Friday, March 30, 2007

But it's so impersonal...

I was talking to someone today and they noted that my family caregiver blog does not have as much personal information on it as some of the other blogs that I have. I explained that it is because on a personal level, as a caregiver, there really is not a lot that I would want to talk about openly for just anyone to read. Most of what I might have to say on the subject of my life as a caregiver either falls into the too personal for public disclosure or too volatile to start into a rant about.

I talk the things that I don't post about over with my friends on AOL instant messenger and use them as sounding boards and sanity life-lines. There is a lot I don't even talk to them about, but part of being a caregiver is having a certain amount of things that you just do not want to talk about with other people. Anyone that is a full-time family caregiver knows exactly what I mean, and they probably don't have to hear about it here.

So, that is why this blog is not as "personal" as my other ones, there just is not a lot of personal things to share about being a caregiver, at least not for me. It would get kind'a boring to say "I got up and helped my dad up and dressed, got his pills, got him coffee and a cigarette, made breakfast...." It could get to be a boring mess in no time and the more interesting parts of it all are not something I want to share with others because it is frankly no one's business.

I will say that some of them interesting points have been highlighted by assorted things heading for me from across the room or nervous breakdowns on my part and we'll leave it at that. Okay?

Trust me, family caregivers earn every penny of that estimated annual worth of $306 billion that they are not paid.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Caregiver Burnout

Burnout is what happens when you try to do it all... and succeed. As caregivers we instinctively try to do it all, we want to be there for our loved one, to take care of them, to make sure they have their medications, that they make it to their doctor appointments and physical therapy and take them out for drives and shop for them and... and forget to take care of ourselves.

It is very easy when providing care for someone else to forget to provide care for ourselves. We get into a pattern of what we need to do each day and forget to include what we have to do for ourselves. We may even feel guilty about taking the time out to do something for ourself when we think we should be doing something for the care recipient. Perhaps there is a feeling that only we can do certain things, maybe when someone tries to help the caregiver will decline the help, even though they know that the other person could do it.

For all the causes of caregiver burnout, there are also a lot of things that can be done to help prevent or overcome it. Aside from the talking to a professional therapist, there are other way to fight back against burnout.

  • Find someone that you can talk to - for me it is a group of ladies I met years ago on the Internet. We became friends in early 2000, back before my dad had his stroke, and have been there for one another through everything imaginable ever since. They are my strength and support in this insanity and we help one another to get through the aggravations and chaos that hits us out of the blue or on a day to day basis.
  • Set realistic goals and get help where you can - I know that there are some points where I can't do it all. More importantly I know that there are points where I don't HAVE to do it all. I let my sister take my dad in to get blood tests or to doctor's appointments. When my mom is feeling okay I let her handle dinner (and not just because she is the world's best cook), or get my dad coffee and whatever. And so forth... Find people that can do little things, such as go shopping for day to day needs (one of my brothers does that for us), pick up prescriptions when you can't make it to town, and so forth.
  • Eat healthy and get exercise. This will increase your energy and make it easier to keep up with the things you can't delegate off to others.
  • Join, or start, a caregiver support program. There is nothing like talking to people that know what you are going through.
For more on caregiver burnout see the following websites:

Web MD - Caregiver: Recognizing Burnout

Ohio State University: Caregiver Burnout

The Family Care Research Program: Caregiver Burnout

Finding the time to be alone

As a family caregiver, one of the hardest things is finding the time to be alone. From the time you wake up to the time you go to bed at night you are often in charge of not only seeing to your own needs, but also to the needs of others. You have two lives to oversee, your own, and your care recipient's.

I've spent a long time being a family caregiver now, and the best advice I have on how to find a little time to yourself is to wake up before the sun. My parents are late sleepers, which means they are also late to go to bed. By waking up early, 7 or 8 in the morning, I can get a little time for myself without any distractions in the early morning hours. This is when I do things that need to be done in solitude, such as clearing my mind of stress for the day ahead or working on my novels. (Yes, the neglected novels that I don't spend a lot of time working on any more).

During this early morning solitude I can gather my thoughts and think about what needs to be done during the remainder of the day. I can get a to-do list wrote up for that day and set what needs to be done the most. I don't always do that, and I don't always wake at 8 a.m., but I usually find the time in the morning to at least spend some time thinking without distractions and collecting my thoughts for the day ahead before my parents wake and I must begon jumping and running at random intervals.

Can't wake early? Maybe go to sleep a little later than everyone else if the rest of the house is on a set 'in bed by 10 p.m.' schedule or something. Make your bed time 11 p.m. instead and spend that extra hour catching up on stuff and getting ready for the next day's chaos.

Lately I have been finding a little more time by having my sister go with my mom when she takes dad for his monthly blood tests, which gives me a couple of hours alone at home to catch up on the housework that builds up during the month.

However you find the time, even if it is only enough time to sip a cup of coffee or tea in the early morning watching the sun rise, make sure that you find a few minutes of your own each day and a little more time each month. It may not seem like a lot, but it helps and will add up - just as the stress will add up if you can't find a little 'me' time in the day.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Water powered hose rewinder - great idea for senior gardeners

Okay, here we go, a kewl idea for anyone that has joint pain or weakness or for any other reason can not rewind the garden hose by themselves. There are a wide variety of hose reels that are powered by water to rewind the garden hose, coiling it neatly back into a holder with no strain.

I remember my grandmother's beautiful rose garden, she even had a rose bush that had grown from a clipping off the ancient rose in Tombstone in that garden. Pathways made of paving stones divided beds of the most beautiful roses I had ever seen. Grandma kept her garden hose rolled by the corner of the house, an unsightly reminder of the hard work that went into the garden. I have wanted for years to recreate my grandmother's rose garden here for my mom, but I would want to get her a hose rewinder - something like the Country design by NO-CRANK™. A lovely hardwood casing surrounds the rewinder mechanism to make the garden hose a lovely addition to the garden rather than an unsightly reminder of hard work.

I also want to get something like the Sink Station for out by my mom's greenhouse where the vegetable garden is. That would be the perfect way to keep the garden hose under control in the garden and have a workstation for potting plants and rinsing vegetables and herbs before bringing them into the house.

This post sponsored by NO-CRANK™

More blood tests someone needs to make a at home test for coumadin

Got to go into town today, another blood test for dad. I really wish that someone would come out with a home test for coumadin levels like they have for diabetes, then dad would not have to go into town in a car with a questionably working heater that may go out at any moment when the roads are icy and the temperature is sitting on -10 Fahrenheit. brrr

I'm not sure why no one has made them things yet either, since that seems to be a common test for heart patients to need to be getting, the heart institute here has it's own little setup for checking coumadin levels in a small office (an improvement over the hallway alcove they had at the old building). It seems like it would save a lot of money and hassle if the patient could take the test at home and send the results via computer to the medical center. If the result seems outta whack then the medical center can have the patient come in, if it looks okay then they can just keep on with what they're doing and send in another test the next week / month / whatever the schedule is. I mean, heck, it's exactly the same as taking a diabetes test - slide strip into the machine, poke finger, put drop of blood on strip and wait for resulting number to pop up.

Nothing a guy can't do at home if they can get the machines down to a cost they can be rented or bought for a reasonable price. Right?

Friday, March 23, 2007

Complimentary staph awareness kit for schools by Tec Laboratories

Because staph spreads the fastest in places like hospitals, schools and prisons, I want to raise awareness for it here on Family Care where so many of the readership's loved ones are residents of nursing homes and assisted living facilities.


Tec Laboratories, the makers of Tecnu Poison Oak and Ivy relief products, wants to raise awareness on the growing MRSA threat to athletes and students. MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), is a staph infection that can potentially be deadly. Tech Labs wants to help schools prevent the spread of this dangerous infections, so they have created a complimentary MRSA education kit that can be distributed to schools.

This kit is a backpack filled with items to help schools raise awareness about staph infections. The kit includes an educational DVD; MRSA: The Ticking Time Bomb, a printable quiz, a poster showing a six-step staph prevention program, bi-lingual pamphlets, and product samples.

You can find additonal MRSA information at and These kits are limited to one per school and can only be mailed to the physical address of the school, not to a personal address. If you would like to find out more about this kit for your school call 1-800-482-4464 and press “0”.

This post was sponsored by Tec Laboratories
Founded in 1977, Tec Labs has been protecting consumers and industrial workers for more than 29 years. Their product line includes Tecnu, Tecnu Extreme, Calagel, Licefreee! and Corticool.


Press Release:

For Immediate Release Contact: Gary Burris 541-918-4124 direct MRSA: Free Staph Education and Prevention Kit Available to Help Schools Fight Back Against Rising Staph Infections Albany, OR—For 30 years, Tec Laboratories, the makers of Tecnu Poison Oak and Ivy relief products, has targeted a common health problem and then set out to solve it better than anyone else. After seeing a dramatic increase in potentially deadly staph infections, specifically those caused by MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus), Tec Labs went on a mission. The result is StaphAseptic, an over-the-counter wound care treatment for cuts, scrapes and burns, which prevents MRSA infections by killing the bacteria that cause them. As a public service to help schools become educated about the growing MRSA threat to athletes and students, Tec Labs has created a complimentary MRSA education prevention kit that includes an educational DVD called MRSA: The Ticking Time Bomb, a printable quiz, a six-step staph prevention program poster, bi-lingual pamphlets and product samples. It’s all placed into a backpack and is offered at no cost to schools. “The schools are really ground zero for the enormous number of community acquired MRSA outbreaks we are seeing,” said Steve Smith, president and chief executive officer of Tec Labs. “MRSA and staph bacteria thrive on warm, moist skin so student athletes are certainly at risk. And we also know that environments like a school, in which people are in close contact, are ripe for the spread of the bacteria. The kit gives schools a place to start in regards to educating their students.” Smith first realized the true magnitude of the MRSA epidemic when the company introduced StaphAseptic to the national drug store chains. “I was a bit overwhelmed by the response we had when we presented it to the chain drug stores,” he said. “Every major chain (Rite Aid, CVS, Brooks/Eckerd, Walgreens, Kroger) has taken it in and I’ve heard story after story of people who have been affected by MRSA in some capacity.” MRSA—A Ticking Time Bomb According to Dr. Dave Bearden, a clinical associate professor at Oregon State University and a clinician specializing in infectious diseases, MRSA has kept a low profile in hospitals for over 20 years, but has recently reared its head outside of hospitals. “Since 2000 we have increasingly seen MRSA as a growing cause of infection outside of the hospital,” says Bearden. “Recent reports suggest that nearly 60% of all pus-forming skin infections in emergency rooms across the country are caused by MRSA. Limiting the spread of the organism in schools and sports will continue to be a major problem.” Dr. Bearden also points out the impact MRSA has had in sports. “The St. Louis Rams made headlines in the New England Journal of Medicine for a well publicized outbreak of MRSA skin infections,” says Bearden. “Infection has also been well documented in otherwise healthy children, and athletes at all levels. This MRSA strain appears to be more aggressive than other strains of bacteria, and has caused severe infections.” Additionally, the Cleveland Browns football team has been hit hard, losing several players to MRSA staph infection. Dr. Peter Coelho, a physician who works with athletes at California’s San Benito High School is also worried about the effect on schools and athletics. “This bug scares the daylights out of me. It’s a ticking time bomb in high school sports, especially football and wrestling….It’s only a matter of time,” said Coelho. Other schools have also begun battling the super bug. In November 2006, three schools in Ohio’s York City school district were closed due to a staph infection outbreak. What Can People Do to Try and Avoid a MRSA Infection? “In non-infected patients, hand washing, coverage and care of wounds, and limiting shared personal items (e.g., towels, razors) are important. Patients infected with MRSA should take caution to limit exposure of the wound to others,” says Bearden. Cuts, scrapes and abrasions are common entry points for MRSA bacteria that lead to staph infection. StaphAseptic is applied to minor wounds to kill the bacteria to help prevent a MRSA related staph infection. About the MRSA Educational Kit The kit can be obtained by calling 1-800-482-4464 and pushing “0”. There is a limit of one free kit per school. Find general MRSA information at and About Tec Labs Tec Laboratories, Inc. is an innovator of over-the-counter topical pharmaceuticals and the developer of breakthrough technologies in this area. Founded in 1977, Tec Labs has been protecting consumers and industrial workers for more than 29 years. Their product line includes Tecnu, Tecnu Extreme, Calagel, Licefreee! and Corticool. In April 2006, Tec Labs ranked #1 overall, for the second year in a row, in The Scientist magazine’s Best Places to Work in Industry survey. The survey was conducted among companies from 21 countries, including the U.S., Canada and Europe.

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Medication safety - keep medicine in a lockable cabinet

It is important, when you are a care provider, to have a place for keeping medications locked away safe and secure. I have a cabinet that has two opening doors on it and a open shelf below them. I can lock the medication up in the main cabinet but still have the pills I have to be able to get to in a hurry, like nitro pills and albuterol inhalers, easy to get off the open lower shelf.

I also have a second, smaller box, that I keep inside the main lockable cabinet. This is where I can store things that have been temporarily removed from my dad's prescriptions because of one reason or another so they don't get jumbled in with the pills he is taking.

I have always felt that prescription medication should be kept locked up, but this is particularly important if they are in a house where children live or visit regularly or in a home with an Alzheimer's patient or someone with risk of depression.

Rugs & redecorating the house

I've said on my blogs before that me and mom are in the process of redesigning the house. Getting rid of excess furniture that is old and worn out or just plain second hand store junk and redecorating slowly (very slowly) with nice stuff and hopefully some antiques.

One of the things that is in desperate need of replacing are the rugs, old and worn out and not at all what could be considered pretty. We're looking for rugs that will fit into the final plans for the rooms as they are redecorated.

I've been enjoying browsing the Rugs Done Right blog, which is abuzz right now with information on the New Martha Stewart Area Rugs that Safavieh has introduced. This is an informative blog for the Buy Rugs Direct website, on which I have already found out several interesting things: such as the fact that most rugs with silk accents are primarily made of wool. How to properly clean spots, how to measure for stair runners (much needed since the last rug I put in the basement stairs was too short by two risers ::wince::: lol), and all kinds of stuff that is handy to know before and after you buy.

I know nothing about rugs, would just toss down what looks good to me, mom knows more and is a little more elective than I am on what we are looking for in a rug. Still looking for inexpensive rugs, but something that will last for the long term rather than need replacing in a few years of being put through heavy traffic of constant grandkids and great grandkids visiting.

This post sponsored by Rugs Done Right blog

Who has time to have a cold?

It is a muggy yucky day out there today, low gray clouds that drop small white snowflakes onto the ground. I guess it goes well with my mood. I am sickly and would prefer to be in bed sleeping off this cold I caught from my mom, but instead I have to be up and about and taking care of things around the house.

I miss the days when I was able to actually be sick and could take a shot of NyQuil and lay in bed until I felt better. Now it's not possible to be down with a cold for a day or three (definitely not for three days), so I am trudging though the feeling lousy and getting what I can done and hoping that the sniffles dad had a few weeks ago was his going through this cold so that he don't catch it from me.

Think I'll go get me some coffee and see if we have any chicken soup, then need to go out and figure out how to unfreeze the dryer vent under the back porch. Dang thing is freezing closed and all but impossible to reach where it is at.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

When you have to move your parents closer

One of the challenges that face a caregiver is when they can no longer provide care from a distance. When mom or dad needs to move in or they need to move in with the care recipient. Many times this can mean a long distance move and requires movement of things that can not be replaced.

If you have to move your mother's antique dresser and great grandmother's hope chest halfway across the country, then you want to be sure that you are doing business with reputable movers that are licensed and insured. Service Network can help you locate Long Distance Moving Companies that have been pre-screened for a number of factors and Services Network has even pre-negotiated discounts of up to 65% to help you save on your move.

Being a full-time family caregiver is hard enough, don't make moving any harder than it has to be.

This post was sponsored by Service Network

When Caregivers are Sick

What do you do when the caregiver gets sick? I caught a cold from my mom, who had caught it from either a grandkid or the flu shot her and dad got. Now I am trying desperately not to pass it on to my dad. That's not a very easy thing to do, though, when I have to help him stand and walk several times a day and fix coffee and food and get his pills for him and and and...

I've decided that caregivers need a supply of them face mask things like surgeons wear, so that at least when they are in close proximity to the care recipient they can avoid coughing on them while still using both hands to keep them steady and help them move from chair to wheelchair etc.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Morning ramble about nothing and everything

I've sat here at my desk the last couple of days and watched the sun rise up over the mountains in the distance. My dad's flag pole is set at the corner of the garden, the waving flag greeting the early dawn with unfurled stars and stripes on a gentle morning breeze as the first golden bands of light edge the mountains in the distance.

Alaska has lovely mountains. Crisp peaks that rise up from gently rolling slopes. In a few more weeks the snow will be melted and the grass beginning to creep up out from under the old growth to create a blanket of green stretching across the lawn and out through the garden to wrap around the small fish pond.

I want to get some work done on the garden this year, build a stone waterfall flowing down into the pond and establish the raspberries back at the back of the garden. The raspberries seem to have died out the past few years, just the ones in the vegetable garden remain. I need to move some of those into the main garden. I also want to repaint and possibly recover my dad's yard swing, it is getting old and in need of maintenance, as is the old swing for the garden area.

The moose have taken the tops off my mom's apple trees again. I just hope that it does as it did with the willow tree on the old ranch years ago and sends their roots deep so that they come back as stronger trees. For years we thought the willow would die, but today it is almost as big as the willow tree that it had been taken from as a branch so many years ago. Maybe the apple trees will do that.

We also want lilacs. Dad and mom both love lilacs but we have not yet had one in the yard aside from a poor little one in the garden that barely struggles to make it and can't get any buds on it. I want to buy a full tree this year and get them a lilac finally.

I guess I should shut up and go put on the coffee now, leave anyone that followed this far to go do more important things.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Insurance [sponsored post]

Shopping for insurance can be confusing for anyone and more so it seems for caregivers. Particularly if they are care providers for smokers and are themselves non-smokers. That is my situation. Although both of my parents smoke, I have never smoked.

There are differences between life insurance for smokers and life insurance for non-smokers. And even without that confusion, then how do you know what affects you? How do you know which is right for you or your loved one?

Look around at all of the different types of life insurance available and speak with someone that can help you decide what is best for your needs.

This post was sponsored by Financial One

Looking for articles for / by family caregivers

I am looking for articles on family caregiver issues for use on my main Family C.A.R.E. website at I can not pay for these articles, but you can place an author's information box at the end of the articles with a link to your main website or blog. Please, only quality articles. This site is to be a resource for family caregivers to find information on:
  • How to talk to a doctor
  • Getting help with taxes for family caregivers
  • How to articles on fixing quick meals
  • Gardening for the physically handicapped or elderly
  • How to articles on home repairs, particularly for things like installing a wheelchair ramp or building a handicap accessible bathroom
  • Ways to relax and unstress
  • Ways to get past burnout, depression, and other similar conditions
And other subjects that could cover a wide range of expertise that might be targeted toward caregivers and the people they provide care for.

Got more information check out


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Give a little anonymous thanks!

There is a service for sending anonymous e-mail, chat and text messages. The Anonymous Email lets you send out an Anonymous Email to friends and family.

Send out anonymous messages to the caregiver you know and give them a special "Thanks" from a 'secret pal'.

This is a great way to boost someone's mood and give them a little lift in their day. A group could set up a circle of Secret Pals where each one is assigned another one to send occasional anonymous 'pick-me-ups' to for a week, month or even a year.

It's free, so check out the message templates and send a 'thank you for all you do!' note today.

This post is a paid ad for The Anonymous Email

Write to your congressman, please

I want to ask anyone out there that has a reason to want to see family caregivers helped by the federal government to please write their congressman and state your case. Whether you are looking to get help for yourself or someone that you know that provides care or just want to do a good deed for the estimated one in four households affected by family caregiving.

Caregivers provide billions of dollars in services every year, keeping the burden off of senior centers and retirement homes and giving the elderly a better life in their final years than they could hope for in an assisted living facility. And in return, they get the thanks of their loved one and once a year the President stands up and says "oh, by the way, you did good - here's a month for you."

We have enough National 'whatever' months, we need to give some help to the people that provide care for the elderly.

I work day in and day out 24 hours a day with no break and was told point blank to my face by a social services worker that they would not help me unless "I came back either pregnant or Mexican" (yes those were her exact words).

The U.S. government tosses billions of dollars a year into care for people in other countries, but leaves those who served in past wars to grow old and die away from those they love because the U.S. government will only pay non-family members to provide care.

It is time to stop forcing our elderly to live in nursing homes that abuse and neglect them. Time to stop forcing them to live in nursing homes that would rather murder them than evacuate them from a flooding area. Our elderly deserve better, but their family can not do it without help and support. Please, write to your congressman and ask them to support bills such as H.R. 175, the National Family Caregiver Security Act of 2005, that help family caregivers be paid as nurses.

Thank you. - online magazine about heart disease and treatment

I have known that my dad has had a bad heart since he had triple-bypass surgery in the early 80's, so I of course keep an eye out for anything about heart care or new resources for information. The Heartzine Magazine is one such resource. Being two years old this month, the online magazine has an active forum where both patient and professional viewpoints on heart disease can be discussed and an active discussion on the new developments in the world of cardiology.

Approaching the issue with a sprinkling of humor the The Heartzine Magazine offers a cardiotoon that gives a lighter look at the serious issues of heart disease.

The site is looking forward to a move into more personalized and patient-perspective media.

I look forward to checking back with this site from time to time, reading the articles that it offers on leading research from around the world and watching the discussions in the forums. As a site that is aimed at both students and those who want to learn more about their condition, I think this site will quickly become of value to those that understand something about heart disease so are looking for information beyond the usual novice targeted information, but not complicated by too much information that would demand a MD to properly decipher.

This post is sponsored by the PPP
advertiser The Heartzine Magazine

Hard work that few can do, but worth it

It is not easy to understand what it is that a caregiver goes through if you have never been a caregiver. And there are a lot of things that caregivers don't talk about in their daily lives. I have had people that have not seen anything particularly difficult about my job when they only spend a few hours a day watching me do it, but that crack under the pressure of just a few hours of trying to do the things I do without a second thought.

I have had my sisters scoff about my responsibility, then come back from a brief try at taking over my responsibilities saying that they have no idea how I can do the stuff I do day after day after day.

What caregivers do may appear minor, and they may pull it off with unnoticed skill, but never assume that their work is easy. Caregivers have one of the most difficult jobs in the world and are, as a rule, paid nothing for their endless work. If you have to ask why we do it if we are not paid, then you probably will never have what it takes to be a caregiver.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Stone Hawk drug rehabilitation facility

They say that to understand what a person is going through, you first have to walk a mile in their shoes. That seems to be the approach of the Stone Hawk drug rehabilitation facility. One of the first things you read when you visit their website is the fact that the people that run the addiction treatment facility know what it is like to be addicted to drugs and to have someone care enough to help them past that addiction.

Stone Hawk uses the Narconon approach to drug rehabilitation. Narconon is a Scientology approach for rehabilitation without the use of alternative drugs in the treatment of the addiction.

For more information about the Stone Hawk facility and their program visit their website at the above link.

This post is a paid ad for the PPP advertiser Stone Hawk

Stress reduction through animals

As I type this I have a small gray kitten in my lap rubbing against my arms and trying to convince me to stop this foolishness of tapping on those little things and get back to the business of petting like a good human.

Shady has a purr that can be heard across the room and is determined that he is the center of everyone's attention. It is a trait that makes him lovable enough not to be pitched off my lap for the mass amount of gray fur I just had to blow off the keyboard and the even nastier mess of gray hairs that were extracted from under the keys earlier using a can of compressed air.

There is something soothing about cats, particularly kittens. It's like Tribbles - soft adorable little bundles of fur that just want to be loved and provide endless love in return (and like Tribbles, if you don't spay or neuter your cat you soon end up buried up to your ears in purring balls of fur).

Which is not all that bad. There is nothing quite like a bundle of kittens fast asleep all over your bed as you sleep. We just have the two cats, but I had several cats that had kittens when I was a little girl. Cats can calm you when you are feeling stressed just by doing what cats do - getting in your lap and purring away the depression. Batting a small toy around on the floor or getting in a losing battle with a chunk of Styrofoam that leaves tiny white pellets all over the gray fur. Easy to tell the Styrofoam won the battle.

Payday loans can be a good source for emergency cash when you need it

Family caregivers need to be able to solve any problem that comes at them, even when that problem requires a financial investment beyond their ready cash resources. There are several options for getting the cash you need when you need it, rather than having to wait until pay day. You can take valuable possessions to the hock shop and get a loan on their value, or you can go to friends or family and ask to borrow from them, or many are finding out that advance till payday loans are a desirable short term option for their cash needs that can be paid back when their paycheck arrives.

It is important to note that things such as payday loans uk are not intended to be long term options, nor are they for large amounts of money. Common loans are low enough to easily be paid back from the borrower's paycheck, with some payday loans being paid back on payment plans rather than all at once. Research your options and make sure that you are getting the best deal available.

The preceding post is a paid advertisement for epayday UK

The Home Wheelchair Ramp Project

Building a wheel chair ramp or long low steps for use with a cane or a walker is not exactly something that everyone is skilled in knowing how to do, but thankfully if you have some skill with carpentry - or know someone that does - you can find the information for how to build these necessities at The Home Wheelchair Ramp Project. They have a book that you can either read on the Internet by browsing links, or download as a .zip file for off-line browsing, or even purchase a printed copy of it.

I did a little looking just a moment ago and the manual has a lot of good information in it, and has details on materials needed and how to construct the stairs, ramp, and handrails. This is in my opinion a vital site for anyone that needs to have someone install a ramp or safer entry stairs.

How to help a caregiver

As a full-time caregiver, I can only make vague guesses as to what my brothers and sisters think about on what they might be able to do to help me and mom and assume that they can not think of anything. They try, sometimes far too hard (long story), but... I don't know. It would be nice if one of them would come around and just say to mom, "Take off for the afternoon mom, we'll stay here if dad needs anything."

I suppose they think that since there are two of us here it is easier and I am sure that when compared to the trials faced by solitary caregivers it is much easier, but it is not truly any easier on either one of us. We get tired and worn out and have trouble remembering what it was that we were supposed to do or, sometimes, forget what we were doing.

So, what can someone do for a caregiver? Well, giving them a few hours to go do whatever they want to is the first thing that comes to my mind. Another idea might be to make up a gift basket filled with things you think they will enjoy and give it to them with a "thank you" card. Or even just send them an e-mail saying "Thank you!"

It does not have to be big to touch their heart and make them feel like they really are making a difference.

Walt Disney World Tickets

Orlando Florida is a great place to escape to for a little vacation to recharge your batteries when the stress of being a full-time caregiver begins to wear you down, but don't forget to get Walt Disney World Tickets so you can enjoy all of the fun of Walt Disney World while you are there. has discount Disney tickets available for the guaranteed lowest prices. Also check out discount tickets for all the other major theme parks such as Sea World and (my personal favorite) Universal Studios. Check out the dinner shows such as Arabian Nights and Medieval Times or get shanghaied into dinner at the Pirates Dinner Adventure.

The preceding post is a paid advertisement for

Monday Memories meme

And the third meme that I currently have a plan for is the Monday Memories. This meme is one that will be a look back on those special days and memories of life with the care recipient before they reached the point of needing a caregiver. Things you remember having done with them or that you had heard from a reliable source that they had done that you fondly remember.

This would be, I think, a great scrapbooking / memory book type of meme where those that are scrap booking inclined can create a scrap book page for this theme and add it into a scrap book that can be cherished throughout the years to come.

Saturday Stress Stoppers meme

Another meme that I am setting up for family caregivers is the Saturday Stress Stoppers meme. This is kind of the last line of defense, or a mega stress stopping idea that will help relax away the stress that may have slipped past on Friday, or maybe crept back in overnight.

My basic idea for the Saturday Stress Stoppers meme is to provide a more powerful stress reduction plan than the one for the Stress Free Friday meme. Kind of the difference between rubbing your feet yourself and getting a full massage at a fancy day spa. Whatever works or you have been planning to try or would love to try is free game for talking about, and as with the Stress Free Friday meme, the Saturday Stress Stoppers is open to all, not just caregivers.

Speaking of stress free - when is the last time you went on a vacation?

Everyone needs to get away from time to time, some more often than others and family caregivers are one of those that need to get away as often and they can, but can never seem to get the chance to get away.

You work hard caring for your loved one. Hard enough that if you don't take a break every once in a while you are going to burn out and be unable to properly care for them, or worse, get verbally or potentially even physically abusive.

Taking the time to get away and relax is important, so call up your sister or adult child and let them know that it is their turn to spend a week in your shoes. Then pack your bags, and family if you really want to take them along too, and head off somewhere warm and relaxing and fun. would suggest sunny Orlando, Florida, with over 50 theme parks, multiple top rated golf courses and beaches near enough to make visiting them an easy afternoon drive.

Take a week and get away, look into the Disney World packages has to offer, and enjoy the attractions and shopping and dinner shows that Orlando has to offer. Stay in a luxury condo or resort, relax and see what you can do to recharge yourself and push back the burnout that is too much a part of being a full-time family caregiver.

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Stress Free Fridays - a Family C.A.R.E. meme

The first meme that I thought up when I was thinking about making some caregiver oriented memes was, of course, one aimed at reducing stress.

I decided to call it Stress Free Fridays. This is to be a simple little meme that can be posted to the participant's blog detailing something that they will do, or have done, that friday to help relieve the stress that they have had building up over the week.

I am not going to limit this meme to just caregivers, since everyone feels stress and can benefit from finding ways to relieve it as they enter into the weekend.

And that is what this is about. Releasing the stress of the week as you enter into the weekend so that you can enjoy your weekend better.

Announcing a new series of memes for caregivers

I have decided that caregivers, in particular family caregivers, need to have some memes that they can do. So I am going to be starting up a series of memes and hosting them at the Family Caregiver Information website.

These will be a mixture of memes: from easy ones that just ask you to post a caregiver related post to more complex ones that may be for things such as writing about a fond memory or posting information on a caregiver related subject. I'm thinking up some that I think would be good and will post a few of my ideas here to give you an idea what to expect on the Family Caregiver Information website.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Silver investment as a family heirloom

Silver and family heirlooms seem to go hand in hand. Whether it is your grandmother's silver tea service, a silver pocket watch handed down from your great grandfather, or a silver broach that has been in the family for generations, silver is a timeless treasure that families cherish and pass down from one generation to the next.

The Monex Deposit Company can help you start a tradition for your children and grandchildren. Whether you provide care to a spouse, a parent or a sibling, you can start a tradition for your own family through an investment in silver coins that can be passed down through the family in their name.

I have a small collection of coins, and some of my favorites, aside from the 1865 penny, are the pure silver dimes (two of them) that are tucked away in with a few dollars worth of interesting looking coins from all around the world. An investment in silver coins can be so much more than an investment when it is passed from parents to children or grandparents to grandchildren.

The preceding post is a paid advertisement for the Monex Deposit Company

Relaxation tips that usually work for me

It is easy to get stressed out when you are a caregiver, and stress is the main cause of burnout. Ways to destress that I have found to work for me are:

A brief walk outside in the fresh air. Even just a short stroll around the house looking at the flowers in the summer can do wonders.

A relaxing candlelit bath. I place a tray or shelf over the end of the bathtub and fill it with candles of assorted sizes and colors, more candles go in safe locations on shelves and the vanity. Mirrors on small stands placed behind the candles help to brighten the room without having to turn on an electric light source.

Gentle exercises such as yoga. The slow movements and easy moves of some of the exercises that I do can be very calming to the mind and help me to relax.

A very good book. It has been years since I have been able to get lost in reading, thankfully I have become a Harry Potter addict and can not get enough of J.K. Rowling's writing about the young wizard's life at school. I await the final novel with both eagerness and a sense of sadness that I am uncertain I'll find another series I can get as easily caught up in to use for relaxation. (Being an avid reader in my youth I read most fantasy novels prior to 2000 (when I became a full-time caregiver), since then I don't seem to have the focus for long novels.

A warm cup of coffee and a few minutes of silence to watch the sunrise - provided I can clear my mind and not be thinking over something that just happened or is going to happen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Woman savers - Research men through their ex's before you date them

I've talked about singles sites a few times here and how they can be good for someone like a full-time caregiver that can't get out to meet guys or gals - but what about the guys that should not be on the things? You know the ones I am talking about, the guys that lie about themselves so that they can find a lady to have a little no names traded meeting with.

I've encountered them before, the "meet me behind Wendy's for a no names traded quickie in my car," or how about the, "Well, no, I'm not single, but she doesn't understand me," how about the guy that says "I'm single!" only to turn out to have a wife and several kids.

If these sound familiar, then you should be happy to know that there is a website for ladies to check out guys before they date them, Woman Savers. Woman Savers has articles on things such as why men cheat, signs of an abusive man and what a woman should do, how to catch a cheating husband, and even a database of known cheaters.

Caregivers have enough to worry about without worrying about what kind of man they are meeting. Now you can find out straight from the ex's if the guy is no good before you get too deeply involved. The information on Woman Savers is not guaranteed, as it is entered anonymously and no information on IP addresses or other identifiers are kept (such information is erased daily). As a result Woman Savers is a good place to look for information, but any woman should be advised that it can as easily be an unhappy ex getting even as it could be an honest ex reporting on a scumbag.

This post has been sponsored by Woman Savers

Frustrations of getting half paralyzed men into cars

Okay, I got dad all ready and into the car and they're gone now. I'm better than half insane, but they're off to his appointment. Dang icy paths out there (even with sanding) and we got to the car and he went to sit down and sat too far forward so ended up on the floorboards. Great. So there I am, holding the front of his coat and trying to tell him how to get out of the predicament and he's pissed about having got there in the first place and yelling at me that he can't when he won't even try - so of course I am getting frustrated. I finally just haul him up by the coat (not easy when he's 6'2" and I am 5'2") and he gets his feet under him and sitting in the passenger seat where he belongs. By then he's pissed off and growling and I just get his seat belt done up and make sure he's seated straight and get the door closed. I'm so glad I didn't have to go along, was probably a very lovely ride for at least the first 5 or 10 miles. ::snort::

Single moms and dads dating site [paid ad]

It can be hard enough to find someone when you are a full-time caregiver, if you have children it can get even harder. Single Moms And Dads is a dating site for single moms and dads looking for someone that they can connect with.

I know when I am looking at dating sites, I usually look more at the Single Dads than the men without kids, I suppose because one of my brothers is a single dad and I know he is a great guy, so I figure maybe guys with kids are generally safer than those without kids? I don't know, but I can understand from my brother's experiences as much as from my own that it is not easy to find someone special and when you are a single parent it can be even harder.

So, if you are a single mom or dad and are trying to find someone, check out Single Moms And Dads.

The preceding post is a paid advertisement
for Single Moms And Dads, a PPP advertiser

Endless work, no time to be sick

It is no wonder that caregivers are so prone to burning out. There seems to be endless things that need to be done and even though everyone else has the luxury of being sick, the primary caregiver does not seem to have that luxury.

I am running myself ragged at the moment getting my dad ready to go for a blood test and feel like crawling into bed and sleeping away the rest of the day rather than getting dad ready. Mom's down from not feeling good so is no help today and it don't seem to be the job of any of my brothers or sisters to help out with that kind of thing. One of my sisters will take mom and dad into town to the blood test appointment, so at least I don't have to get myself ready as well, but it would be nice if they would at least try to help.

I've even asked before, one of my brothers does a semi decent job as long as someone else is around, but if no one else is around he blows me off and leaves it to me. The sister that is around just acts like she didn't hear me unless it is something she feels like doing.

I guess I'm just stressing out, but dang-it, why is it everyone else in the family can take time off when they're feeling under the weather?

Friday, March 02, 2007

SunPorch sunroom screenroom [sponsored post]

When you live in a state where the Sun rises and sets within the same hour in the summer, and in parts does not even go down for part of the year (yes, that's right, north of me the sun stays in the sky 24/7 for part of the year, but they trade off for complete night, no Sun in the sky, for the opposite part of the year. Anyway, when you live with a lot of sunlight, you pay attention to things like the SunPorch. Me and my mom have talked for years about putting in a sun porch.

Sun rooms from SunPorch keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. You can mount the sun room patio enclosure right on your existing deck and, with new Easy-Slide windows, you can convert from a sunroom to a screenroom in just seconds. Check out the SunPorch Home page for all of the details on SunPorch sunrooms and how you can get a 10 percent discount on all orders placed by April 30th, 2007 as part of their celebration of their new design.

While you're at the website, be sure to check out the demos they have to show you more about the ease and convenience of a SunPorch sunroom and screenroom. These are perfect for anyone that wants to be able to enjoy the outdoors without being able to get out into the outdoors (because of say something like the buzzard sized mosquitoes we have in Alaska).

This post is a paid advertisement
for the PPP advertiser SunPorch

H.R. 175 [109th]: Family Caregiver Security Act of 2005

H.R. 175 [109th]: Family Caregiver Security Act of 2005
Final Status: Introduced
This bill was proposed in a previous session of Congress. Sessions of Congress last two years, and at the end of each session all proposed bills and resolutions that haven't passed are cleared from the books. This bill never became law.
- source GovTrack
(accessed Mar 2, 2007)

Last Action:Feb 4, 2005: House Energy and Commerce: Referred to the Subcommittee on Health, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Chairman.

This bill is in the first stage of the legislative process where the bill is considered in committee and may undergo significant changes in markup sessions. The bill has been referred to the following committees:

Yes, it is still tangled up in them committees and from the looks of it they have jerked around enough to not have to do anything for family caregivers without it starting all over again.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Have you thanked a family caregiver today?

If you are reading this blog, then chances are you at least know someone that is a family caregiver - shoot, with 1 in 4 families having a family caregiver chances are you know one even if you were not reading this blog.

Have you thanked your brother, sister, parent, aunt, uncle, whoever, for the work they do providing care for your loved one?

Being a family caregiver is the highest stress unpaid job in the world, which makes it more important than I can tell you to take a moment to say "Thank you" to the caregivers you know.

One of the best thank you gifts I know of is a bouquet of flowers or a gift basket. Whether you are looking for a Seattle flower shop, one in New York, or anywhere in the nation, you can find beautiful FTD floral arrangements and gourmet gift baskets at Digital Flowers.

Whether you are looking for something like the FTD® Blooming Masterpiece™ Bouquet or a cute Bear with Chocolates gift, you can find the perfect way to say "Thank you" at Digital Flowers.

This post is a paid ad for the
PPP advertiser Digital Flowers

The brain is more complex than we know

After my dad suffered a stroke years ago, the doctors had said that his long term memory would be greatly affected. They warned us to expect him to not remember any of us and to have forgot most of his life. Well, there were some small problems, but they were mostly from the grogginess of coming back to awareness after being out and sedated. There are some changes to my dad's short term memory, he looses focus easily and seems to have no concept of how much time passes - Which is odd, since I had always had the worst concept of time passage and he seemed to be able to tell almost to the second how long had passed.

His long term memory seems to be working good, though. He can recall stuff that happened throughout his life and his military career - often to the exact date. Mom and me were talking the other day about it and trying to figure out if half his brain is now gone because of that stroke, what information was stored there? He is paralyzed on one side and has no sense of balance any more, but surely that is not all that was there? He seems to be able to recall things as good as ever - even talks at times about novels he had read in the past.

I'm not sure just what the human brain is all about, but I do know it is more complex than we're going to be easily figuring out.

Shoot, the Myth Busters today were showing goldfish have good memories by teaching them in I think it was 48 days to work their way through a maze to get to where their food is at, so apparently even a goldfish brain is too complex for us to understand - why should we hope to understand a human brain?

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