The Year In Review_042

2018 has been a whirlwind. I committed to putting out a weekly podcast since I launched in early March and I did it! Well, at least until now. I have had some incredible guests share their experiences as caregivers. All as a way to help you. Let’s review the amazing resources available to you as a result of their willingness to share. And I will be back in January 2019 with more new episodes and valuable resources. Happy Holidays!

The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving with Judith D. Henry_041

Judith was living and working on the West Coast when her parents’ health declined, requiring her to return to Florida to be able to assist with their care. As a result of her family caregiver experience, she wrote a handbook which offers invaluable information to other family caregivers that she learned the hard way.

The Dutiful Daughter’s Guide to Caregiving: A Practical Memoir 

In her book, Judith shares invaluable information which reinforces the need to ask questions like:

  • How long will my Mom/Dad be in the hospital?
  • Are they admitted or under observation status?

And to consider the “real cost of caregiving”, because it very often affects YOU!! There are 65 million family caregivers and 60% of them (mostly women) are working outside the home, while providing care. It is SO important to understand the complexities of this.

You can find out more by listening to this episode and checking out Judith at:

and her Facebook page @judithhenrywriter

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The Thanksgiving Talk_040

This was hanging in the elevator at the assisted living facility my Mom spent the last 2 years of her life in. I thought it was appropriate for today’s post. When your parent’s are no longer alive, the holidays are different. But I’m grateful. They both instilled in me a love of family and time spent together during the holidays.

Today’s episode is a gentle nudge (well, maybe an in your face nudge), to start the conversation with your parents this weekend. I share some statistics that reflect that fact that people want to talk about end of life wishes, but it isn’t happening. So someone just needs to start the ball rolling. Why me you ask? Why not you…

Resources to help you:

My Last Soundtrack

Death Over Dinner

The Conversation Project

Please consider a donation to end senior hunger:

Meals On Wheels America

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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Senior Hunger in America with Ellie Hollander_039

With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I wanted to let you know a couple of things. Did you know that ~9 million seniors in the United States struggle with hunger? That’s one in six; and that one in 4 live alone? I talk today with Ellie Hollander, the President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America. The organization is doing great things to assist our most vulnerable senior population. But they are struggling to keep up with the need.

There are over 5,000 individual Meals on Wheels programs nationwide. They serve meals to ~2.3 million seniors/year. That’s a pretty impressive number. But what it doesn’t tell you is that they are serving 16 million fewer meals than in 2005. And that some seniors are “wait listed”, meaning they go hungry. Why?

It’s all about the money. Ellies shared that <2% of  all philanthropy  is targeted towards seniors or aging related issues. Just for comparison, according to the US Census Bureau, the number of people age 65 and older will grow from about 15 percent to 17 percent between 2017 and 2020. And by 2060, that number will be more like 25%. These numbers just don’t add up to a good outcome for seniors.

We really need to think about what that means for us as a society. There will clearly be a financial impact on everyone. Don’t you think we should be thinking about (and more importantly) DOING something about this now? Meals on Wheels is a solidly based organization, that can assist seniors and their families in many ways:

  • providing a nutritious meal to a highly vulnerable population
  • provide eyes and ears for changes inside the home
  • can provide feedback to loved ones and/or healthcare providers about changes
  • can be part of the solution to keeping people out of the hospital and long-term care facililties

Meals on Wheels can serve a meal to a senior daily for less than the cost of one day in the hospital, or 10 days in a nursing home. AND, the infrastructure already exists!! Let’s help this organization help our seniors and help us as a society do the right thing. How can you help? Thanks for asking!

  • Donate–to the National organization or to a local program
  • Volunteer–check the website for opporunities in your area
  • Advocate–Talk to your local politicians about sponsoring legislation and/or  philanthropists about making a donation

Information on how to do ALL of the above can be found on the Meals On Wheels America website. They are also active on social media. Facebook   ,   Twitter, and  Instagram

Wishing you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving!

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An RN Family Caregiver Story with Consuelo Gropler_038

You would think being a professional caregiver prepares you for becoming a personal caregiver for a parent. In some ways this is true. But if you don’t have a strong support system from the professional caregivers around you, you can find yourself floundering. And beating yourself up about it.

Connie Gropler was an RN with nearly 2 decades of experience, when she became a caregiver for her Dad and a support system to her Mom and the rest of her family. As her Dad began to deteriorate physically, she found herself lacking that support system from the medical community caring for her Dad. She doesn’t blame them, rather, she feels that the system is broken. That there are not enough resources to support THEM. And I don’t disagree.This is one of the many issues a family caregiver can face.

Another issue is the “hospice talk”. It is important to understand that requesting a hospice evaluation doesn’t have to mean death is imminent.  The majority of patients are enrolled in  hospice for 7 days or less, but services are available for 6 months, and that can be a rolling figure. Hospice can provide resources to provide comfort and quality for both patient and caregivers,  that can be otherwise extremely difficult to acquire.

Until we makes some changes in the way the medical community  addresses end fo life discussions and care options, we need to become advocates for our loved ones and ourselves. How can you do this when you are faced with becoming a family caregiver?

  • Ask for help
  • Be proactive–ask about alternatives to treatment options offered (think Palliative care and hospice evaluations)
  • Call hospice yourself!
  • Be aware that if you use FMLA to take an LOA to care for a loved one, you will need their physicians attestation and signature on these forms for your employer. It’s one of those little things that can put you over the edge!

Check out the good work Connie is doing at Nurse

You’ll find her on social media Facebook: @nursepollinators Instagram: #nursepollinators

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