Health Care Reform – Do your homework and don’t believe the rumors

August 12, 2009 by  
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Yesterday, President Obama gave Senator Grassley credit for honestly trying to come up with a bipartisan bill and then today Grassley tells the elderly they need to be afraid of the supposed “end of life” provisions that may be in the bill. Why are we putting up with these politically motivated pieces of scare tactic misinformation? There are a number of websites that can provide people with fact checks on the possible proposals included in the health care bill. One such site has been put up by the White House. Another site that is examining claims made on both sides of the debate is Factcheck.org. Another site is MediaMatters which attempts to debunk the myths associated with the politically motivated distortions created to scare the general public. We must all think about the fact that many of us change jobs 5 to 7 times during our lifetime. That means that we must change insurance and take the chance that we would not get insurance due to pre-existing conditions that we might have gotten over the period that we were employed with our former company. Under health care reform, we could keep our insurance without penalty. We must take the initiative to inform ourselves and not believe everything that we hear or read without checking the validity of the information. More importantly, those of us that know that the there are those trying to scare the uninformed must start speaking up when those who are shouting to drown out the myths and politically motivated misinformation.

Great site for caregivers of the elderly-Ask Medicare

August 3, 2009 by  
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As the person who has been checking on my mother since my father died in January, I have noticed that my mom’s memory is off and on. She is remembering the important stuff but I know it is just a matter of time. She uses a walker and is not very mobile. I am lucky that my father had one of the walk in bathtubs put in prior to his death. She has 2 walkers and about 5 years ago we bought her a electric scooter. But I know she will never leave her home and she will become less mobile and less mobile. She is extremely heavy for her size due to her eating habits and lymphedema. I had no idea that there was a resource called “Ask Medicare” to help me navigate the system and learn what is available to my mother until I read the CNN health.com website article of August 3. As caregivers, we need to utilize all of the resources available to us for three primary reasons. First, it takes stress and pressure off of us so that we keep our sanity and do not run ourselves into the ground. Second, these resources can save us and those we care for money. Last, but not least, we can spend more time trying to maintain a “quality of life” that keeps them as independent as possible and keep their dignity.

Respite care to help recharge the caregiver

June 25, 2009 by  
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How important is repite care to the health of the caregiver? The article in the Republican on June 24 provides real life examples of how respite care helps everyday people who are the primary caregivers of their elderly parents. An abstract from a pilot study conducted at the University of Florida on the effect of respite care on the stress levels of the caregivers suggests that a caregiver’s stress level will be minimized through respite care. Both of the previous materials are directly related to respite care for people caring for the elderly. However, every primary caregiver needs to take advantage of respite care services available in their region. A good resource for everyone on respite care is the ARCH National Respite Network. This website details the life of the Lifespan Respite Bill passed in 2006 and how it is completely underfunded. We all need to get in touch with our legislators and make sure that they fund the bill.

Caregiving nightmare

June 11, 2009 by  
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I was just up visiting my cousin who has Stage 4 bone and breast cancer. She was diagnosed a month after her husband had major spinal chord surgery. His prognosis was a year at least on disability. They have 2 kids ages 7 and 11. The situation has gone from bad to worse. She has had a double masectomy, a full histerectomy, and over 30 radiation treatments since late December. She has to work 20 hours a week to keep her job. Her husband has gained lots of weight and has no desire to get off of disability and go to work. Both of his parents have passed away in the last 6 months. He is supposed to be caring for the kids and helping his wife. But he is feeling sorry for himself and so the son gets him and his sister off to school. While I was there, the boy broke his collar bone and so he could not get up with his sister for a few days. So because the dad does not get up to help, my cousin had to get the daughter off to school. Yet, that week she was told that the bone cancer may have metastasized and she is in a lot of pain. Hence, you have someone who could die, trying to work, care for her kids, and manuever around a husband who does need help (more psychological than physical). The kids try and navigate their lives around the mines that have been put in their way of having a “normal” childhood. They have lost both sets of grandparents in the last 2 years and may lose their mother before her time. The kids are the caregivers of each other, sometimes of their parents fights, and they need a lot of tender loving care. The father in his own way has tried to care for the children, his dying mother, and in a selfish way his wife. My cousin needs the support of her immediate family in a way they do not understand because of her spirit that pushes her to work and not seem as though she has “cancer.” She is tired. She knows that her husband does not understand the needs of the family but appreciates that he thinks he is “getting it right.” But, the kids are suffering because of the inability for the adult world to think beyond their needs and see that all of this is getting to the them. How many children are out there that are getting care but no one understands what they need?

EEOC Issues Employer Best Practices to Minimize Discrimination against Caregivers

April 25, 2009 by  
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According to the Kansas City info Zine, the document provides recommendations for employer policies in an attempt to remove barriers to equal employment opportunity for workers with caregiving responsibilities. Some of the key situations covered in the Best Practices Document include personal or sick leave policies that allow employees to use leave to care for ill family members and equal-opportunity policies that address unlawful discrimination against caregivers. The entire document can be found on the EEOC website. This is a small step in starting to get administrators within the government to realize the enormity of the contributions to society and sacrifices that family caregivers make in our country, as well as, most countries in the world.

Arizona Fundraiser to support financial needs of cancer caregivers

April 21, 2009 by  
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How cool is this. The Michael T Flynn Foundation is putting on a fundraiser to help those cancer caregivers who qualify with financial support. The Get in the Game Fundraiser will be held in Scottsdale, AZ on April 24. Check it out. For all of you caregivers that know that the financial toll is not always recognized should send a shout out to Diane Flynn for her empathy and support to those who have had to go through cancer with someone they love. As someone who cared for my aunt who lost her battle with breast cancer, I know that I spent quite a bit on my aunt’s need because I never wanted her to worry about something as trivial as money. So I probably put out $1000 or more just on her in the 8 months, not including my costs for gas, kennel, etc. I would do it again without any regrets. But there are many people that cannot absorb all that money. Hip Hip Hooray to Diane Flynn and the Michael T Flynn Foundation.

For Baby Boomers caregiving can be a never ending joy or challenge

March 31, 2009 by  
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If you are in your mid 50’s, if your parents are still living they might be anywhere from 70-80+. This means that your parents are coming upon the time when you either need to start preparing yourself and your parents for the time when they will need help and then eventually hard decisions are to be made or you are already in that position. Not only are all of your relatives getting older, but many are becoming ill or not as mobile and you are finding yourself helping out whenever you can. Then if you have children, they could be from their 20’s to their 40’s. They may have lost a job, they may become ill, or you may be helping with their children. As you look around, you wonder “why me?” of “I am so glad I am able to help” or “How can I keep this up mentally, financially?” or “Things happen for a reason.” You look down the road and you see more and more caregiving opportunities. It makes you feel good that you can help. But, you must always remember that you must stay healthy or those around you will have to begin the cycle. Take care of yourself and try and help those around you make good health choices so that the caregiving cycle starts later than sooner.

Lifespan Respite Program at risk

March 9, 2009 by  
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The Caregiver Support Blog provides useful information about the pending legislation that may not pass the appropriations committee. If this bill does not pass, funding will be cut for services to the disabled, and to family caregivers under the Lifespan Respite Care Act. The American Psychological Society has a great fact sheet on the Lifespan Respite Care Act that everyone should read. Once you have read the act, please contact your Senator at http://www.senate.gov and tell them to vote for the Fiscal 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

Tax credit for caregiving

March 7, 2009 by  
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Make sure that you talk to the person who prepares your taxes about the possibility of a dependent credit for caring for a relative. According to an Associated Press release, there is a possibility of claiming caregiving expenses if the person or person’s like elderly parents cannot care for themselves. It is worth a try. All of us that provide caregiving services use our own funds due to the inability of our care receiver to pay or our inability to continually ask for payment for groceries, bills paid, etc. That is why there needs to be more legislation to help family caregivers who provide time, money, and care that would cost the state or federal government much more.

The SMART home for those with dementia

March 7, 2009 by  
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A Brittish group, Bath Institute of Medical Engineering, is developing a smart home that provides technology to help those suffering with dementia have more control and safety in their own homes. What a wonderful idea. This will help caregivers feel more secure in allowing their loved ones to be a bit more independent with some dignity. As you can see from this link, this SMART house makes it so there is very little outside help for those dementia sufferers who are candidates for such a program. As a caregiver of a person who seems to be forgetting more and more frequently, I am hopeful about such projects. I hate making my mother feel as though I don’t think she knows what she is doing.

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