Tag Archives: WhatsTheDealWithCaregiving

Milestones


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

I think it is safe to say that there are no better milestones in life than birthdays. As I

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write this on my 61st birthday, I look back on all the different milestones that have happen in or around my birthday of February 18th.

The first milestone (of course) was being born on February 18, 1957. I was born on the night of the Father/Daughter dance was Nerix Hall High School in St. Louis where my oldest sister Joanne was attending with our father. In fact, I just got off the phone with my sister Joanne who reminded me how our father had to leave her at the dance to attend my birth. Not even a minute old and my first milestone has already been created; I interrupted my sister’s dance with our father. “Funny” how that milestone is still talked about today!

There are many common milestones that we all experience in life that relate to our birthday; three come to mind immediately:

  • Turning 16 provided us the eligibility to start driving and gain some independence. Even if our parents are paying for the insurance.
  • Turning 18 provides us with the eligibility to vote and a sense of civic responsibility.
  • Turning 21 gives one the ability to “legally” to drink alcohol.

Then there are the decade milestones when we hit those magical number in the 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and hopefully beyond.

One of the best things about being the youngest of six children is no matter how old, and no matter what my sister says who is going on 29, for the 45th year says, I will always be the youngest! I know my five siblings are “smiling” when they hear this because I am always the little brother.

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The late Bernard Richard Schiffer, February 18, 2014

One of the most difficult milestones in two lives, happened just four years ago on my 57th birthday when Richard and me were at his appointment with the radiation oncologist. I remember the appointment vividly, not so much for what the radiation oncologist told us (I’ll get to that in just a bit), rather by the way Richard greeted me when I walked into the examination room.

On that morning, I had another commitment and had to meet Richard at the doctor’s office. Thankful for the help from my sister Merrille and our friends a Emerald Elite Home Health in Fort Lauderdale, FL., I did not have to worry about getting Richard to his appointment that day. As the story was told, Richard was adamant to have have something for me upon my arrived at the doctors office. I think the picture tells the story.

Sure, I remember the information the radiation oncologist gave us that day which forever impacted our lives. However, the lasting impression of that day was not the knowledge that Richard’s cancer has spread throughout his little body, the lasting impression I have from that day is even in the midst of his pain, Richard was focused on making me happy! His act of focusing on me is the essence of true love, care and commitment, and one of the many reasons why I miss him quite a bit.

While in the middle of caregiving, we may not think too much about how our day-to-day stories impact us and others while in this massive caregiving sphere. Story sharing is at its best with caregivers. Caregivers connect through story sharing because every caregivers has this innate ability to understand each other, even when our caregiving experiences are different. Story sharing also provides a sense of comfort and relief to those who are telling the story; story sharing also provides one of the best sources of information and referrals for caregivers. I encourage all caregivers, as they feel comfortable, to share their stories because it is healing, therapeutic and helpful to other caregivers.

My friends, family, and readers on The Purple Jacket, along with the listeners to my Healing Ties podcast know that I have had difficult time adjusting to the major void that has been left in my life by Richard’s passing. We all deal with grief in our own way. Just like there are no two caregiving journeys alike, there are no journeys along the path of grief that are alike too. The one common thread that keeps comes back to me is story sharing and the healing component story sharing brings to me. Story sharing leaves a lasting imprint in our memories which will last a lifetime. I am creating a new chapter in my life; story sharing has helped me move from my grief too.

The current chapter in my life I am now writing allows me to recognize the pain of losing Richard has subsided, while at the same time, my love for Richard continues remains strong. I have simply learned to love him in a different way. It’s taken me awhile to get to this point in my grief recovery. I’ll be writing more about how my life has changed and how I have been able to move on with my head held high in future blog posts in 2018 on The Purple Jacket and The Whole Care Network.

My I be so bold and suggest, as you feel comfortable, share your caregiving story with others because I believe it is through story sharing where diversity meet the road to combat a common cause. That’s because there is no gender, orientation or economic boundaries when it comes to caregiving; we are all in this together. Story sharing bounds those who care for another person and allows us to find healing and strength.

Thank you for allowing me to continue to share my story!

Chris MacLellan is the host of Healing Ties Podcast, Author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving” and the founder at The Whole Care Network.

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Age Without Borders Virtual Caregiving Summit


 

I am honored to participate in the Age Without Borders Global Caregiving Virtual Summit which begins on January 20-26. You can receive your free pass to attend the summit by visiting  Age Without Borders website by clicking here

The summit features over 60 thought leaders, experts and luminaries from 17 countries who share leading edge tools, insights, and personal stories. (My 30 minute presentation is on day 5 of the summit).

Plus, the summit includes a substantial FREE Care Package that offersinspirational tools and gifts, like Pulitzer prize winning poets, downloadable music and art, recipes, and spot-on caregiving tutorials and guides. Use this to help yourself, and to share with your family for quality time together.

Get your free pass, for daily links, and get a LIFETIME access to the entire collection (over 30 hours of content, plus care package gifts) for our $97 early bird All Access Pass, valid through midnight this Friday. The All Access Pass once the summit begins is $147.

Have you recently taken time out of your life to care for someone you love? Statistics estimate there are anywhere from 40-100 million people in the USA alone serving as unpaid caregivers- without any sort of information, training or support.

While done with love, caregiving for others professionally, or for family and friends, often leaves us feeling overwhelmed, burned out, stressed, even depressed. We find ourselves needing information, advocacy, self-care and inspiration.  

I’d like to offer you a complimentary FREE PASS to attend the Age Without Borders Global Caregiving Virtual Summit, January 20-26, 2018 featuring over 60 thought leaders, experts and luminaries from 17 countries who share leading edge tools, insights, and personal stories.

Here is a preview of my presentation:


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/240288692″>Christopher MacLellan Promo</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user60061055″>Kari Henley</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Think of it as a free online conference or Netflix series that brings you knowledge and help for the most important job of your life. Enjoy two minute trailer videos to highlight each session, and full length interviews that last about 20 minutes- easy and fun to watch! Click here to see a few other
Topics include: inspiration to prevent burnout, caregiving policy updates, family coordination of care, respite and self care, digital tools to improve independence, family caregiver reflections and more.

Plus, the summit includes a FREE Care Package that offers inspirational tools and gifts, like Pulitzer prize winning poets, downloadable music and art, recipes, and spot-on caregiving tutorials and guides.

Click here to get your free pass, for daily links, and check out the very reasonable option to purchase the entire collection (over 30 hours of content, plus care package gifts) for only $97 early bird price.

Don’t just take my word for it.  Listen in to Kari Henley on this segment of Healing Ties Podcast and learn f

See you there!

 

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Getting To Bluetiful


Love has no age, no limit; and no death. John Galsworthy

As the holiday’s approach, it can be easy to fall into the “blues” especially when you are experiencing your first holiday without someone you love. When a life transitions, two or more lives are impacted, there are no two experiences that are exactly alike.

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Chris MacLellan with a portrait of the late Bernard Richard Schiffer in the background.

I’ve heard it said many times, “the first year is always the toughest when you lose someone you love.” I think the jury is still out on this statement. I know in my case, after my loss, I realized how ill prepared I was for the conflicting emotions of grief that I experienced. One of the most disheartening experiences for me was when someone criticized me for the way I handled my grief. We all experience loss, yet no one can tell us exactly how to deal with loss, loss is so personal and so real. I’ve come to learn this was their problem, not mine.

I also learned that it was equally important not to have anyone impose a time-frame on when I should be “beyond my grief.” Grief isn’t something that is taught in school, grief is an emotional experience that impacts each one of us in different ways. Like a plant that needs to be watered to regain its bloom, we too in our grief process need to be watered for us to bloom again. There is no timetable for a new bloom, yet without the proper nurturing and care, our soil dries and we start to wither away. Finding the proper water and soil is critical for “Getting to Bluetiful.”

There is one aspect to grief that I think all of us experience in one way or another, we stop living… I know, I let it happened to me! I believe once we recognize that we have stopped living, then we are ready to start the process of dealing with our unresolved grief.

Emotional isolation has an adverse effect on anyone. Getting to “Bluetiful” starts by being validated by trusted family and friends, without fear of judgement and without fear of laughter. Telling our stories allows our soil to be tended so we can receive nourishment on our journey to “Bluetiful.” I appreciate everyone who has allowed me to share my story.

While amid grief, “Getting to Bluetiful” can have its challenges, but it is a worthy journey when you have the proper water and soil to help you along the way. Sure, there will be days where the path will be bumpy, mixed in with some sharp curves. When those days happen out of the blue, simply pull off to the side of road for some fresh water and soil (a good cry? YES!) which will replenish your journey to “Bluetiful.” That old cliché is true: Time heals all wounds, however wounds healing at their own pace and in their own time and in your time, you will get to Bluetiful!

I’m almost there too!

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

“Everyone has the potential to be a kindness leader. Everyone has the potential to leave footprints on the heart of another. It is simply choosing to do a kind act to make someone else’s life ‘bluetiful.'” Allison Lazicky from Top-Notch Teams.

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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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Preventing One Million Falls


The world of reality has its limits; the world of imagination is boundless. Jean-Jacques Rousseau

According to the Centers for Disease Control: “each year, millions of older people—those 65 and older—fall. In fact, more than one out of four older people falls each year, but less than half tell their doctor. Falling once doubles your chances of falling again.

Falls Are Serious and Costly

But what if there was a way to encourage those 65 and older (well, everyone for that matter) to exercise and create better balance?  Well now, you’ve come to the right place!

Dr. Sheryl Flynn is the founder and CEO of Blue Marble Health, a software company that specializes in developing tools that support healthy aging and chronic disease management.  Dr. Flynn founded Blue Marble Health because she wanted to develop tools that could directly impact older adults while supporting their care team.  I just love that!

2016-10-28-4Dr. Flynn’s Health in Motion platform offers older adults and those with chronic disease to screen their fall risk while offering exercises to help improve balance and coördination.  And best of all, the App is user-friendly along with the ability to send information to your care team.   Having your health care information readily available at a moment’s notice helps mitigate emergencies when we have to interact with healthcare professionals who are not regularly on our health-care team.

Dr. Flynn has a goal to prevent one million falls within the next five years.  This is a lofty, but attainable goal with the Health in Motion App.  Don’t just take it from me!  Listen in and learn how Dr. Flynn and the staff are preventing falls and creating Healing Ties all around us!

As an added bonus, enter the code “Healing Ties” and receive 20% off your order!

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

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Having The Talk: How To Make End Of Life Wishes Easier


The best preparation for tomorrow is doing your best today. H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Richard and I during one of our many talks about what he wanted. This conversation centered around his medication.

Having “The Talk” does not have to be hard or difficult, yet the talk does have to happen at some point in our lives.   I’m not referring to the birds and the bees talk our parents have with us when we are adolescents. “The Talk” I am referring to is the talk we have with our loved ones about end-of-life wishes.

As a caregiver, one of our most important roles, if not the most important one of them all, is to be an  advocate. How can one advocate if you do not know the wishes or desires of the person in your care?  Richard and I always had the ability to talk openly about his wishes. In fact, our end-of-life conversation happened spontaneously; by the end of the conversation, our tears of love and joy were comforted by the knowledge that I knew exactly what he wanted.  “I will tell you when I am ready for hospice” he bellowed…Yes you did!

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Click on the image to purchase Jack’s book

Recently I had the opportunity to visit with Jack Tatar who has written a book called “Having the Talk.”  “Having the Talk” focuses on ways to begin a family discussion earlier rather than later, about planning for the later life issues of a retired or retiring parent. Jack’s research demonstrated to him people have “the Talk”, but they have it too late, either when there’s little that can be changed, or after expectations have been set by siblings about “who gets what.” When this happens, families are torn apart, and loved ones who played together and protected each other throughout their entire lives now find themselves not talking to each other, usually all the way to their deathbeds.

Here is our recent episode of “Healing Ties” featuring Jack Tatar as we discuss how to have those difficult end-of-life conversation.  

While I understand not everyone is going to be able to have the same experience of having “The Talk” like Richard and I did, let me share a few suggestions on how you might approach this delicate conversation:

  • Always use open-ended question
  • Don’t force the conversation, if there is strong resistance, back off and revisit it at another time
  • Express the importance of  the need for you to be comforted, knowing that by following their wishes, makes it easier on you
  • Enlist the help of an objective third-party
  • Use examples of family and friends.
  • Learn about The Five Wishes 

I believe there are two common aspects to caregiving that everyone experiences, there is a beginning and there is an end, and in most cases, we are not prepared for either one of these life changing events!  It is difficult to plan for the unexpected, but having a plan in place does help temper the confusion when an emergency happens.

Have the talk…you will be glad that you did!

 

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Christopher MacLellan, MA is a Certified Senior Advisor, Certified Caregiving Consultant, the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving?” and the host of “Healing Ties™” podcast.

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Graduate: A Thesis Complete


An investment in knowledge pays the best interest. Benjamin Franklin

The road to Spokane has come to a happy ending with the completion and acceptance of my thesis entitled… Spiral of Silence:  Caregiving, Stress and its Impact in the Workplace.   

Originally proposed by German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann in 1974, Spiral of Silence is the 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.  My theory suggested that working family caregivers, fearful of losing their job, do not self-identify at work because they feel that they are in the minority.  I am happy to report that 75% of the respondents who indicated that they did self-identify at work found some form of relief.  However, 25% of the respondents who did not self-identify at work as a family caregiver, were fearful of losing their job or that self-identifying would be of no help to them.  I am very grateful to Denise Brown from Caregiving.com for allowing me to take part in Caregiving.com yearly working family caregiving survey.  Please feel free to reach out to Denise Brown at denise@caregiving.com if you have any further questions about the working family caregiving survey and how you might get a copy.

Of course there is much more to the thesis; we have more work to do to bring awareness to the epidemic of stress that working family caregivers face on a daily basis.

It is difficult to find the words to describe the feeling of earning a Master’s Degree GU_logoin Leadership and Communication from Gonzaga University. I love the Jesuit tradition and the spirit of Gonzaga. Professor Michael Hazel has been terrific throughout the entire process, as have all of the staff at the University. I will always remember Dr. Hazel’s sage advice at the beginning of the thesis in January, when my goals were bigger than the time frame, “The best thesis is a completed thesis.”  Michael Hazel knows his “stuff!” It is a good feeling to have the thesis completed, an even better feeling to now be an alumnus of Gonzaga.  It is nice to know there are life-long friends in Spokane, WA.

11410888-smooth-road-ahead-good-times-recovery-yellow-street-sign-1is84y6I am getting ready to embark on a new road, (one that is not virtual as was my road to Spokane); I look ahead with anticipation and excitement because I am creating a life to love after caregiving ends through writing, radio, travel and advocacy.

Leave your limiting self-doubts behind and go and grab the life you have always dreamed.

That is my new road to follow!

Chris MacLellan is the author of “What’s The Deal with Caregiving” and the executive producer and host of “Healing Ties” radio show  and a alumni of Gonzaga University!

 

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