Tag Archives: Family Caregiver

It’s All About Forgiveness


To understand is to forgive, even oneself. Alexander Chase

The road to Spokane is in its final stages as there are only two chapters left to write for my thesis “Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Work Place.”   I owe a big thanks to Denise Brown from Caregiving.com for helping me gather statistics for the thesis.   I had two hypothesis to prove in my thesis, so far the data tells me that I was able to prove one of them.  I will be sure to reveal the results of the study in May after the thesis has been approved and submitted.

20160323_081923.jpgWhile attending the American Society on Aging Conference in Washington, D.C., I was struck by not only the information that delivered at the conference, but the commitment of the professionals in attendance.  Another added benefit was the chance to connect with quite a number of social networking friends, people who I have collaborated with of the years online, yet have never had the opportunity to meet in person.  I was fortunate to be able to attend this event.

Something hit me square in the eye while in Washington, D.C. that is difficult to explain, but quite profound.   During one of our discussions at the conference, I suggested to the group that there is plenty of information for caregivers and those who are in the  aging profession, but I did not see much information on life after caregiving ends.  (A few eyebrows where raised when I made this point!) Yes, there is an estimated 43 million family caregivers today in the United States, but what happens to caregivers when caregiving ends?   Do family caregivers just go back to  daily life without recognizing, or better yet, dealing with the dramatic change in life when caregiving ends?

I had to look inside my heart for that answer.  And for me, that answer centered around forgiveness.

In order to fully grasps and move on with life after caregiving,  I had to first forgive myself, forgive myself for moving on with my life.  Seems strange after all most two years past Richard’s life transition, but yes, life after caregiving has to include a bit of self-forgiveness.   I then had to  forgive myself for the bad decisions I made during and especially after caregiving ended.  I had to forgive myself for not taking better care of myself both physically , emotionally, spiritually and financially.  But most of all, I had to forgive myself for being afraid to continue on with my life after caregiving ended.

HealingProjectYou see, caregiving was just a small portion of our life together.  Time wise, eleven years together, pales in comparison in relation to the six months of intensive caregiving that transpired in our relationship.  However those six months of intensive caregiving takes a relationship to new heights, new destinations and at least in our case, a deeper love and commitment that is impossible to replace.  I marvel, and often wonder about couples who have been together 30, 40, 50 years then suddenly find themselves in the role of a family caregiver.

Our time in caregiving ends: Our time in love is endless. 

For me, life after caregiving is about learning to forgive myself. When I came to the realization that I had to first forgive myself in order to fully move on with my life, a little bright light went on in my head, (thanks to a wonderful conversation with my friend Sam Chalfant) allowing me to understand and accept, that living in the past does not help the present, nor the future: living in the past puts life on hold.

Just like our caregiving journeys are different, so will our journeys be different when caregiving ends.  Sharing our stories after caregiving ends is just as important as it was while in the midst of caregiving.  Because in the end, somewhere along the line, forgiveness, in some form or another, will be part of the healing formula for each one of us to experience, so that we can fully embrace our life once again after caregiving ends.  Sharing is caring… before, during and after our caregiving experience, so  that our hills are light, and with a gentle breeze always at our backs.

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

The road to Spokane is my virtual story leading up to graduation from Gonzaga University

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Employer Caregiving Survey


Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.  Peter Drucker

The road to Spokane moves on with our second and final survey, this one is for employers.   Last week we started to gather data from working family caregivers in conjunction with my good friend, Denise Brown from Caregiving.com.  Denise and I are teaming up again to gather data from organizations who have family caregivers as an employee.

I wrote about my experience as a working family caregiver extensively in Chapter 5 of my book, “What’s The Deal With Caregiving?” and understand the difficulties from both the employee and employer side of the issue.  During my family caregiving experience, I was fortunate to work for Mark Ketcham at SunServe Social Services who understood the special needs of being a family caregiver.   Not every working family caregiver is that fortunate.

If you are an employer at any level in your organization, I encourage you to take this survey. The survey is 100% anonymous and will probably will take no more than 10 minutes to complete. We will share the results of the survey once my thesis is completed in May.

Here is the link to the Employer Family Caregiver Survey https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/CNKRKND

Chris MacLellan is an MA candidate at Gonzaga University studying Leadership and Communication and is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving?” and the host of “Healing Ties” radio program.

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Moving To Acceptance


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Lao Tzu

I’m not sure there is a moving company one can call when you are preparing to move to acceptance.  Moving to acceptance is one of those moves you have to do on your own.  Sure, it is important to receive some help during the move, but in the long run, moving to acceptance is a journey that you have to travel on your own and in your own time.  Moving to acceptance does come with a few bumps inlights the road. While on the move to acceptance, there will be days when the roads will be smooth and the sky so blue that you feel you’re just a stones throw away from completing your move to acceptance. Those days will be quite beautiful! Then there will be days when those darn red lights appear at an intersection which just stops you in your tracks!  That red light just seems linger on and on which makes you want to beat on your steering wheel and scream to the top of your voice so that you can continue on your route. (Those are the days during this move when screaming is Okay!) When you get a red light that just seems to linger, this is a good time to take a break from your move before you run out of gas, because when you run out of gas, you never get to move to acceptance.

There is no GPS device that will help guide you on the move to acceptance however, from time to time, there will be many kind folks who will join you on your ride to help keep you on your path on your move to acceptance.  These “riders” often appear out of the blue sky, and when you need them the most.  They don’t mind helping you with your move, because they see your road from a different perspective and know just what to say, and just what to do while you are on your move to acceptance.   What is great about these “riders” is they reconnect you to your route after those nasty red lights stop you in your tracks so that you can continue on with your move to acceptance! 11410888-smooth-road-ahead-good-times-recovery-yellow-street-sign-1is84y6Some of these “riders” might be on their own move to acceptance, some might have already arrived at acceptance. There will be a “rider” or two who will jump in the car with you who you haven’t seen in a while, yet even after many years have gone by, you pick up just where you left off with these “riders” and your friendship is in full sail again. Heck, you might even pick up a friendly “hitchhiker” along they way, someone you do not know, who pops into your life when you least expect it, who has experienced their own move to acceptance and would like to share their route with you.  All these “riders” have their own place in the vehicle and tend to stay just long enough to ensure you stay on the correct route in order for you to move to acceptance.

 The great thing about moving to acceptance is that you do not have to take the interstate highway to arrive at your destination. Moving to acceptance is better suited for those country roads where you can drive at your own pace, and most importantly, in your own time. There will be days on your move to acceptance where you will want to pull off the road and take the scenic route: Do it! The scenic route will be filled with views of wonderful memories which will help you on your movemoving on to acceptance. Cherish the scenic view! As you get closer to your destination, the scenic views will be like a picture book that sits on your coffee table, however, this book will be forever yours, always entrenched in your memory, always with you on your move to acceptance.

Moving to acceptance can be difficult, but it is a worthwhile move! What is great about this move to acceptance is not only the terrific views, the awesome people you meet along the way, but the ultimate – arriving at the destination with all the memories of the this great move still intact!  Is there a specific “sign” that you have moved to acceptance? No, not really because the “sign” you have arrived at acceptance will be different for each one of us, and that is Okay because all our routes on our move to acceptance will be different, too. Yet a tell-tail-sign that you are getting close to arriving at acceptance is when those scenic views turn from sadness to joy, and you begin to accept, after your long journey in search of what you need – you come to know and understand that what you have been searching for while on your move to acceptance, has, and will always be, in your heart and forever at home with you. This is when then you know, first hand, that you have made your move to acceptance because you now realize and accept that the one you are missing the most, will always right beside you!

Wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season

Listen and see our video chat with  Denise Brown from Caregiving.com  as Denise interviews me about Moving to Acceptance After Caregiving ends by clicking here!

wpid-wp-1448113432219.jpegChris’ Book, “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is available on Amazon by clicking here!

 

 

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Managing a Loved One’s Care from Out of State


Today we welcome guest blogger Max Gottlieb, content manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona.

Managing a Loved One’s Care from Out of State

Whether you are in the same house, same town, or out of state, successfully caring for a loved one can be a challenge. Obviously, it is much easier to care for someone in the same city, but unfortunately families live in different states, oftentimes across the country. It may seem unmanageable at first, but there are many things you can do to provide support and maintain a better quality of life for the person in need of care.

1.) Keep on Top of your Loved One’s Health

The most important way to keep track of a loved one’s health is to create a schedule where your loved one is evaluated at designated intervals. This could mean that after each doctor’s appointment you call the doctor or that once a month, you check in with a care manager. It’s best to have more than one person doing assessments so you can hear multiple opinions. A primary physician is a good option since they’ll be most familiar with medical records, but people like physical therapists, care managers, social workers, or in-home caregivers can also offer valuable information. The important thing is to keep in constant communication with the people most frequently in contact with your loved one.

2.) Have a Plan in Place

Planning ahead is essential. Rather than waiting until a physical decline or medical emergency occurs, make sure you know what the next step is. That may mean you’ve scheduled a home health aid to come in or you’ve hired a care manager to manage your loved one’s care. Whether your loved one has a homecare professional coming in every day or once a week, make sure the caregiver is familiar with what their patient can and can’t do physically. This means talking to the caregiver on the phone and bringing them up to speed with your loved one’s conditions.

If there are any memory or behavioral issues, be sure to let the aid or caregiver know so they can monitor to see if anything changes. If there are no memory issues you are aware of, it’s still a good idea to ask a caregiver to keep a close eye on whether or not there are changes. Also, if there are times when a caregiver is not there, an emergency medical alert could be a good idea.

In the event that a physical decline or an emergency occurs, full time home health might be a good option, which can be recommended from the patient’s primary care physician. Additionally, adding on caregiving hours will help ease the effects of a physical decline. Depending upon the medically needy person’s income, assets, and condition, they may qualify for Medicaid, which will pay for a certain amount of caregiving hours per week. See this Medicaid guide for your state’s exact requirements as it does vary state by state.

3.) Around the Clock Caregiving:

Sometimes, depending upon the circumstances, patients may need a caregiving aid 24/7. Many caregiving agencies are readily able to provide 24/7 care and patients are able to age in place. For an out of state family member, this alleviates some worry about their loved one because there is always a caregiver around to assist. Many people forget to consider around the clock caregiving and usually believe assisted living or skilled nursing facilities are better options. Most of the time, however, these types of facilities aren’t staffed at the ratio of one caregiver to one patient. The major benefit of having a private caregiving aid is the one-to-one care provided, which equals a greater level of care in most cases. There is of course cost to consider and what works for some people may not work for others. Be open to your loved one’s changing needs and don’t be afraid to seek the help of private or state professionals.

Max Gottlieb is the content manager of Senior Planning in Phoenix, Arizona. Senior Planning provides free assistance to seniors and the disabled who need help finding and arranging care services, finding Phoenix assisted living, or applying for state and federal benefits.

Thanks Max for your timely suggestions!

Chris MacLellan is the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” and Host of “Healing Ties” Radio.

To purchase a copy of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” simply click 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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When Caregiving Ends


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. Ralph Waldo Emerson

AARP’s monthly bulletin arrived in the mail and I have to say, it is impressive.  There are plenty of wonderful stories about Caregivers, terrific wpid-wp-1447734881364.jpeginformation and quite a bit of wonderful resources to help Caregivers on their journey.  November’s AARP Bulletin is a must for all Caregivers! As I paged through the magazine, I looked to see if there might be an article or two that might fit my current role as a Caregiver.  I sensed something was missing?   Thinking that I might find the information I was looking for, I moved over to AARP’s massive website and navigated to the Caregiving section and noticed about 2/3 of the way down the page an article on Coping with Loss – One Step At A Time.   I was sadden to see that the article was more than a year old!

My role as a Caregiver changed on March 9, 2014 when my partner, Bernard Richard Schiffer passed away. When Caregiving ends, lives are transformed forever.  All of a sudden, Caregiving is over and what is there left to do?  Immersed in  the care of someone else, now the (former) family Caregiver is learning to live life differently, learning to be a caregiver to themselves.   There are two aspects to Caregiving that is similar, there is a beginning and and end to Caregiving and in most cases, we are not prepared for either of these life events.

As we continue to celebrate National Family Caregiving month and recognize family Caregivers across the nation, I have to wonder if we are not missing an entire segment of family Caregivers whose Caregiving journey has ended. Filled with first hand experience that can be beneficial to family Caregivers,  we are learning to be a Caregiver to ourselves.  When Caregiving ends, its uncharted waters, but when we swim together, the distance to good health and happiness is not too far away.

I’m creating a life to love after Caregiving ends through advocacy, leadership, writing, radio, travel and cruises!

Chris MacLellan a former family Caregiver and is the host of Healing Ties Radio and the Author of “What’s The Deal With Caregiving.”

Our 2015 Pulitzer Prize Nominated Story In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey, still resonates today!

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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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A Book Cover Preview: On National Bow Tie Day


As you might have noticed, I have not spent much time blogging on The Purple Jacket over the past six weeks or so.  However, that does not  mean that I have stopped writing.   As The Bow Tie Guy,  it seems fitting on National Bow Tie Day I share with you with a preview of the cover of my  first book, ‘What’s The Deal With Caregiving’ published Jack Tatar at People Tested Media.

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Photo Credit: Photo Journalist Carline Jean with permission from the Sun-Sentinel

Now in our final edits, my goal in writing  “What’s The Deal With Caregiving” is to bring readers a comfort zone to reflect, re-energize, and find reassurance, knowing there are other Caregivers out there, just like you, who understands your journey, who cares for you, and simply loves you because you care.  As a Caregiver, I’ve been there and because of my personal experience, I want to guide and assist your journey

I will be sure to keep you informed as we get closer to publishing this fall.   Here is just one of the many testimonials that have been sent in to me.

“I really love the approach you took with this – it’s different and of great interest to me as someone who was caregiving a loved one. It’s different because you are approaching it from angles that I don’t remember reading about before. You highlight important issues that sat at periphery of my awareness. I wish I had read this the year Kris started to wind down. Unfortunately I can’t go backwards, but for those now embarking on the caregiving journey it will be of immeasurable value.” Ira Woods, President and CEO of One World Memorials.  Author’s Note: Please visit Ira Woods’ blog, Conscious Departures.com for his well-written and compelling story in regards to when Caregiving ends.

A special thanks to my family, Richard’s family and my  friends in both South Florida and St. Louis for their continued support as I finish this first project.

Writing this book has been cathartic!

We are already working on book number 2 ‘Healing Ties: A Story about Love, Care, Cancer and Commitment’ which will delve deeper into our Caregiving  story with personal accounts of the five pillars:  our physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and financial health. I will write openly about our joys, laughter and struggles, because in the end, our story is about the meaning of love. Look for book 2 to be published early 2016.

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We Might Have (had) Cancer, but Cancer Never Had Us!

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On Becoming A Fearless Caregiver


 

Join us on Wednesday, July 22nd  on Health Café Live.com at 7:00 pm (EST) as we visit with    Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief of Caregiver Magazine & Caregiver.com. A noted speaker, writer and   publisher on caregiving issues since 1995, Gary is Founder of the first national magazine for caregivers, Today’s Caregiver, as well the original online caregiver community, caregiver.com.  Gary created The Fearless Caregiver Conferences, hosted across the country, which brings together  caregivers to share their knowledge, experience and wisdom as well as learning about vital products, services and technologies.  Listen in and learn how Gary is creating Healing Ties all around us!

Cannot listen live?  NO Worries!  Healing Ties Radio is available on demand on our iHeart Channel by simply clicking here. 

You can also find Healing Ties Radio on UK Health Radio by clicking here. 

Visit ‘HealingTie.com/guest-appearances for all our shows by clicking here. 

Or visit our Healing Ties Facebook Page to listen to all our shows by clicking 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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