The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter
The Chinese ideogram for crisis is composed of two characters: one for danger and one for opportunity. As with crisis situations, we often do not see the second. We are too focused on the imminent danger. Unfortunately, the very nature of a crisis situation limits our ability to step back and think creatively.
When terrorists struck New York City and Washington, D.C. on September 11, few people were positioned to think positively about the situation. I know that I was aghast at the loss of live and threat to our national security. But after the immediate shock of the acts, we started to see something different and unexpected: an outpouring of patriotic concern for the rescue workers, lost, and injured that is extending to a better sense of unity in our country.
Dont think me glib or disrespectful: Remember the final scene in the old Grinch cartoon when he steals the entire towns Christmas presents, but nevertheless, the residents gather to celebrate. They are demonstrating that in the face of loss we can often find that true core thing that represents the real meaning and importance. In this case it is the Spirit of Giving, not the gift itself.
So how does this impact the caregiver? Many caregivers enter the role with the onset of a medical crisis. Perhaps its a diagnosis of dementia, a stroke, a serious fall, or the death of an elders spouse. Dealing with emergency rooms, hospital bureaucrats, and homecare arrangements would overwhelm most people.
Where does one find that power for revelation? Each of us has to find that power within ourselves to break away from the crisis at hand (while not neglecting the immediate danger), and open up to the opportunity for personal growth. Its not going to be the same journey for each of us. Maybe one will find strength in a loved ones nursing home placement (now you can serve as an emotional support, rather than being consumed with daily personal care tasks); perhaps the loss of one parent enables a mature and honest exchange of family issues and grievances; or finally, a visit to the emergency room may turn up unknown medical conditions or home situations that can be alleviated.
Remaining positive in a dangerous situation is a matter of perspective. Im not delusional when I say that it is possible to find joy, wisdom, and personal growth from a caregiving crisis. Sometimes the key is to actively believe that events will turn out for the best. You must search for the silver lining because it is always obscured by the immediate danger.
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
Feature Article: Balancing Work and
Caregiving by Rich OBoyle
Does this sound familiar: You are on a business trip and get a call from your mother. She tells you that she hasnt been feeling well for a few weeks and needs to get to the doctor. Of course you cant take her you are meeting with an important client in a distant city. You hastily arrange for a neighbor to take her, but this one visit spirals upward to a series of tests and visits, that ultimately forces you to return from your trip early.
This one example is all too familiar to working caregivers. Even more extreme eldercare crises such as medical emergencies or the diagnosis of dementia can lead to intensive responsibilities when you are most preoccupied with advancing your career.
You can read the complete article that includes practical suggestions on how to create a work environment that supports your caregiving responsibilities at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/workandcg.html
The individual and collective contributions of our elder Americans are varied and vast. Most of the time, the contributions that are highlighted in ceremonies during Older Americans Month are high profile and ones made by famous elder artists, scientists and politicians. But the contributions of the every day elder American are equally important including those who care for a person with Alzheimers Disease and related dementias. In this months column, its important that I acknowledge the contributions of persons WITH dementia that can also be significant and worthy of praise and recognition.
You can read the complete column at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Columns/elderjournal0503.html
Remember: Paul will be hosting a live chat session on Tuesday, May 20 from 9:00 to 11:00PM EST. You can access the chat at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm
There are literally hundreds of books that have been written to guide families through the caregiving journey. Many of them are exceptional but you probably only need to buy or read four or five of them, depending on your specific needs.
If you are working full-time (like most caregivers), John Paul Marosys practical book, Elder Care: A Six Step Guide to Balancing Work and Family should be on your reading list.
John Pauls hands-on book is the only resource of its kind that I am aware of. It is the only book that addresses some very difficult issues that caregivers with conflicting responsibilities at home and in the office regularly face. For example, detailed questionnaires that help to assess how your eldercare situation is impacting work. It also gives you insights on what to say and what NOT to say to your supervisor.
The book includes information, tips, worksheets, and wisdom on the following topics:
John Pauls book is available directly from ElderCare Onlines secure caregiving store at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/store.htm.
Throughout this month we are offering a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store (including John Paul Marosys book) we will give you free lifetime access to our Managing Medicines Safely online tutorial.
We offer informational booklets, videos, and audio cassettes in our store, including:
Visit our store now and claim your free Managing Medicines Safely online tutorial at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/store.htm. You can order online with our secure credit card processor, or call us at 1-888-774-7655 to place your order.
many websites for caregivers and Alzheimers Disease. Sometimes I feel that we have
already seen all of them. Some time ago I came across a nice website of general interest
to seniors called Go60.com. When I recently checked up on it, I found that the
website had been completely revamped and looked great.
recommend taking a look at http://www.go60.com for the
specific caregiving articles, as well as health, computer, and retirement articles.
(1) Finding a Good Doctor: Maintaining a constructive relationship with your loved ones doctor can be a challenge when the old-fashioned medical establishment sets up ridiculous roadblocks. Join in this discussion with our members on how to improve the relationship and get things done right! http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=4956035941&f=5506016051&m=4636091672
(2) When Family Members Dont Help: This is a perennial problem for many caregivers, and one that I wish there were simple and permanent solutions to But the fact is that most of us are in this for the long haul basically on our own. Here is a thread for caregivers who want to share their thoughts on the matter http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=tpc&s=4956035941&f=3526056051&m=8626056051
(3) Picture Perfect! I have changed the Forum software to allow the posting of personal pictures and digital photographs into the Casual Corner section. In the past, we were very concerned with saving space on the website, but now we can permit a limited amount of picture posting. We do reserve the right to remove pictures if we start to run out of space. All members are encouraged to post pictures in the Casual Corner Forum at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&s=4956035941&f=5636078151.
(4) One of the most convenient features of the Forum is the ability to view the newest messages without having to browse through every listing. The New Since Last Post and Todays Active Topics links are hidden away a little bit. You can find these links by clicking on the tiny little globe in the upper left side of the message board.
(5) I also updated the Newcomers Posting Guide. This is a great little summary of how to get started as a new member. If you have been unsure of how to get started or a little nervous about posting, please review this quick section and jump right in. The Guide is at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x?a=frm&s=4956035941&f=2296097151.
If you are not already registered, I invite you to join us again in the new and improved ElderCare Forum at http://eldercare.infopop.cc/6/ubb.x.
I welcome your continued feedback on the value and role of our chatroom and sessions. We have taken the responses in the current survey to heart and will be incorporating them immediately.
Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm. All times are U.S. Eastern Standard Time (GMT 5). We have begun to provide chats that are hosted by caregivers in Australia. Australian times are GMT +10. Hopefully this will not cause a great deal of confusion and instead give us more opportunities to connect with each other.
Our current chat schedule is posted in the ElderCare Community Center at http://www.ec-online.net/Community/communit.htm.
May 15 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Sugarlips Chatroom: Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of Expressing Our Emotions.
May 19 (Monday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Bubbleheads Chatroom: Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of Caregiving for People with Dementia.
May 20 (Tuesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Elder Journal: Host Paul Takayanagi will host an informative discussion on the topic of Older Americans Month: What You Do Makes a Difference."
May 21 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."
May 21 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) Sugarlips Chatroom: Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of Expressing Our Emotions.
May 21 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Bubbleheads Chatroom: Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of Caregiving for People with Dementia.
May 22 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Sugarlips Chatroom: Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of Expressing Our Emotions.
May 26 (Memorial Day) No Chats Scheduled
May 28 (Wednesday 5:00 to 7:00AM EST) Ozcarers' Chatroom (or Pong's Place):" Hosts Pongfoot (David) and Splash (Edith) welcome caregivers from around the world to drop in and put their feet up for a while, chat with other caregivers and "Take a Break."
May 28 (Wednesday 1:00 to 2:00PM EST) Sugarlips Chatroom: Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of Expressing Our Emotions.
May 28 (Wednesday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Bubbleheads Chatroom: Host Edyth Ann Knox leads a supportive chat group for dementia caregivers on the topic of Caregiving for People with Dementia.
May 29 (Thursday 9:00 to 11:00PM EST) Sugarlips Chatroom: Host Vicki Gardner welcomes caregivers for a social and networking discussion group on the topic of Expressing Our Emotions.
Enter the chatroom from the front page of either website or at http://www.ec-online.net/chat.htm.
The Caregivers Beacon is published bimonthly by ElderCare Online and ALZwell Caregiver Support. To subscribe to this free newsletter, visit the subscription information page at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Newsletters/subscribe.htm.
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