The Caregiver's Beacon Newsletter

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The Caregiver’s Beacon (tm)
“Tell me why – Show me how – Hold my hand”
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September 1, 2004                                                                                 Vol. 7 No. 3
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ALZwell Caregiver Support and ElderCare Online
http://www.alzwell.com and http://www.ec-online.net
Serving the Needs of Caregivers Since 1996
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Dear Friends,

Labor Day here in the U.S. is celebrated as a way of honoring the many workers who built the country. Back in the 1940’s and 1950’s after World War II, these were the men and women who built our interstate highway system, assembled cars and trucks, taught the children of the Baby Boomers, and laid the foundations of our international leadership. Fast forward to the 21st century and American “Labor” is more and more service workers, financial professionals, retail sales persons, and healthcare workers.

I would like to dedicate this newsletter to the millions of healthcare workers who get up every morning and attend to our sick loved ones. Some find easy criticism in the healthcare workers who provide care in nursing homes and public hospitals. Indeed, these institutions are strapped for cash and paying their staff decent wages is a constant struggle. Too often, individual members of the staff lose their focus and the quality of care suffers. Deep down, healthcare providers intend to provide the best, most compassionate, and innovative care. But it seems that the deck is stacked against them.

The perverse payments systems and competing financial organizations seem intent on severing the most important link to their customers, the hands-on healthcare providers – the nurses, CNAs, and staffers – who make the difference day-to-day for people in institutional care. It’s no wonder that these healthcare professionals are at odds with their management and are pushing for formal recognition and bargaining power as unionized workers. I just hope that these efforts at unionization continue to have the patient at the center, rather than just desperate grabs for the shrinking pool of money in the healthcare system.

Don’t get me wrong: I am the first to insist on maintaining good relations with all of the healthcare professionals on you and your loved one’s team. But, there comes a time when you have to put your foot down and insist that the staff put aside their grievances with management and focus on quality care. Your best defense against indifferent care is to STAY INVOLVED all the time if your loved one is in the hospital or in a long-term care facility. Don’t be a pest! But make it clear that you are relying on the professionalism of the staff to ensure your loved one’s well-being. Do your part, and they will do theirs.

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INSIDE THIS ISSUE

BOOK REVIEWS: Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey by Peter Silin
HOW-TO ARTICLE: Talking with Aging Parents About Finances by Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.
FEATURE ARTICLE: “Long-Term Care Insurance: The Basics”
SOLUTION SETS: Long-Term Care Insurance Analyzer
CAREGIVER STORE: The Prism Complete Organizer and Planner Special Edition
SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

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BOOK REVIEWS: Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey by Peter Silin

“Nursing Homes: The Family’s Journey” by Peter Silin. This book is tightly focused on the process that families go through when they make decisions about placing a loved one in a facility. This is both a very humanistic book and a very practical one (my favorite combination!). It serves as a guide through the decision-making process, offering assistance on the numerous issues associated with deciding about long-term care. This is a book written with the insight of a sociologist and geriatric care manager, someone who sees the human side of the equation first. On the practical side, the author shares with you the ins and outs of moving into a facility and making life there the best possible. Here you see his years of experience shine through in a reassuring way. Peter is one of ElderCare Online’s community activists and Forum moderators.

You can purchse the book on Amazon.com at http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0801866251/eldercareonlinet/102-3830044-7747341,  or browse through other nursing home-related books in the ElderCare Bookstore at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/bookstore.htm.

HOW-TO ARTICLE: Talking with Aging Parents About Finances by Mark Edinberg, Ph.D.

Some years ago, I would go out to Senior Citizen Centers and have workshops on “You and your middle aged children.” My first question to the group was “What do your (middle aged) children have trouble talking to you about?” The standard answers were (1), money, (2), death, and (3) sex/relationships. Then I would be invited to a group of Junior Citizens (us middle aged people) for a presentation on Aging Parents.  I would ask them the same question: “What do your (aging) parents have trouble talking to you about?” and, lo and behold they would give the same answers: money, death, and sex/relationships.

I am not sure why generations have trouble discussing money and finances, but at least from my informal research, money is at or near the top of the list of difficult topics. Many older adults were raised during the Great Depression, where resources were scarce and money very hard to come by. The relative wealth of today’s middle class is new and, for some, uncomfortable. The older generation(s) has different norms about sharing information about its finances than younger members do, although, obviously, families can vary greatly in their initial willingness to discuss finances and financial planning.

To read the complete article that includes tips on how to get the conversation started, as well as what to say and when to say it, go to http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/finances.html

FEATURE ARTICLE: “Long-Term Care Insurance: The Basics”

Few individuals or families actually plan for disability and dependence in later life. Sadly, the lack of planning and self-education often results in lost opportunities to prepare for potential disability. Without the planning and discussion of these issues, we are often forced to learn quickly about available options after a traumatic accident, diagnosis of dementia, or loss of ability to care for oneself. While many of us are emotionally resilient, we usually are not financially resilient.

It’s surprising that so few families plan for long-term care given the high probability that our aging loved ones will ultimately need it. Perhaps it has been out of mind because it has been out of sight. With the wave of aging parents of Baby Boomers, it will finally come into focus. Consider that two in ten people over age 50 will require long-term care, four in ten people over age 65, and seven in ten people over age 75.

Read the complete article at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/ltcinsurance.html

SOLUTION SETS: Long-Term Care Insurance Analyzer

We have updated and enhanced ElderCare Online’s Long-Term Care Insurance Analyzer, our mini-resource center on buying long-term care insurance. Now we offer not only numerous articles and tools, but also a free e-book called “The Insiders Guide to Long-Term Care.”

So many caregivers have seen the devastating financial consequences of paying for services for a loved one, including homecare and nursing homes. This resource center offers you valuable information and insight on how to avoid the expenses for yourself.

Take a look at our article “Long-Term Care Insurance: The Basics” at http://www.ec-online.net/Knowledge/Articles/ltcinsurance.html, and then visit the Long-Term Care Analyzer at http://www.ec-online.net/Assistants/ltcqanalyzer.htm for even more detailed tools to assess your needs.

Then request a free quote and a copy of the e-book “The Insider’s Guide to Long-Term Care.” You will be contacted by a licensed professional to discuss whether or not long-term care insurance is right for you. The is absolutely no cost and no obligation. Get your quote and e-book at http://www.ec-online.net/Connections/ltcirequest.htm.

CAREGIVER STORE: The Prism Complete Organizer and Planner Special Edition

Our two workbooks, the Prism Personal Organizer and the Prism Medical Manager are designed to take some of the load off of your back when it comes to record-keeping and the day-to-day management of medical affairs.

Both workbooks offer practical worksheets to collect information that is useful when filling out forms for your loved one, applications for government benefits, hospital records, and the detailed information that your doctor wants you to follow. The Medical Manager also helps you keep track of your loved one’s condition so that you have a record of questions you want to ask the doctor, changes that have occurred over time in your loved one, and issues that need to be raised.

Normally we sell the two workbooks separately, but we have combined them into a Special Edition – what normally would cost you almost $24 is available for only $15.95. The Special Edition includes the two workbooks, as well as access to a password-protected section of the website that includes new downloadable worksheets.

To place your order in our secure online store, visit us at http://www.ec-online.net/Store/workbooks.htm. If you have any questions, call us toll free at 1-888-774-7655.

Throughout this month we continue to offer a special bonus: If you buy ANY product from our store (including the Prism Personal Organizer/Medical Planner) we will give you free lifetime access to our “Managing Medicines Safely” online tutorial.

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.

SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION

The Caregiver’s 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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