle. I really want that beer at the end of a stressful day! But, the soda and juice have been easy to replace. It doesn’t mean I can never have anything sweet to drink, it’s just this one time! Okay, I do let myself have a beer now and then, but not everyday.

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Making healthy choices when caring for a disabled adult child. Replace the beer with water. LOL

I want to eat healthier!

I have a couple of strategies to help me get healthier foods. I signed up for Green Bean Delivery. They deliver healthy produce and groceries to my house on a weekly basis. This has been helpful at times when it was hard to leave the house, because I can get everything I need delivered for free. They also let me select the items I want, which I appreciate. I only buy what my family will eat.

Having the bin delivered has helped me increase the amount of fruits and vegetables I am consuming. It also makes it less likely I will give in and order a pizza delivery. It is easy to throw a meal together with some fish, a couple of vegetables and maybe some rice or a potato. For a snack, I grab a piece of fruit instead of a granola bar.

I also take advantage of the curbside service at Kroger. I can order my groceries online, set an appointment to pick them up, and they will bring them out to my car. It is a whole lot easier than trying to make it through the grocery store with my two girls! Shopping online makes it easy for me to plan healthier meals instead of grabbing the frozen pot pies out of desperation.

Finally, my husband and I enjoy vegetable gardening. and our family has fun visiting farmer’s markets in the summertime. We bought a small freezer to store our extra produce in. We fill it up in the summer, and eat from it all winter.

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Healthy food choices when caring for a disabled adult child.

What about exercise?

I admit this is where I am falling short. I spend a lot of time at my desk blogging, or on the phone with doctors, schools, and so forth. I think I can’t find time to exercise, but the truth is I am lazy. It is something I put off.

I have a park near my home, and I always tell myself that I will start taking a walk around the park once a day; but, I never do. Maybe the key is going to be telling myself I will make that healthy choice today!

I also want to try the exercise programs on my Amazon Fire TV. I can get Youtube exercise videos through the Fire also. I just don’t do it. And, I should. I need to make that healthy choice, don’t I?

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Make the healthy choice to get some exercise today! It’s an important part of caring for a disabled adult child.

I don’t have a FitBit yet, but I have it on my wishlist. I think having one of these devices on my wrist would inspire me when it comes to stepping up my exercise from day to day. Maybe my family will get me one for Mother’s Day, which is coming up on Sunday. Hint, hint, Family!! LOL

Fitbit Flex 2, BlackFitbit Flex 2, Black

These are cool! I also like that you can get different covers for it, to glam it up and match your outfit. Too cute!!

What about you? Are you making healthy choices when it comes to diet and exercise?

caring disabled adult child

Will you join me in making healthier choices for yourself?  Do you think the strategy of making the healthy choice this time would work for you? What is one thing you could change today that would help your health and longevity?

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10 Ways Amazon Dot Can Help Special Needs Moms Get Organized

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Ways to Help a Special Needs Mom Remember Things

Can an Amazon Echo Dot help Special Needs Moms Get Organized?

Yes! I think using an Amazon Echo or Dot can help us special needs moms get organized. Our family just bought an Amazon Dot last week. I am already so hooked! It is already helping me remember things, and fewer important stuff is falling through the cracks of my busy life.

Last Monday I went to my friend, Katie’s house to pick up some things she had for my grandson. Katie is raising her son, who has ONH, as a single mom. She showed me her Amazon Echo, and said it is not only fun, but helpful to her in a lot of ways as the mom of a child with special needs. It helps her stay organized, keeping track of all the little details of her life, and she also plays music for her son on the Echo. Her little boy is reluctant to talk, and having the Echo in their house has encouraged him to speak up, making requests of Alexa for things he wants to hear her say.

The next day I started researching the Echo to see if it would help me enough to be worth the investment, that it really could help special needs moms get organized. I knew I wanted to use it for keeping track of my to do list and my calendar. We planned to sync it with our Amazon Fire TV for watching movies. I also thought our kids would enjoy listening to music (turns out I use this feature more than they do). We thought it would be a good investment, but this month my money is tight, so I decided to put off the purchase.

Then, I discovered the Amazon Dot!  It does everything the Echo does. The only difference is that the Echo has a better built-in speaker.  That feature was not as important to me. I am more interested in Alexa’s practical uses than her entertainment value. The Dot is about one-third the price of the Echo. I was sold, and immediately placed my order for the Amazon Dot!

Echo Dot (2nd Generation) - WhiteEcho Dot (2nd Generation) – White

My Dot arrived five days ago. I spent a few hours this weekend learning how to use her and downloading some of the apps I want to use with her. I say her, because the device uses a female voice that goes by the name, Alexa. If you already have an Alexa in your family, you can switch her name to Amazon.

A Few Features of the Amazon Dot Helping Me Organize My Life as a Special Needs Mom

Here are some of the features I am using with my Amazon Dot so far:

  • Keeping track of my to-do list. I can tell Alexa to add something to my to-do list, and she does it. I can then access the list on my phone through the Alexa App.
  • Keeping track of my shopping list. She will add items to my shopping list, which I can access on my phone when I am at the store.
  • Keeping track of my calendar. I just ask Alexa to add an event and she will record it on my calendar. I can ask her for events coming up, or ask her to remind me what events I have on any given day.
  • Weather report. While getting the kids ready for school, I can ask Alexa for the weather report. I don’t have to pause in my routine to look it up online, or wait for it to be announced on the tv or radio. I can get it exactly when I need it, and be sure that I am sending them off dressed appropriately for the day.
  • Leave messages for family members. I can leave messages for them with Alexa, and they can retrieve them when they get home.

Throughout the weekend, I added items to my to-do list and my shopping list as I thought of them. On Monday, when I ran my errands, everything was right there on the Alexa app. I just referred to that as I went along. By the end I had everything crossed off both lists! I could tell Alexa as I remembered them, and didn’t have to hunt down my paper list. When I got ready to use the list, it was right there on my phone. So handy! Perfect for helping special needs moms get organized!

special needs moms get organized

The Amazon Dot helps special needs moms get organized.

A Blind Mom Demonstrates How She Uses Amazon Echo

Do you think this would help special needs moms get organized too? I definitely do!

Joy Ross is a blind mother who has a You Tube channel. In this video she demonstrated her Amazon Echo. Keep in mind that the Dot is just like the Echo, only smaller and cheaper. It can do all of the same things the Echo can do.

 

Future Plans for My Amazon Dot

This special needs mom is getting organized!

One of my goals for this week is to connect my Dot with my Amazon Fire TV. I am hoping it will be possible for people in my family to use their voice to select a movie or show from the Fire TV.

I also need to teach Alexa to understand my husband’s speech. He has both an accent and a speech impairment. This results in her not being able to understand him; however, I understand there is a system you can go through to teach Alexa to understand you if you have unusual speech patterns. After we do this exercise, I will report back. I realize this is important to anyone whose speech could be difficult to understand. Hopefully, this works well.

When I need to repeat an order from Amazon, I can just ask Alexa to order it for me. For example, if I notice I am close to running out of diapers I can say, “Alexa, order Prevail Overnight Diapers.” She will then give me specifics about the order, including the price, and ask me if I want to order that. If that is the item I want, I will say yes and she will place the order for me.

special needs moms get organized

Amazon Dot helps special needs moms get organized.

I tried to use Alexa to order a pizza from Domino’s last night. She didn’t know what to do. There is a way to do this, so I need to fix this. I think I probably need to link her to my Domino’s account.

Alexa will read Audible books to you, but I don’t have an Audible account. I understand she will also read books from your Kindle account, which I do have. I haven’t figured out how to get her to do this yet. So, that is another thing I need to set up.

Do you ever put things away and then forget where they are? Alexa will tell you where you put stuff! Just tell her when you put it up, and if you later forget where you put it, just ask her where it is.

Alexa can remind you when it is time to take medicine, administer a breathing treatment or do other tasks. She can remind you to do almost anything!

The future of our Amazon Dot

It sounds kind of like Alexa isn’t streamlining my life as much as she is giving me more to do. But, I assure you, this is not the case. I am already benefiting from Alexa’s productivity skills. In addition to the ones I have already been using, the Dot can set timers and alarms. If you have AT&T, she can send text messages for you. She can track a UPS package or tell you the nearest UPS location.

New apps are being created all the time that enable Alexa to have new skills. I foresee this device becoming increasingly useful over time.

My husband and I plan to get another Amazon Dot for our daughter, who is blind. She will use hers differently than I use mine, but it will be as much of value to her as mine is to me. As a young blind woman, I think she will really appreciate the hands-free features of this device.

Organization for Special Needs Moms

Let’s help special needs moms get organized!

Do you have an Amazon Dot or Echo? Has it helped you get organized?  Do you plan to get one? How do you think you would use it?

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