Posts Tagged ‘caregiving’
This is one New Year’s resolution you must make and keep, without delay!
Everyone over the age of 18 should plan ahead for their medical care, and consider who will speak for them if they can not speak for themselves.
It’s not enough to have a signed Health Care Proxy form (in some states, this may be called a Power of Attorney for Health Care); many people sign the forms then misplace them, or never have the important conversations with loved ones that give guidance about values and preferences.
“Sharing Your Wishes” is a comprehensive approach that can walk you through four steps that will ensure that your loved ones understand your health care choices.
The steps in this approach include:
1. Think about what is important to you and how you want to receive care
2. Select a person to speak for you if you are unable to speak for yourself
3. Talk about your health care wishes
4. Put your choices in writing
The form itself is easy to complete and doesn’t require a notary or lawyer. It can be difficult to talk about these issues, though, especially if you or a loved one is dealing with a chronic or serious illness.
The Sharing Your Wishes website has easy-to-use materials and videos that fully explain each step and support you and your loved ones in having these important conversations.
Many counties in Central and Western New York have local Sharing Your Wishes Coalitions where more materials and support can be found; their names and phone numbers are listed on the website.
If you are outside the area, contact your local Bar Association or Area Agency on Aging for more information.
Please visit the Sharing Your Wishes website at www.sharingyourwishes.org for more information about this important topic today. Make sure you and all the adults in your life have appointed a Health Care Agent, and have started to have these important conversations with your loved ones and with your health care providers.
P.S. Don’t hesitate to consult with a counselor if you need more support; dealing with chronic or terminal illness is very stressful and you don’t have to deal with it alone.
Peace and Wellness to you and yours in the New Year!
Lisa Kendall is a licensed clinical social worker with a private practice in Ithaca, New York. She is a trainer for the Tompkins County Sharing Your Wishes Coalition.
Sharing Your Wishes is sponsored by the Community Health Foundation of Western & Central New York.
Three months of careful planning by many faithful gardeners has yielded a new harvest: twenty-four new Eden at Home Certified Trainers!
Congratulations to the remarkable group that attended the three-day workshop hosted by Community LIFE in Tarentum, PA, this past weekend; it was an amazing time of shared discovery and intense community-building.
This passionate group of committed people came together to learn about the Eden philosophy and how it can be used in overcoming the three plagues of loneliness, helplessness, and boredom that cause so much suffering for Elders and their care partners. We shared stories, challenged perceptions of aging, and explored the ten-principles of the Eden philosophy.
We learned how to conduct Eden at Home care partner workshops and initiate real culture change.
Every participant arrived with an open heart and mind, ready to share from their wisdom and to learn from others.
As this workshop’s Eden Educator, I am humbled by and grateful for the opportunity to serve these fine people.
I wish each new Certified Trainer every blessing as they move forward with implementation of the Eden philosophy in their families, organizations, and communities.
Together, I know we will improve the quality of life for our Elder care partners and every member of the care partner team!
Congratulations, best wishes, and thank you!
It CAN be different!
Lisa Kendall is an Eden at Home Educator and geriatric social worker in private practice in Ithaca, New York. Subscribe to Lisa’s blog about self-care for every member of the care partner team by clicking the link at the top left of this page. Learn more about Eden at Home at www.edenalt.org
Coming to Pennsylvania!
EDEN at HOME
Creating Quality of Life for Care Partner Teams
Training Certification Workshop
Host: Community LIFE
702 Second Avenue, Tarentum, PA
September 25-27, 2010
Eden at Home Educator: Lisa A. Kendall, LCSW-R, CSW-G
Register NOW! Space is Limited
Working together, empowered care partner teams help to ensure the independence, dignity, and continued growth and development of our Elder care partners and each other.
What does EAH Trainer Certification offer?
After training, Certified Trainers inspire care partners, both within their organization and out in the community, to:
- Reframe perceptions of aging and disability
- Work together to reduce stress & burnout
- Build strategies on strengths, rather than limitations
- Develop meaningful connections with each other
- Create opportunities for all to give as well as receive
- Communicate effectively & thoughtfully
- Share joy, hope, wisdom, spontaneity, & respect
- Prevent loneliness, helplessness, & boredom for all on the care partner team
To learn more about Eden at Home, join us for a free informational webinar:
Click HERE to register
Who may want an EAH Certified Trainer on staff?
Non-profit organizations, state agencies, home health organizations, faith-based organizations, Area Agencies on Aging, hospitals, hospices, senior centers, care management, adult day services, independent living communities, and long-term care organizations with home health outreach or an interest in supporting ongoing needs after rehabilitation.
What is the workshop cost?
Early Bird: $385 per person until Sept. 14, 2010
Group: $360 for multiple attendees from same organization
Regular Fee: $435 per person, after Early Bird deadline
Fees cover 3 days of training, our scripted EAH Trainer’s Guide, additional reference materials, and food.
Questions? Contact Meredith Burrus at firstname.lastname@example.org
*** CEUs available with the National Association of Social Workers and National Association of Boards ***
Register HERE or by calling 512-847-6061
Is it OK to love your clients?
I say yes.
Before you report me to the State Ethics committee, I’m not talking about romantic entanglements or inappropriate sexual contact or even the violation of healthy boundaries.
But in the health care field we’ve always been told “don’t get too attached” to the clients that we care for. But doesn’t this go against human nature?
Most of the nurses, social workers, home health aides, and other allied health professionals I know have gone into this work because they care about people and want to help them. When you provide intimate, day to day care for human beings, the kind that eases suffering and reduces loneliness, and you hear someone’s personal stories, share lots of laughter and a few tears, you naturally come to love them.
And they love you, too.
Dr. Bill Thomas, founder of The Eden Alternative, has written about this in his book, “What Are Old People For: How Elders Will Save the World.”
He proposes that instead of denying the love that health care workers have for their clients, organizations acknowledge and support it.
To do so would ensure that such attachments are healthy and appropriate, and provide support for a worker’s grief when a beloved client dies.
Today, the love and affection workers feel is often forced underground, leading to stress and isolation for the worker, and could ultimately contribute to burn-out and turn-over.
Can you imagine how relieved our health care workforce might be to have permission to love, and have support and supervision to do so every day, on the job, in the open?
How much might this improve care for the ill and our Elders?
Lisa Kendall is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with advanced certification in clinical gerontology who works in home care, has a private practice in Ithaca, NY, and is an “Eden at Home” Educator. You can get more information on The Eden Alternative and Eden at Home at www.edenalt.org
Contact me if your organization would like to host an “Eden at Home” Certified Trainer Workshop!
Mary (not her real name) had only left the house to make a quick run to the drug store. She didn’t like to leave her bed-bound husband alone, but on this rare occasion felt he would be OK for the ten minutes it would take her to pick up the prescriptions and get back to him.
Then someone rear-ended her car.
Mary didn’t think she was hurt, but she had to be taken to the local hospital to make sure there were no serious injuries to her neck or back. From her stretcher Mary was able to let the Paramedics know about her husband, and a call was made to her neighbor, who quickly went to his side and remained for the five hours Mary waited in the local Emergency Room to be assessed and released.
Mary realized she was lucky this time, and that she needed to make a comprehensive plan for her husband’s care should something happen to her, whether a bout of flu, a fall in the house, a loss of consciousness while away from home, or her unexpected death.
The love, care, and hard work Family Care Partners do is so important it can be hard to think about the possibility of something happening to you and your ability to care for your loved one. It’s because your job is so important that you must plan now to have a back-up plan for your illness, disability, or even unexpected death.
You can get assistance with this kind of planning from a Geriatric Care Manager, someone who is skilled at assessment and who could even step in to support you and your loved one in the event of an emergency.
You can find a Geriatric Care Manager in your area through the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers.
Make your back-up plan today; please Take Care and Take Action!
In our culture, we shrink from signs of weakness or disability, preferring to see ourselves and each other as strong and capable.
Often, the very tools that might keep us independent, such as a cane or walker, are refused because they seem to represent frailty. In reality, these assistive devices can make walking safer and prevent falls, allowing the greatest possible independence!
I was thinking about how hard it is for many Elders to accept the need for a walker or cane, or even the use of a wheelchair for trips out and about, and how troubling it is that our society has such strong prejudices about the use of such devices.
Then I realized that I have held the same deep biases about self-care and doing the things I need to do to stay healthy and strong.
As a health care professional, I’ve learned the hard way that I have to practice what I preach about taking good care of my mind, body and spirit, or I won’t be able to care for my family, clients, and friends.
- Have you ever felt guilty about getting a massage, considering it a luxury rather than part of your stress management strategy?
- Do you take time to plan and enjoy healthy, nutritious meals?
- Are you getting regular, enjoyable exercise?
- Do you have hobbies outside of work or caregiving that delight and inspire you?
These things are not “crutches,” they are important tools to keep you healthy and strong and able to stay in service. Give them the priority they (and you!) deserve, and schedule time for them in ink on your calendar.
We’ll continue to talk about this, because too many professional care partners and family caregivers are suffering from over-load and are vulnerable to stress-related illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and depression.
Please write me a comment (below) to let me know what you will do to take care of your SELF this week!
Have you ever thought about Aging as a good thing?
We tend to think about Elderhood as a period of decline and loss, but Dr. Bill Thomas, co-founder of the “Eden Alternative” philosophy of care, has worked for years and all around the world to bring a new message about the gifts of Aging and Elderhood.
Elders and the people who care for them have a voice, but it is often not heard in a culture that values youth, productivity, and physical strength.
Listen to Dr. Thomas and his message for Oprah, then check out the beautiful videos that many ordinary people have posted to YouTube to honor the Elders in their lives!
Let me know what you think – can we embrace Aging and change the culture of care together?
A few years ago I was preparing for surgery, and a therapist colleague suggested I get some Mandala coloring books to color during my recovery.
Mandalas are circular designs, often associated with Hindu or Buddhist meditation, and the designs can be quite intricate. Once I started looking, I realized that many cultures from around the world have beautiful circular designs connected with their spiritual practices.
I was especially drawn to the more complex designs, and found that I felt serene and my mind seemed to calm while I filled in the tiny spaces with colored pencils, and it was also an easy, no-mess project to set aside if I got tired.
Once back at my caregiver counseling job, I started suggesting the idea to family members who often struggled to find ways to relax during their stressful days. Several were very intrigued with the idea and immediately recalled long-unused art supplies or neglected coloring books already on-hand.
If you are taking care of an older or ill loved one, or are just looking for a way to calm your mind in the midst of a hectic day, try coloring Mandalas. You can find the books through your local bookseller, local arts & crafts store, or print some pages online for free at http://www.coloringcastle.com/mandala_coloring_pages.html
Let me know if this works for you, too!
A lady at the garage told me there was a tornado warning in our area this morning, a rare thing in Ithaca. I couldn’t confirm it, although we are expecting thunderstorms this afternoon. It reminded me of another July day several years ago when a summer storm took down about a third of the huge, beautiful maple tree that graces our side yard, breaking our hearts, but thankfully, not our cars or our necks.
The same storm had blown over a favorite flowering tree in a neighbor’s farmyard. She and her husband had lived on their property their entire married life, raising cows, pigs, children, and grandchildren. Now Jean* was the full-time caregiver for Bob,* whose stroke left him in bed and unable to care for himself.
Whenever I visited, Jean lamented the loss of her tree, talking about how strong it had been, how tall, how sturdy. She just couldn’t believe it was gone, uprooted by the summer wind. Her grief for the tree continued; she mentioned it every time I called, and seemed unable to get over it.
Jean was a doting wife and meticulous care partner for Bob, and it was clear she was as madly in love with him as the day she met and married him. Bob was often confused, but always liked to flirt with female visitors, and in his occasional confusion would tell me that he’d been out cutting wood that day, or tending to the pigs. In his mind he was as strong and as busy as ever.
One day I watched Bob lying in his bed and Jean hovering over him, adjusting his blankets and teasing him.
It was in that moment that I realized I was looking at the Great Tree on the farm, the one that had been felled, and for whom Jean was grieving in the deepest, most hidden part of her heart.
*All names and identifying details in this story have been changed to protect privacy. Lisa Kendall is a clinical social worker who works with Elders and their Care Partners, and is an Eden at Home Educator.