Click here to view my new post on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference blog website.
Lots of other great information and inspiration on this site!
Click here to view my new post on Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference blog website.
Lots of other great information and inspiration on this site!
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.
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
Exciting news from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging – read their statement, below.
This is great news for Aging Network and caregivers!
As Appropriations Bills Move,
AoA A Big Winner
July 27, 2010
Excellent news from Washington today. After months of advocacy from n4a members and others to boost the President’s Caregiver Initiative, it appears that we may just win this one!
This afternoon, the Senate Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations marked up its spending bill for FY 2011, which contains funding for OAA and other critical federal programs. While full details have not yet emerged and likely won’t until after the full Senate Appropriations Committee marks up the bill this Thursday, n4a has learned that the overall increase for the U.S. Administration on Aging (AoA) is $143.3 million, which is even higher than the President’s generous budget requested.
Not only is the Administration’s Caregiver Initiative fully funded (with an additional boost for the AoA-administered Lifespan Respite Program), but the bill contains a $38.2 million boost in OAA senior nutrition programs, which is a 4.6 percent increase over FY 2010. This means that the National Family Caregiver Support Program (OAA Title III E) and the Title VI Caregiver program would see 31 percent increases, Title III B a 13 percent increase, and Title VI Part A more than 7 percent increase—all of these programs have been n4a funding priorities for several years.
Previously on July 15, the House Subcommittee on Labor/HHS/Education Appropriations marked up its spending bill. Details have yet to be released about specific programs within the bill’s jurisdiction, but n4a has learned that AoA’s funding level is approximately $135 million over FY 2010, which is also $26 million over the President’s recommendation. This is excellent news—trumped a bit by the Senate’s even higher numbers, but very significant when compared to years of stagnant funding for OAA. Our fingers are crossed that this overall number reflects, as the Senate’s does, a full funding of the Caregiver Intiative. Once the full committee marks up the bill, the details will be made available and n4a will update its appropriations chart and notify all members.
However, neither bill is expected to come to the floor for consideration before the fiscal year begins on October 1. As in years past, a continuing resolution (CR) will likely keep federal funding flowing until Congress passes a final bill. Best estimate of when that will occur? During the lame-duck session after the elections in November—perhaps as part of an omnibus bill that merges several spending bills.
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.”
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.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), an agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, has several online resources aimed at helping consumers navigate Medicare, hospitals and nursing homes. The resources are listed below.
* “Ask Medicare” offers information about Medicare, www.medicare.gov/caregivers
* “Nursing Home Compare” is an online way to get insight into every nursing home certified by Medicare and Medicaid. You can compare facilities by a five star “quality of care” rating system. Go to www.medicare.gov/NHCompare
* “Hospital Compare” sheds light on quality of care at hospitals nationwide, including mortality measure for pneumonia and patient satisfaction information. www.hospitalcompare.hhs.gov
* CMS has issued easy to follow guides on other health related topics, including “Planning for Your Discharge” (a checklist for patients and caregivers preparing to leave a hospital) and “Getting Medical Care and Prescription Drugs in a Disaster or Emergency Area.” Details at 800-633-4227 or www.cms.hhs.gov
What a difference an attitude makes!
I’ve been aware of feeling kind of “funky” over the last couple days, but didn’t know exactly why. It hit me tonight that I’ve been focusing on all the “bad” news in the media – the economy, the war, the bailouts, the political corruption and more. I’ve been allowing it to affect me and bring me down.
What I know is that in the past, when I have focused on what I am grateful for, what I appreciate and what is good, I feel much better! A simple thing like an attitude of gratitude can be so powerful.
So, I tried a little on tonight. I began celebrating the things I was calling negative or irritating. I took a different perspective and embraced (loved) what I resisted. I loved that my daughter was up way past her bedtime. I loved that I’ve gained a couple pounds lately. I loved the pain in my neck. I loved that this economic condition is giving me a chance to relook at my priorities – to fine tune my effectiveness and focus. I am grateful for what I have (and am willing to let go of the expectations about what I think I should have).
Just saying those things makes me feel lighter and less “down.” My attitude is the one thing I have control over – all the time. I am choosing to feel hopeful and optimistic and grateful. There is so much to be thankful for. There is beauty all around me, and I can make the choice to look.
P.S. It’s almost a full moon tonight. Have you looked up lately? Enjoy!
Have you recently found yourself thinking about the upcoming holidays with a sense of dread? Perhaps you see yourself sitting at the table surrounded by your family, the smells of turkey and pumpkin pie wafting in from the kitchen, but you are overcome with a sense of sadness or disappointment. Now that things may be different with your parents, it’s a good time to ask yourself, what do I really want my holidays to look and feel like? Traditions are funny things. They can be comforting and depressing all at the same time. But you have the power to create the experience you truly want.
You might ask yourself these questions about what you really want this holiday season:
1. Do I like my family traditions just as they are, or am I participating to make someone else happy or comfortable?
2. Where do I want to be?
3. Who do I want to be with?
4. What experience am I looking for?
5. Is there a new tradition I want to start this year?
6. How can I get the experience I most desire?
Once you are clear about your ideal vision for your holidays, find a way to communicate that to the people closest to you. Families do not always embrace change right away, so be prepared for some resistance. If you are patient and allow your family to process the idea of making changes in a gradual way, you may be surprised by how many will eventually welcome the new traditions and thank you for leading the way to happier holidays for everyone!
The California Women’s Conference in Long Beach was another amazing success this year. If you haven’t been, it is worth your time. When this year’s tickets went on sale, they sold out (14,000 tickets) in 3 hours, so you have to be watching when tickets go on sale. Speakers ranged from Condoleezza Rice to Bono, Billie Jean King to Warren Buffet.
AgingPro.com’s booth was packed with people interested in learning more about the national online resource. So many told stories of past or present caregiving adventures.
One of the breakout sessions covered the topic of Caregiving, and Leeza Gibbons (Leeza’s Place) was one of the speakers. I was impressed with her positive perspective on aging and caregiving and her authenticity – seeing the challenges as blessings and how caregivers can take care of themselves.
Videos of the conference are available at the conferenece website http://www.californiawomen.org/assets/conferenceday/livevideo.html
AgingPro.com wins Oprah magazine / The White House Project Women Rule! Leadership Training Program!
In April of this year, Oprah magazine advertised a contest – If you have a vision/ project to change the world, tell us what that would be, and we’ll help you take it to the next level. I entered my idea for www.AgingPro.com, and out of 3,200 entries, I was one of 1 of 80 winners chosen to attend the Leadership Training in New York in June.
The article about this contest and Training is in the November issue of O magazine, hitting newsstands now!
AgingPro – The Complete Eldercare Resource
Welcome Oprah (O) Magazine Readers!
For a limited time, we are pleased to give you our e-workbook, “The Caregiver’s Partner” at no cost (retail value $12) This 12 page journal is an interactive tool designed to support you in making your journey as a caregiver as easy as possible. It is loaded with essential information, AgingPro tips for success, insider knowledge from those who have been down the caregiver path before, inspiration and practical tools for supporting your experience and optimizing your learning and growth as a result. It provides an opportunity for you to look inwardly and to express all of the thoughts and feelings that are likely to arise in your role as caregiver. Go to www.AgingPro.com now to sign up for your free gift!
Almost every one of us wants to remain living independently in our home for our entire life. At some point, most older adults will need help to allow them to feel safe and happy in their home. Caregivers often ask what are some warning signs that it is time for your loved on to get help.
There are many warning signs that will let you know it may be time to offer assistance to your aging loved one:
1. Unopened mail or unpaid bills piling up
2. Plants not watered
3. Trash not taken out
4. Clutter around the house more than usual
5. Clothes are dirty
6. Personal hygiene has declined
7. Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
8. Declining memory
9. Difficulty walking or increasing incidence of falling
10. Decreased judgment
If your older loved one has one or more of these signs, you may want to talk to a professional about assessing the situation and discussing what type of care is needed. Geriatric care managers do just that. The eldercare directory on www.AgingPro.com offers a national searchable database of professional geriatric care managers. Just type in the zip code of your loved one and find the nearest resources. The Caregiving 101 article also gives practical information for all stages of caregiving.
Patiently and lovingly talking with your loved one is a good approach. Most older adults deny that they need help, “I’ve been doing this by myself for 85 years, why do I need help now!” It is true that they have been doing fine for 85 years, but as we age, we frequently need help to continue to have the best quality of life, and to be safe.
What warning signs have you seen in your loved ones that made you know/wonder if it was time they needed help? Share your experience here with other agingpro readers.