Archive for the ‘Family Caregivers’ Category

Mickey Rooney Testifies on Ending Elder Abuse

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011

Today, the Senate Special committee on Aging hears from Mickey Rooney. Mr Rooney is a victim of elder abuse.

http://aging.senate.gov/

Stop elder abuse now.

The Committee will hold a hearing on March 2, 2011 at 2:00 pm in Dirksen 106. The title of the hearing is: “Justice for All: Ending Elder Abuse, Neglect and Financial Exploitation”

Shriver Report – Alzheimer’s Impact on Women: Aging Pro’s Answers

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Take on Alzheimer’s was just released. The Report is a collaboration between Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association, exposing the epidemic’s effect on women as caregivers, advocates and people with the disease. Maria is getting people talking about Alzhiemer’s disease!

Alzheimer’s is a women’s issue. According to the report, women make up two-thirds of the people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and account for 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. This means that 10 million women either have Alzheimer’s or are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 40 percent of the caregivers interviewed said they felt like they had no choice in assuming the caregiving role. These numbers continue to grow, daily.

Alzheimer’s disease is costly. Governments, businesses and families spend $300 billion a year on Alzheimer’s disease. Yearly, it costs about $56,000 to care for someone with Alzheimer’s, which is typically paid for by families. Daughters, sons, spouses will give up their jobs, savings, time, health, and sanity to help care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s.

A woman with Alzheimer’s has unique challenges. Since women tend to live longer, they are more often widows who may not have a spouse to care for them as the disease progresses. She may be caring for other family or friends, so as she declines the others will need to find different caregivers. Women tend to be the “glue” in the family, and as her disease progresses her family may no longer remain as cohesive.

A woman as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s experiences challenges as well. She is more likely to be depressed, and according the Report, 68 percent of women who were caregivers experienced emotional stress, and 51 percent of them said they suffered from physical stress. Most caregivers don’t self-identify as caregivers. They just think a loved one needs help and they are going to help. They don’t know they need to ask for help, and don’t realize what a toll caregiving is taking on their lives and health. Caregivers often put aside their own needs and dreams to take care of their loved ones. Daughters experience a role reversal, now needing to take an in-charge position with their parents.

The Shriver reports asks some questions, and I have the following answers:

How can we relieve the emotional stress on families? Caregivers need support, education and resources. The needed resources are often available, but it’s very difficult to find them when you need them. Lack of information promotes fear. That is why I launched www.AgingPro.com. It brings all the resources, professionals, education and support for eldercare to one place. Care coordination is also crucial, and part of the Healthcare reform legislation. Certified Geriatric Care Managers provide an invaluable communication link between doctors, community care providers, persons with Alzheimer’s and their family. Care Managers are invaluable, yet for some are not affordable. Pilot community care coordination programs do exist, and we need more. We need more support groups, both in-person and online. Adult day respite programs need to focus on early and moderate stage memory loss, not just later stages.

How can we prepare for Alzheimer’s possibly hitting our own family? Few want to talk about it. Some don’t even want to say the word. Yet it’s a natural part of life and will affect all of us in one way or another. I’m referring to Aging. Aging has become a taboo subject in our American culture, something we pretend isn’t there. If you read the paper, watch TV, or go on the Web, you mostly see images of youth, thinness, wealth and beauty. However, we are beginning to realize our population is aging – and so are we.
I’m here to tell you that getting older can be a positive experience and have its own unique rewards. Contrary to the whispered implications, it doesn’t have to be a time of withering away and going to a nursing home. Fun, happiness, success and fulfillment aren’t just the things of youth; they can be enjoyed abundantly throughout life. Older adults can stay independent, active and vital as they age. Getting older CAN mean getting better, if you have the right attitude, information and resources.
So first, we need to be willing to have discussions about aging, starting in our families and communities. Ask each other – when you get older, where do you want to live? What is your ideal vision? It is very helpful to create a “Plan B.” Just as we would prepare for an earthquake, we prepare for the potential of Alzheimer’s in the family. Plan A is what you’d like to happen, Plan B is what you will do if Alzheimer’s strikes you or your family. Plan B is created by: educating yourselves about the signs and symptoms of the disease; pre-planning your legal matters (creating a will, trust and durable power of attorney for healthcare and finances); saving money for your long-term-care, or purchasing long-term-care insurance; educating yourselves about the choices of housing and care; and locating the professionals and resources available to help out along the journey.

How can government, business, nonprofits and the press effectively call attention to the threat of Alzheimer’s and implement solutions? More education and awareness campaigns can be created – public service announcements, television series on different eldercare topics (similar to the new “Hoarders” series), celebrity involvement – to help shift the old negative stereotypes of aging and eldercare, and to help the millions of caregivers that don’t know how to access the services or find the support they need. Maria Shriver, the aging field needs your voice!

An example of a creative television show might be Extreme Makeover, Grandma Edition. Make over the home of an older person  –  repairing and/or modifying their homes so they can continue to live independently. There are many inspiring stories of need and courage among caregivers and elders!

Businesses can provide eldercare services, counseling and care coordination as part of their Employee Assistance Programs (EAP). Non-profits can provide more grant money to elder care topics. Solutions to Alzheimer’s now include: information, support and best practice guidelines.

The topic of Women and Alzheimer’s is so important. It is where the pain points of love, guilt, money and time intersect – a perfect fit for government, the press and business to join in the cause.

The issues of women, Alzheimer’s and eldercare are many-faceted and deeply layered. More money for Alzheimer’s research is needed. More support and education are also needed on all eldercare topics. Most family caregivers for the elderly are trying to do what’s best for their loved ones. They don’t know where to turn to get help. The stress of caregiving affects their work, finances, and physical and mental health. Caregivers  need a place to connect, to learn, be inspired and empowered. AgingPro.com is that place, the “Waiting for Superwoman, Caregiver Edition.”

Where are all the Eldercare Services?

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

I just came back from an elder abuse prevention meeting. There was a guest there whose dad was a victim of elder abuse recently. She was very upset that when she and her sister were looking for elder abuse resources, she couldn’t find them anywhere. Her dad has since died. This abusive situation (by a hired caregiver) created so much stress in their relationship that they didn’t get along the last year of his life. She hasn’t had a full nights sleep since. She’s hurt, mad and sad.

This renewed my passion for bringing all the services for eldercare services to ONE PLACE – This is why I created www.AgingPro.com.  My aim is that no other family member would lose sleep over edler abuse or be so hurt that they couldn’t find the best care for their loved one.

AgingPro.com brings all the eldercare services to one place, online. There are good people out there doing good work – it’s just very hard to find them!

We need support, marketing, and funding to make AgingPro.com truly the Google of Eldercare.

Spread the word – everything you need for eldercare is in one place. Come check us out!

Thank you for your support.

5 Tips for Visiting the Doctor

Sunday, October 17th, 2010

5 Tips for Visiting the Doctor

Preparation can help the trip to the doctor go more smoothly.  Here are some tips for success:
1.    Schedule the appointment at the best time of day for your client.  For example, the client I work with functions better in the afternoon.  There were times when we had to reschedule morning appointments for the afternoon because she didn’t want to get up, and therefore she wouldn’t cooperate with me.

2.    Ask the doctors office staff when their office is generally the least crowded.  Some clients may be upset by a full waiting room, or they just might not like crowds.  Visiting the office when there are fewer people will cut down on the time you will have to wait too.

3.    Bring along something for your client to eat, drink or do while you are waiting.  Any activity he or she enjoys can really help to pass the time.

4.    Have a friend go with you to the doctor so one of you can be with the client while the other is talking to the doctor.

5.    Call the doctors office on the day of your appointment before you leave to see if the doctor is running late, and adjust your arrival time.

Planning ahead before the appointment with the doctor can really make the visit a more positive and relaxed experience.

How Do You Know if You Are a Caregiver?

Monday, September 20th, 2010

What is Caregiving?

Nobody applies for this job. Most try to deny the possibility they might be called upon to help, or that their loved one might be anything less than independent. Sooner or later, though, something occurs, and it will be looming in front of you.

The term “caregiver” refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who needs help. Specifically, we are generally referring to “informal” caregivers – those unpaid individuals providing assistance to someone who is chronically ill or disabled and who can no longer care effectively for himself or herself. This form of care delays or even helps avoid institutional placement or the need for more “formal” or paid caregiving services. Caregivers can be spouses, partners, adult children, relatives or friends. Together, they provide services valued at more than $257 billion a year. Family, or informal caregiving, is the backbone of the long-term care system in the United States.

Many caregivers do not identify themselves as such. When someone does the work of a caregiver but doesn’t think they are, their stress levels are often higher than if they claim their responsibilities.

Caregiving is not easy. Make no mistake about it: caregiving can become a full time job that requires specialized knowledge and critical skills. Fortunately, many of these skills can be either learned by non-professionals or gained by engaging experienced skilled professionals in the field.

Caregivers may be called on to help with areas such as:

• Grocery shopping

• Paying bills

• House cleaning

• Providing or arranging for transportation

• Attending doctors visits

• Giving medication

• Cooking

• Feeding

• Bathing

• Dressing

Alzheimer’s Disease: Share your caregiving story!

Sunday, August 29th, 2010

Are you caring for someone with ALZHEIMER’S disease? SHARE YOUR STORY! I’m creating a documentary series about the affects of Alzheimer’s disease on caregivers, and families. I’m offering free professional assistance for those willing to share their story! Please be a part of raising awareness of this mind-blowing disease. Thank you!

Hospital and Nursing Home Discharge: You Have a Right to Appeal

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

When you or a loved is discharged from a hospital or nursing facility, it can be a very stressful process, and can be even more difficult if the patient, and their family or caregiver, are unaware of their options.  Medicare beneficiaries have important rights to receive proper medical care.

When a Medicare patient enters a hospital or nursing facility, there are strong financial incentives to discharge the patient as quickly as possible.  Medicare usually pays hospitals flat rates, based on the type of medical problem being treated.  If the hospital spends less money on medical care than Medicare pays, it makes money, but if the hospital spends more than Medicare pays, it loses money.  Therefore, the doctors and care providers in these facilities are urged to quickly discharge Medicare patients.

To protect patients from being discharged too quickly, Medicare gives the patient the right to appeal hospital discharge decisions. When a hospital, doctor, or Medicare health plan informs you of your planned date of discharge, it is important to tell them immediately if you think you are not ready to leave.  If your concerns about early discharge are not resolved through the staff, you should request an appeal.  Medicare will continue to cover your stay, as long as you file the appeal before you are discharged.

When filing an appeal:

  • It is best to file your appeal on or just before the planned discharge date.
  • To file your appeal, call Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) at 1-800-841-1602.
  • Tell HSAG why you object the planned discharge and provide supporting information.
  • After you file your appeal, the hospital (or your Medical health plan) must give you a Detailed Notice of Discharge that explains the reasons it thinks you are ready to be discharged.
  • The hospital must send a copy of your medical records to HSAG for its review.

HSAG will usually inform you and the hospital of its decision within one day of receiving the necessary information, and is required to do it by telephone and in writing.  If HSAG decides that you are not ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your hospital stay.  However, if HSAG finds that you are ready to be discharged, Medicare will continue to cover your services until noon, of the day after HSAG notifies you of its decision.

SOURCE: www.canhr.org

Help with Medicare Part D, prescriptions, questions

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

“My Medicare Matters” is an educational and outreach initiative that helps people with Medicare and their families better understand Medicare.  This campaign is sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) and supported by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP.

The “My Medicare Matters” national campaign has three goals:

  1. To maximize the number of people who are “informed consumers” of Medicare, including Part D and who are able to take appropriate next steps
  2. To maximize the number of eligible people who enroll in the Medicare Savings Program, Part D Extra Help/Low-Income Subsidy (LIS)
  3. Maximize access to related benefits for elders of modest financial means

For more information about My Medicare Matters, please visit www.MyMedicareMatters.org for consumers and www.MyMedicareCommunity.org for professionals and volunteers who work with people with Medicare.

To contact Medicare directly, call 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)

21 Activities For People with Dementia

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Encouraging people with dementia to stay engaged and active can sometimes be a challenge if you haven’t done it before.  Below are 21 ideas to help you succeed. Be sensitive to the person’s abilities and desires.  Remember to keep the instructions simple and clear, pick the best time of day to engage the person, offer choices, be patient, flexible and creative and have fun!

1.  Physical activity – exercise (group or individual, walking, yoga)

2. Games, puzzles, crossword puzzles

3. Meal preparation (stirring, washing, mixing, tasting)

4. Housekeeping (folding, dusting, make the bed)

5. Music (listening to favorites, singing, live shows)

6. Work-type activities (safe items from the person’s professional work: a desk, papers to sort, tools)

7. Personal grooming (fix hair, do nails)

8. Gardening (watering, planting)

9. Massage (hand or foot, be sensitive to personal space issues)

10. Attending religious services

11. Magazines or books (pictures, familiar people or places)

12. Outings (art museums, coffee shop, beach)

13. TV (approprite and in small amounts, classic movies, Animal Planet, comedies like “I Love Lucy”)

14. Arts and crafts (meaningful and purposeful, not just to fill time)

15. Attend senior center or day care programs (when appropriate and the group’s ability levels match your needs)

16. Pet care (feeding, combing, petting)

17. Sorting (poker chips, coins, cards, silverware)

18. Engage with children (intergenerational activities)

19. Meditation and quiet time (soft music, low sensory input, holding soft animals and blankets)

20. Reminisce (structured discussions about old memories)

21. Eating (going for a favorite meal, ice cream shake)

Do you have other activities that have worked well?  Please let me know so I can post and share them with others!

How Can I Make My Aging Parents Do What I Want?

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I had two calls just today on a similar topic — How can I make my aging parents to “do what I want.” This question comes up a lot. The adult child sees mom or dad living in, what they consider, less than the best situation and the child thinks that things would be so much better if only they would do “X” (such as move closer to her, move to an assisted living or get caregiving in the home). The only problem is, Mom or Dad doesn’t want to do “X.”

The main thing to remember is this: People (everyone, including your parents) have the right to make their own decisions (even if they look like really bad decisions to you) for as long as they have “capacity.” Basically, “capacity” means that they understand the consequences of their decisions – the ability to receive, evaluate and communicate a decision to others. If they have advanced dementia or are in a coma, they probably don’t have capacity. Physical frailty is not sufficient in determining capacity.

If they have capacity, you can talk to your older loved one to see if they want to cooperate with what you have in mind, but if they don’t want to, nobody can make them. If you feel they aren’t safe and they refuse to get help, you could report them to Adult Protective Services (APS, available nation wide).They will do an assessment and determine if the person is safe or if they need a guardian. Powers of Attorney are documents a person signs, designating someone else to make decisions for them if they are no longer able to (such as for health care or financial decisions).

Ideally, everyone involved would talk and come up with a plan to support the older loved one in getting what they want while remaining safe and happy. If your mom or dad doesn’t want to change, the best you can do it make a “Plan B” – an alternative plan to implement when the “crisis” happens. Usually, an incident like mom falling and breaking a hip forces change. If you have a Plan B, you can sleep easier knowing you won’t be caught by surprise, because you know what your options are.

Answers to all your eldercare questions, and options for “Plan B” can be found in AgingPro’s Eldercare Basics E-Book. http://www.agingpro.com//store/Eldercare_Basics.htm

You can have peace of mind when you know you’ve looked at all your options, and made the best decision you could in the moment.

New U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Supports Long Term Care Workers

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

The new U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, wrote a letter to the editor of the Washington Post regarding the article: “Taking Care of Our Caregivers”. Sebelius explained that the Department of Health and Human Services is deeply concerned about the needs of long-term care workers and maintaining an adequate and high-quality workforce. To view: http://tiny.cc/U4y9L

Watch the “Alzheimer’s Project”

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Beginning Sunday, May 10, 2009, tune into HBO’s “THE ALZHEIMER’S PROJECT,” a groundbreaking documentary series that will change the way America thinks about Alzheimer’s disease. This four-part film, airing over three nights exclusively on HBO, gives the public a rare inside look at the faces behind the disease and the forces leading us to find a cure. With Maria Shriver.


Need Help Paying for Medicine? Check to See if You Could Receive Free Medicine!

Monday, May 11th, 2009

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance may be able to help you pay for your medications.   If you don’t have prescription coverage and can’t afford your medicines, call   888-477-2699  or go to www.pparx.org.  You could get them free or nearly free.

AgingPro Caregiving Tip: What is Mine to Do?

Friday, May 8th, 2009

AgingPro Caregiving Tip: What is Mine to Do?
When caring for an older loved one, it is important to ask yourself, “What is mine to do in this situation?” Some caregivers will find themselves called to give hands-on assistance, others will donate money, food or time, and still others will do nothing. Be aware that each person is doing the best they can at the moment.

Building resentment over what others are or are not doing in the caregiving role is neither productive nor healthy—for you, for them, or for your loved one. Determine what is yours to do, and do it to the best of your ability. You can’t possibly do everything that you think needs to be done. Tell yourself and your loved one, “I love you, and I’m going to do the best I can with what I have and with what I know.”

How to Survive a Hospital Stay

Friday, April 3rd, 2009

HOW TO SURVIVE A HOSPITAL STAY

THINGS TO BRING WITH YOU, or not TO THE HOSPITAL

1.  POWER OF ATTORNEY  – Make sure the hospital has copies of the patient’s healthcare durable power of attorney that states who will make decisions if the patient can no longer do so for themselves.
2. CONTACT INFORMATION – of family or involved loved ones
3. MEDICATION LIST – Make sure the hospital has the patient’s current list of all the medications your loved one takes.
4. MEDICAL HISTORY
If possible, bring a list of surgeries, doctors, previous tests run (and results) and diagnoses.
5. REMOVE ALL VALUABLES – Do not leave valuables with your loved one at the hospital
6. PERSONAL ITEMS – Things that are good to have are glasses, hearing aids and dentures, but be careful with them!  If you leave items such as glasses, a cane, a walker, or dentures, make sure they are labeled and also listed in the patient’s chart on the “personal belongings” sheet.

BEING AN ADVOCATE

1- PEOPLE TO MAKE FRIENDS WITH — Make friends with the discharge planner
– Get to know the nurses
2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – Make sure the caregivers / advocates are taking good care of themselves during the hospital stay.
3. HIRE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE – An advocate such as a geriatric care manager knows how to navigate the medical system. They are invaluable. You can search for the closest Professional Geriatric Care Manager on www.AgingPro.com’s Eldercare Directory.
——-
9 THINGS YOU NEED WHEN YOU LEAVE THE HOSPITAL:

Before your loved one leaves the hospital, make sure you have:

1. An understanding of your loved one’s condition and diagnosis, results of any tests, and any changes that have happened as a result of treatment during the hospital stay
2. A written medication list  (including dosage and potential side effects)
3. A written list of any needed follow-up physicians visits
4. An understanding of any problems or symptoms that may occur when the patient gets home – what to look for and when to call for help.
5. A written care plan with next steps
6. Any special equipment to prepare the home for your loved one’s return (hospital bed, home modification, rental equipment)
7. Arrangements for home health care or home care aid services- find out what services insurance will and will not cover
8. Education on any special needs your loved one may have when she arrives home
9. Transportation home, or wherever your loved one will be going.  Find out if insurance will pay for an ambulance, if necessary.

10 Tips to Successful Caregiving

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

10 Tips to Successful Caregiving

1)  Learn About the Resources Available to You. Consult books, websites, workshops and eldercare professionals. (Hint: You can find leads to many of these, including the latest caregiving information, at our website, www.agingpro.com.)
2)  Educate Yourself About Any Disease Involved. Education can relax your fears and give you clarity and strength.
3)  Take Care of Yourself First. Maintain your own physical and emotional health.  Avoid caregiver burnout – your family needs the caregivers to be healthy!
4) Learn Caregiving Techniques. Learn about topics such as: communication and organizational skills, managing the physical needs of your loved one, safety and emergency preparedness.
5)  Exercise Your Sense of Humor. Smile. You can go through difficult situations laughing or crying. If it’s going to be funny later, it can be funny now.
6)  Communicate with Doctors. Get to know your loved one’s physicians.  Ask questions, express concerns and discuss treatment options.
7)  Keep a Positive Focus. We can’t think positive all the time, but holding a positive focus about the strengths of your loved one and the blessings in the situation will help your attitude and emotions to stay “up.”
8)  Discuss the Situation With your Loved Ones.  Support and honesty are essential in navigating long term care.
9)  Look for the Blessings.  You might be surprised at the hidden gifts that caregiving brings – keep your eyes open. You find what you focus upon.
10) Ask for Help. You don’t have to be alone. www.AgingPro.com offers many free resources for caregiver support nationwide, to assist you.

Money-Saving Tips for Family Caregivers

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Money-Saving Tips for Family Caregivers

Given the current economic times, all of us are rethinking the way we spend money. Sometimes finding additional ways to cut back on spending is difficult. Here are some simple money saving ideas that anyone can use to save money each and every day.

Save on Food Bills

* Clip coupons. Some grocery stores even offer double or triple off on coupons.

* Buy generic. Store brands often cost much less than brand names, and often, the products are almost identical.

* Apply for and use a store’s free savings card, sometimes called “club cards”. Stores offer many items on sale if you use your card.

* Check out what’s on sale. Additionally, some stores mark down items if they are approaching their “use by” date.

* Make a list of items on sale and plan your shopping before going to the store.

* Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry. Your empty stomach won’t care how much something costs, it wants to eat now!

* Eat fewer meals out. When you do go out, take advantage of early-bird specials or split a meal with someone you love. Pack a lunch for work.

*  Pay attention at the register. Sometimes items will ring up at the wrong price. If you notice a price difference, bring it to the cashier’s attention.

*  Stick to a budget. Instead of spending whatever you want, try to set a monthly limit on food expenditures. Keep receipts and tally them up during the month. You might be surprised how quickly small things add up.

Save on Electricity Bills

* Check to make sure your house is properly insulated.

* Make sure you heating and cooling systems are working properly, and change or clean the air filters monthly.

* Use energy efficient light bulbs

* Turn off all electronics when they aren’t in use, including computers, televisions, monitors, cell phone chargers, and extra refrigerators.

* Turn the lights off in rooms you aren’t in.

*  If you use some type of life-saving device that runs on electricity, (such as an oxygen machine) contact your utility company for a special reduction in your bill.

*  If you qualify as a low income household, check with your utility company for programs that can assist you.

Save on Household Expenses

* Are there any services you pay for that you don’t really use or need such as: premium television services, newspapers or magazines, lawn services, Internet, or phone?

* Use public resources for entertainment, such as the library. Libraries have movie and television show collections, in addition to wonderful books that you can borrow.  Remember to return the items on time!

* Do an Internet search for “free things to do in (your city).”  You might be surprised at how much fun you can have for free!

* Use cash. People tend to spend less when they use cash instead of a credit card.

* Buy in bulk, if it will save you money and if you have room to store the items.

Save on Medication Costs

*  Research medication assistance programs to see if you qualify for reduced cost or free medications. Try websites such as Partnership for Prescription Assistance at www.pparx.org.

*  Ask the doctor for prescription samples, especially on new drugs.

*  Research the best prices. Some mail order or online pharmacies offer better prices than local chain stores. Sometimes buying a 90-day supply costs less than a 30-day supply.

*  Ask your pharmacist if there are lower-cost alternatives, or more cost effective doses for the medications you take. Check with your doctor about any changes.

Save on Medical Costs

*  Prevention will save you money in the long run. Maintain your health by eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise and getting all age-appropriate annual exams.

*  Negotiate. If you don’t have insurance, often doctors or hospitals will offer you a “cash” price.

* Check your medical bills carefully. Bring all discrepancies to the billing party right away.

Save on Automobile Expenses

*  You or your insurance agent can review your insurance policy to look for possible savings. Sometimes it makes sense to raise a deductible, sign up for the safe driver program or get multiple car discounts.

* Maintain your car. Get oil changes every 5,000 miles and check air pressure in your tires. Watch for coupons for oil changes or other services.

* Keep your eyes open for the best gas prices in town. Beware of hidden charges, such as paying extra to use a debit card.

* If you don’t use a vehicle, you can save on registration if you file a “non-use” form with the DMV.

If you have other money saving tips, please let us know so we can share them with others!

What can you do for your country, and yourself?

Monday, January 26th, 2009

We had an historic inauguration of our 44th president last week. He asked for each of us to look at where we might be able to change in order to help our country. Caregivers are serving already, making a significant difference to our country by keeping the long term care costs lower.

As caregivers, here are some questions to reflect upon if you are called to…

1.  How can I take even better loving care of myself?
2.  How can I serve my community or my family?
3.  What can I give back?
4.  Are there ways that I can take better care of the environment?
5.  Are there ways I can better live within my financial means?
6.  Is there an area in my life where I might better choose peace?

Family Caregivers are Answering Obama’s Call to Service

Thursday, January 22nd, 2009

Are you making you making your community or world a better place by being of service? President Obama has made national service an important cause – and wants to make it possible for all Americans to serve their country.

34 million family caregivers have already been answering Obama’s call to service. A study by AARP (“Valuing the Invaluable”) shows that family caregiving the U.S. reached $375 billion in 2007.  That exceeds the $311 spent by Medicaid last year!

Family caregivers also give an average of $5,531 of their own money to care for their parents. They tend to struggle with physical and financial issues of their own, and be more stressed.

Many times, family caregivers could use to be of greater service to themselves, while taking care of others.  Access to needed resources, self-care and health promotion and having a support system to talk to about the challenges of caregiving is critical.  www.AgingPro.com offers the national resources, education and community to help caregivers reduce stress and increase peace of mind.

Family caregivers – thank you for your service!

Create Your Living Will so Your Long Term Care Wishes are Honored!

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

Here’s my pitch for everyone to have their own power of attorney for health care and living will. If and when something happens and you’re not able to verbalize what treatment you want, it is important to have this document!  It’s the only way to assure you will get just what you want. Do it today!

Here is one resource:

The Five Wishes document helps you express how you want to be treated if you are seriously ill and unable to speak for yourself.  It is unique among all other living will and health agent forms because it looks to all of a person’s needs: medical, personal, emotional and spiritual. Five Wishes also encourages discussing your wishes with your family and physician. Get yours at www.agingwithdignity.org. Order for $5 each.