Tag Archives: TheBowTieGuy

Caregivers: Self Care is Number 1


Courage is knowing what not to fear.  Plato

 As National Caregiving Month comes to a close, here are some important reminders moving forward.

As Caregivers we are often put into a position where we have to choose between what is good for ourselves, and what is good for our loved one or care partner.  Placing someone else needs in front of our own might be difficult for some people to understand, but not for the caregiver!

To be a healthy caregiver we have to learn how to live our life in the solutions of our caregiving experience, not the problems caregiving can create in our lives.  By living a life focused on solutions, we live life with clarity, hope and love.  Focusing solely on the problems of caregiving we live in fear, worry and despair.
Here’s The Deal: Taking care of self is rule number one while in the midst of caregiving. Whether the words are spoken or not, your loved one understands the stress you are under and wants you to take care of yourself.  When you get to the point where you are at least half as good at asking care of yourself as you are at taking care of your loved one, you be on the right track. But first and foremost you have to start by making a plan!  Start by:
Create A Care Team: While are super hero’s our caregiving capes are limited. Reach out to family members and friends who can play a role on the care team. Everyone brings different talents to the team, utilize them!  Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness!
Set a Daily Intention For Yourself: Caregiving can be time consuming, especially if your balancing your career and raising children at the same time.  Schedule something for yourself, every day, even if it is just five minutes of me time in a room alone.
Have A Back-Up Plan: What if you get sick?  See Create a Care Team Above.
As Caregivers, we then to think that we are indestructible, but we are susceptible to illness too.  Stress and fatigue will play havoc on all parts of your body, mind and spirit.
I believe that there is no greater honor than to be entrusted with the care of another human being.  I make no bones about it, caregiving is hard, but in the end, the good days will always outweigh the bad ones.
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Balancing Life, Work and Caregiving


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

The emotional and financial stress of caregiving affects every segment of our society.  Caregiving touches every industry with an untold effect on the financial, physical and mental health of the family caregiver.  Caregivers face and uphill latter to overcome fatigue, burnout, stress and financial ruin.  I know, I’ve been there!

Assessing the long-term financial impact of caregiving will play a role in shaping local, state and federal policies.  Just recently, (May 2017) the House or Representative passed H.R. 1180, know as the Working Families Flexibility Act.  According to the National Law Review, the bill proposes to amend the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA), will allow employees to “bank” comp time for future use.  At least from my point of view, it appears that this Bill falls short of addressing the needs of working family caregivers and their employers.

The financial impact of Caregiving is not limited to the caregiver, the employers is also affected.  Creating an awareness to the critical issues family caregivers face on a daily basis will help the employer and caregiving employee find solutions that have a positive impact in the work place.  Smart employers adopt innovated ways to keep productivity high and help everyone become successful not matter what life throws at their staff.

Employers and their employee caregivers face significant challenges balancing workweblogo with caring for a loved one. On Wednesday August 30th, Impact Broward is taking the bold step to brings the issues facing working family caregivers and their employers to the forefront in Broward County, Florida with the Work/Life Caregiving Symposium hosted at the Urban League of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale.

At the symposium you’ll hear:

  • Hear first-hand accounts of the impacts of caregiving,
  • Learn how flexible HR policies can lead to increased employee retention, improved productivity, and shareholder gains, and
  • Discuss public policies that help caregivers and employers thrive.

Listen too our Work/Life Caregiving Symposium Podcast with Peter Kaldes from Impact Broward and Kim Praitano from Gilda’s Club of South Florida by clicking here! 

Keep your eye on The Purple Jacket for more information on the Caregiving Symposium, the development of the Caregiving Coalition of Broward County and our new website The Whole Care Network!   

For information on how you can participate in the Work/Life Symposium visit Impact Broward by clicking here! 

When we create a collective impact on a social issue that impacts all segments of society, we build stronger communities locally and nation-wide.

Christopher MacLellan,  has a Masters degree in Communication and Leadership from Gonzaga University, the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving”,  and a Certified Senior Advisor. To learn more about Chris, simply click here! 

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Be Part of the Solution: Become a Senior Home Safety Specialist!


One of the things I value the most is my friends and colleagues. So when I come across something that has impressed me, I want to share it with my trusted friends and colleagues. As part of my continued advocacy for family caregivers and seniors, I recently I had the opportunity to take and review The Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course from Age Safe America. I was quite impressed! Here is my review of the course:

” The Age Safe America course is extremely well organized and informative. The instructors are knowledgeable and provide clear examples for the student to achieve success. There was not one glitch with the software which is amazing considering the amount of audio and video files attached to the training course. The idea of the point system and badges is brilliant because it provides the user with visual goals and a sense of accomplishment. Well Done!”.

Christopher MacLellan, M.A., “The Bow Tie Guy” Caregiver Advocate, Founder of the Whole Care Network

Below is a more detailed description of the course.

The Senior Hsenior-home-safety-specialistv2-1ome Safety Specialist™ course empowers participants with actionable ways to better help educate clients, older adults and their family members on the serious issues of home safety, fall prevention, financial exploitation and personal safety. This comprehensive 6-hour self-paced audio/video course offers the only certificate of its kind to individuals within the senior services industry. This important training consists of a 10-module self-study educational program with a quiz after each section that participants must pass in order to continue. Upon successfully completing the entire course, you will receive an attractive Certificate along with a digital copy of the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ emblem to use in your own marketing efforts.

Approximately one-third of adults age 65 years or older fall in their home each year, resulting in injury, long-term disability and and premature loss of independence. By the year 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates the cost related to these kinds of injuries to be nearly $60 Billion annually. In an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs Age Safe America now offers the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course.

In an effort to help reduce and prevent falls and their associated costs Age Safe America now offers the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course.

What is Covered in This Online Course: 

– Fall Prevention Myths and Solutions

– Fire Safety Precautions and Solutions

– Aging-in Place Home Modifications

– Mobility and Accessibility Issues

– Home and Senior Safety Technologies

– Considerations for Alzheimer’s/Dementia

– Crime Prevention and Personal Safety

– Senior Exploitation, Identity Theft and Scams

– Communication with Older Adults and Family

– Performing a Complete Home Safety Assessment

No matter what role you might play in serving caregivers and seniors, I highly recommend you taking the Senior Home Safety Specialist™  course!

To learn more about Age Safe America and how to register for the Senior Home Safety Specialist™ course follow this link https://agesafe.talentlms.com.

Be sure to enter Coupon Code “bowtieguy” to save $20.00 off the cost of the course.

Have a group that wants to take the course? Contact Steven Bailey at Age Safe America directly at Steven@AgeSafeAmerica.com for special group rates. Be sure to tell them the Bow Tie Guy sent you!

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Creating Servant Leaders One Oreo Cookie At A Time


Good leaders must first become good servants.  Robert K. Greenleaf

Servant Leadership is a philosophy and set of practices that enriches lives of individuals, builds better organizations and creates a more just and caring world.  Servant Leaders lead with others in mind.   Robert Greenleaf  is regarded as the founder of the concept of Servant Leadership. Servant Leadership is not only a process, it is a way of life.  

The Way To SuccessAllison Elkow Lazicky from Top Notch Teams is serving up Servant Leadership in more ways than one.  Using the metaphor of an Oreo Cookie, Allison  sets the stage by saying that before one can dig into the delicious center cream, we set expectations with the top half of the cookie and learn how to develop an attitude of gratitude with the bottom half of the cookie.  I love the metaphor of the Oreo Cookie and Servant Leadership.

I think there is a strong connection between servant leadership and being a caregiver.  As caregivers we often put ourselves second and focus on the needs of someone else. Becoming a servant leader is a process; becoming a caregiver is a process too.  When we (caregivers) develop a care team, we have to empower members to the best of their abilities.  While we might want to jump right into the center of the Oreo cookie, we have to set our expectations and adapt that attitude of gratitude.

I find the concept of Servant Leaders and Caregivers fascinating.  I think you will find the conversation with Allison Elkow Lazicky fascinating too.  Here’s to creating great teams and Oreo Cookies! Listen in and learn how Allison is creating healthy teams and Healing Ties all around us!

 Visit Allison’s website, Top-Notch Teams by clicking here! 

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We’ve Only Just Begun: White Flowers and Green Shoes


Fond memory brings the light of other days around me. Thomas Moore

For some reason, I have been thinking  of Karen Carpenter’s popular song, “We’ve Only Just Begun”…

We’ve only just begun to live
White lace and promises
A kiss for luck and we’re on our way
(We’ve only begun)

While “white lace and promises” are great…I wonder what the song would sound like if I changedwp-1489778736321.jpg those lyrics to White Flowers and Green Shoes? (probably not!) Well, I don’t think song writer Michael Williams has anything to worry about in regards to me, or anyone else for for that matter,  changing the lyrics to one of the most iconic songs of our time.  As many times as I have heard this song over the years, it wasn’t until recently that the song presented a different meaning to me after a white flower appeared in my life.

Before the risin’ sun, we fly
So many roads to choose
We’ll start out walkin’ and learn to run
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So many roads to choose. I have debated long and hard about sharing this story with my readers on “The Purple Jacket” but have come to the conclusion that since our life has been an open book, this experience would be important to share with everyone who has followed our story.

A few months ago one of my longest and best friends said to me; “you have so many wonderful things happening in your life right now, have you ever considered going for a psychic reading?”   My theological background was skeptical, but I was open to the experience.

The experience was more than I could have ever imagined. From my past and present life, to future romance, to business success, every topic was touched without me really saying a word. It was amazing what someone knew about me, who did not know me at all!

Then we moved onto the topic of Richard…

“Richard wants you to know that he has made it to the other side.”

“He’s checking in on you, but spending lots of time in Paris visiting friends” (Richard loved Paris and he and Herman traveled to Paris six times)

“You’ll see a flower, a white flower, I’m not sure what kind of flower, but I know that the flower will be white.  I don’t know when the flower will appear, when you see the flower, that will be Richard telling you that he is okay, that he is with you, encouraging you, wanting to live your life to the fullest and that he will always be with you.”

an-american-in-paris-limited-edition-official-opening-night-playbill-3Two nights later, I attended the spectacular musical “An American In Paris” at The Fox Theater in St. Louis.  Thirty minutes into the performance,  one of the actors walked out on stage with… a white flower!     Yes, my jaw dropped!

There is really no explanation for this phenomenon.  Chance event?  Richard and his love for Paris?  The white flower appearing in a stage play about Paris?  The psychic didn’t know I was going to see that play two days after seeing her.

I’ve shared this story with a couple of trusted friends and now I am sharing it with you. Whether you are an ardent advocate for psychic readings, you do it for fun,  have never done it before, or abhor the thought of psychic readings, seeing the white flower in “An American In Paris” has changed me forever.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
(And yes, we’ve just begun)

So much of life ahead: starts with me accepting, liking and loving myself which makes me happy, joyous and free.  This allows me not to worry about what other think of of me, allows me to stop being a people pleaser, brush resentment and anger aside, forgive every single person who has harmed me, while staying in the present to live happily, joyously and free.

Sharing horizons that are new to us
Watching the signs along the way
Talkin’ it over, just the two of us
Workin’ together day to day
Together
Together

Sharing horizons that are new to us:  When we are open to new possibilities, our life is full of new horizons.  No matter what side of the aisle you are on in this conversation, the mere fact that a total stranger said to me, “He wants you to know that he’s made it to the other side” opened up new horizons for me.  This experience helped me get to the other side of my grief. This does not mean I miss him any less, this simply means that I am at peace.  My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me he is forever pain free; my heart tells me he is standing right beside me.

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead
We’ll find a place where there’s room to grow
And yes, we’ve just begun

Songwriters
NICHOLS, WILLIAMS

And yes, we’ve just begun:   It’s never too late to start over; it’s never too late to live your dream; it’s never too late to find peace and happiness.   It’s never too late to find your white flower in the midst of a thing called life after caregiving ends.  Now, for me:  when the evening comes, we smile. 

Here are some simple reminders to help support you during your caregiving journey: 

  • Try not to isolate yourself from others
  • Asking for help is a sign of strength, not a sign of weakness
  • Set a daily intention for yourself
  • It’s Okay to admit that caregiving can be difficult
  • Remember to take care of yourself, too!
  • Share your horizons

I used to wish for visiting hours in heaven and then my good friend Sam said to me: “There wp-1489779515429.jpgare! Every time you have a memory of Richard. Every time you cry. Every time you laugh, Richard is right there with you.” Something tells me that Richard is up there, holding a white flower too

Oh and those green shoes you were wondering about? Those green shoes are Richard’s size 7 that he wore once a year on St. Patrick’s day for over 30 years.  White flowers and green shoes…find your keepsake memory.

Read more: The Carpenters – We’ve Only Just Begun Lyrics | MetroLyrics

 

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I’m a Teenage Caregiver: Now What?


“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”       Albert Einstein

aacy_logo-for-webNot every child gets 18 years of childhood. There are an estimate of 1.3 million caregiving children ages 8.-18 years old in the U.S.*  We often think of Caregiving as a role solely for adults. Child caregivers are a hidden, vulnerable population in the US, sacrificing their education, health and childhood while fulfilling roles and responsibilities beyond their years.  The risk of underachievement and high school dropout increases for teenagers who end up taking on the role as family caregiver.

When child caregivers are recognized and supported, their lives change and they learn that they are not alone. The American Association of Caregiving Youth of Palm Beach, County (FL) was developed by Connie Siskowski, RN, PHD and is the first US program to support the hidden population of child caregivers.   Through a variety programs to help young caregivers and their families, the American Association of Caregiving Youth brings the issues facing young caregivers and their families to the forefront.

Don’t just take it from me, listen in and learn how Connie Siskowski and American Association of Caregiving Youth is creating Healing Ties all around us!

To learn more about the American Association of Caregiving Youth and the upcoming Caregiving Youth Institute conference on Thursday, April 27th in Boca Raton, Florida simply click here! 

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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.

 

matt
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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