Friday, February 28, 2014

Ever wonder if you can care too much??

Caring.com shared a list of things that caregivers can get caught up in. We all know we care about our family, be it caring for elderly parents or a special needs child. Every once in awhile though we can get caught up in their life, making ours take a back seat. Totally understandable but we tend to forget - it is OK for us to have a life, get some of our likes, interests, friends, etc back to enjoy.
Take a look at their list and see how many you answer 'yes' to. Then take some time to carve out for yourself and tell yourself it is all right to have a life separate from those you are taking care of.

1 - You use words like "always" and "never" with regard to caregiving. You always have to be there or do something, no one else can. Watch out for burnout.

2 - Your friends seem to have stopped calling. Maybe you constantly turn down invitations because you feel the need to be by someone's side 24/7. Or maybe your conversations with people always revolve around caregiving duties. Take time with friends to clear your mind, get back to your interests, laugh some, drink some wine and laugh some more.

3 - You have a hard time remembering the last time you were happy. Do you feel overwhelmed? Can't find anything in the day to make you happy or smile about? You need to find something to give you the 'warm & fuzzy' feeling inside.

4 - Everyone assumes you will step forward to help. No one else steps forward because you are the one always doing something. Ask for help; unfortunately people will take advantage of your good nature if you let them. As someone once told me, "don't expect much from people and you won't be disappointed". Caregiving can be overwhelming and people know their lives will change big time so they don't want to get involved. Ask anyway!!

5 - You are overweight or out of shape. You need to take care of yourself first in order to best take care of someone else. Make sure yout eat well, take a walk, get enough sleep (your family member naps, you nap -- just like when there were babies around). When it comes to your well-being, be selfish.

6 - You can't remember the last time you took a vacation. Even if it is overnight somewhere local, take some time away. Have a relative or friend stay with your family member, check into respite services, call some assisted living communities in your area, some may take people in for a weekend while family takes a break. Check into 'short term stays', like this one.

7 - Your conversations always are about caregiving. See # 2. You need to get out!!

8 - You have no hobbies. Maybe it can be something you can do with your family member like baking, knitting, sewing, or scrapbooking (which has wonderful contributions for the elderly parent too), but also allow yourself break time - read a book, see a movie, go shopping. Get the grandchildren to come over and entertain.

9 - You can't sleep through the night. It may be because the elderly parent doesn't sleep and keeps you up. Maybe it is just stress or you are not feeling well. Somehow you need to get some rest. Here again, take a night off, try meditation.

10 - You dread waking up in the morning. If you feel spent and 'heavy hearted' as the article says, you need to get help. No one can be expected to do things all by themselves for a long period of time. "Nobody, not even the most well-intentioned, big-hearted, and selfless among us -- is meant to endure a tough situation all alone, day after day, year after year."

To read the entire post, click here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Medical Alert Systems.


I just wanted to add to this piece that a reader wrote me that she ordered a system for her parents which she is very happy with. So I wanted to add their link for others to look at. Please check out 'Medical Alert Advice'. Thank you for your suggestion.



I have been assigned the task of gathering information about medical alert systems as my father-in-law, 92, is again in the hospital. My mother-in-law has had company at night but will not always have that companion. When my father-in-law comes home, it would be nice to have a way for them to have access to help right away since all the sons, daughters, & in-laws work & grandkids are all over the place as well. They have in the past said 'no' to this idea but the children all think 'just put the system in place, it is best for them'. So since I am resting from surgery, I get to check into different companies and set-ups.
So the following contains my thoughts & feelings on this, taking into consideration what they are looking for. As a caregiver, you can take the information as you see fit but decide what your particular situation is and what you are trying to accomplish for your elderly parents in order to make a decision. Maybe one of these will work for you, maybe none. A lot of information is online and pretty easy to read. My suggestion: call the company and make sure you understand how it works, payments, contracts (if any), how many contacts can be on the system, cost of additional buttons (sometimes only 1 is free & you need to pay for a second & it may affect the monthly charge), if there is a trial period, any discounts available to AARP members or veterans, etc. There was additional information given to me that I did not see on the site!! All will require agreements to be filled out before sending a system and/or installing.
My mom had an ADT system. I am not pushing this over any other - basically her reasoning was: she had heard of it, other senior people she knew had it % liked it, & they were local. It ended up being a positive experience - the call center was great, the price was right along with everyone else, it was easy to install, uninstall & return when needed, the product worked well.
Now for the companies & systems I checked out.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Apps for children who are visually impaired.


WonderBaby.org has listed what they consider to be their favorite iPads apps for children who are disabled or visually impaired in conjunction with 'Paths to Literacy'. The divide the list into categories. Some have a charge, some are free.
Here are the categories with some of the apps.
Vision:
"Tap & See Zoo": The developer of this app calls it "the first app for iPad and iPhone created specifically for children with cortical visual impairment." Find the app on iTunes.
"My Talking Picture Board": This app helps children with CVI learn how to locate and recognize two dimensional images. Use your own images of people or favorite objects! Find the app on iTunes.
"iLove Fireworks": This app makes big sounds and big visual displays with a simple tap of the finger. It’s also great for teaching cause and effect as well as increasing visual attention. Find the app on iTunes.
"Art of Glow": Simple drawing app with very responsive screen. Helps to build visual attention and cause and effect (no audio). Find the app on iTunes.
Motor/Cause & Effect:
"Baby Finger HD": The tap of a finger causes movements and sounds on the screen. Very easy to use and geared toward younger children. Find the app on iTunes.
"Cause & Effect Sensory Light Box": This is a really well made cause-and-effect app that creates sounds and lights when your finger is on the screen, then stops when you remove your finger. Perfect for children with low vision or CVI. Find the app on iTunes.
Communication:
"Talking Tom Cat": This animated cat repeats words and sounds in a funny voice. Encourages vocalization and interaction with the iPad. Find the app on iTunes.
"Answers Yes No": A simple yet extremely versatile app that turns your iPad into a communication switch that allows for an array of customizations. Find the app on iTunes.
Relaxation:
"Pocket Pond": Listen to birds chirp and frogs croak in a peaceful pond. Touch the screen to make the water splash or just watch the koi swim by. Find the app on iTunes.
Stories:
"Tickle Finger in the Jungle": In this highly interactive story, the reader has to help Tiny Tinga the monkey get home by "tickling" various predators along the way. Find the app on iTunes.
"Dr. Seuss's ABC": All the Dr Seuss story apps from Oceanhouse Media are very well done. The stories are interactive, include sound effects and add a whole new layer to classic Seuss tales. Find the app on iTunes.
Check for 'i' accessibilty features here.

Friday, February 7, 2014

How to get money to get out of debt. Thanks +Kelly Schaefer

There are a lot of people out there, for a variety of reasons, having a hard time paying bills. People are having a hard time with employment, taking care of special needs children or elderly parents, there may be someone ill in the family - possibly a major income earner. This of course creates headaches, worry, sleepless nights. I saw a great post on "The Executive Suite" by + Kelly Schaefer that gives ideas on how to fundraise for personal debt from government grants, benefits, or do-it-yourself fundraising. Here is what Kelly mentions:
**Grants and public assistance: "The U.S. government provides numerous grants and public assistance programs to citizens in the most dire financial need. Low-income families and individuals who meet state regulated guidelines are often eligible to receive funding through welfare programs to ensure basic survival needs. Depending on your income, number of dependents and employment status, you might be eligible to receive food stamps, Medicaid and monthly cash allowance benefits. Contact your state department of health and human services -- or a similar agency -- for application information and eligibility guidelines. You can also explore Benefits.gov website for personal grant opportunities."
**Crowdfunding opportunities: "Crowdfunding is a way of soliciting donations from a public audience by setting a financial goal and pleading your cause. This is typically accomplished by setting up a profile on a crowdfunding website. You compose a short summary of your needs and outline a specific financial goal you need to meet to resolve your financial issue. Your case is received and verified by web administrators and -- if approved -- posted publicly with links to accept pledges and donations. The Modest Needs organization helps needy families and individuals raise funds for anything from overdue utility bills to funds to cover medical expenses. Edu Lender (edulender.com/community/) is a similar site focusing on the financial needs of struggling college students."
**fundraising events: "Hosting community social events is often a fun and effective way to raise money to help put a dent in your debt. If you belong to a church, community center or similar facility, look into renting a conference or banquet room to hold an event. Depending on the cause of your debt and personal situation, some organizations may loan you the space free of charge. Pancake breakfasts and spaghetti dinners are relatively inexpensive to organize and provide an opportunity for neighbors to come together in a social atmosphere. Estimate the costs of food and materials and expected head count to establish a fair yet profitable admission fee. Promote the event at least one month in advance via email marketing, flier distribution and posting ads in local bulletin boards."
**Rummage sales: "You can easily earn money to clear your debts -- while clearing unwanted clutter too -- by selling discarded household items. Take a look around your garage, basement, closets and storage units for seldom used belongings and assemble a sales inventory. One man's trash may be another's treasure. Gather all unwanted items and hold a yard or garage sale to make immediate on-the-spot sales. You may be able to increase your profit by listing items on eBay where buyers can bid in online auctions to "win" your items."
Lots of great ideas you might want to consider. Thank you again +Kelly.

Popular Posts

4 Signs of Caregiving Stress Overload

ElderCarelink email posts 4 signs that should not be overlooked by you, the caregiver, or a close family member or friend. They report that even though the immediate caregiver may not be helping in direct care, the mind is never far from the needs of the older person, thinking about meals, falling, medications. Take the opinion of a family member or friend if they are telling you that you are stressed. Four signs: you skip your own physicals; you isolate yourself from others; you eat and/or drink too much for good health; you are short tempered with the elder, your spouse or your children. If any or all of these sound familiar, take a break no matter how short in order to recharge. For more information on caregiver stress see ElderCarelink

Ranting

You can check out my ranting and stream of consciousness writing about looking at adult service providers with Will.

A Caregiver's Poem

I was looking through a 'Caregiver's Blog: Senior Care Support' and came across a poem that was shared by a writer, Dana, from the blog. The poem was written by Becky Netherland and Dana's grandmother shared it with her. I thought it was great and there is not much to say about it - just read!!! Enjoy!!

Grandma’s Pearls of Wisdom:
(picture from Caregivers Blog)

I’ve traveled paths you’ve yet to walk
Learned lessons old and new
And now this wisdom of my life
I’m blessed to share with you
Let kindness spread like sunshine
Embrace those who are sad
Respect their dignity, give them joy
And leave them feeling glad
Forgive those who might hurt you
And though you have your pride
Listen closely to their viewpoint
Try to see the other side
Walk softly when you’re angry
Try not to take offense
Invoke your sense of humor
Laughter’s power is immense!
Express what you are feeling
Your beliefs you should uphold
Don’t shy away from what is right
Be courageous and be bold
Keep hope right in your pocket
It will guide you day by day
Take it out when it is needed
When it’s near, you’ll find a way
Remember friends and family
Of which you are a precious part
Love deeply and love truly
Give freely from your heart
The world is far from perfect
There’s conflict and there’s strife
But you still can make a difference
By how you live your life
And so I’m very blessed to know
The wonders you will do
Because you are my granddaughter
And I believe in you.

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