Tag Archives: caregiving

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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Caregivers As Servant Leaders


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

Just recently I have come across a new meaning for family Caregivers, one that I have learned while finishing my master’s degree in Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University and that is the connection caregivers have to Servant Leadership.

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 tiles-1424714_1920power drive or to acquire material possessions.”   While  Servant Leadership focus is on Business, Managers and Work Place Culture, I see a connection to Caregivers as 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 culture driven by Servant Leadership is that staff is fully engaged, feels a strong commitment to the cause, find purpose and have passion. Organizations who propose a culture of Servant Leaders are mindful of the whole, empower their employees to be connected and contributing.  Stephen Covey was the “Greeenleaf” of leadership training for the military back in the 90’s,  In Greenleaf (2002), Stephen Covey stated that, “The deepest part of human nature is that which urges people—each one of us—to rise above our present circumstances and to transcend our common nature. If you can appeal to it, you tap into a whole new source of human motivation.”

I see quite a bit of philosophy entwined between Servant Leadership and being a family caregiver. Caregivers are commitment to the cause, 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.  Because of the innate ability of the caregiver to think beyond self, caregiving and Servant Leadership goes hand-in-hand.

Organizations who commit to the philosophy of Servant Leadership will certainly understand the special needs of working family caregivers. These same organizations will be leaders in helping the working family caregiver reduce conflicts when an emergency arise and they have to choose between going to work, or staying home to care for their caree. Employers who understand their bottom-line and return on investment is vested in how they treat their most important customer, their employee, lead by example and reap all the  benefits of having a work-place culture that promotes open dialogue and passion with employees.

You can’t put a price tag on employee morale, or can you?

We are all Servant Leaders in training, and our training in Servant Leadership is ongoing, it never stops. Servant Leadership is about relationships.   Even after Caregiving has ended for me, I am still in training, learning how to care for myself while being present to my family, friends and co-workers.  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 of our caregiving journey, 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.

 

 

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When Is It Safe To Stop Driving?


Don’t find fault, find a remedy. Henry Ford

After retiring from a very successful 24-year career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Matt Gurwell quickly recognized that he was still filled with a desire for improving highway safety and more specifically, a passion to help keep older drivers, safe drivers.
As a result, Matt Gurwell founded Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to help keep older drivers safe. Matt has developed programs that provide senior drivers and their families with direction in helping to ensure one’s smooth transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.
Helping older drivers with diminished driving skills make a smooth transition from the drivers seat to the passenger seat can be a challenge.  Matt’s first tip: don’t put off the conversation. Matt’s creative, innovative and common sense approach, combined with his uncanny ability to bring calm and resolve to stressful situations without ever jeopardizing the dignity of others, has contributed greatly to the success of Keeping Us Safe’s programs.
Don’t just take it from me!  Listen in and learn how Matt Gurwell is creating Healing Ties all around us and more importantly,  how you can earn a Mr. Safe Key from mrhappykey_logo_positioner-512Keeping Us Safe!  

Brief Summary of Services:

  1. Enhanced Self-Assessment Program

This individualized program has been designed to serve as a valuable tool in helping older drivers (and their families) make appropriate decisions regarding the future of one’s safe driving career.  If the individual is a safe driver, we provide him or her with strategies on how to remain a safe driver as they progress through the aging process.  If driving retirement is the appropriate decision, then we provide the individual (and their family) with acceptable alternatives, resources and a very specific plan to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the driver’s seat to the passenger seat.

  1. “Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families”

Working through this instrument will help your family make driving-related decisions that are not only in the best interest of the older driver, but simultaneously find themselves in the best interest of highway safety in general. This workbook was designed to be used by your family in the confidence and comfort of your own home, most likely seated right at your family’s kitchen table.

 

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Visit Matt Gurwell at:
Email:  info@keepingusesafe.org
Phone:     877-907-884

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5 Tips for Talking With a Person Who Has Alzheimer’s


“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Today we welcome award winning author Marie Marley to The Purple Jacket.

Yesterday afternoon I walked into Mary’s spacious room. Mary is a woman who has few visitors and who I’ve volunteered to spend a little time with every week. I greeted her, complimented her on her beautiful turquoise sweater and shook her hand.

Then I sat down at her little table that was overflowing with books, photographs, the newspaper and other items she wants to keep close at hand. I started off by picking up a small framed photo of Mary with her husband and three children — two sons and a daughter.

“Tell me about your daughter,” I said, using an open-ended question because they have no right or wrong answers. That’s a tip I picked up from The Best Friends Approach to Alzheimer’s Care by Virginia Bell and David Troxell.

“Oh, her name is Connie,” she told me. “She has four children — two boys and two girls.”

She continued by giving me several details about Connie and her family. I then picked up a photograph of Mary and her twin sister, Bernice, and she told me about how they took piano lessons together when they were children. After a few minutes, I asked her if her daughter ever played a musical instrument.

“I don’t have a daughter,” she said matter-of-factly.

“Oh,” I countered, picking up the family photo again and holding it out for her to see. “You just told me you have a daughter. Here she is.”

Mary’s face fell and she said very quietly, “I guess I do have a daughter.”

I immediately felt sorry for her embarrassment and was disgusted with myself for having pointed out her mistake. I realized I’d just broken one of the cardinal rules for interacting with a person who has dementia. I’d just read it in The Best Friend’s Approach that very morning: “Let the person save face.”

When relating to a person with Alzheimer’s there are many guidelines to follow. I’m going to discuss five basic ones here: 1) Don’t tell them they are wrong about something, 2) Don’t argue with them, 3) Don’t ask if they remember something, 4) Don’t remind them that their spouse, parent or other loved one is dead and 5) Don’t bring up topics that may upset them.

Don’t Tell Them They’re Wrong About Something: To let the person save face, it’s best not to contradict or correct them if they say something wrong. There’s usually no good reason to do that. If they’re alert enough, they’ll realize they made a mistake and feel bad about it. Even if they don’t understand their error, correcting them may embarrass or otherwise be unpleasant for them.

Don’t Argue With the Person: It’s never a good idea to argue with a person who has dementia. First of all, you can’t win. And second, it will probably upset them or even make them angry. I learned a long time ago, when caring for my beloved Romanian soul mate, Ed, the best thing to do is simply change the subject — preferably to something pleasant that will immediately catch their attention.

Don’t Ask if They Remember Something: When talking with a person who has Alzheimer’s, it’s so tempting to ask them if they remember some person or event. “What did you have for lunch?” “What did you do this morning?” “Do you remember that we had candy bars when I visited last week?” “This is David. Do you remember him?” Of course they may not remember. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have a diagnosis of dementia. It could embarrass or frustrate them if they don’t remember. It’s better to say, “I remember that we had candy the last time I was here. It was delicious.”

Don’t Remind the Person that a Loved One Is Dead: It’s not uncommon for people with dementia to believe their deceased spouse, parent or other loved one is still alive. They may be confused or feel hurt that the person doesn’t come to visit. If you inform them that the person is dead, they might not believe it and become angry with you. If they do believe you, they’ll probably be very upset by the news. What’s more, they’re likely to soon forget what you said and go back to believing their loved one is still alive. An exception to this guideline is if they ask you if the person is gone. Then it’s wise to give them an honest answer, even if they will soon forget it, and then go on to some other topic.

Don’t Bring up Other Topics That May Upset Them: There’s no reason to bring up topics you know may upset your loved one. If you don’t see eye-to eye on politics, for example, don’t even bring it up. It may just start an argument, which goes against the second guideline above. You won’t prevail and it’s just likely to cause them anger and/or frustration.

So there you go. A few guidelines for visiting. I hope these will be helpful to you in visiting your loved one and enriching the time you have together.

unnamedMarie Marley is the award-winning author of Come Back Early Today: A Memoir of Love, Alzheimer’s and Joy and co-author (with Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN) of Finding Joy in Alzheimer’s: New Hope for Caregivers. Her website (ComeBackEarlyToday.com) contains a wealth of information for Alzheimer’s caregivers.

 

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A Birthday Gift: Introducing TLO Travel and Tours.


Wherever you go, go with all your heart. Confucius

Richard would have celebrated  his 86th birthday today, (January 24th) and I think it is fitting to formally announce my new endeavor in his honor, TLO Travel and Tours!  For those who have been reading my blog since Richard was diagnosed with esophageal cancer will know that TLO was the fun-loving acronym I used in my blog posts to describe him when writing about our caregiving journey.  TLO simply means, “The Little One” …remember, Richard stood a foot shorter than me!   Richard loved to be called TLO, and Richard loved to travel.

wp-1454002775318.jpgAs I continue to advocate for family caregivers and for those like myself, whose caregiving journey has ended, I wanted to find an opportunity that celebrates our love, care and commitment in all shapes and forms in a way that is unique.   During our eleven years together, we spent time cruising in Europe and traveling by car and plane throughout our beautiful country.  TLO Travel and Tours is not only dedicated to Richard, but to all current, past and future caregivers and their caree’s. Traveling with your caree may not be as impossible as you might think.

I can imagine that many of my caregiving friends are thinking…”Travel with my caree…how can I do that?”  Well, let me tell you about a wonderful proAccessable travelgram called Special Needs At Sea.  I learned about Special Needs at Sea when Richard and I were booking a cruise in January of 2014. Special Needs At Sea can provide you will just about any durable medical product, from oxygen to a hoyer lift and most importantly, a scooter to help make transportation easy on any cruise ship for your caree.  Special Needs At Sea can deliver the product to your stateroom, your hotel room and even your home.  Special Needs At Sea is located in Fort Lauderdale and available in over 150 ports world-wide.  As a certified Accessible Travel Advocate, I can help arrange all your durable medical equipment needs with our friends at Special Needs At Sea.

What’s ahead for TLO Travel and Tours?  We have group cruises on the horizon, four international train tours planned through 2020 including, The Canadian Rockies, Italy, the United Kingdom, and a very special Passion Play tour in 2020.  Through my association with Travel Planners International, I have access to all the best rates for land, air and sea travel that you would see on any travel website.   As we grow into the travel business, TLO Travel and Tours will focus on group tours for current and former family caregivers, retreats to re-energize, while engaging organizations to bring their conferences and workshops aboard a cruise ship or a retreat center.

TLO Travel and Tours is pleased to announce our association with Hope Love Company. Hope Loves Company (HLC) is the only non-profit in the U.S. with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battl2017-01-23ing Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s. TLO Travel and Tours is the preferred Travel Company of Hope Loves Company as this wonderful organization travels to Iceland in the summer of 2017 for a terrific international camp for kids who care for their parents with ALS.  To learn more about Hope Loves Company, be sure to visit their website Hope Loves Company (HLC)  and listen to my podcast with Jodi O’Donnell-Ames, Executive Director of Hope Loves Company.  [/audio

Richard and I were fortunate to not only spend 11  wonderful years together., but to spend quite a bit of time traveling as well.  Whether it was sporting our Bow Ties on a formal night on our cruise, dining in the French Alps, or just hanging out together, we always found something to do together.  Making travel easy for those we love and care for is possible.

 This is an exciting time for me as I continue to grow my Whole Care Network brand with new radio shows, individual and corporate training events and now travel and tours.  Our new TLO Travel and Tours website is now live, but still in the development stages.  You can visit the travel website by simply clicking here!

When caregiving ends, its not surprising that we find our self lost and picking up the pieces of a life that was left behind.   That has been me for quite some.  I started to turn the corner with my grief about six months ago which means, I don’t miss him any less, I can now be present to myself and move on with my head held high.  Now, my next challenge is to step outside my comfort zone and get back to things that I am passionate about…travel and advocacy equals passion for me!

Welcome to TLO Travel and Tours, part of the Whole Care Network!  Feel free to contact me direct at chris@tlotravelandtours.com

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Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving


Today we welcome guest blogger Samantha Stein to The Purple Jacket.

Stop Saying I Should Get Over It: Loneliness and Depression in Caregiving

Inevitably, our bodies will fail us. It may happen naturally through aging, or it may be because of an illness that overtook our bodies. However before the time comes, have you stopped to consider who is going to provide the caregiving that you need? And what are we going to put them through when they become our caregivers?

Who Are Today’s Caregivers?

For so long, the image of a family caregiver in the United States, and perhaps across the globe, is a 49-year old woman, juggling employment and her family’s needs. She is often perceived as caring for her 60-year old mother who does not live with her. For the older generations, this remains true as the demographic average of a family caregiver.

For the younger generations, however, the average caregiver is shifting to something different. In a joint study done by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, they discovered that the millennials (age 18 to 34) have a unique take on caregiving.

Unlike their predecessors, millennial caregivers are typically 27 years old and equally likely to be male or female. The study further shares how these individuals are most often caring for their mother or grandmother. They also noted how millennials are more likely to report emotional or mental health conditions that their loved ones may be experiencing.

It is no secret that family caregivers often sacrifice their own emotional and physical needs for the well-being of their care recipients. As explained Family Caregivers: The Everyday Superheroes, caregivers go through so many life changes and expose themselves to so many different types of stress to provide the care that their loved ones need. But no matter how strong a person is perceived to be, constant feelings of stress, anxiety, exhaustion, isolation, loneliness, and all other negative emotions associated with caregiving will eventually take its toll.

 Because of a plethora of factors, family caregivers are very much susceptible to depression, loneliness, and isolation. And no should take any of these lightly.

Loneliness and Isolation

Depending on the extent of care required by their recipients, some caregivers provide care on a 24-hour basis. With this in mind, many caregivers undergo drastic changes in their lives. Their lives are dominated by the responsibility of providing care for their ill loved ones. This leaves little to no room for the much-needed me time. They are often boxed into the situation.

Often, loneliness and isolation are brought about by the withdrawal of past habits and lifestyle. Imagine watching your friends go about their lives, enjoying activities you used to do together, while you are left alone to fulfill your caregiving duties. It creates a wall between caregivers and their social circles. It may put them in a situation that lacks social interaction and stimulation from other people other than their care recipients.

Depression in Caregiving

Depression may also come into the picture. A conservative estimate states that 20% of family caregivers — twice the rate of the general population — suffer from depression. 60% of California’s Caregiver Resources Centers’ clients showed signs and symptoms. However, not many people recognize these signs or are too ashamed to admit it.

Despite all the awareness campaigns involving depression, many caregivers still see it as a sign of weakness and are too embarrassed to voice it out. Somehow, they feel guilty for being ill and taking the care and attention away from their loved ones. To make matters worse, a handful of individuals say “get over it” or “it’s all in your head” as if it is not a condition that needs to be addressed.

Depression is a complex condition, and you cannot simply “snap out of it.”

Signs to Watch Out For and What to Do about Them

Family, friends, and even the caregivers themselves must be able to pinpoint the signs and symptoms and then address them quickly.

Depression is different for each person who experiences it. The signs vary, and what many might perceive as nothing may be symptoms in actuality. To help matters, however, here are a few symptoms that might be able to pinpoint cases of depression:

  • Changes in eating habits (overeating or loss of appetite)
  • Changes in sleeping behavior
  • Feeling numb
  • Trouble focusing
  • Lack of motivation to do anything
  • Frequent mood swings

So what can we do it to address the issue or ease the risk?

  • Respite Care – These services help caregivers have time to themselves while still ensuring that their loved ones receive the necessary care that they need. It provides the relief that many caregivers do not get often.
  • Let Your Friends and Family Help You – If respite care is too costly, then share the responsibility among family members.
  • Find Support – Online communities are great venues to find people going through the same challenges and issues. Individuals in these groups help each other in facing their problems because they know exactly what it is like to go through these situations. It provides a sense of comradeship that is beneficial to the caregiver’s health.
  • Get Treatment – Depression is an illness, and it needs to be seen as such. Similar to diabetes or high blood pressure, depression needs to be brought to the attention of a professional. Bear in mind that this should not be something to be ashamed of.

Thank You Samantha for a very informative blog post on a difficult topic! chris@thepurplejacket.com

Samantha Stein is an online content manager for ALTCP.org. Her works focus on key information on long term care insurance, finance, elder care, and retirement. In line with the organization’s goal, Samantha creates content that helps raise awareness on the importance of having a comprehensive long term care plan not just for the good of the individual but for the safety of the entire family.

 

 

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Helping a Loved One Apply for Social Security Disability


Today we welcome guest blogger Bryan MacMurry from the  Disability Benefits Help. Disability Benefits Help provides information about disability benefits and the application process.

Helping a Loved One Apply for Social Security Disability

As a caregiver, you’ve probably helped your loved one with various types of paperwork related to their medical condition. If they have become so debilitated due to a mental or physical ailment that they are no longer able to work, they will probably require your assistance in applying for Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits.

Here are some things you should know about SSA benefits. These insights will help you determine which program your loved one is eligible for as well as the steps that need to be taken to complete the application process.

What Disability Benefits Are Available?

In order to qualify for Social Security Disability, a person must be completely disabled, which means that they must be unable to perform any kind of substantial gainful activity and their disability is expected to last for at least a year or to end in their death.

The SSA has two support programs intended to help people with diagnosed disability support themselves financially and have access to the medical treatment they need. Each program is meant for a different type of applicant but both of them will pay monthly cash benefits to those reswho meet the medical criteria required for eligibility.

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): This program pays benefits to disabled workers based on their past earnings. To be eligible for SSDI, your loved one must have worked a certain number of years prior to becoming disabled and paid into Social Security. Once approved, he or she will be eligible for Medicare coverage after two years.
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI): This program is “means-tested,” meaning that it is intended for those in financial need. Applicants must have less than $2,000 in assets and a highly limited income, which makes SSI a program geared more toward children and the elderly. SSI recipients can also receive Medicaid in their state.

Medically Qualifying for Disability Benefits

When your loved one applies for disability, the SSA will evaluate his or her eligibility by consulting the Blue Book, which is its official publication of disabling conditions. The Blue Book, which has one section for children and another for adults, requires an applicant to meet the listed criteria of a disabling condition in order to qualify for benefits.

When you help your loved one apply, you will also have to collect and submit medical documentation that confirms his or her diagnosis and outlines their treatment history. Their treating physician will fill out a residual functional capacity (RFC) form, which the SSA will use to evaluate how the applicant’s illness has affected their ability to maintain gainful employment. SSI applicants will have to be interviewed by a SSA representative, so prepare to be present to provide any necessary support.

The Compassionate Allowances Program

Applicants with certain disabilities can be automatically qualified as disabled and have their applications fast-tracked via the Compassionate Allowances program. These conditions include breast cancer, acute leukemia, heart transplant graft failure, and mixed dementias.

Qualifying for Benefits With a Medical-Vocational Allowance

If your loved one does not meet any Blue Book listing but his or her RFC analysis indicates that they are unable to maintain gainful employment, they may still qualify for SSD benefits under a medical vocational allowance system. The SSA will review all medical documentation to evaluate how the illness has hindered their ability to perform daily activities as well as functions related to jobs they are trained and qualified for. If the SSA concludes that their symptoms leave them significantly impaired, they may be granted disability benefits under a medical-vocational allowance. This program is intended for those who are genuinely unable to work but could not meet a Blue Book listing.

For more information about applying for SSA disability benefits on behalf of a disabled loved one, please visit the SSA website at https://www.ssa.gov/, schedule an appointment at your closest SSA office, or call 1-800-772-1213. Monthly disability payments will make it easier for your loved one to meet his or her medical and financial needs, which will give both of you peace of mind.

Disability Benefit Help is responsible for the content written in this article.

“This article was written by the Outreach Team at Disability Benefits Help. They provide information about disability benefits and the application process. To learn more, please visit their website at http://www.disabilitybenefitscenter.org or by contacting them at help@ssd-help.org.”

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December 23, 2016 · 12:20 pm

Having a Dementia Friendly Holiday


Christmas is the day that holds all time together. Alexander Smith

The Holiday Season and can be both fun and stressful.  But how does a family approach the Holiday Season when caring for someone who has Dementia or Alzheimer?

2016-12-22-2Deborah Shouse is a dementia advocate and the author of Connecting in the Land of Dementia: Creative Activities to Explore Together .  Through her own personal experience of caring for her Mother, Deborah has a keen understanding of the importance of preparing for a dementia-friendly holiday  so that everyone can be safe and secure while enjoying the holidays.

Deborah offers some sage advice on how to choose holiday activities; explaining the needs of the person living with dementia to family and guest, creating a quite space available for down time while in the midst of the festivities.  My personal favorite is Deborah’s suggestion that a family member or friend take turns being around the family member with dementia in order to answer a quick question or to just make them feel comfortable a large gathering of people.

When memory loss is first detected in a loved one or friend, it can be troubling for the person affected, but also for the entire family and friends.   Too often, people living with dementia are entertained instead of engaged.  Connecting in the Land of Dementia shows us how to engage and connect with people who are living with memory loss and dementia.

On this version of  Healing Ties,  Deborah provides us with some timely tips to help caregivers and their caree’s have a dementia friendly holiday season.

Listen in and learn how Deborah Shouse is creating Healing Ties all around us!

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December 22, 2016 · 1:31 pm

When Hope Loves Company


Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other. John F. Kennedy

When it comes to caregivers, we often think about caregiving for a spouse, partner, parent or grandparent. But what if you happen to be a kid who is caring for a parent with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)?

Through the loss of her husband Kevin to ALS, Jodi O’Donnell-Ames created Hope Loves Company where kids and families dealing with ALS can find strength, comfort and compassion.

Hope Loves Company (HLC) is the only non-profit in the U.S. with the mission of providing educational and emotional support to children and young adults who had or have a loved one battling Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Listen in and learn about Hope Love’s Company’s camps for kids, where kids can go and just be kids and “not have to explain ALS to anyone.”

Like many caregivers who turn their caregiving experience in to advocacy,  Jodi O’Donnell-Ames has a beautiful mission to ensure families and kids receive the hope, love and encouragement they need while in the midst of ALS.  Jodi O’Donnell-Ames is someone who is  creating Healing Ties all around us!

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How Single Mothers Should Ideally Spend Their Daily Life


We welcome guest blogger Andrea Bell back to The Purple Jacket

According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 12 million single parent families in 2015, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. Today, 1 in 4 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 17.4 million — are being raised without a father.

For whatever reason, whether they chose to not get married, their husband left or died, the bottom line is – single mothers have their work cut out for them. Single mothers are usually labelled ‘super moms’ for going the extra mile every time for their children. The label is justified, since a single mother spends every waking moment trying to make her child’s life fulfilling and memorable.

A single mother puts her children above everything else.

The day-to-day responsibilities of a single mother are no different than that of married women; coping with sleeplessness, finding child care, paying bills and more. All with the added burden of no one else to rely on.

Still, single mothers agree, that even when overcome with their duties, there’s usually a way to work the issues out.

Here are some tips on how to overcome the struggles of being a single mother.

  1. Build a support system

As a single working parent, you might need a helping hand every now and then, while taking care of your child. It is very important to form a healthy social network of caring individuals around you. Go on day trips with your close friends and family and help your children get acquainted with them. This helps the children form a trustworthy bond with them. Make them believe that they can rely on their relatives for constant support regarding big decisions.

It is important to develop adult relationships as a single mother since it will prevent you from depending too much on your children for emotional support.

  1. Maintain a civil relationship with your Ex

Whether you are separated or divorced, work on maintaining a mature relationship with your ex-partner. On-going conflicts between the two of you can have a negative impact on your children, making them feel frustrated, stressed out and bitter. Make sure your children never become a part of your battles.

Avoid making your children decide on who is the best parent between you and your ex. If the ex is critical of you to your kids, avoid indulging in an argument and instead respond by saying that you’re doing the best you can and children are comfortable with how you are handling things around the house.

Children want to have a healthy relationship with both parents and the freedom to feel, however they want to, about them. They will appreciate your efforts to remain civil about the relationship, giving them a chance to experience strong parenthood.

  1. Spend quality time with your kids

By every means, try to spend quality time with your children, even if it is just 20 minutes a day. It is important to know about the people that influence their lives; teachers, friends, coaches. Go on a holiday and family trips if you think it’ll be an honest opportunity to get to know your kids more. Forming a strong bond with your children, while they are young, is crucial. Talk to them about their daily activities, their interests and most importantly their problems.

Make your children feel more ‘involved’ in household activities. Have a fun-Sunday kitchen routine where you can ask your children to help you cook. Give them small jobs like getting stuff from the pantry or chopping vegetables with a plastic knife. Help them communicate effectively with an adult.

  1. Keep an eye on what you eat

As an active, single mother, you need to have a healthy diet in order to keep your immune system strong. It’s hard to find fitting food when you are balancing two things at once; home and work, but it is essential to have a well-balanced diet.

You might end up eating too much on some stressful days. Try to cut back on junk and binge on healthy snacks instead. Fruits, nuts and vegetables are excellent choices to boost your immunity.

From my personal experience, herbal teas often act as de-stressors while also working on your immune system activity. Detox your body and you will feel lighter and charged up to take on your daily routine.

  1. Sweat it out and get some sleep

As an individual doing a two-person job, getting some sound sleep and having me-time can help you unwind from the challenges of your daily routine. It is normal to feel frustrated and bitter. These feelings linger within your mind because of the stressful lifestyle you must follow as a single working mother.

Your children solely depend on you for protection. You cannot afford to go beyond your limits where you start feeling emotionally and physically drained.

Recharge your batteries, even if you have to temporarily switch your child care provider or simply get a family member to help you out. Spend that time doing activities you like such as meditation, Yoga, exercise or just good old-fashioned sleep. It is important to take a breather every now and then, to remain healthy.

In order to maintain your strength and resilience, you must incorporate these strategies in your daily life. Don’t rule out emotions altogether and do the best that you can. Your kids will love you no matter what. You will soon realize that your single parent family can truly survive all odds.

Author Bio:

Andrea Bell is freelance writer by day and sports fan by night.  Andrea writes about tech education and health related issues (but not at the same time). Live simply, give generously, watch football and a technology lover. Find Andrea  on twitter @IM_AndreaBell.

 

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