Tag Archives: advocacy

Author’s Spotlight: Mama Peaches and Me.


All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother. Abraham Lincoln

kl-portfolio-1Combining his personal stories and no-nonsense advice with a healthy dose of humor,Christopher Chaney writes about what it means to love and care for an aging parent in his book Mama Peaches and Me. This book is the first of the Mama Peaches Caregiving Reading Series.

With a mixture of humor, scripture and timely caregiving tips, Mama Peaches and Me is like having a close friend to support those caring for an aging parent, disabled spouse and other loved ones.  As I read through Christopher’s book, I felt like I was part of the family.  Christopher’s nine caregiving tips are essential for all caregivers. A must-read for anyone who is a caregiver or anyone who just loves old-school humor.

Don’t just take it from me; Listen in and learn how Christopher Chaney is creating Healing Ties all around us!

287855_bd19c93bb5f2408da345c5485e2e963d-mv2_d_1672_2316_s_2In celebration of National Caregivers Day (Feb. 17th)  Christopher is offering the e-book version of my Mama Peaches and Me book absolutely free for two days only (Feb 17 and 18).  This book was named as one of the eight best caregiving books of 2017 by the editor of care.com . Getting your Free e-Book is easy and quick when you visit my website at http://www.authorchristopher.com./    Use promo code: Bowtie for your free book! 

Christopher-Charles Chaney is a caregiving advocate, published author, award-winning public speaking champion and CEO of Kingdom Majesty International Ministries.

 

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Cancer, Caregiving and Advocacy


There is only one rule for being a good talker – learn to listen. Christopher Morley

Just this week I was asked to participate in a splendid article written by Bill Briggs of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle about family caregivers “Finding their calling: Why  cancer caregivers join cause”.    Bill’s questions to me were thought provoking and struck me at my inner core and caused me to ask myself, “Why am I an advocate?”

After pondering Bill’s questions about caregivers finding their calling, I am reminded about a book my good friends  Joni Aldrich and Christopher Jerry wrote entitled Advocacy Heals UYes advocacy does heal us!

I do believe family caregivers find a calling through caregiving. Family caregivers have an innate ability to understand each other; to validate another caregiver’s feelings, just when the time is right.  That is why I believe it so important for every family caregiver, (as they feel comfortable)  to share their story, because when you have been in the caregiving trenches, you understand the agony… and the joy that caregiving brings to a relationshipSharing your caregiving experience is not only therapeutic, it helps current and future family caregivers cope and understand.  That’s why so many people find their calling after caregiving ends.  Through story telling, we impact the lives of others, while allowing advocacy to play a key role in our own healing when our loved one life transitions and caregiving ends.  (Thank You Joni and Chris!)

Family caregivers are changing the landscape in America.  Take for instance the working family caregiver who advocates for paid time off of work to care for their elderly parent or a disabled spouse.  This reminds me of the child care crisis in the 70’s when employers recognized that they were losing good employees because there was no legal protection in place for employees to take time off of work to care for a new born or sick child. By 1993 FLMA was enacted sick-leavewhile employers made adjustments in personnel policies to accommodate working parents.   Now changes in FLMA are being proposed through local, state and nation wide legislation to impact the lives of family caregivers.  This is happening not only because caregivers are sharing their stories, this is happening because family caregiving is taking place in every neighborhood, and in every boardroom. While in the midst of caregiving, we as family Caregivers do not recognize that we are the backbone of the American Health Care System.   Yet when caregiving ends, and we have time to reflect on our time spent as a caregiver, we come to recognize the important role we played as an advocate.   That is why we as caregivers, continue on with our mission; to share, to educate, and to heal.

Chris MacLellan became a full-time caregiver to his partner, Richard Schiffer, after he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer two years ago.

Even though Richard was 20+ years older than me, caregiving was the farthest thing on our mind when we started to develop our beautiful relationship.  Caregiving is not on anyone’s bucket list, Caregiving just happens.  The family caregiver is the unsung hero, and each an every one of us is an expectant caregiver.  I often relate caregivers to that of being a Servant Leader, putting the needs of someone else, first.  When Richard was diagnosed with esophageal  cancer, we  came up with a motto that got us through the day.  “We Might Have Cancer, But Cancer Never Has Us.”  Now, more than two years past his life transition, our motto is still the same, we just use it differently to positively impact the lives of other family caregivers.  Because that is what family caregivers do!

 Join us in Chicago for the 1st Annual National Caregiving Conference on December 2 & 3.  Register now by clicking here! 

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving?” and host of “Healing Ties” Radio. ©WholeCareNetwork

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Smart Home Technology that Connects Caregivers


Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Arthur C. Clarke

The Purple Jacket is pleased to welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Maria Alice

Caring for a loved one at home can be a challenge, but it’s also tremendously rewarding. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in the United States, and the number of people who require care and monitoring at home continues to rise. Fortunately, modern technology now provides a broad assortment of tools that make in-home caregiving less stressful, more effective and safer than ever.

2016-07-28-1469685942-7343603-smarthomeThe Smart Home

For the aging or disabled, home automation offers great promise as a way to make their home safer, more accessible and better equipped to handle their specific needs. The modern smart home features a host of inter-connected appliances, fixtures and systems that are easily voice-controlled and able to be set to schedules, from locking doors at night to turning on lights and opening blinds in the morning.

Improving Quality of Life

The influx of smart products designed to aid seniors and disabled people is a significant step toward providing a higher quality of life. Accessible controls and automated scheduling mean more control over the local environment, granting more of the independence and agency that is so important to so many seniors. Caregivers, too, can enjoy the benefits of automation. The ability to automate many of the tasks that once demanded their attention leaves more time for caregivers to care for their loved ones, handle other tasks or even take a bit of personal time.

Improving Health Care

For caregivers, the health of their loved one is always a worry. Here, too, technology offers a variety of aids. Automated medication dispensers allow the elderly to handle their own medications without the typical risks of forgetting pills or taking the wrong dosages. Wearable technology, while still in the early stages of development, promises to provide a convenient and unobtrusive way for caregivers and even health professionals to monitor important vital signs and other health information.

For those caring for someone afflicted with Alzheimer’s, devices such as GPS-enabled trackers, door alarms and other monitors even offer the ability to send immediate alerts to a caregiver should their loved one attempt to leave the house after a set time.

Safety Through Technology

Security, too, is of paramount importance when it comes to the elderly. Remote monitoring allows caregivers to keep tabs on their loved one at any time, employing home security cameras not only for protection against outside threats but to allow monitoring from any location. Many of today’s security systems also feature monitoring for fire, carbon monoxide and other potential hazards.

Security can be further enhanced by installing door locks that can be automated or remotely controlled, implementing access codes to control who can enter the home and at what times and using a camera to safely identify visitors at the door.

The smart technology revolution is barely underway, yet it has already radically altered how caregivers protect and care for their loved ones. The elderly, ill or disabled finally have the tools to allow them more control, independence and accessibility to take on aspects of their lives that they were previously not able to manage, while technology also lessens the burden on caregivers. This benefits everyone, resulting in happier seniors, improved safety and quality of care and less stress for those who care for them.

Maria Alice is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

Join Us in Chicago on December 2 and 3 for the 1st Annual National Caregiving Conference hosted by Caregiving.com.  Registration is now open by clicking here!  .  Sponsorship  and Exhibitor opportunities available, contact me direct at Chris@thepurplejacket.com for details.  

For additional information on the conference click in the National Caregiving Conference click on the icons below or visit http://www.caregiving.com/national-caregiving-conference-hub/

National Caregiving Conference (1)

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Top Caregiver Conferences


We are pleased to welcome guest blogger, Jacqueline Hatch from Seniorly.com to The Purple Jacket.

Top Caregiver Conferences

By Jacqueline Hatch

Caregivers deserve a much support as possible when it comes to caring for aging loved ones. It’s a difficult journey, filled with unexpected obstacles and a mountain of responsibilities. Many family caregivers refer to the experience as an emotional roller coaster. Fortunately, the caregiving community is as supportive as they come. And there are caregiving conferences all across the country designed to support these individuals in their role. And whether you’re new to the role or a seasoned professional, conferences can help you connect with others in a similar position and gain tools to help you better prepare to care for those you love. Read on for the top upcoming caregiver conferences in your area:

Upcoming Fort Lauderdale Conference(s):

The Fearless Caregiver Conference on October 20th, 2016

This upcoming conference will cover important topic areas including how to become a fearless member of your loved one’s care team, respite techniques for caregivers, expert advice on beating stress and other mental health concerns, and hands-on advice from local experts in the field. The conference will be held from 11:00am to 3:00pm on Thursday, October 20th at the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Registration is free.

Upcoming Florida State Conference(s):

Florida Conference on Aging, August 8-10, 2016

This August, the Florida Council on Aging will hold a conference focusing on topics surrounding the aging experience. Attendees can expect engaging workshops on topics including caregiving, health care, technology, elder advocacy, fundraising, long-term care planning and more. The event will be held from August 8-10 at the Caribe Royal Hotel in Orlando Florida. Chris MacLellan will be leading a workshop on August 8th entitled “LGBT Caregiving: Is There A Difference?” Register now so you don’t miss out!

Upcoming National Conference(s):

1st Annual National Caregiving Conference, December 3rd, 2016

The first of its kind, this conference aims to connect caregivers with support and solutions to empower them in a difficult role. Presentations are designed to be engaging and entertaining, and spark conversations about changes that need to be made to support caregivers at home, in our workplaces and our health care system. Educational sessions will be aimed at family caregivers, former caregivers, and working professionals. The event will take place on December 3rd at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare. Chris MacLellan, “The Bow Tie Guy” is honored to be attending as a presenter and part of the steering committee.

Additional Caregiver Resources:

The National Alliance for Caregiving

Family Caregiver Alliance

The Rosalynn Carter Institute for Caregiving

Caregiving.com

For more caregiver resources to support you in a challenging role, visit the Seniorly Resource Center and search by keywords “caregiver support” or “caregiving”.

Jacqueline Hatch is the Content Manager at Seniorly.com, a company that provides free resources for families in need of senior care services. Her goal is to produce educational articles that help families navigate the complicated world of aging options. She does this through managing the Seniorly Resource Center, where families can search for relevant articles based on topics and keywords.

 

 

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Diploma In Hand


My diploma arrived today…WOW!  I am dedicating my diploma to Bernard Richard Schiffer and all caregivers with my pledge to continue to advocate for caregivers and their caree’s for as long as I live.  This diploma is for you, TLO!

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Home Safety Tips for Seniors


We welcome back one of our favorite guest bloggers, Maria Alice, to The Purple Jacket!

We all value our independence and autonomy, both of which are threatened as a person gets older. It’s always better for an elderly person to continue to live in their own home, in familiar surroundings, where they are comfortable. For the majority of the elderly, this arrangement is possible with the right support. In today’s world, safety and home monitoring are easier than ever before.

Home Security

One of the best ways to keep your elderly loved one safe is to have a home security system installed. You can find more information and great resources about different kinds of systems here. The benefit is two-fold: this gives your elderly family member a way to signal if there is a medical emergency, and it also provides protection from outside threats. It’s not pleasant to consider that elderly people living alone might be targets of crime, but unfortunately criminals prey on those least able to defend themselves.

Safety in the Bathroom

The bathroom can be a hazard for older people, whose vision and balance will most likely not be as good as it once was. Slipping in the tub and falling is a common source of injury in the elderly and can have tragic results, especially for those who live alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every five falls among the elderly leads to broken bones or a head injury. Steps can be taken to minimize risk, such as installing a step-in shower or adding a slip-proof surface to the bottom of the tub. Handrails can also be a major help to senior citizens and should be installed next to the toilet and in the shower.

Lighting and Clutter

Memory and mental function are often impaired in older people, especially those in the early stages of dementia. Sufficient lighting can make a big difference in preventing accidents, as can keeping the home clear of obstacles. The old saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place” was never more appropriate than when describing the kind of environment an elderly person needs. As memory fades, it’s more important than ever for everyday necessities to be within reach and in a familiar place.

Home Hazards

Anything that poses a threat to the safety of your loved one should be put away or safety-proofed. Sharp knives may need to be removed from the kitchen. Hazardous corners should be covered with plastic bumpers. Make sure that there is a clear path to follow from one room to another throughout the house, since the risk of falling increases with age.

Carbon Monoxide and Fire Alarms

Besides a security system, carbon monoxide and fire alarms are two other ways that modern technology can help keep your elderly parent or loved one safe. Because memory in seniors can decrease, there is always the possibility they may turn on an appliance and then forget about it. It is also difficult to determine that there is carbon monoxide in your home without an alarm so it is important to have one installed and checked regularly.

Road Map to Independence

Taking these steps will increase the likelihood of an elderly individual living a safe and happy life in their own home. A security system will provide health and safety monitoring, and modifications to the bathroom can have a great impact on an elderly person’s mobility and independence.

Securing the environment from hazards by providing plenty of lighting and eliminating clutter are first steps toward creating a safe home. And of course, every home should have carbon monoxide and fire alarms to protect the people inside. With these steps, you can provide your elderly loved one with the independence and satisfaction that comes from continuing to live in their own home.

Maria Alice is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

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Bedtime dreams on a Thesis


We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future. George Bernard Shaw

The road to Spokane has gotten a little bumpy (no I did not get a virtual ticket) the last couple of nights, but thankfully, I was able to submit chapter 3 this weekend, albeit a few days late; I hope Dr. Hazel does not mind! (I already am sensing a short rewrite)  Now we are in the process of gathering data from our working family caregivers survey and next week, we will start gathering data from employers through a second survey.   If you have not taken the working family caregiving survey, there is still plenty of time to do so.  Here is the link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/workcare2016

Approaching two years since Richard’s passing and six months since my book “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” was published, this past week has been an emotional roller coaster.  In an earlier post, I wrote about getting beyond compassion fatigue, and I have also written about the different levels of grief that I have experience since Richard made his life transition. However, what I did not anticipate while working on the survey and thesis project is the diverse reflections and intense emotions about Richard and our Caregiving experience .

Since Richard made his life transition, I have have had very few dreams about him.  A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post entitled Symbolism In Communication  where I wrote about receiving a text message from Richard’s old telephone which has been turned off for almost two years.  Now, this week, while working on this thesis project, I have had two very vivid dreams, back to back, about Richard.  In the first dream, we were at the hospice unit, the second dream is difficult to describe, but intense.  I woke up with a massive headache the morning after the second dream.

wp-1455801922917.jpgWhile I do not attempt to psychoanalyze these dreams, it has made me stop and think about my role as a family caregiver and my life after caregiving has ended.  I know in my heart and my mind that I did all I could for Richard and no matter what I think I could have done differently, nothing was going to change Richard’s destiny as the cancer had spread throughout his body.   However, the knowledge of knowing and accepting that I did all I could for him, does not change the fact of how much I miss him.

I continue to believe that it is important for family caregivers to share their story as they feel comfortable.  Every family caregiver learns something when another caregiver’s story is told.  Yet when is it time to move on?  I guess I am asking myself that question now.   Caregiving is an intense experience, life after caregiving can be just as intense, but different.   

During the intensity of the daily grind of being a family caregiver, there are times when we think we are weak when in essence, we are quite strong.  The dreams of the past week reminds me that it’s okay to be vulnerable as it will only make me stronger as I get continue to adjust to life, now that caregiving has ended.

The Road To Spokane is my virtual story on the way to graduation from Gonzaga University in Spokane Washington

Chris MacLellan is the host of Healing Ties Radio show and the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?”

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What’s On Your Bucket List: Caregiving?


We do not remember days, we remember moments.  Cesare Pavese

One of the great aspects of being on the road to Spokane is the anticipation of where the journey will lead me.  Sure, the end of the journey is graduation, but what about the road leading up to graduation? And more importantly, what will happen after graduation?   So many sites to see along the way,  so many people along the route to visit, so many more things to do on my bucket list.

Richard and I were fortunate that we were able to accomplish quite a number of things on our bucket list prior to his cancer diagnosis. Transatlantic cruises  were always tops on our list, and we had quite a bit of domestic trips, too. Lunch in a small mountain side cafe outside of  Arels, France;  hill top view overlooking the green and blue lake, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean at Ponta Delgarda Azores; relaxing after a walk in Cadiz, Spain.

One of the most enjoyable parts of our trip was in the planning!  We would sit down together and look at maps and plan the itinerary as best we could.  While we had a plan in place, we always left room to explore so that we can check off items on our bucket list.  It was fun for us to check items off our bucket list.  As I continue to plan my road to Spokane, it has come to my attention that my bucket is a little dusty.

dust-monitoringOh, there are many things I still want to do that were on our bucket list: visit the Grand Canyon, drive to Mount Rushmore, fly to Hawaii, more transatlantic cruises and a train ride through the Canadian Rockies.  Now it is time to dust off the bucket list!

One thing that was not on our bucket list of things to do was Caregiving.  I doubt Caregiving is on your bucket list, too!

It seems kind of strange to think about Caregiving as something that should be  on your bucket list because in essence,  no one really wants to be a caregiver. Caregiving just happens! It could be an untimely diagnosis or an unfortunate accident. Who plans on being a caregiver? While all of our caregiving experiences are different, there is a part of caregiving that I think we all experience, the beginning and the ending, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life-changing events. We live in the moment of our caregiving journey while desperately praying for a miracle, hoping the next day will be better than the day before, then all of a sudden, it’s over.

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As I look back on our caregiving journey, I know now the good days far outweighed the bad ones. We might not think that way when we are in the midst of the caregiving trenches, but I have come to know that this is true. As caregivers, we sometimes get caught in the mindset that we can do this alone, or that we do not need any additional help. Along the way I learned reaching out for help was not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. Reaching out for help and being mindful of your own personal health and well-being is job #1 for all caregivers. Yet, easier said than done!

Asterisk_blackSo I think adding a little asterk at the end of your bucket list to include Caregiving is a great thing to do.  The asterk can be a subtle reminder to have all your legal documents in order, or to be mindful of the unexpected, but   most importantly-the asterk will remind you not to procrastinate and accomplish as many items on your bucket list as possible,  because before you know it,  the asterk arrives at the top of your list and your bucket list then starts to gather dust.

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” and the host of “Healing Ties” Radio.  The Road To Spokane is part of a Masters Thesis project leading up to graduation from Gonzaga University in Leadership and Communication.

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January 28, 2016 · 6:06 pm

November 23 is Caring Selfie day with Caregiving.com


Denise Brown has been a pioneer in the Caregiving industry for 20 years and operates one of the best, if not the best online Caregiving community, Caregiving.com.   When I started to blog about our Caregiving experience in April of 2011, I came across Denise and Caregiving.com and found not only terrific information about how to deal with the challenges of Caregiving, I found an extended family of friends through Denise’s vast network of Caregivers.  Denise’s soothing style is infectious and puts one at ease, while gently challenging us when needed.

As a Caregiving expert and advocate, Denise has been coming up with innovative ways to support and bring attention to family Caregivers for two decades.  She has done it again with #caringselfie day on November 23!   So how can you get involved in #caringselfie day?  Simple!  Take a selfie and post it on your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) on Monday, November 23. Use the hashtag #caringselfie. Be sure to include some of your caregiving story and explain that you’re sharing a selfie to put a face on caregiving.

Visit Denise at Caregiving.com  to learn all of the great things she is doing to bring awareness to Caregivers everywhere. Along the way, you will also find an extended family of Caregivers who are there to support you 100% and a tremendous amount of resources that will help you along on your caregiving journey too.  We could not have gotten along without Denise and our extended family at Caregiving.com!

So in honor of Denise’s commitment to Caregivers, I am sharing one of my most favorite photos with you for #caringselfie day!

Denise and TLO

Denise and Richard, Winter in Florida, 2013

 

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What’s The Deal With Caregiving is available on Amazon by clicking here! 

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New Station, Same Great Show!


Everyone has a story, but not everyone gets to share their story.

Healing Ties radio returns in January with new guests, new topics, new format, and a new station.

It is about creating a life to love after Caregiving ends through advocacy, leadership, writing, radio, travel, cruises

What’s coming up?
Radio: Have a story to share, an idea for a show, or would you like to be a guest on the show…contact me!
Whole Care Network: Looking to list you product or business in our resource guide…contact me! (rates vary: reserve your premium location now on the Whole Care Network)

Hire Me: Looking for a Key Note Speaker, Lunch in Learn, I have a variety of topics to choose from or I can customize a presentation to meet your organization needs.

Coming Soon:
Travel With The Bow Tie Guy
Custom Bow Ties to support charity!

You can also visit our FB page at The Bow Tie Guy

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