Saturday, September 23, 2006

Distance Learning PHD

Being a full-time family caregiver means being unable to work or attend school. Online courses are the best alternative to learning a new career or sharpening the skills of an existing career so that when you are ready too rejoin the work force you are able to resume your work with confidence and a step up in the skills required.

Whether you are in accounting, information technology, K-12 or higher education, or criminal justice, Capella University has the distance learning phd programs to help you stay on top or learn a new career. The online university offers 76 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 16 certificate specializations and serves 16,000 students from all 50 states and 63 countries.

For more information, please visit or call 1-888-CAPELLA (227-3552).
Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, located at 30 N. LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504, (312) 263-0456,

Friday, September 22, 2006

Hip replacement information

Have you ever had such a pain in your hip that you could not move? Have you ever been standing in a store and suddenly your leg refuses to support you and you crash to the floor? Those are just two of the things that have happened to me because of my hips. I've often thought that I will either one day end up in a wheelchair or having hip replacement surgery. If you have questions about hip replacement and if it might be right for you, then the NIAMS (National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases) website by the National Departments of Health & Human Services can help answer your questions.

Caregiver Stress & Stress Reducer - writing

Stress is a common every day occurrence for caregivers. Something that after a few years we learn to have an almost second nature defense against. Even the best defense can be broken through, however, so it is always helpful to keep a few stress reducers on hand just in case things start to creep up and get to be too much.

My best stress reducer has been writing, particularly shared writing with my friends. By sitting and thinking about a story the stress can be poured into the characters you are writing about. My fictional characters tend to suffer a bit more mental and sometimes physical abuse than your average adventure novel, but they serve their purpose in giving me and my friends a much needed release from the stress and chaos of life around us.

Hearing Aids

Hearing loss seems to be one of those nasty side effects of strokes, the effected side made weaker in many ways, including effecting the eyesight and hearing - at least that's what I am finding for my dad - I know it caused him to have his left eye messed up so he can barely see out of it resulting in a sort of tunnel vision effect, but it seems to have also had an effect on his hearing.

If you are finding similar difficulties with your care recipient then a little research around the internet can turn up information on digital hearing aids and on hearing loss in general. A good place to find out about hearing aids is at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders.

TV driving me insane

Okay, excuse me for a moment while I go insane now. I'm getting so tired of the television in the other room and the loud noise that it makes. It's not broken, but my dad's hearing is so lousy now that he keeps it up loud enough for me to hear it in my bedroom - sometimes with the door closed. And since I don't like listening to the radio and only TV I watch is Without A Trace, CNN is going to drive me insane. Must look into getting him a hearing aid or headphones or... :::pounds head on desk:::

Stress eating - the bane of caregivers on a diet

Well, my diet is not going as well as I had planned, but it is still on schedule. Anyone that has been reading my Diet Tracker blog (link to the left with my other blogs links) knows that I have so far lost roughly 11 pounds then hit a point where stress of caregiving has sapped me of the energy for dieting and made me go back to my stress eating habit.

I've been using the Weight Watchers plan, and that was where I lost 11 pounds. I am trying Slim Fast Optima now, but with stress binges I have been having trouble keeping more than an even keel on the weight. I'm considering other diet plans such as the Atkins diet plans, so maybe that'll be my next effort. I figure if I keep trying them I'll find the one that fits best into the lifestyle of a family caregiver and when I do I'll be sure and let you all know. I'm sure I'm not the only one plauged by stress eating putting on pounds.

There is controversy on the Atkin's diet and this page from the above website discusses that. There are also some resources on the same website.

You can find some valuable resources on diets at the Health/Diet & Fitness News site too

Tip for keeping up on housework

I've realized that the housework is going to beat me, but I have yet to give up the battle. One of the things I am trying to do is keep a container handy (plastic bin or bucket or a basket) and whenever I am in a room where there's things out of place I pile them into the bin and pack it around with me putting them where they go until it's empty then set it in a easy to reach place again. It helps to get the smaller creeping clutter pushed back and I even tend to pick up larger things and relocate them while I'm putting things away.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Design your own antique diamond engagement ring

Diamonds-USA offers free global insured shipping and risk free purchase on diamond jewelry: including engagement diamond ring, anniversary rings and loose diamonds.

You pay after you have received the order and they offer a life-time upgrade plan. Check out their website for incredible online deals on loose diamonds, Pre-Set and Design your Own - an on-line ring design tool that makes it easy to decide just what the perfect look you are after is.

The 60th anniversary is the diamond anniversary - what better way to tell your loved one or parents that you'll be there forever? Or give the one you love the ultimate gift for Christmas, their birthday, or any time that you want to show them how timeless love is.

Diamonds-USA also has antique style engagement rings, and allows you to design an antique engagement ring yourself so you can replicate your grandmother's ring or any design you truly love as a very special gift.

E. coli and California Spinach

The e. coli in spinach has me starting to look a little sideways at all greens, but so far it just seems to be confined to the spinach. Popeye must be ready to bite his pipe in two after all the work he went through to get kids to eat their spinich. Even 20 years later I still clearly recall his ditty "I'm strong to the finish because I eat me spinach, I'm Popeye the sailor man! :::toot toot:::"

On Wednesday a contaminated bag of Dole baby spinach was found in New Mexico at the home of one of the people that have fallen ill from the recent outbreak of e. coli in spinach. The bag, which was packaged by Natural Selection Foods, is believed to have originated in one of the farms and processing plants in California's Monterey, San Benito or Santa Clara counties.

Often spread by human or animal waste, the e. coli may have been spread by contaminated irrigation water, but it could also have been from other causes, including workers relieving themselves in the fields. At this time the important factor is in pinpointing the source of the outbreak to allow farmers to take more effective security measures.

Everyday Health new Senior Health Center

Everyday Health has a new Senior Health Center where you can find Health Information on things such as osteoporosis, depression, heart disease, osteoarthritis and Alzheimer's disease. This is a new area on the site, so it's not very extensive yet, but I'm sure it will grow to be a wonderful resource for family caregivers and seniors.

Hospital Water Cups for Exercising

I have a new water cup. My dad spent a few days the start of this month in the ICU and they gave him one of those gigantic water cup things that hold like 4 cups worth of water in it. My dad can't hold the cup because of weakness in his arm so I have adopted it for use when I am exercising. It's working great so far.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Although used as a way for many sites to up their page ranking because of the high rank given to words such as Mesothelioma by search engines, it is a serious form of cancer develops in the tissues of cells that line the lungs, heart and stomach and can be caused by the entry of asbestos into the human body. For more information on Mesothelioma, visit the Mesothelioma Medical website.

Family C.A.R.E. is branching out

I've realized that I post a variety of things here from information about family caregivers to information on diabetes and strokes and so forth, so I have decided to branch out and make children blogs to this one where I can post information on stroke, heart attack, and diabetes. I'll provide more information on them when I get them set up.

Advertise on blogs

You already know that I help support myself now through advertising on my blogs, it's perhaps the best way I have found for a full-time caregiver that can not work outside the home to be able to earn a little extra money. (I'm working toward buying my dad one of those electric wheelchairs his doctor says he needs to get.)

My personal favorite is and I'm sure you've heard me talk about them. If you have been curious and would like to know more about them, and decide if it's something you might be interested in, then you can find a lot of good information on their blog where they talk about themselves and about the people that advertise on blogs. I spend a lot of time reading the blog to learn about my fellow bloggers and learn what is going on behind the scenes at PayPerPost. In fact, I think that the Featured Bloggers is an excellent way for anyone that's interested in PayPerPost to find out just what kind of place it is - the people blogging for it speaks highly to the quality of the site.

Diabetes Symptoms

Things that you will want to watch out for if, like me, you are at risk for developing diabetes:
  • Increased thirst or hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Increased urination, especially at night
  • Weight loss
  • Blurred vision
  • Sores that don’t heal - particularly on the feet

Ford Dealerships in Maryland

Do you live in Maryland? Looking for a new car or maybe a pickup for getting that new power wheelchair around and hauling some building supplies? If you're like me then you swear by the old saying "This is Ford Country". You can find Maryland Ford Dealers from Baltimore to Gaithersburg Maryland and spend less time looking for the right dealership for what you're looking for. Just look at the profiles and find dealerships close to you that deal in the kind of cars you want - even if they offer on-site financing.

No more lead aprons?

If you have ever went into radiology when your care recipient is getting x-rays, then I am sure you have experienced the weight of those damn lead aprons that they make you wear. Well, I guess you could refuse, but it's not a very good idea.

I went in to get some tests done on my dad the other day and the radiologist handed me the dreaded lead apron and I slipped into it and realized it was not that heavy. I did not pay a lot of attention to the black apron with colorful paint-like splatters across it until my dad had a twenty minute wait between x-rays, then I got to looking at the thing and found the tag on it saying that it was an Infab GreenLite lead free apron for x-rays. Say what? Lead free? No wonder it was not so heavy. I had always assumed that lead was the only thing you could use for protection from the x-rays so this intrigued me.

Here's what I found...

In 1989 Infab Corporation introduced what it called HX-70, a lightweight material that was met by skepticism in the radiology community. In June 2003 they released "Green Lite", the first apron that has a barrier material that has absolutely no lead content and is more than 42% lighter than an all lead apron. And the Green Lite still provides a full .50mm Pb equivalent protection level.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Keiser M3 Exercise Bike

Okay, we already know that Keiser is the equipment of choice for older adults, now they have an indoor cycle that is soon to be released that I think is a family caregiver's dream come true. A no maintenance bike that requires nothing more than routine cleaning and regular performance checks. After all, caregivers have enough to worry about without worrying about maintaining exercise equipment - right?

Called the Keiser M3, the bike is sure to be a true testiment to the company's slogan - Keiser, "The Power in Human Performance". Already it is hailed on the website as "...the most realistic bike experience on the market."

With unique, smooth magnetic resistance and a unique Anti-Slip Flexonic belt this easy to install bike is sure to be an instant hit. It features heavy duty Shimano pedals, dual placement comfort handles, and a comfortable saddle. Plus you can get an optional computer system for the bike.

If you would like to find out more call Keiser at 800-888-7009, or you can visit the Keiser M3 website.

Average night ... God I need sleep

Here it is, 4:30 in the morning, and I am awake and trying to keep my sanity. My dad's about half awake and half asleep and has been calling me for various assorted reasons every several minutes or so since 3 a.m., this has gone on to the point that I have finally decided to give up. I'm not going back to bed. I got to sleep around 12:30 last night, so I've had about two and a half hours of sleep, which is more than I get some nights. Have to be awake in no more than an hour anyway because dad has an 8 a.m. appointment in at the hospital, so tempting to just shove him off at my sister who's going to drive me and him there and tell her "You deal with it", but I know she can't keep him from falling helping him from the car to the wheel chair (this knowledge comes from past experience). My current plan is to go along, get him into the wheel chair for her, then into the hospital and back where he needs to be, then abandon her and him to go sleep in the car. ....... anyone that is a family caregiver knows how that plan will fail. I can at least plot it out, right? Sounds good at 4 a.m. on one quarter brain power.

Monday, September 18, 2006

3 day walk for Breast Cancer - sponsor a walker!

Have you been thinking that it would be nice to do something in honor of a loved one that has or had breast cancer? You might not have much to give, but the 3DayMom walkers don't need much for their walk either. The 3DayMoms will be walking in the 3 days 60 miles walk this October in Philadelphia and aach member has committed to raise $2,200.00 for the Susan G Komen Foundation. Any amount that can be given to support their walk is a large help to their efforts. If you can make just a $5 donation you can help make a difference in the lives of so many men and women fighting against breast cancer.

Most often considered a woman's cancer, the American Cancer Society estimated in a 2005-2006 document that approximately 1,690 cases of breast cancer would occur amoung men, with a possible 460 male deaths from breast cancer.

Women are by far the most affected - with the American Cancer Society stating that:

"About 212,920 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2006. About 40,970 women will die from the disease this year. Right now there are slightly over 2 million women living in the United States who have been treated for breast cancer."

Please help stop breast cancer. Consider supporting the 3DayMom walkers in their walk, or if you can not offer financial support please consider passing the word about their cause.

Thank you.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Take care of your back with better seating - kneeling chairs

Sitting here working at the computer I am in an old secretary style chair with no arms on it, a seat that rocks and a backrest that offers little or no support to my back. Not exactly the most ergonomic of setups.

There are chairs that are designed to be ergonomically friendly, however. Chairs such as the kneeler chair that gently tilt the hips forward so the back is straightened, promoting the S shape that lets the weight be evenly distributed. This even distribution is a large factor in reducing back pain, particularly pain in the lower back.

Being the most common cause of job-related disability, low back pain is also a leading contributor to missed work, with Americans spend an estimated $50 billion each year on ways to cope with or relieve the pain.

When low back pain lasts for more than 3 months it is considered to be chronic, while pain that only lasts from a few days to a few weeks is considered to be Acute or short-term.

Starting at the top, the spine has four regions:
  • the seven cervical or neck vertebrae (labeled C1–C7),
  • the 12 thoracic or upper back vertebrae (labeled T1–T12),
  • the five lumbar vertebrae (labeled L1–L5), which we know as the lower back, and
  • the sacrum and coccyx, a group of bones fused together at the base of the spine.
The lumbar region of the back, where most back pain is felt, supports the weight of the upper body.
Source: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Some suggestions that pertain to caregivers that the NINDS specifically state in their list for ways to have a healthier back:
  • Ask for help when transferring an ill or injured family member from a reclining to a sitting position or when moving the patient from a chair to a bed.
  • Don’t try to lift objects too heavy for you. Lift with your knees, pull in your stomach muscles, and keep your head down and in line with your straight back. Keep the object close to your body. Do not twist when lifting.
  • Maintain proper nutrition and diet to reduce and prevent excessive weight, especially weight around the waistline that taxes lower back muscles. A diet with sufficient daily intake of calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D helps to promote new bone growth.
As caregivers it is essential to take care of our backs. Our care recipients depend on us to be strong and healthy for them, to perform tasks that are difficult if not impossible when we have back pain. By employing proper lifting techniques, exercise, proper nutrition and the use of ergonomic office furniture such as work spaces set to the proper height and chairs like the kneeler chair, we can better maintain our own health and thereby provide better care for the health of our loved ones.

The ready to go travel kit

If you are anything like me, then it takes you a while to get your loved one ready to go when you need to go to town or want to go for a drive. Just remembering what needs to be taken and gathering things together can take a long time no matter how short the excursion, add in an overnight stay and things get very complicated and can take an hour or more.

I've started having a ready to go travel kit at the ready. This is a small bag or box or picnic basket, whatever seems to work the best works, into which I place things that would need to be ready to go. Sample items from my ready to go kit:

  • A spare dentures container in case my dad needs to take his dentures out for some reason
  • A small car-sized box of Kleenex
  • A bottle of water and plastic cup
  • A few straws
  • Something that can be used as a snack in case he is away from the house when he takes a medication that requires it being taken with food
  • A medications list - just in case
  • A small travel pillow
By having these things ready to go it cuts back on the stress of trying to remember what was needed and gives you more time to remember what you need to take for yourself as well. (I've gathered things for my dad before and forgot what I had needed - such as my purse.)

Simmons, Jannace & Stagg

The September 11th Victims Compensation Fund is a no-fault system designed to maximize compensation to the families of victims of 9-11. Simmons, Jannace & Stagg were asked by the widow of a man who died in the attacks to represent her in connection with a lawsuit filed by the attorney who represented her before the Victims Compensation Fund.

The attorney filed suit in federal court seeking a declaratory judgment entitling him to a $2,000,000 contingency fee he was claiming. simmons jannace & stagg moved to dismiss the federal action. In addition to other points made, they argued that there was no reported case that upheld jurisdiction under the Fund where the issue concerned the amount of a legal fee in dispute between an attorney and his former client and that the federal court should abstain because the state Surrogate’s Court had already begun an inquiry into the size of the attorney’s fee.

After hearing argument, the federal court issued an order that the Victims Compensation Fund did not provide federal court jurisdiction and that it should abstain from exercising its jurisdiction.

Allergy concerns at weddings

Weddings are the ideal family gatherings. A time when everyone gets dressed up and shares in good food and getting to talk to people that they may not have talked to in years because of distance. Among all of the socialization, pictures being taken with wedding cameras, and fun of the big day, the Family Caregiver still has to keep things balanced for their care recipient. As the caregiver for your loved one, you should pay particular attention to any questions about food allergies or special diet needs should the person planning the reception ask. If the menu is set and no consideration given to such things then consider politely asking if it is possible to bring an alternative if your care recipient can not eat what is being served due to allergies or other concerns.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Estelle's Paradise - Playa Bonita and the Gamboa Rainforest Resort

Estelle Reyna, the Latin Supermodel host of Estelle's Paradise, considers Panama as the ultimate paradise for lifestyle and business. Saying that "Playa Bonita" and the "Gamboa Rainforest Resort" are some of her favorite places to stay when visiting the country. Estelle's celebrity status through her television shows, which air on over 800 television stations around the world and a website that greets more than 100,000 unique visitors per day, is a significant contributor to the discovery and image of the small Central American country of Panama.

Her video portal provides an ever growing collection of videos as she discovers the sights and sounds as well as the taste of various sites from around the world. Her work in Panama alone means that over 300 million people from around the world will discover the country and learn about its dynamic culture, thriving business sector and ecological diversity.

Left: Estelle has the time of her life at the Grand Opening of the Playa Bonita Resort, the new "Bern Hotel" in Panama

The InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort, located on a former military recreation beach, is ideally situated on the Pacific Ocean, less than three miles from the Panama Canal, 15 minutes north of Panama City. This self-contained resort is eco-friendly and includes 300 beautiful ocean view guest rooms with numerous amenities.

Empresas Bern, Panama's largest hotel and tour group operator, who was behind the development of the InterContinental Playa Bonita Resort, said soon after having signed the letter of intent for development: "It is truly one of the most beautiful and pristine environments in the world today. We are confident that it is a property that will earn international acclaim."

Right: Estelle interviews Ruben Blades, Panama Minister of Tourism and former music and movie star.

Ruben Blades was a pioneer in the Nueva Cancion (New Song) movement and recorded his first album in 1966 at the age of 18. He grew up in a working-class neighborhood of Panama City. In 1974 he moved to the United States, where his music was eventually recorded and several enormously popular and ground-breaking salsa albums made him an international star.

His film credits include Robert Redford's Milagro Beanfield War playing Sheriff Bernabe Montoya.

In 2004, he was appointed as Panama's Minister of Tourism, and in his spare time he is a social activist for worldwide human rights.

Below: One of the many fantastic views visitors can enjoy from the Gamoboa Rainforest Resort.

The Gamboa Rainforest Resort is a luxury destination resort located on the Panama Canal. The main hotel facility is comprised of 107 deluxe, air-conditioned river front rooms and is surrounded by the lush Panamanian rainforest. The resort is located within the Soberania National Park, 30 minutes away from Panama City on the Pacific Coast. A vast diversity of flora, mammals, birds, insects and reptiles coexist in the rainforest, making for an unforgettable experience for visitors to the resort as they stroll along pathways and trails located throughout the resort, or discover a variety of educational exhibits. Each of the exhibits is designed to explain a different element of the rainforest. The resort also offers a freshwater fish aquarium, orchid and botanical gardens, butterfly nursery, turtle and iguana nesting areas, a reptile exhibit, and historical and cultural displays as well as various nature and observation tours.

H.R. 175 - Family Caregiver Security act of 2005

I'm starting to get very frustrated about this whole "caught in committee" situation. There's been a few bills that I have seen pass through within days or a week, and yet there is no change in H.R. 175's status of being caught in Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees. Very frustrating. How does it get dislodged from there?

Car Insurance and Inflating Men

As Family Caregivers it is not unusual to be alone in things, but the woman's car insurance company Sheilas' Wheels, who offers free auto insurance quotes, says that women need not drive alone. Women driving alone can deter road rogues by means of an inflatable male passenger to ride beside them. This is perfect for elderly women that need to drive places on their own.

Important Information for Family Caregivers

You can find important information on ICU and Hospital safety at the website for the Society of Critical Care Medicine. A particularly helpful publication that should be printed out and read carefully by caregivers and care recipients is the ICU Issues & Answers
Helpful Hospital Safety Tips
brochure from the Patient & Family Resources: ICU Issues & Answers Brochures page.

This brochure helps you understand what you need to be ready to tell medical staff when you or your care recipient enter the ICU.

Find Storage and Moving Deals

Quite often when we enter the role of family caregiver it means having to move either ourselves or our loved one. It can be hard to figure out what to do with the extra belongings both to make room for your loved one and their personal belongings, but extra items belonging to your loved one that are being kept but you have no room for.

Self storage facilities can be used to store extra personal items, being either heated or unheated and some allow for the storage of larger items such as motor homes or boats.

You can find information on self storage across the U.S. by visiting the Self Storage Directory - You can find information on self storage, PODs (portable on-demand storage), interstate moving, even hourly moving labor to help make things a bit less stressful on you.

You can log on and search by city, state or zip code. And you can receive up to four storage quotes to help you find the best deal. Your contact information is only shared with the companies that you chose to have it sent to.

ICU Survival Manual for the Caregiver

After my dad's recent stay in the ICU, I have decided that maybe I should note a few things about visiting the ICU.

When you are a family caregiver you tend to get to know the local hospital, particularly the ICU, but it can still be an intimidating place. Some things to keep in mind when visiting the ICU include:

Questions: It's okay to ask questions and even to ask for the answers to be repeated. You are under a lot of stress and that makes it difficult to remember thing you have been told. One idea is to keep a notebook and write down what you are told in it, that way you can refer to what it says when you want to explain to someone else later on what the doctor or nurse said.

Touching: You can find out from the nurse on duty for your loved one if touching might interfere with rest or care, but as a general rule touching is a comfort that can help your loved one feel more at ease with being in the ICU.

Visiting: Hospitals have set visiting hours for people to come and spend time with their loved one, however, it is not always in the best interest of the patient to stay for as long as possible. Both you and your loved one need to get rest and eat properly, something that is not easily done when you are constantly at the hospital. Some hospitals have areas where family can stretch out on small couches to stay close to their loved one without spending all their time in the room - a wonderful and greatly appreciated service for those who like me get migraines when they have to leave the immediate vicinity of someone in the hospital.

Personal Items: You should check with the nurse before you bring anything into the ICU, but if it is permitted then familiar things such as photographs, a robe, slippers, or in the case of a child a favorite stuffed animal, can be very comforting to someone that is staying in the ICU for an extended period.

Notebook: I've seen it recommended that you should get a divided notebook that is small enough to carry with you. I carry writing materials as a standard since I do so much writing, but it is a good thing for anyone that is dealing with doctors to get into the habit of keeping a notebook on their loved one. The notebook should be separated it into at least three sections. Keep the following information in the notebook:

Section one:
Hospital workers involved in the care of your loved one.
Contact information of the people that you need to keep appraised of what is going on. Even familiar numbers can be forgotten when you are under stress.

Section two:
Questions you have for the doctor or nurses.

Section Three:
Things that you need to remember to do when you take your loved one home.

Ideally you will have a five section notebook - and if so the final sections will be:

Section four:
Journal - keeping a journal of what is happening can be a great way to keep yourself focused and help you to cope with what is happening.

Section five:
Misc. This is for anything that you need to use it for - lists of what you want to buy on the way home from the hospital, recipes you like written out of those five year old waiting room magazines, a place for others to write things down that they want to keep track of, pages for kids to doodle on, pages that can be torn out to leave contact information with the ICU desk, etc…

Ideally your notebook will have pockets as well, where you can tuck any paperwork that you might be given by the doctors or nurses.

Keiser - equipment of choice for older adults

Although most people tend to think of athletes when they think of the Keiser name, Keiser is also known as "the equipment of choice for older adults". Some of the Keiser Performance Equipment is, in fact, designed with the needs of the older adult in mind.

On their over ten year commitment to improve the quality of life for those adults over age 40 they say: "Our commitment began in 1994 after six years of research at major universities using Keiser's Pneumatic Technology showed astonishing results."

And on their website they say (bold added by me):

"When we created the Infinity Series, our version of the cable machine, we wanted to make a piece of equipment that could do anything and everything. Now one of our best selling pieces of equipment, everyone from the rehabilitator, older adult, and performance sports training facility swear by the Infinity Series."

They are very proud of their reputation as being the choice of equipment for older adults and their unique line of pneumatic based strength equipment is perfect for the home gym. In fact, Keiser is so committed to this that they have created what they call the "S.T.E.P. in the Right Direction" program, with a step by step manual for the creation, design and operation of an older adult exercise facility, and The Keiser Institute on Aging that has the stated mission of:

"Our mission is to integrate the efforts of researchers, practitioners and healthcare professionals to provide awareness and access to education, resources, programs and services that will empower older adults to achieve optimum health in the six dimensions of wellness."

Family caregivers and their care recipients should look into Keiser when they are considering the move to creating a home gym, or if you will be joining a public gym ask if they have Keiser equipment and follow the Keiser S.T.E.P. program for older adults. For more information visit the Keiser website at the above link.

ICE Cell Phone Entry

ICE, also I.C.E.) stands for In Case of Emergency. This is a entry that people have been being encouraged to place in their cell phones with information on who is to be contacted in the event of an emergency. There has been a rumor that this is part of a virus propagating through cell phones and sending itself to the entries listed as ICE, but that rumor is false and was started by someone with too much time on their hands and not enough conscience.

ICE is unlikely to be used by on the scene paramedics when they arrive at an accident, but - provided doctors can match the cell phone to the right person and the cell phone was not lost or damaged in the cause of the accident - the ICE entry allows the hospital to determine within minutes instead of what could be days or hours who the emergency contact for someone is.

Emergency personnel advise that while ICE is most assuredly a good idea, it should not be the only source of such information. Carrying something even as innocent as a slip of paper in your purse or wallet with information on who should be contacted can make this process much easier on emergency personnel and potentially save the life of an injured person by allowing the hospital to contact someone that knows about drug allergies and other health issues.

The best advice is to do both. Carry the information on you written on a slip of paper, and enter ICE information in your cell phone. It is 100% safe to do, no matter what some e-mails say, and it could save your life.

I recommend, as inexpensive as the stuff to do it is, get a page of card stock and create a business sized card on your computer (I'll load up a template later), enter the information on the card then laminate it. You can place the lamination stuff between two sheets of paper and use a standard iron set for cotton to fuse it together. This gives you a card that can withstand getting wet, which seems to be one of the major concerns of EMT personnel on both the paper with information and the cell phone ICE entry - both are subject to damage by water.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Baby Clothes with Style

TinyRocker is a new clothing store for children. Where most baby clothing lacks a certain... interest. Making it fairly boring and without any real style, TinyRocker's is not. The clothes are designed with the plan of making your babies the coolest kids on the playground with styles such as the "If it's too loud you're too old" shirt sporting an electric guitar.

So check out the cool baby clothes and see if something there might not express your little one's apparent personality better than your standard "Barney loves me!" crawlers.

Getaway from the stress

Being a full-time caregiver means forgetting to take care of yourself. It is not easy to balance the care of a loved one with your own care. Trips to the doctor or store or other places all seem to outweigh trips to the beach.

It's time to escape and recharge. Tell your sister it's her weekend to make sure your mother remembers her medications ands you take a little time to book one of the Discount Vacation Packages to Denton, Florida, or Las Vegas, Nevada, or wherever you would like to escape for a vacation that is sure to recharge your batteries and give you a much needed boost of energy to get back to your caregiver responsibilities with significantly less Stress.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Make an extra $300 to $1,000 a month - no joke!

Okay, are you looking for a way to make some extra money? Do you have a blog that is at least 3 months old and has 20 or more posts on it? Would you consider talking about things that you believe in on your blog with links to websites that have the product/service/more information? PayPerPost will pay you to do just that, and you can talk about things you would anyway. And with their referral program you can make money just for referring someone else when they try this easy money making thing.

I've been paid for this stuff, money that I will be using to buy my dad a powered wheel chair. Imagine what you could do with a few hundred dollars extra a week.

Go check out PayPerPost, join them and give their program for bloggers a try. If you tell them that sent you I even get $5 as a referral. Most of their ads take less than five minutes to write and pay $5. Many are $10, $15, even $35 for just posting about say golf to your blog.

Check them out, you won't regret it. And remember, when you join, tell them was your referrer. Thanks!

Stress test part two done

Went into the hospital today and got the second half of the stress test done for my dad. The contraption that they use to take a three dimensional picture of his heart with kept bumping into him, so it had to be reset once, the guy taking the test then had to reposition it when dad's paralyzed arm fell down, but it was able to be corrected. The tech guy managed to realign things on the computer in the next room so it worked okay.

Now we have to wait three days to get the results of it from Dad's doctor.

And yet again, I ended up acting like a nurse - has to be I have "SUCKER" all over my back or something. :::shaking head:::

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hip replacement surgery

I have had trouble with my hip for years, sharp pains that make it impossible sometimes to even remain standing. As a full-time caregiver I have started paying more attention to things like that over the last few years, after all, if something happens to me who will take care of my parents?

Do you suffer from pain in your hips? Has pain in the hip joint significantly affected your quality of life? There is a wide range in the levels of hip pain, and an equally wide range in the causes for the pain. Causes for pain range from fractures or Arthritis, to muscle spasms and tendonitis. There are many back and spine problems that can cause hip pain. Among the most frequent causes of hip pain is Arthritis. Some hip problems can be cured through use of things such as hot or cold compresses, others require surgery to correct. Each year more than 300,000 hip surgeries are performed in the U.S. alone. Your doctor can better help you to determine what the underlying cause of the pain is and discuss what options are available to you for treatment - either medication, exercise or, if the problem is severe enough, full hip replacement surgery. The average age of hip replacement patients is the mid- to late 60s. The objective of hip replacement surgery is to improve mobility by relieving pain and improving the function of the hip joint.

Stryker is one of the preeminent medical products and services companies in the world. A large part of their industry is the worldwide orthopaedic implant and equipment market, with additional reach into worldwide endoscopic market, outpatient rehabilitation services, and medical beds & stretchers. Stryker has offices across the world including locations in the United States, Canada, France, Japan, and Switzerland to name just a few of their locations.

Went to hospital for test things

Spent the entire day at the hospital for tests for dad with his doctor trying to figure out what was going on with the lost blood problem. They wanted to do an imaging thing with his heart, but they had just finished something dealing with his throat and he was coughing bad from that so the machine used to take pictures of his heart could not get a clear image - which means that he has to go back on Thursday to do that all over again.

Still no clue where the missing blood went to, so he's been scheduled for even more tests.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Nursing Scrubs

This is for anyone that either is not a family caregiver and needs a uniform, or who for one reason or another just wants or needs a set of Scrubs to wear when they're working - perhaps something to wear rather than your good blouse when assisting someone bathing? The ScrubsGallery has cheap Nursing Scrubs in a wide variety of styles, colors and even patterns.

I love the Butterfly-Mania crew neck top. There are so many patterns and styles to choose from (men and women's scrubs), that I just spent nearly an hour just trying to decide which one I like the best. This site is definitely worth a look at by anyone that has a need, or desire, for a set of scrubs (they have the tops and the pants).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Some people just don't get it

I was talking to my brother today and he just does not seem to understand what me and my mom do day after day providing full-time care to my dad. It is a very draining thing that seems to leave people thinking that just because me and my mom don't go places means we just louge around lazy all the time.

I'm not sure how people can manage to provide full-time care when they are the sole care provider. My hat off to all that do manage it. Maybe sometime soon the folks sitting on H.R. 175 will get off their tailbones and pass that bill so that at least some of the stress of trying to make ends meet can be lessened.

I wrote to two of the folks running for governor in Alaska (Knowles and Palin) asking them about what they had figured on helping family caregivers and their care recipients - but they have yet to email me back. Think it's time for actual printed out letters.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sore Neck?

Caregiving is a pain in the neck. No, really, it can be. I help my dad around and the pain hits right here - ::points to back of neck:: or here ::lower back::. It don't seem like you do much that would cause injury, but even a little done here and there over time can cause pain.

If you're having pain a visit to a chiropractor can probably help determine the cause and maybe even cure it for you. Places such as New York Physical therapy, that specialize in sports injuries, can also be good places to look for help with injuries caused by the repetitive work of lifting a care recipient or assisting them to stand, walk, or perform other basic ADLs.

Remember, taking care of yourself is the first step to being able to take care of your loved one.

Stop Smoking Patches

After my dad got put into the ICU last week by his doctor, he was put onto those nicotine stop smoking patch things - we have the Kroger brand Nicotine Transdermal System patches and they seem to be working great - particularly with a small bowl of M&Ms or dinner mints to give him something to nibble when the urge for a smoke strikes. I went and dropped $16 into assorted candy that he can munch on.

The patches have a side effect of very realistic dreams, my dad swearing that he had shot a mean dog that attacked him in the yard the first night, but otherwise they seem to be doing a good and generally side-effect free job. And he's not getting mad at us over not having a ciggarette. YES!!! That was my concern was that he would be an intollerable bear to live with, but he's not getting grouchy about no ciggarettes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Online bodybuilding forum

Fitness is something that has more and more become a focus for me as I realize just how much I need to get myself into shape to better care for those I provide care to. Sites like the Bodybuilding Forum are a great resource to me, allowing me to find information on things that I need to learn about without joinging a costly gym that I then have to take the time out of my busy day to commute to.

The Importance of Taking Time Out for Yourself

When you take on the responsibility of being a caregiver, you make a commitment to care for the needs of another person that can no longer see to those needs on their own. It is a very important role, and one that when you accept it means that you are also accepting the responsibility of taking care of yourself - possibly in ways that you had before neglected or not considered important.

Your physical health is of primary concern. You need to be able to, physically, perform the duties of being a caregiver. This may include such duties as:

- assisting your care recipient in standing from a chair
- assisting them in getting their shoes on and tied
- assisting them as they walk
- pushing a wheelchair
- helping them stand back up from a fall
- turning them onto their side while they lay in bed

and other duties that require physical strength, flexibility, and coordination.

Your emotional health is another major concern. When you are emotionally healthy you are better able to cope with the stress factors that come with being a caregiver. It can help to have someone that you can talk to when you are feeling emotionally stressed out, a confidant that you can talk openly to about what is happening. This can be either a therapist or just a close friend that will listen and keep your confidence or a support group of others that are experiencing the same kinds of caregiving situations as you face.

Your mental health covers such things as feelings of mental exhaustion and mental acuity. When you are mentally exhausted it is more difficult to do things such as:

- remember medications on time
- remember instructions given by doctors or therapists
- remember to take care of yourself
- remember what needs to be taken with you when you take your care recipient places (including things such as your care recipient's dentures when going out to dinner)

You can help maintain your mental health by getting enough sleep (studies have shown that it is more recuperative to get 6 uninterrupted hours of sleep than 8 interrupted hours). Other ways to stay mentally healthy are to eat a balanced diet, exercise, and meditate. You might also discuss over the counter herbal supplements such as Ginko Biloba with your doctor.

Your spiritual health is the most personal consideration of your overall health and one that is best diagnosed by yourself. This is anything that makes you feel comfortable and well balanced on a spiritual level. Spiritual health can effect the other kinds of overall health, particularly mental and emotional health. Spiritual health is a sense of peace and calm that you can surround yourself with to give you strength when you need it.

This is a health that is nourished by quiet relaxation or inspirational readings. By walking in the park or meditation. Some martial art forms such as Thai Chi or Yoga can add to spiritual balance and good spiritual health. If you believe in a higher spiritual power then prayer, or other forms of spiritual communication, can be an essential part of spiritual health.

Be certain that you do not overlook your spiritual health by making an excuse such as, "I don't believe in any kind of higher spiritual powers." Spiritual health is not caused by religion, although religion can be used to help maintain it. Spiritual health is a sense within yourself of being at peace and relaxed on a deeper level than physical, mental or emotional.

And finally comes something that I can only define as your social health, this is your interaction with others. People need people, even hermits tend to need interaction with others from time to time, so you should not feel guilty about making the time to socialize with friends and family. You can see it as a much needed break - not for you from being a caregiver, but for your care recipient. Get a friend or family member to take them out somewhere or sit at home with them while you go somewhere. This gives them a chance to interact socially with someone else and have a break from the mundane every day activities that can be a large part of their own burnout or depression.

So, to be the best caregiver that you can be, don't forget to take care of yourself. Physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and socially.

BodySense herbal aromatherapy wellness products

Stress is a basic part of being a caregiver, as is taking care of yourself when you are stressed or tired. One proven way to relax is with aromatic mix of herbs and sothing neck, eye or sinus pillow such as those available from BodySense. BodySense products are used by massage therapist, chiropractors, as well as in spas, salons, and wellness clinics - to name just a few and are available through finer salons, spas, pharmacies, clinical practices or online at

BodySense herbal aromatherapy blended fills are specifically targeted to the relief of tension and anxiety, providing long-lasting, soothing warmth, comfort and relaxation. The fills include herbs known for their relaxing and soothing characteristics.

I have used warm compresses for my neck, and for my knee when it begins to ache, they work wonders. I reccomend getting at least a neck ease pillow for relaxing away the aches in the neck and shoulders after a long day of stress and muscle abuse helping your care recipient around.

In case of allergy or other concerns, the herbs listed for the products are:

Neck Ease -:
ALLSPICE - Natural sedative & pain reliever for relaxation.
BLACKPEPPER - Stimulates circulation to reduce swelling.
CINNAMON - Rheumatism analgesic & natural pain reliever.
CLOVE - Analgesic for arthritis, natural pain reliever & sedative.

Eye Pillow - COLD use only:
BASIL - Mentally clarifying, antispasmodic, treats respiratory ills.
MARJORAM - Analgesic, sedative, eases respiration.
PEPPERMINT - cooling, soothing, decongestant.
ROSEMARY - Analgesic, relaxant, reduces mental fatigue, increases circulation, eases headaches.
CHAMOMILE - Soothing, calming, promotes "dream" state of mind, anti-inflammatory.
LAVENDER - Sweet, calming, soothing, balancing, analgesic, antidepressant.

Sinus Pillow -:
BASIL - Mentally clarifying, antispasmodic, treats respiratory ills.
MARJORAM - Analgesic, sedative, eases respiration.
PEPPERMINT - Cooling, soothing, decongestant.
ROSEMARY - Analgesic, relaxant, reduces mental fatigue, increases circulation, eases headaches.
SAGE - Clears sinuses and relieves headaches.
THYME - Anti-viral, good for respiration, nerve tonic.

Congestive Heart Failure

My mom and me took my dad in for an appointment the other day, his ankle was still swelling up and his leg still hurt bad at night and he was still short of breath - all things we had been telling doctors for like a month he's been having trouble with.

His heart specialist said we should tell his general doctor about the leg pains and ankle swelling, then prescribbed Magnesium for the cramps. Another heart specialist had nothing to say about the leg pains and swelling. and the doctor standing in for dad's regular doctor (who was on vacation) said to try and ignore them and try taking another medication for relaxing muscles (Soma) to get the legs to stop cramping - paid no attention to the shortness of breath or the ankle swelling.

The other day (Thursday I think it was?) we took dad in to see the doctor filling in for dad's normal doctor and dad explained the symptoms he had been having the past week and the guy apparently assumed dad meant he was having them problems then because he ordered a EKG, then after studying the EKG came in and asked if we had any of dad's nitro with us - we didn't. The guy ran out and grabbed a bottle and was in such a hurry to get one in dad that his hand shook and he spilled 1/2 the bottle on the floor. I had to help him pick them up.

Dad's normal doctor was across the building with another patient, she came rushing in and checked dad over then said she was sending him to the hospital. I heard her on phone outside the room arranging him to go straigth into the ICU.

And that is why I have been gone for several days - I've been over at the ICU with my dad most of the time. Apparently he lost 4 or 6 units of blood somewhere? Doctor's can't figure out where, but the blood is back in him now.

What gets me is, one of the pages that I got when he was in hospitla says...

Call your Doctor if you notice these symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure...

- Steady weight gain (2-3 pounds in one day or 5 pounds over 5 days)
- Unusual shortness of breath (especially while you are lying flat or upon exhertion)
- Swelling of your ankles or legs that dosen't go away after keeping your feet or legs raised
- Persistent cough

Wait... hold up there.... at least three of them things was part of our reports to the doctors. Why didn't the two heart specialists see the symptoms of Congestive Heart Failure???

I've determined that I need to be a lot more noticable of what's going on with dad than I had been. I assumed that since he's been seeing his heart specialist and all that, and his blood pressure is good, that he's doing okay. The heart specialist even said dad's heart was pumping below normal levels - what the f*ck??? the guy noticed that but not that dad was down 6 units of blood?!?!!??

I noticed dad was pale, but I assumed since his blood pressure was checking out okay that he was okay. I'm not making that mistake with them doctors again, from now on I'm watching over dad and questioning any "Oh just give him a pill for that" reccomendations.

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