Tag Archives: Caregivers

Love In The Land Of Dementia


Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.  Martin Luther King, Jr.

I will be the first one to admit that my caregiving journey did not include the special trails and tribulations when caring for someone who has dementia or Alzheimer’s.   For many families, a diagnosis of dementia is an ending. For Deborah Shouse, it was a beginning, “My mother taught me how to celebrate and appreciate what we have right now.” Through her mother’s dementia, Deborah discovered compassion, deepening love, and increased connection with her mother and her family.

Deborah Shouse is an author and dementia advocate. Deborah knows first hand that finding the connection with a love one afflicted with dementia is a challenge millions of people face. Too often, people living with dementia are entertained instead of engaged.  In this episode of “Healing Ties” Deborah talks about the differences between Dementia and Alzheimer’s while sharing her love and passion for those who care for someone with this insidious diagnosis.

Listen in and learn how Deborah is creating “Healing Ties” all around us by finding love in the land of dementia.

2016-12-22-3Love in the Land of Dementia offers hope to family members, friends, and care partners of people who are living with memory loss. Strong, fluid organization and tender writing distinguish this purposeful and compelling read, which is filled with practical suggestions, compassionate support, and unexpected insights.   Visit Deborah on line at Dementia Journeys 

1 Comment

Filed under Alzheimers, Caregiving, Dementia

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.

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving

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?”

1 Comment

Filed under Caregiving, When Caregiving Ends

Holiday Blog Party With Caregiving.com


A Friend Is What The Heart Needs All The Time ~ Henry  Van Dyke

Greetings and welcome to  “The Purple Jacket!”  It is great to take part in the Holiday Progressive Blog Party with my extended family at Holiday-Progressive-Blog-Party3Caregiving.com.  To all my friends at Caregiving.com and especially those first time visitors to ‘The Purple Jacket”, welcome: It is so good of you to stop by!

To our new visitors, I started blogging on The Purple Jacket in 2011 after my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer, was

Denise and Richard in Lake Worth, FL 2013

Denise and Richard in Lake Worth, FL 2013

diagnosed with esophageal cancer.  Given 3 to 4 months to live, Richard beat the odds and lived another 29 months before making his life transition in March of 2015.  Along the way on our Caregiving journey, we met quite a number of wonderful people through Caregiving.com and I will always be grateful for the support of Denise and our extended family on Caregiving.com while on our Caregiving journey.

Now my writing on  The Purple Jacket is focused on Life After Caregiving.  As I found comfort in writing about our Caregiving experience, I am finding comfort in writing about what life is like for me after caregiving has ended.  Below are some of my most popular blog post on life after Caregiving ends: When Caregiving EndsCaregivers  and Servant Leadership:   Finding Purpose In Life:  Relief, Sadness, Guilt and Joy: A New Bloom

 I encourage everyone to  look at the left hand column of “The Purple Jacket”  where you will see links to our 2015 Pulitzer Prize nominated Caregiving story, as well as links to interviews that Denise conducted with me after Richard made is life transition, along with an interview Denise  completed  with both of us in 2013.  I am sure you will enjoy listening to those terrific interviews.

Holiday HugsWhat’s new and what  is  on the horizon?   My new website “The Bow Tie Guy.com” will be live later this week.  The new website will host all of my Healing Ties Radio programs as well as my new venture “The Whole Care Network.”  When the site goes live this week, I will be sure to let you know.  My first book, “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” was published in late October and I am happy to give away 5 copies of my book during the Progressive Blog Party!  In January, I embark on a thesis project to complete my Masters degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University.  I’m sure you will be hearing more about this project after the first of the year!

But most of all, I just want you to feel welcomed and comfortable as you visit ‘The Purple Jacket.”  There have been so many things I learned

Chris & Richard 2011

Chris & Richard 2011

along our Caregiving journey, and one of the most important lessons I learned is that Caregivers have the innate ability to understand each other, to be there for each other, even when our Caregiving journeys are different.  That is why our extended family at Caregiving.com is so very special to me. Even though my Caregiving journey is over,I still feel part of this family.  Feel free to reach out to me if you want to know more about my story.

maxim2_Christmas_balls-150x150Wishing you a wonderful Progressiveness Holiday blog party and a wonderful Holiday season!

wp-1448474801512.jpeg

14 Comments

Filed under Caregiving

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

 

wpid-wp-1448112894007.jpeg

wpid-wp-1448113432219.jpeg

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Caregiving

Caregivers and Servant Leadership


A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way ~ John C. Maxwell

In November we celebrate National Caregiving month and it is always a good time to reflect and reconnect with good friends along the road during our Caregiving journey.  As I read through many of the national organization who are running promotions this month to signify National Caregiving month, I started to think about my role as a family Caregiver and what being a family Caregiver meant to me. Being a family Caregiver taught me a number of valuable lessons, but the most important lesson I learned was after Caregiving ended and Richard was no longer with us, and that lesson is the importance of self-care.   It is common for family Caregivers to lose themselves in the midst of Caregiving because our focus is so intense on our Caree.  Now 18 months after Richard made his life transition,  I am learning how to take better care of myself, (It is an up hill battle, that I will eventually win!)

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my masters degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection Caregivers have to Servant Leadership.  With my ministerial background and theology training, I had been looking forward to my class in Servant Leadership.  I was not disappointed.

Robert Greenleaf is known as the founder of Servant Leadership and once said: “The servant-leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. The conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is a leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While our class in Servant Leadership often focused on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I often commented in our classroom discussions about how Caregivers are Servant Leaders, because of our role to serve first, to advocate, to be the voice for those who could not speak, to put ourselves second.

Some of the characteristics of a work-place driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feel a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion.  Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, while understanding wpid-wp-1419526540344.jpegthat people have to feel empowered, lovable, connected and contributing.  I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined with Servant Leadership and Caregiving. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, and do find purpose and have passion to care.  Caregivers are mindful of their Caree, while understanding that their Caree needs to feel empowered, loved, connected and contributing.  Caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand because of the innate ability to think beyond our self.

In essence, we are all Servant Leaders in training and our training in Servant Leadership is on going, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I still in training, learning how to care for myself, while in the midst of being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  Caregiving and Life After Caregiving is about Relationships, too!

I see the connection to Servant Leadership and Caregiving, do you?

Oh…what did being a family Caregiver mean to me? It meant the world! Because in the end, just as in the beginning, we were fortunate to have some of the most meaningful conversations with each other, while spending every second, minute, hour, day, month and year together.  I would do it again with him, all over, with no regrets!

Chris MacLellan is the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” and Host of “Healing Ties: Creating A Life to Love After Caregiving Ends.”

To purchase the book, simply click here! 

3D1

2 Comments

Filed under Servant Leadership

If She Had Lived to 100


Be happy. It’s one way of being wise. Sidonie Gabrielle Colette

Today, my Mother would have turned 100, unfortunately, she missed being a centenarian by just under 31 years!  Born in 1915 in New Orléans, my Mother was a women before her time.  Obtaining two college degree’s in the late 1930’s, she was talented and always seemed to be the “bell of the ball.”  Yet she passed away in 1984, just before her 69th birthday with seemingly, many unfulfilled dreams.

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

The MacLellan Six: Merrille, Mary, JoAnn, Jim, Gerri and Chris

While “Gramma Bell”  got to know all of her 25 grandchildren, she missed out on getting to know all of her great-grandchildren which now reach past the number 40.  She missed out seeing the success of her six children, four of which have lived longer than her.  How medicine has changed over the years. But most of all later in life, she missed out on being happy, which is the saddest of them all.

1230082_10201224238681048_284042414_n (1)

Family Reunion 2013

I’m sure raising kids in the 40’s and 50’s was challenging, just as it is today.  Yet it is important to note that she loved being a mother, but being a mother kept her from fulfilling some of her dreams.  There are so many things in life we give up when we care for someone else, albeit a parent or a caregiver.

I’ve never been a parent, but I do know what it is like to be a Caregiver.  I sense there is quite a bet of similar traits in these two roles, most notably the ability to love and care for someone else.  Sure, I realize that some parents do not have the ability to love and care for their children, just as I realize that there are IMG_2082many Caregivers who are out there who do not love their Caree: I call those folks, “Caregivers By Default.”  But when you get right down to it, we all have the innate ability to care, it just  has to be nurtured.  I’m thankful for that I received the care gene from my Mom, I am mindful that life moves on, and it is better to move on in happiness, than in worrying about the past.

Happy 100th birthday “Gramma Bell,” we are all just doing fine!

Chris MacLellan is a radio show host and Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”

Available on Amazon by clicking here

3D1

1 Comment

Filed under Caregiving

Caregiving and Traveling Can Happen Safely and Smoothly


Caregiving and Traveling Can Happen Safely and Smoothly

Tired of those trips to the doctor?  Looking for something different to do?  How about a cruise?  Yes, a Cruise! With proper planning, traveling with your Caree can be affordable, safe, comfortable and enjoyable as well.  Cruise ships offer handicapped accessible cabins and the ship staff is readily available to ensure that your trip is safe and secure.

Traveling with a wheel chair or scooter on a cruise ship is no problem! With Pride Mobility Go-Go Travel Mobility products, you are not land-locked! The Go-Go Scooters are designed to be lightweight and portable, so they are an ideal choice for travelers.

When making travel reservations, it is important to let the travel vendor know you are traveling with someone who has a special need.  Alerting the travel vendor will also help with pre-boarding. With proper preplanning, most if not all, travel vendors are happy to accommodate your special needs. Help is readily available!

When planning a trip, every Caregiver knows at a moment’s notice that the health of your Caree can change dramatically.  In order to ease the burden of planning and paying for a trip in advance, consider purchasing travel insurance. When choosing insurance, be sure to check the provider’s policy on pre-exiting conditions!  Many insurance providers will offer different levels of coverage.  For the Caregiver, I recommend a policy which clearly states, “Cancel For Any Reason.”  While these policies are going to be more expensive, in the long run, you will have peace of mind knowing you can be reimbursed for most, if not all of the cost of your trip if your Caree is too sick to travel.

When traveling by plane, try to avoid scheduling flights with connections. If you have to book a flight requiring a connection, leave a gap between connecting flights.  An extra hour or two relaxing in an airport will go a long way in securing the comfort of your Caree, rather than running from gate to gate to catch a last-minute connecting flight.

Don’t forget to pack your passport and all your important health documents!

Depending on the health of the person you are caring for, traveling is not out of the question.  Don’t get caught up in what you can’t do, rather focus on what you can do with Pride Mobility!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Travel

Finding Purpose In Life


Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. George Bernard Shaw

Creating a life to love after your love one makes their life transition can be difficult to achieve, but it is critical to our own health quote-about-love-is-an-unconditional-commitmentand well-being.  Sure, our fond memories of the love we shared linger on in our hearts, but we have to find a way to move on, find purpose, and create a new life to love.

Finding purpose in life is one of the critical components enhancing our happiness.  Happiness is not predicated on having the biggest car, fancy house, or the most money in the bank.  Happiness is predicated on finding purpose in life.

“There is one aspect of grief that I think all of us will experience in one way or another.  We stop living!  Once you come to the realization that you have stopped living, then you realize the time has come to move on and live your life in the present, with health, happiness and confidence…  Like a plant that needs to be watered to regain blooms, we too, in our grief process, need to be watered so we can bloom again.  There is no timetable for a new bloom, but without the proper nurturing and care, our soil will become dry and we start to wither away” (p. 95).

In order to live again, we have to find purpose in our life while living in the present with health, happiness and confidence.  That is why it was important for me to write “What’s The Deal With Caregiving”  in order to give back to the vast community of family Caregivers across the nation. Because it is through giving back where we find purpose and meaning in life.

3D1

Amazon Prime members with free shipping of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is available by clicking here! 

You can also purchase “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” on this website by clicking here! 

“What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is a People Tested Publication 

For media inquires and bulk purchases please contact me at Chris@thepurplejacket.com

2 Comments

Filed under When Caregiving Ends

Elements of Healing Touch Massage


Caregivers, looking for a way to relax, take some time for yourself, to loose some of that pent up stress?  Have you ever considered a massage from a licensed massage therapist to help rejuvenate the body, mind and spirit? Well, then join us on Wednesday, July 29th on Health Café Live.com at 7:00 pm (EST) for a conversation with  Licensed Massage Therapist Wayne White. Massage therapy dates back thousands of years and is  derived from the Greek word,”massein” meaning ‘to knead.’  Through the  manipulation of soft tissues of the body by  squeezing, rubbing, tapping, vibrating or compressing for therapeutic intent, massage therapy heals and helps rejuvenate our body, mind and spirit.  Don’t just take it from me! Listen in and learn how Wayne is  creating Healing Ties all around us through the art of massage therapy.

Cannot listen live?  No Worries! Healing Ties Radio is available ON DEMAND at:

Our iHeart Radio Channel  by  clicking here!

Our Healing Ties Website by clicking here.

And in the United Kingdom on UK Health Radio by clicking here! 

Wayne_White_Healing_Ties_7_29_2015

_BowTieCover.small

 

1 Comment

Filed under Healing Ties Radio Show