In the name of Allah; the entirely merciful; the especially merciful - بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Sleeping Management Review

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Today Sue from TCCP Sleeping and Emma, Muja's Occupational Therapy, came to discuss Muja's sleeping management. I have to record her activities for 2 weeks and see if there is any pattern to her sleeping.

Following are things I will do as suggested by Sue:

  1. To create day and night routines so that Muja is aware of night time and day time. The night time routine should include dinner at 6:30, warm bath at 7:30 and bed time at 8:00. I will try to make night time boring and don't forget to off the light so Muja knows that it is night time and bed time. Her day time routine should including swimming, sitting in living room and outing early morning to get some sunlight.
  2. To make her 8:00 pm feeding warm because that help sleep better.
  3. To give her Melatonin at 8:00 pm. I need to see Muja's GP to get prescription for Melatonin. If Muja sleeping didn't improve get refer to PMH.
  4. To try foods rich in carbohydrate as it will help sleep better according to study.


I told Sue that early this year ENT from PMH referred her for Sleeping Study because he was concerned about her wheezy breathing. She was aware of that and had contact PMH regarding Muja situation. Anyway we did the study and there was nothing to concern about her breathing. Actually that night she sleeps better throughout the study.


On her initial appointment I have concern about her sleeping pattern and told the doctor that I am having problem to make Muja go to sleep. But once she asleep, she has a really good 12 hours of sleeping without afternoon nap. I informed her that she sleeps so late and it affecting my sleep, because I have to wake up early doing my daily things. She told me that if that was the case it was my problem not Muja's, so what I can say. I was hoping she has more understanding.

Meanwhile Emma will be referring Muja to Nutrition to look at better food to manage her constipation.

I am hoping, Insha Allah, Sue gains something new from the World Sleeping Conference she is going to during this weekend. She was a bit nervous about it but I am sure she will be doing great on her presentation. Sue is so humble when she refers her as nothing compare to other specialist who came from all over the world. She was also saying that she like raining because when summer came we will realised how raining is mercy for us.

Insha Allah something good will happen from this review and I put my trust in Allah.

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Would You Rather Die or Live Paralysed?

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

A sister has organised a meeting at her house last Thursday for Cerebral Palsy Awareness. On Wednesday night, I went to my sister to pick up the Curry Puff that I ordered from her friend. It is the least I can do fried Curry Puff that morning to take it to the sisters meeting after my daughter’s dentist appointment. This post is not about what happen at the meeting. It will be another post soon, Insha Allah.

What I wanted to say here is about our conversation in the car on our way back from my sister that night. Muja was unsettled in the car. She cried for almost 10 minutes until she tired. It was so noisy in the car because of her crying. Then suddenly she stops cried and went asleep. Alhamdulillah.

Khai broke the silent with a question whether I would rather die or live paralysed. I bit my lips and think a little while. Then I answered that to be honest, I don't know. Then my husband and Hani both said that they don't know also. My husband said that this was not something that you could choose. Allah wills it happen. It will be either way that Allah wills. This is part of the believes. And He has knowledge why it happens to us. Alhamdulillah ala kulli hal. We should Praise Allah on every situation.

In my mind I was thinking about Muja. Off course she didn't choose to live with disability. But Allah chooses to put her in our home to care and love for her. She is a blessing for us. She brings wonder in our family. Both ways Allah knows what is best for us and we thank Him for that.

Alhamdulillah, now when I see disability, it was not bad at all. It sure brings a lot of good thing to us. What is worse than having disability?
To be ignorant
No respect to other
No manners
Mean
Dishonest
Selfish
Disobedient to your parents
Don't pray
Hypocrite.
What do you think?

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Cures from Allah

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Khai had pain in her right ear last night. She took Belladonna a homeopathic remedy for the pain. Her complaint that she can't go to sleep and was up till 11:30 pm. Alhamdulillah I kept telling her to take the remedy every time she shouted pain. She cried loud because of the pain. Alhamdulillah this morning she is better.

On Saturday, she had a fever and headache. My husband gave her Olive Extract. I also asked her to take Belladonna for fever and Ignitia for her headache. She stayed all day in bed. Hani her sister took some food for her. She also burn Lavender and Tea Tree essential oils in the room. She was better on Sunday morning.

Tas loves at the attention her sister received. She said that she was sicked too. I told her to stay in bed like Khai if she is not well. She was on the bed for not even 5 minutes then she off to play.

Muja was coughing since Saturday too. She vomited brownish discharge after I gave her olive extract. She also has a lot of mucus in her throat area and her breath was wheezing. I gave her Ant Tart for her wheezy breathing. When she is not well usually she stiffens a lot. So I gave her Arnica, Belladonna, Cuprum and Ignitia as well.

She slept for 7 hours from 3:30 am to 11:30 am. On Sunday her chough has reduced as well as her vomit. All day she was happy until around Maghrib she screamed and dribbled a lot. Her cloth was soaking wet because she is teething. I gave her Chamomilla because I ran out of her teething remedy. Alhamdulillah it calms her and she slept at 9:30 pm.

On Monday morning her coughing is back plus her teething. Her top molar on both sides is coming out. I have to get her Kreostum for teething because last night I hold her straight form 7 pm until 12:30 am because she didn't want to be put down. I gave here Belladonna, Arnica and Cuprum for her spasm. I also gave her Melatonin to help her sleep.

I nearly lost my patience. My back is hurting. She didn't stop crying. Her body was arching and stiffening. I didn't know what else to do. I was not praying because of period. Then suddenly I uttered La Illaha Illa Allah with all my faith that only Allah can relieve her pains and my hardships. Subhana Allah then my dhikir which came from my crying heart calm her down and made her sleep, Alhamdulillah.

Monday, 27 August 2007

Manage Anger

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu


Abu Huraira reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) said: When Allah loves a servant, He calls Gabriel and says: Verily, I love so and so; you should also love him, and then Gabriel begins to love him. Then he makes an announcement in the heaven saying: Allah loves so and so and you also love him, and then the inhabitants of the Heaven (the Angels) also begin to love him and then there is conferred honour upon him in the earth; and when Allah is angry with any servant He calls Gabriel and says: I am angry with such and such and you also become angry with him, and then Gabriel also becomes angry and then makes an announcement amongst the inhabitants of heaven: Verily Allah is angry with so-and so, so you also become angry with him, and thus they also become angry with him. Then he becomes the object of wrath on the earth also. (Book #032, Hadith #6373)

Abu Huraira reported: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: One is not strong because of one's wrestling skillfully. They said: Allah's Messenger, then who is strong? He said: He who controls his anger when he is in a fit of rage. (Book #032, Hadith #6314)


Narrated Abu Huraira: A man said to the Prophet , "Advise me! "The Prophet said, "Do not become angry and furious." The man asked (the same) again and again, and the Prophet said in each case, "Do not become angry and furious." (Book #73, Hadith #137)

Narrated 'Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakra: Abu Bakra wrote to his son who was in Sijistan: 'Do not judge between two persons when you are angry, for I heard the Prophet saying, "A judge should not judge between two persons while he is in an angry mood." (Book #89, Hadith #272)

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

My First Osteopathy Appointment.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Osteopathy involves manipulation of the skeleton and muscles to promote mobility and balance. The central belief of this manual medicine is that a healthy body relies on a structurally sound musculo-skeletal system. Only when the bones, joints and muscles are working smoothly and harmoniously can the other systems of the body function at their best. The osteopathic philosophy states that the body is capable of healing itself - and maintaining a healthy state - if barriers, such as structural problems and poor posture, are removed. Osteopathy was developed by a physician in the late nineteenth century and has since gained world-wide recognition as a valuable and effective healing system.

Yesterday, I went to see an Osteopath from The Healing Point for a treatment for my back. Muja also has a same treatment with her last weekend. She has received treatments from her for nearly one year now. I was about to stop the Osteopathy treatment for Muja so she can do Acupuncture instead for financial reason. One of the Acupunctures, who she had a treatment with last week, recommended Osteopathy for her.

Then I decided to check what this treatment is like so I made an appointment for myself. Seven years ago I had back pain and on medication. Recently when Muja was sicked she likes to be carried so my back pain appeared again.

Masha Allah, the treatment was great. She told me that there are few areas need to be treating and asked me to come back soon. It was so true when she said that I hold my family well, so I need to look after my own health.

Alhamdulillah, I also received help from sisters from our Muslim Community, so Insha Allah Muja can continue with Osteopathy, Acupuncture and Homeopathy as well.

Sometime I wonder why it is too expensive to live naturally.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Adz Dzariyat - Fahd Al Kanderi

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Acupuncture, Alternative Medicine for Cerebral Palsy

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Last week M went for her very first acupuncture. It is a treatment by inserting fine needles into the skin to stimulate the acupuncture points. When we are well all the energy runs smoothly throughout our body. When we are not well the flow of energy becomes disturbed and we get sicked. The points are stimulated to balance the movement of energy in the body to restore health.

She had four needles one on each of her lower arms and both of her lower legs. She was alright when the needles were inserted into her skin.

Her next appointment will be in one month time, and Insha Allah she will be seeing Sono, who has more experience. When I saw Sono, she said to me that she wanted to treat M long time ago since the beginning when she seeing Illana, a Cranial Osteopathy.

It has been a long time I wanted M for this treatment too. Once I saw in You Tube a girl who had done this treatments showed a lot of improvement in her movement has inspired me to try on M. For financial reason I have postponed my intention until recently few sisters from my community helped me. Alhamdulillah, with their help, Insha Allah, M could do acupuncture regularly.

Alhamdulillah, I noticed that her muscles are more relaxed. A day after received her treatment she opened her vowel. She has more life in her, more alert and smiles. She holds her head up nicely. She tries lifting up her head when she was lying on her back. Her knees are not bent and she made movement with her legs. Her legs are also straight.

I guess it was too early to celebrate her improvement. Subhana Allah, another hardship will only around the corner. Alhamdulillah, I am so relieved. As a mother it was so hard to see my own child been through this hardship. But then I remember with hardship comes eases. May be last week was one of her good week after being unwell for almost four week. Alhamdulillah, for every hardships and eases that Allah granted for us.

I realised that I needed this hardship. Subhana Allah, it makes me near to Allah. For the very first time I felt that all my strengths are came from Allah as I practice the dhikir of La Hawla Wala Quwwata Illa Billah. I witness the power of du'a. It is so true when Allah said that He hears our du'a. If this is one of the way for me to get closer to Allah, I pray to Allah that He will not take this away from me. Ameen.

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Mama, I am different.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu



My five years old daughter, T, came to me and asked if she could sleep in my room. I said no to her and shame on her because her cousin who is as same as her age sleeping in her room by herself. She gave an excuse that she is going to miss me if she is sleeping in her room herself. I told her that I am going to miss her too before I gave her big hug and kisses. She cried loudly said that she still going to miss me. I said to her that I will tell her cousin that she slept with me and she will be embarrassed. Then she told me that she is not like her cousin and that she is different.

Our Family Brains by Tas

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu


Abah has coffee brain




Mama has soap production brain




Hai has car brain



Hani has a book brain



Khai has karate belt brain




Tas has flower brain



Muja has crying brain

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

WALNA Test

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu



Last week my 10 years old daughter did her Western Australia Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Test for Year 5.

First she did Reading Comprehension before Spelling. She was doing very well on both of them.

After that she did her Math. I felt that she was stressed a bit when she was doing Math Test.

Lastly, she wrote an excellence story for her Writing, which I enjoyed reading it. Masha Allah.

I asked my oldest daughter to instruct the test. She happily accepted the job. I am not surprised when she told me that afternoon that maybe she wants to be Year 1 or 2 teachers.

Alhamdulillah it’s all went well. She and I are relieved after it's over.

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Cerebral Palsy at SciTech.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Yesterday we went to SciTech. It was one of the programs for families with Cerebral Palsy during The Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week 5 - 11th August, 2007, organised by The Centre for Cerebral Palsy (TCCP).

My children were always asking to take them to SciTech as part of our home education program. For financial reason I usually answered that Insha Allah one day we will go. Alhamdullillah my children have faith and at last we went there for free. So thank you TCCP and SciTech.

On Friday, I was worried that M and I could not go to SciTech because she was still sicked and had vomited twice. However the diarrhoea has stopped. Alhamdulillah, on Saturday morning she looked well and I am so relieved after a long week worried about her health.

M who is just recovered from tummy infection was very happy over there. Remember I said that she loves outing and looking around especially a new places or things. She has her biggest smile ever to show us yesterday.

First, there was an introduction about Cerebral Palsy. Then a boy with cerebral palsy who is wheelchair talked about his life experience as a Basketball Coach. It was a very inspired story. After the talked, one of the physiotherapy sings a song that she wrote about her experienced working with Cerebral Palsy. The lyric of that song made my eyes tears. We also received a show bag with lots of information about Cerebral Palsy. I like the story book about called My Family by Sara Wilson. It is about how everyone is different.

Then my children were running wild exploring the exhibition in the SciTech. We also have the opportunity seeing an exciting science show.



T is trying to lift her body weight.

H and K are testing their knowledge on Science.

We had a break for a healthy and delicious morning tea which was provided by TCCP. We had egg sandwiches, blueberry muffins and fruits salad. The girls were drinking juices and I was having a cup of tea before we continue our exploration.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Honesty The Heart Learning

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

This is part of Heart Learning Series.

Honesty means moral uprightness. It is the quality, condition, or characteristic of being fair, truthful, and morally upright. It is also mean truthfulness, candour, or sincerity.

Allah commands us to be honest in the Qur’an in Surah Taubah, Surah 9 Verse 119, "O! You who believe! Fear Allah and be with those (in the company of) who are true (in word and action)"

Narrated Hudhaifa: Allah's Apostle said to us, "honesty descended from the Heavens and settled in the roots of the hearts of men (faithful believers), and then the Quran was revealed and the people read the Quran, (and learnt it from it) and also learnt it from the Sunna." Both Quran and Sunna strengthened their (the faithful believers') honesty. (See Hadith No. 208) (Book #92, Hadith #381)

We are command to be honest when we are telling jokes. Watch Joking in Islam below.



Quotation


"A person should not promise to give a child something and then not give it, because in that way the child learns to lie." ~ Babylonian Talmud ~

To make your children capable of honesty is the beginning of education.
~ John Ruskin ~

Poetry

Are you telling the truth?

Nasheeds

Heart of a Muslim - Zain Bhikha


Stories

Prophet Muhammad - The Infinite Light I

The story of Ka’b ibn Malik

The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Article

The Virtue of Truthfulness (part 1 of 2): The Status and Reward of Truthfulness

The Virtue of Truthfulness (part 2 of 2): Lying and Hypocrisy

40 Hadîth on the Islâmic Personality


Activity

Teaching honesty - Building Blocks Family.

Honesty and Trust - Family Night Lesson.

Please bookmark this page and come back as I would keep updating on this topic.

Strength in numbers: carers standing united

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

ABC New

By Jenny Shale

Posted Thu Aug 9, 2007 8:12am AEST
Updated Thu Aug 9, 2007 8:43am AEST
Grabbing the attention of media and politicians to the plight of carers and those with a disability has been an uphill struggle.

Grabbing the attention of media and politicians to the plight of carers and those with a disability has been an uphill struggle. (AAP: Sam Mooy)

Politicians are very sensitive to public opinion in an election year. Interest groups and industry lobbies form queues to knock on their doors. The politicians are keen to meet them to make sure no important group is overlooked when promises are made.

Except for families, that is. Because despite the constant reference to families by politicians, there is no national voice in Australia for parents, families and carers.

Every industry and professional interest group has a national voice to get in the ears of government - except parents, families and carers who make up the largest bloc of citizens, voters and consumers in the country.

One result of this vacuum in representation is that there are no household names in Australia who speak for parents and carers. The media recognise a Bob Brown on environment issues, or a Tim Costello on poverty, or a Bill Shorten on unions.

But, how do parents with young children with learning difficulties get their voice on the national stage? Or families caring at home for a 45-year-old son with a disability? Or siblings trying to navigate a way through the aged care system to find appropriate support for a frail and elderly mother who still wants to live at home?

As one young woman who has spent her life in the care of the state said to me: "All my life decisions have been made about my life by people I do not know, and who don't know me. I want to have MY own opinions heard and acted upon. I want to have a say."

Popular current affairs programs like to feature struggling mums and dads dealing with difficult kids, rapacious insurance companies, or out-of-touch municipal councils. But their stories are always human interest profiles with anonymous parents. They never feature leadership on behalf of parents and family members. That is because there is no leadership voice to draw on.

A long-overdue National Union of Parents, Families and Carers is being launched this week in Melbourne.

The initiative brings together parents, family members and carers in education, disability, mental health, chronic illness, Indigenous communities, multicultural, child care and aged care sectors - areas which have traditionally been separate from each other in representation.

There are lots of parents and citizens committees and disability-specific support groups around the country. Their localised and often informal character is important in many communities, but without a national connection to the thousands of like-minded groups of parents around the country, their impact on politicians and policy makers has been weak.

What's more, families with members with a disability or a learning difficulty or chronic or mental illness tend to be pre-occupied with getting through each day, and have lacked the resources or time or expertise to allocate to advancing their long term interests.

In the absence of institutions to represent these families, governments have looked to service delivery agencies and research institutes for policy advice on family matters.

This approach has been understandable but deeply flawed. It is like governments asking service providers and academics for policy advice on Indigenous affairs, but not asking Indigenous people themselves.

Home-based carers of people with a disability, chronic or mental illness, and the frail aged, number some 2.7 million people. The people they care for are as many again. This vast number of people are the most hidden, ignored and unrepresented community in Australia.

Carers are extraordinarily high in need, but don't rate a blimp on the national consciousness, because their voices are never heard. Family carers are not sexy or topical. No politician has ever lain awake at night wondering how to deal with the electoral consequences of disappointing carers of people with a disability.

No university students have ever taken to the streets in protest over the plight of the many full-time carers who receive an income that is one quarter of the aged pension.

Unlike the green movement, carers' issues do not appeal to the fashionable, the glitterati, or pop stars wanting a cause. The carer's world is a very private world. It unfolds within the home, not on the TV news.

Suzette Gallagher was awarded an Order of Australia medal for services to disability after pioneering innovations on behalf of her son. She believes the organising task in uniting parents, families and carers is difficult but essential.

"This is like a union, because we have to unite lots and lots of otherwise voiceless people", she says.

"We want our national voice to be as prominent in public life as ACOSS, the ACTU, and the National Farmers Federation. Nothing less. Only lack of organisation stands in our way".

Can ordinary parents and carers come in out of the cold and develop a voice that is as important as these groups?

Politicians of all stripes beware. The sleeping giant is waking.

Jenny Shale is a Queensland parent of a child with cerebral palsy and was Australia's Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. She is the inaugural president of the National Union of Parents, Families and Carers.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

The Center for Cerebral Palsy where my daughter, M, receive most of her treatments and supports is organising the Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week during 5 - 11th August, 2007. To read more about this events click here. The details on the program go here.

M special needs equipments were funded and provided by this center through generous donation from the people like you. If you want to donate to the center click here

If you like to learn about living with a child with a cerebral palsy read my previous posts below:
What is a Cerebral Palsy?
M Progress
Day Out
Muje's New Tray
TCCP You Make My Day
Hearing Appointment
Walking Training
My Wish List, Ameen
M Sleeping Management
Special Needs on Homeopathic Medicines
Muslims Girl with Cerebral Palsy Photos
M.. Special Needs Progress
Standing Frame Broke
Tummy Infection

Monday, 6 August 2007

Tummy Infection.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Alhamdulillah, M was not well last weekend. She looked terrible and she was irritable and upset most of the time. Teething is the hardest thing that happen to her. She dribbled like the stream of the creek. Her cheeks were so red. Her lips was red but dried. Her top that I just changed awhile ago was soaking wet with her saliva.

Over the weekend her health was getting worse with diarrhoea and vomiting. Subhana Allah on Sunday night, her vomiting got me really scared because it mixed with some blood. Her chest were arching like her ribs were going to exploded. She bit her mouth so hard and it got bleeding. I felt like she lost some of her weight when I carry her. At 11:30, I decided to take her to the PMH emergency department. She had a couple of vomits at the hospitals. Alhamdulillah she look much more better after that.


M on the hospital bed.

The doctor said she probably got tummy infection. She was given drip because her body was dried. I went home before Fajr and too exhausted.

Masha Allah, I did not know how she got infected. All my children are well. And she has not been with anyone who were sicked lately.

I remember she had a tummy infection last winter too. But it was worse. She vomited constantly without stopping for nearly 6 hours. She was given medicine which stopped her vomiting instantly. She was admitted in the hospital for over night observation. The next morning she was better.

Alhamdulillah, she vomited once after her noon feeding today. She sleep through out the day. She must be tired of staying up last night. She is recovering.

Disability advocate group urges greater sensitivity

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

ABC News


Posted Sun Aug 6, 2006 7:00am AEST

Australians are being urged to be more sensitive when referring to those with disabilities.

This week is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Week, and Scope is urging people to reconsider using outdated expressions or labels.

Scope spokeswoman Siobhan O'Neill says some of the terms used are extremely offensive.

"One of the worst things that people say is using the word for instance 'spastic'," she said.

"I know it's a word that has become so common and it really has a huge impact on people.

"Calling people who have disabilities 'sufferers' too, when it's completely against what they actually are.

"They're people who have a disability and they're living with that disability and to say they're suffering with it is just making things that much harder for them."

Handle with care

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

News.com.au

By Kylie Carberry.

August 05, 2007 12:00am

Article from: The Daily Telegraph

WHEN you're caring for someone, don't forget to spread a little care your own way - it's the best thing you can do for your loved one.
One in eight Australians are carers, according to Carers Australia, and at some point in our lives many of us will take on this role. You could be providing care and support for a parent, partner, child or friend who is aged or who has a chronic mental or physical disability.

While the task can be rewarding, the downside is that due to the effort and time needed to give the care, your own health suffers as a result. A survey carried out by Carers Australia showed that only 10 per cent of carers considered their health to be "excellent" and 30 per cent said they put off seeking health advice because of their role.

Ben Chodziesner, president of Carers Australia, says it's not only important for your own sake to stay well, but also for the person you are caring for. After all, who will care for them if you fall ill?



Mind your mental health

A carer's mental health can often be hit hard. Eighty-five per cent of respondents in the Carers Australia survey said their mental health had been affected for the worse since becoming a carer. A recent SANE Australia survey found that 56 per cent of carers reported that their physical and mental health had suffered as a result of their role.

Chodziesner, who was the carer of his wife, who had dementia, says one of the prime ways to offset this is having empathetic, supportive people with whom you can talk to about the difficult aspects of caring.

For Wollongong's Karen Adam, 37, who is the carer of her eight-year-old profoundly disabled son, her support system is members of organised support groups. "The people here completely understand my situation and take away the feelings of isolation that so often arise," says Adam.

Because members share their experiences, Chodziesner says support groups offer the added benefit of showing you different ways to tackle your carer's role.

Online support groups are an option too. Jenna, 22, from Sydney, cares for her partner who has depression and is a member of an online group. She adds that having a close circle of friends to whom she can talk to about anything has been invaluable.

Chodziesner says at times carers can feel as though they're drowning in a sea of challenges. When this happens, you shouldn't hesitate to take advantage of the counselling services on offer, such as those through Carers Australia and SANE Australia. These organisations can also put you in touch with a relevant support group.



Take time out

Part of maintaining mental wellness is having someone step into your carer's shoes while you take some time out, be it a local organisation, a family member or a friend.

You may have other commitments to attend to during that break. However, it's important to employ some of it just for you - spend time with friends, pursue your hobbies, zone out in the park. Do things that will nourish your soul.

Chodziesner says he realised the importance of this the first time he attended a weekend away with a carer's group. "I was hoarse from talking after that first night - because I hadn't socialised for so long, it was like taking the cork off a bottle of champagne. It made me realise how isolated I'd become and that I needed to make use of respite."

Adam says initially she felt guilty using respite organisations and the home help they offer. However, when misery and exhaustion quickly overcame her, she realised she could only continue to be a dedicated carer, not only to her son but to the rest of her family, by using that help.



Nurture nutritional needs

Eating right is essential to stay healthy, but Adam Walsh, associate lecturer at the School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences at Deakin University in Victoria, says many carers neglect their own nutritional needs due to limited time and being too tired to cook at the end of the day.

However, if you keep it simple, eating well is still possible. "Beginning with healthy eating principles such as low saturated fat intake, low-fat cooking methods (such as grilling) and no added salt, forms the base from which to expand," says Walsh. "Including a variety of foods from all food groups will ensure nutritional adequacy. The key is to remember that no one food is essential."

Walsh says buying in bulk and storing food where possible, pre-preparing meals for thawing or reheating later, and shopping at markets where possible, are all ways to cut cost and time when it comes to meal preparation.

If the person you are caring for has special dietary needs, you can still work this into your daily routine. Cook the same meal for everyone, but modify the meals at the end of preparation, says Walsh. For example, add mono or polyunsaturated fats to cater for increased energy needs, or blend the food to assist swallowing. Or leave out the seasoning at the start of preparation - and just add salt and spices to your own meal.

When time is tight, Walsh says snacks assume more importance. For this he says, "It doesn't get much easier than fruit - prepackaged, fresh, cheap when in season and environmentally friendly." Also opt for canned or packaged fruit in natural juice or a handful of nuts.



Get physical

The importance of exercise is undeniable, and as a busy carer Walsh says one of the best strategies to ensure you manage some regularly is to timetable it in.

"Carers will often have a schedule for particular days. Adding an activity to the schedule helps in actually engaging in it."

If you're keen to participate in organised sport, Walsh says it might be an option to do so during that regular time out. You might also decide to involve the care receiver in the activity; it can benefit them too, says Walsh.

"For example, taking a frail or disabled person to the local pool can benefit both the carer and the care receiver, as can taking advantage of the weather and walking through local parks."

Being housebound has exercise limitations, but Walsh says taking advantage of rest periods and engaging in home exercise is a useful strategy.

But because home-based exercise often leads to boredom due to the static environment, it's vital to mix it up with things like dvd hire - "Pilates, yoga, aerobics and step classes are all a possibility in your own lounge room," says Walsh - or consider exercise equipment hire. The internet is an option too, with free yoga classes offered at www.yogatoday.com



Carer's counsel

To keep yourself healthy, Carers Australia advises:

Eating regular meals.

Making time for exercise.

Getting adequate sleep - being tired can add to the stress of being a carer.

Watching your back. If you need to lift the person you are caring for, ask for advice on the safest way to lift.

Talking to your GP about your caring role and the demands it makes on you.



Carer's contacts:

The Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre, 1800 059 059

Carers NSW, 1800 242 636, www.carersnsw.asn.au

Carers Australia, www.carersaustralia.com.au

Young Carers, www.youngcarers.net.au, www.reachout.com.au

Working CarersSupport Gateway, www.workingcarers.org.au

SANE Australia, 1800 187 263, www.sane.org

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Frances' first steps

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

720 ABC Perth

Last Update: Friday, August 3, 2007. 2:42pm AWST

A 42 year old Perth woman has walked for the first time, after spending her life in a wheelchair.

Frances Bourke, who was born with spastic quadriplegic type Cerebral Palsy, which reduced the strength in her arms and legs, has recently been given a Meywalker, which allows her to move freely on her feet.

The special walking device was designed overseas in Denmark and is new to Western Australia.

720 reporter Carolyn Monaghan, who interviewed Fran on the Morning Program, said the walker gives Fran the opportunity to move around easily while taking care of her three children.

"I could see how delighted Fran was to be up and about. She was glowing," Carolyn said.

Frances was able to get her walker thanks to the generosity of one lady who went to the "Wishlist" on the Cerebral Palsy website, and donated the Meywalker to Fran.

If you are interested in helping too, you can go to to the Cerebral Palsy WA website and follow the links.

Cerebral Palsy week runs from the 5th to the 11th of August.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Heart Learning.

Bismillahir Rahmanir Rahim
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

Oh Allah! Guide My Heart.

Ameen.

You know how most parents emphasized on academy education rather than the knowledge of the heart. I don't say that the 'brain' knowledge is not important. But we have to balance our knowledge with the 'heart' knowledge. At the end of the day it is not the 'brain' knowledge that only full filling our life but the 'heart' knowledge also.

Think about that.

The 'heart' knowledge that I am referring to is educating the heart with good character quality, as we call it 'adab' or manner. Being a mother, we are responsible to ensure that our children are developing these qualities including honesty, kindness, integrity, unselfishness, being a willing and diligent worker, doing chores without being told, reaching out and helping others, learning conversational skills and making and keeping friends.

Our children need to know that the way they behave is the way they are treated. The children need to know the purpose of this rule that is to create order. They need to know that if they behave well to other, they will earn good treatment from other. On the other hand if they behave rudely, nobody wants to make friend with them.

I am so upset when parents complaining that they can't make their children listen to them. May be this is the good time that parents wake up and start figure it up whether their children has been equip with these 'heart' knowledge. How would you expect your child developing a warm and close friendship when they are not taught how to do it? I am sure no mothers want to see their children lead to loneliness, depression and other emotional problems because they don't know how to behave. You have to teach your child.

When we bought something for example a camera, it would come with an instruction or manual, right? Usually we act like we know how to use it and skipped the setting as instructed in the manual. When we fail to produce good pictures, we blame the manufacturer at least.

Our life is exactly like the example I gave above. We forgot that we human came with special manual. In order to function properly we should referring back to our manual. If we are acting like we know everything and ignoring the manual, we are planning for a disaster. This is what we can do to educate our children with the good characters quality. Insha Allah, we go back to our manual, the Qur'an and the Hadith.