Tag Archives: TheBowTieGuy

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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Is There A Connection Between Dementia and Dirty Air?


Today we welcome a contribution from freelance writer  Jess Walters to “The Purple Jacket”

Why Caregivers Should Monitor Air Quality

Caring for a loved one is a heavy burden, and you’ll want to do the best you can for them. Some of the duties you will perform as a carer are quite typical, such as feeding, shopping and cleaning. However, there are other less obvious things to consider when looking after someone. A topic that isn’t usually at the forefront of people’s minds is the quality of air.

Scientists believe that there may be a link between polluted air which is high in magnetite, and dementia. People with dementia have elevated levels of magnetite in their brains. Therefore, it is vital that the air is clean for yourself and your loved one. You can do this by using a portable air purifier, and by purchasing high quality filters for your HVAC, which will screen smaller particles in the air.

A silent buildup of tiny magnets in the brain sounds like science fiction, but researchers say it’s reality for adults who live in cities, thanks to air pollution. Now, they’re trying to find out if high levels of magnetite, a particle found in dirty air, can cause Alzheimer’s. They’re concerned because Alzheimer’s patients also have lots of magnetite in their brains. It’s not yet clear if elevated brain magnetite levels are a cause or an effect of dementia, but magnetite is hardly the only air pollutant, and there’s no question that cleaner air is better for your health. Here are some tips for clearing the air for yourself and your parents.

Keep an eye on local air quality

Local industries, pollen, dust storms, and wildfires can create health hazards for seniors, especially those with allergies, asthma, and lung diseases. Most local weather forecasts now include information on daily air quality, including the types and amounts of pollutants such as ozone and dust. You can also visit the Environmental Protection Agency’s real-time national air quality map at AirNow, enter your zip code or and see local air quality and tomorrow’s forecast.

When the pollutants and pollen are high, it may be best to stay indoors or at least avoid exercising outdoors. You may be tempted to put on a mask and get on with outdoor activities despite the dirty air, but health experts warn that thick, tight-fitting masks that can filter out pollution particles may also make it harder to breathe. Read the rest of this guide here.

“Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.” Jess Walter <jesswalterwriter@gmail.com>

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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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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 

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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

Preserving Our Legacy


The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge. Bertrand Russell

2016-10-27-3I am often inspired by family caregivers who share their story; I find story sharing to be healing.  One of the reasons I started to blog about our Caregiving experience was to have an outlet to share our story.   When we share our story, there is a sense of relief that you have been heard, that your experience might be of help to someone.

Mike Stith from One Legacy has a passion for sharing inspirational stories.  Mike has helped families preserve their family legacy through story telling that he captures in a variety of ways.    Mike believes that in sharing stories, On Legacy is adding a special piece of history for future generations.  I think he is right on target with that assessment.

I did not have the opportunity to meet three of my four grandparents, however I do remember my five older siblings talking about all four of our grandparents with fond memories.  How I wish we would have been able to capture my grandparents legacy so that I would have had a better sense of my grandparents.  One Legacy is preserving family stories for future generations in a way will capture the hearts of future family generations.

Don’t just take it from me, listen in and learn how Mike Stith from One Legacy is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To learn more about One Legacy visit them on-line at http://onelegacy.com/

You can reach Mike Stith via email at mstith@onelegacy.com   Twitter https://twitter.com/one_legacy_com  Facebook https://www.facebook.com/onelegacyllc

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving” and the Host of  Healing Ties Radio

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Cancer, Caregiving and Advocacy


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Love Not Fear Movement


“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” — Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Elizabeth Noelle-Neumann was a German political scientist who developed a mass communication theory called the Spiral of Silence.  The Spiral of Silence is a term meant to refer to the tendency of people to remain silent when they feel that their views are in opposition to the majority view on a subject.  People who feel they are in the minority, sense isolation, fear or exclusion  and tend to remain silent instead of voicing opinions.  Often used in a political or media content,  Noelle-Neumann’s Spiral of Silence mass communication theory explains the growth and spread of public opinion.

It’s time to break our silence and exchange fear for love. 

People, like myself, who have lived in fear for a variety of reasons, often tend to stay silent until they experience that “Ah-Ha” moment and come to realize that fear is useless.th (2)As a young man, my fear always centered around my sexual orientation.  As I have grown older, my fear has shifted to fearing success. What a quagmire; life is a process...I am letting go of my fears.

In today’s society,  there seems to be a cultural bias that leans towards fear? Cable news tends to report more negative aspects of life and politics: Are things really bad as they appear (political climate) or is our current climate permeated by a lack of leadership, poor communication skills or…fear?   Where has open, honest and respectable dialogue gone from our leaders?   The Spiral of Silence is alive in our own fears.

One of the ways of letting go of fear is to embrace communication from the standpoint of love.  That is what the Love Not Fear Movement is all about.  I think all of us recognize from our diversity, we are not always going to agree,  nor am I am suggesting that we live in acalmPollyanna world.  However, when we focus our communication to others with love, we tear down walls, not build them. We lift people up, not criticize them. We disagree with respect, and learn from our differences.   We then break the Spiral of Silence

How do we build a community that surrounds us with the lovenotfearlogomessage of love?  Listen in and learn how Jeff Johnson is eliminating fear (and the Spiral of Silence) through the Love Not Fear Movement!   Because in the end…Love Is The Winner! 

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving? and the Executive Producer and Host of Healing Ties Radio. 

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