Tag Archives: Bow Tie Guy

What’s The Deal With Caregiving

Friends: Today my book, “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” went live on Amazon. My goal with this book is to help guide you through your Caregiving journey, from beginning to end, because Caregiving has no gender or orientation boundaries, we just care for the one we love.

3D1I am dedicating this book to all Caregivers and their Caree’s with an Irish Proverb: “May the road rise up to meet you: May the wind be always at your back: May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home: And may the hand of a friend always be near.”

If you enjoyed reading our Pulitzer Prize Nominated Story, “In Sickness and Health: A Couples Final Journey” I hope you enjoy reading this book as well.

In memory of Bernard Richard Schiffer, I thank all of you for your friendship, support and love.

To purchase “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” on Amazon simply click here! 

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Living In The Past?

The quality of a leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves. Ray Kroc

One of the most important components to being a Healthy Caregiver is to know your strengths, weaknesses, while realizing that asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness.

I am learning that the same rule of order applies for people like myself who are in after-caregiving.  When the Caregiving journey ends, we look for outlets, we look for a path, because in after caregiving, our roads can tend to be filled with steep hills and deep drops.  The hardest of the roads are those round-a-bouts, were you think you are going somewhere, yet you just spin around and around to you realize that you are on the same path.

Reaching out for help while you are in after caregiving, is just as important is it is when you are in the midst of Caregiving. Yet the risk is harder because this ask, it is all about you.  I’ve had to learn the hard way that I can’t do this after-caregiving gig by myself.  Living in the past is hard: Living in the moment is the only way to go.

To many people to publicly thank, but special recognition to my friend Betty, all my siblings, Denise, Kathy, Abel, John, Ernest for encouragement and support.  A new chapter awaits me and is just around the corner.  Now back to writing and continue the path on  how to better care for myself, and live in the present, because in the end, living in the past does not change it, living in the past affects the present.





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Stress-Less Caregiving on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’



On Tuesday July 16th at 1:00 pm (est) I am pleased to welcome Psychologist, Dr. Janice Hynes to our show. To listen to our episode live, simply click here!

Dr. Hynes is a licensed clinical psychologist who has been practicing for over 20 years.  She provides individual, couples, and family therapy and specializes in stress management and anxiety reduction. She also served as the sole caretaker for each of her parents in their final years. Dr. Hynes regularly offers group presentations on anxiety management, conflict resolution, and “Extreme Self-Care for Extreme Situations”

Are you your own worst critic? We are all engaged in a constant dialogue with ourselves. All too often, this takes the form of a battle. You can learn to ease this inner conflict and become more effective in times of stress. Dr. Hynes combines information about how our brain chemistry functions in times of stress with how we can more compassionately care for our psychological self. Through our conversation with Dr. Hynes, we will all learn how to ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver.’ 

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Caregivers: Use Your Right Brain, Too!


On Tuesday, we welcomed Benjamin Azevedo, M.D. from New Orléans Bow Ties to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio. To listen to our entire show, simply click here!

Our conversation was more than just about the making of beautiful Bow Ties, our conversation centered on the importance of having an equal balance in life.  Ben recently graduated from Tulane Medical School in New Orleans and will be starting his internship in San Diego later this summer.  Medical school, like any academic disciplines, can be trying, even for the most dedicated students.

Ben has always resonated with the idea that there are two sides to the brain; the left being in charge of linear analytical thinking and focuses, ordered, logical execution while the right is more expansive, creative, and boundless.  During his blog_Brainfirst year in medical school, Ben realized that he was letting his left-brain take control of his life and strip it of the art, music, and imagination that his family had fostered throughout his life.  Ben put a conscious effort into letting go of his stress and thrust himself into the exploration of what his right brain had to offer.  Ben first began to cook, to draw, to exercise more and get out into nature.  Then the idea came of creating beautiful Bow Ties, which has become a conversational piece in his work, while allowing his right brain to explore.  Along with his masterful work of creating beautiful bow ties, Ben also recognized the need for Doctors to learn how to communicate good patient care, especially when dealing with difficult end of life issues with patients and their families.    With his attraction to palliative care and hospice, Ben created an elective course at Tulane University teaching the art of communication to medical students.  The course has been well-received by both students and faculty. “This is cutting edge material”, I thought.  We all know there is more to Doctor/Patient, Doctor/Family communication than just reading a chart!   With his communication class, Ben is providing a great tool for medical students, who in most cases, would never have been exposed to such an important learning tool. 

As our conversation continued, I was struck by how much I have let my right brain linger.  As a Caregiver, I realized that I am constantly in the left – brain mode; always analyzing, worrying, thinking about the need of my caree, completely focused on his needs rather than my own.    As my weight continues to rise, while my hobbies are put on hold,  my right brain strives to be released from its shackles, to explore, to create to be free again.  I wonder how many caregivers might just feel the same way?  I know I am going to make a conscious effort to be more creative while elimination self imposed stress! 

Ben’s terrific example of letting his left brain explore, not only afforded him the opportunity to make beautiful bow ties, it allowed him to go on step further by combining the best of his right and left brain by creating such a meaningful communication class for medical students!


This next time I run into a young physician who provides empathic communication, I will want to ask them if they took Ben’s communication class at Tulane University.   If they are wearing a bow tie, I’ll know it without even asking!  


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Tuesday on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver:’ Caring Is Not Enough

be-healthyOn Tuesday, April 30th at 1:00 pm (est) we welcome author Terry Ann Black, RN to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver show on Blog Talk Radio.  To access the show live on Tuesday, simply click here!


Terry Ann Black, RN

As a  registered nurse for 47 years, Terry has  worked with many people in times of crisis. However her life changing experience came when Terry’s father-in-law died in an auto accident, leaving  her family with limited knowledge on where to find all his important documents.

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Now in its 5th edition, Terry’s book Caring Is Not Enough provides her readers with a clear and concise information on how individuals and families can get their affairs in order. Through our conversation on Tuesday, Terry will demonstrate to us how we can ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’

Visit Terry’s  website and buy her book by simply click here! 

Visit Terry’s Blog by simply clicking here! 

To listen to Tuesday’s show live, simply click here! 

Cannot listen live on Tuesday...NO Worries!!!  

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Our shows are archived for your listening convenience.  You can access all our episodes of ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver by simply clicking here!


Always remember… “It’s Our Hope That Lets Us Withstand ProblemsIt’s Our Dreams That Let’s Us Find solutions! 

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Be A Healthy Caregiver on Blog Talk Radio


On Tuesday April 16th at 1:00 pm (est) we welcome John Schwaig from Fabrication Arts Center in St. Louis to our show.   You can access Tuesday’s show by clicking here!


Fabrication Arts creates and designs custom and unique art for home and office decor. Their beautiful custom beveled and stained glass, is truly a sight to behold.

 After a mid-life change from teaching and counseling, John has turned what he thought was a hobby, into a second career! Through his classes and workshops on Stained Glass, John offers cancer patients and survivors a chance to find a new hobby and a chance to take their mind off an insidious disease.

Through our conversation today, John will demonstrate to us how the importance of having a hobby will allow us all to “Be A Healthy Caregiver!”

To visit Fabrication Arts Center  website simply click here!

  You can access Tuesday’s show by clicking here!

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Can’t listen to the show live, NO WORRIES, all of our shows are archived for your listening convenience.  You can access all of our archived shows by clicking here! 

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New Reseach Debunks Top Five Myths About Aging


We welcome a guest blog post from  Home Instead Senior Care!


Leading home care provider dispels common misperceptions about seniors

OMAHA, Neb. – April 11, 2013 – Many Americans fear the social impacts of aging. From wrinkles to serious health and financial concerns, aging undoubtedly creates anxiety for people of all ages. However, according to new research* released by Home Instead Senior Care®, the leading global provider of home care services for seniors, there are significant gaps between the perceptions and realities of mature age.

 The new research reveals that the majority of seniors do not experience many of the common concerns associated with aging. Younger generations can rest easy as the following myths about old age are debunked:

#1. Happiness is for the young. Not true. Only 29 percent of Millennials (age 18-30) describe themselves as very happy, compared to 44 percent of the Greatest Generation (age 66+).

#2. Your physical appearance will terrify you most. A decline in physical appearance as one ages is a secondary concern to memory loss. Memory loss was cited by more than 82 percent of American adults as a top fear, compared to 11 percent who cite beauty concerns.  

#3. Your bank account will run dry. Although more than half (52 percent) of Americans believe money is a very serious problem for older generations, only 14 percent of people over 65 lack financial resources to support themselves.

#4. Technology will outpace you. The future model of your iPhone won’t escape the older version of you. Nearly four in ten (38 percent) of Americans perceive people over 65 can’t keep up with new technology as they age. Yet, only 15 percent of seniors cite this as a serious problem.

#5. Aging undoubtedly brings loneliness. Loneliness was perceived as a major issue for older Americans by 37 percent. However, only 5 percent of seniors say it’s a very serious problem.

“Home Instead is committed to changing the face of aging. It is imperative for earlier generations – Millenials, Generation X and Baby Boomers – to distinguish myth from reality,” said Roger Baumgart, CEO of Home Instead, Inc.  “There needs to be a more realistic perception about aging as the older population rises from 800 million to 2 billion people over the next 30 years.”

Despite these misperceptions, most U.S. adults agree that older Americans lack respect from younger generations. Almost 80 percent say seniors don’t receive enough of it. Now those are words we can grow (older) on.

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Access all our episodes by clicking here! 

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This Tuesday on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ on Blog Talk Radio


On Tuesday April 9th, we welcome Shane Smith, Executive Director of Home Helpers to our ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ show on Blog Talk Radio.  You can access the show by clicking here!  


Founded in 1997, Home Helpers serves over 500 communities across the United States and Canada. Shane and is wife Jessika, are the owner/operators of Home Helpers in Weston, Florida.

When it comes to home health care, there are plenty of models to choose from.  Yet Shane and his staff offer the personal touch that makes them one of the leading Home Health Care agencies in the nation.

Through our conversation today, Shane and Jessika will demonstrate to us on how selecting the right home health care agency will help us all  ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ 

You can listen to our show live at 1:00 pm (est) by clicking here.

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Cannot listen live, NO WORRIES, all our shows are archived so you can listen at a time that is convenient for you by clicking here

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Book Your Caregiving Cruise with a chance to win $100. Restaurant.com Gift Card


We set sail on November 11 for a four-day cruise on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Sky. Join Denise Brown from Caregiving.com  and Chris MacLellan from The Purple Jacket.com’ and  ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’  for a get-a-way that also includes support for you in your Caregiving journey.

If you’d like, please feel free to bring your caree. Our travel agent can assist with your special needs. Traveling alone? No worries! Our travel agent can find you a roommate.


We have a special incentive for you!

If you book your  cruise by April 30th, you’ll be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 Restaurant.com gift card!   Already book your cruise? You’ll be entered, too!

To book your cruise, just click here:

Accessable travelOur travel agent, Jerry Dismarais is a Cruise Specialist and a  Certified Travel Accessible Cruise2Advocate and has been instrumental in planning our event.  Jerry can book all your travel plans:  feel free to call him directly at 877.632.5301.  

Feel free to contact me at ChrisMacLellan@thebowtieguy.net or Denise Brown at Denise@caregiving.com for further information on cruise events.

 To listen to my recent broadcast on ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’ with Jerry and Denise, by simply click here!

 To book your cruise, just click here:

Contact our Jerry Dismarais direct at 877.632.5301



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Are Your Advance Directives Up-To-Date?


As Caregivers, we often have a number of daily responsibilities on our mind in relation to the (physical) health and wellness of our Caree.   However, there are other important responsibilities that we as Caregivers have  to attend to that is not always on  the daily schedule.   One of those responsibilities is to assure that all  the Advance Directives are current and up-to-date!

We have been talking about reviewing our Advance Directives since we returned full-time to Florida last year.  Recently we visited with our attorney Jake Miller  to review our advance directives and did not realize  until we sat down with Jake, that our directives were more than six years old.  (Time does fly, even in Caregiving!) While our ‘instructions’ and ‘wishes’ were still the same, we learned from our visit with our attorney that Florida Law had changed quite a bit over the years and that we were in need of an update on our directives!






‘The Little One’ with our attorney, Jake Miller, Esq.

Here are some pragmatic reminders that will help us all ‘Be A Healthy Caregiver’

  • Review your advance directives on a yearly basis:
  • Be mindful that State Laws do change and updates are needed on a regular basis:
  • When having ‘the talk’, reassure your Caree that this conversation is about their wishes, not yours:
  • Don’t pressure, reassure:
  • Keep a hard copy of the advance directives in your car at all times:
  • Consider storing your advance directive in an electronic database: I recommend Docubank :
  • Keep an updated copy of your Caree’s  medications with the Advanced Directives;
  • Always have a ‘hard copy’ of your advance directives readily available at home for emergency personnel including up-to-date information on medications:
  • Learn about the ‘Five Wishes‘ by clicking here:

While having ‘the conversation’ in regards to Advance Directives  is not always easy, assuring that your Advance Directives are up-to-date, will help reduce stress in an emergency!

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