Sunday, September 30, 2007

Volume 1: Issue 3

Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter
Family Caring for America's Retired and Elderly
September 23 - September 29, 2007

The Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter is dedicated to bringing its readers the best information I can find on issues that matter to family caregivers.

This week .... this week I have so lost focus on everything. I am just going to get through this week and pick up the slack on all this next week, I promise. I have a notebook now that
I am using to track week to week, that way I can be certain to get this updated more properly.


Friday, September 28, 2007

Recharge yourself with a Free Raleigh, NC Getaway

There is something about the past that makes us stop and gaze in wonder. A mystery that we desire to unravel and explore. Clues to follow and piece together into the map that brings us up to the world we life in.

The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh N.C. is a beautiful exploration of this map of the past, with exhibits such as the Terrors of the South. Terrors of the South is the only display anywhere in the world to feature the Acrocanthosaurus. Nicknamed 'Fran' the Acrocanthosaurus on display at the Museum of Natural Sciences is the largest and includes the only known complete skull and forelimb of an Acrocanthosaurus.

Find out all about this magnificent Acrocanthosaurus when you explore the Terrors of the South. For more information check out Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries for pricing information and other details of the museum to help you plan your visit.

The Museum of Natural Sciences is not the only reason to visit Raleigh for a one of a kind Fall Getaway, however, there is plenty of things to see and do in this “hidden treasure” vacation spot. And right now is a great time to discover because you can register to win a FREE Raleigh Getaway. This is a great opportunity to escape and explore the attractions and culture that Raleigh has to offer.

In the FREE Raleigh Getaway the winner receives:
  • One night accommodations for two at the Courtyard by Marriott Raleigh Crabtree Valley
  • $25 gift certificate to Bloomsbury Bistro
  • Free VIP admission for two to Rum Runners
  • 2 tickets to the North Carolina Theater
  • 2 tickets to the N.C. Museum of Art’s Landscapes from the Age of Impressionism
  • 2 tickets to Dinosaurs: Ancient Fossils, New Discoveries at the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences
There is so much to see and do in Raleigh, and the fall is one of the most beautiful times of the year to visit North Carolina, so get your registration in for this FREE Raleigh Getaway soon! And just think, it is the perfect time to recharge that energy being a caregiver saps away and give yourself a boost going into the holiday season.

Do I have to be up doing things today?

Why is it that my dad's the one taking physical therapy but I am the one feeling like I have been beat with a stick? I am so not looking forward to having to get things ready today and take him down for his physical therapy appointment, but I know I have to. That cough is still lingering from the flu I had last week, kept me up most of the night and made me seriously consider a 4 a.m. ride on the ATV to go get cough drops. Then I went to the durned store a little while ago and freaking forgot to pick up the cough drops... I wonder if Atomic FireBall candy jawbreakers cure coughs... hmm.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Dating site for seniors

This is something that I thought might be of interest here, and since I had not seen anything else like it before now I decided to share it. A dating site that is specifically for seniors.

Yup, that's right. A dating site for seniors. I obviously have not looked into the senior dating site myself, since both of my parents are alive and just happily celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary a few days ago, but I can see where it would be a useful thing for single seniors to be able to connect with other single seniors for friendship, dating and yes, love does not die out just because Social Security kicks in.

I suppose that some people might blink and look a little funny at the idea of senior personals, but I think it is a good idea since I doubt that any seniors that would want to find companionship want to sort through hordes of 18 year olds whining about not having enough dates lined up for the weekend. I know I can't stand sorting through the "18-handsome and looking" ads when I have poked around sites.

So, check it out or don't, but I figured that it was well worth sharing links here for anyone that might be interested in ideas for places where seniors can connect online.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Volume 1: Issue 2

Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter
Family Caring for America's Retired and Elderly
September 16 - September 22, 2007

Welcome to the official newsletter of Family Caregiver Info

The Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter is dedicated to bringing its readers the best information I can find on issues that matter to family caregivers.

This week I will continue my look at physical therapy for care recipients, since I came down with the flu during the last part of last week and was unable to get as much work done on that as I had intended. I still have the flu now, but I intend to keep trudging through rather than let it get the better of me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Crash and Burn

Written yesterday morning on my Alphasmart ----

I was carrying a bag of trash out to the dumpster and my foot went down just wrong on a slick rock in the drive and the rock went sideways out from under my foot and sent my ankle sideways with it. Down I went into a hard nosedive breaking my fall with my left hand then slamming down to my left knee and rolling onto my left shoulder ending up sitting in the drive facing back the way I had come clutching my left hand with my right leg folded under me. My mom had been starting the car at the time and looked up asking me what happened and all I could manage to say was "you missed one glorious crash!" She asked if I was okay and I said "yup. just hurts." picked myself up, slowly, and continued, very slowly, on to deposit the trash in the dumpster.


Emergency Snack Kit

When you are traveling to doctors and physical therapy sessions and so on and so forth you quickly learn that with waiting comes starvation. Particularly if you are waiting in the car. It is for this reason that I have started taking with me an emergency snack kit whenever I am going to go anywhere that might possibly entail waiting. My emergency snack kit is a quite simple concoction made up of whatever I have on hand to tuck into it that might aid in long term survival in a car while awaiting my parents' finishing up in a doctor's office or physical therapy session.

For example, as I write this I have just finished sorting through my brief case and compiling what I have in the way of an Emergency Snack Kit at the moment, that is:

1 Brach's Cinnamon Hard Candy - obtained from the nurse's desk at my dad's last blood test (must get more of these, they are very good!)
1 Hershey's Kiss - no idea how long that has been in my bag, but chocolate don't go bad... does it?
4 suckers obtained from banks. 2 cherry (one of them left over re-wrapped from last survival situation), 1 grape, 1 I think is maybe rootbeer, could be chocolate flavor?? (could be VERY old grape I suppose?)
4 squares of Hershey's chocolate (from one of those HUGE bars, so about 2 of the standard sized bars).
1 Lindor Lindt truffle chocolate sphere - addictive things I add to my stash in my purse whenever I get near the fabrics store since that is only place I know that sells them individually.
1 packet of 100 Calorie Pack Ritz Snack Mix - a little old and crumpled but still good despite the wear and tear.
and 1 can of Chocolate Royal Slim Fast that I added to my bag along with a straw as I dashed out the door.

Perhaps not the healthiest of Emergency Snack Kits, definitely not a diet friendly one in many ways, but something that keeps me going when I need to survive for an hour or four outside a doctor's office.

And it has me thinking I will make up a "lunch bag" that I can keep in the fridge overnight before I know I will need it and then grab and go the next morning, have a much healthier selection of snacking stuff than my normal fare of haphazardly collected snack foods.

Orlando Vacation Rentals

It seems like it gets harder as the years go by to plan great family vacations. Camping trips in Yellowstone give way to outings to Disney Land, trips to the Caribbean slowly melt into watching Pirates of the Caribbean at home. You don't know just when it went from camping with your parents in the summer to sitting on the porch with your parents on a summer evening. would like to help you recapture those years gone by when vacations meant going places and doing things. Orlando is not just for kids, there is a lot to see and do for anyone of any age. From Disney's Animal Kingdom theme parks to some of the best golf clubs, getting an orlando vacation rentals to escape to for a week or two might just be the best vacation your family could escape to.

Let show you how affordable hotels and rental cars in the Orlando area can be and be sure to check out their travel guide, filled with tips on entertainment, dining and so much more.

This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit

Random post about being a caregiver

This post was written on my Alphasmart as we were leaving the doctor's office after getting my dad his weekly coumadin blood level check for the coumadin he's taking.

Well, the blood results for my dad are good, he's right where they want him to be on the coumadin levels so we're back out to check once a month rather than having to come back next week. Which is really good, since it's a fairly long drive out to the hospital to get the tests done. At least on once a month tests we can combine tests with stopping at Wal Mart. Which is, unfortunately, my next stop. Wish me luck. I think they've moved things again since I was last there.

Update at home at time of posting: I survived Wal Mart. :::breathes huge sigh of relief::: Even got some plants, philodendrons, to go in my office when I get it finished.


Occupational Therapy and Arthritis

I found a page a little while ago at the Cleveland Clinic that talks about Occupational Physical Therapy, specifically about how occupational therapy can help those that have arthritis. The article talks about ways to reduce strain on your joints during daily activities and the goals of treatment. If you or your care recipient suffer from arthritis then this would probably be a very good article to look over. I am finding out some useful stuff from it just from the point of view of a writer that has problems with her fingers and wrists after years of writing.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Cellular Sales

Are you in the market for a new, and reliable, cellular phone service? Looking for something that you can count on to keep you in touch no matter where you go?

Being a caregiver means needing to stay in touch with people, particularly when you go on a vacation and leave your care recipient with someone else to take care of for a few days to a week or two. cellular sales is preparing to launch a website,, to offer expert, hand-delivery for new line activations.

Cellular Sales is one of Verizon Wireless’ largest authorized retailers and their new site will be offering the ease of Internet shopping (a must for full-time family caregivers) along with the personalized customer service of their stores.

Watch for the full launch of this fall.

This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit

September is....

Looking at what national health observances are coming up next month got me to wondering about what ones there were this month that I had not realized there were and it produced a rather long list of things that concern caregivers.

September is Healthy Aging Month for Educational Television Network, Inc., and National Cholesterol Education Month for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Health Information Center.

September 18th had been Take a Loved One for a Check-up Day for the Office of Minority Health U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

September 21st is World Alzheimer's Day for Alzheimer's Disease International

Got someone that has trouble with their hearing? September 30th - October 6th is Hearing Aid Awareness Week for the International Hearing Society.

And September 30th is World Heart Day for the World Heart Federation.

October is National Physical Therapy Month and Talk About Prescriptions Month

Did you know that October is National Physical Therapy month for the American Physical Therapy Association? I hadn't realized that. October is also Talk About Prescriptions Month for the National Council on Patient Information and Education. This is a good time to start learning more about both of these important aspects of care giving.

Make plans now to spend October learning more about both physical therapy that can help your care recipient and about the prescriptions that they are taking. In particular familiarize yourself with any interactions that those prescriptions might have with other prescriptions or non prescriptions. Some prescriptions even have reactions with certain kinds of foods - for example coumadin (used to thin blood) has a list of foods high in vitamin K that either should not be eaten or eaten only in moderation when someone is taking coumadin.


Being a full-time family caregiver, I am very aware of how much it can cost to be retired. It seems as though even if you think you have saved enough for your retirement, you can still be caught by one surprise or another and suddenly find yourself in need of additional money.

Investments, such as in precious metals like gold and silver, can offer a good source of emergency money when the need arises. Gold is one of the few investments I know of that an investor can feel confident will, in later years, be at least worth the value that was invested.

If you have been thinking about investing in precious metals, the hard asset professionals at the Monex Deposit Company can help you buy gold or silver or other precious metals in either coin or bullion form.

For over 30 years Monex has been one of America’s trusted leaders in precious metals investment, with a dedicated staff that can help arrange for personal delivery or safe storage at an independent bank or depository.

This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit

Finding sleep where you can

I think I have discovered an unexpected way to catch up on a little sleep. When my dad goes down for his physical therapy sessions it means about an hour of waiting for him to be finished with the physical therapist. My mom needs me to help get my dad and his wheelchair into the car and then out of and back into the car down at the physical therapist's office, but I am not needed in there with them as the physical therapy is actually in session. So, I am going to tuck some pillows and blankets into the car and when we take dad down for his physical therapy I will help him out of the car and into the building, then go back out to the car and curl up in the back seat to get an hour's uninterrupted sleep. It should work really good and give me some much needed sleep.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Waiting rooms need work stations

I wrote this on my AlphaSmart at my dad's physical therapy appointment last Friday.


As I sit at the children's table in the physical therapy center and wait for dad to finish his physical therapy I am made to think of something I had thought about at my dad's doctor's office before.

Why don't doctor's offices and places like this physical therapy center have one or two desks set up for people that have work to get done while waiting on someone they brought to the office? I have sat for up to 6 hours in doctor's offices. It would have been very nice to have had a halfway decent place to get my work done while I waited. I am lucky here in that at 5'2" I am almost a perfect fit for this kiddie chair and table. lol!

But really, a small writing desk would be very nice, or maybe a secretarial that can be folded down to work on when someone is there and needs to get work done. It is not easy to get work done in the standard waiting room chairs. I have been known to resort to sitting on the floor and almost did that today until I decided that these little wooden chairs would support someone my size.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Piano Chords Blog

I know not everyone is like me and my mom, who have three pianos and plan to one day get a baby grand piano, but I think there are few that do not want to learn how to play the piano. I certainly can't play the piano. Oh sure, I have three at my disposal, but only one is in working shape, the others work, but need to be tuned and have minor work done to them (such as a good cleaning out of decades of dust buildup).

Still, I try to learn using the "teach yourself" method of piano playing. This draws me, as a moth to the light, to sites such as the Piano Chords Blog where I can find out more about tips and information on playing the piano.

The blog is aimed at students to be a supplement to their studies with a teacher, so it has a lot of information on piano chords and chord progressions along with a generous sprinkling of music theory.

Labels: , ,

Day three of being sick

Tummy ache has nearly completely gone and left in it's wake the true "sickies" of being sick. The sore throat, the feeling that my sinuses are filled with dust and so on and so forth out to general body aches.

I hate being sick.

I let myself sleep in late today, went to about 9 a.m. before I got up. I figure it's Saturday, I can sleep in a little. Beautiful day out, which figures, since I am too sick to get out there and take advantage of it.

Ah well, maybe it'll still be a beautiful day when I can get out there and prepare yard for winter.


Saturday, September 15, 2007

Volume 1: Issue 1

Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter
Family Caring for America's Retired and Elderly
September 9 - September 15, 2007

Welcome to the first official Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter.

The Family C.A.R.E. Newsletter is dedicated to bringing its readers the best information I can find on issues that matter to family caregivers.

This week I will look at physical therapy for care recipients and what it entails as well as find some websites and resources that can help you learn more about physical therapy and how it might benefit your care recipient at any stage.

Labels: ,

A caregiver's work knows no sick days

I am made to realize that there is no escaping being a caregiver 24-7. When mom and I took my dad to his physical therapy yesterday my gut ached, all I wanted to do was curl up and hug my belly with both arms and not move. That not being an option I went down to the physical therapy place and pretended like my gut was not hurting so bad I wanted to cry. Today it is still hurting, particularly when I stand up. I'd love to spend all day in bed, but that's not an option. Just wish I knew what I did to make my gut hurt so bad, then maybe I'd know how to make it stop hurting.


Storage bins for garage

Before my dad had that major stroke in 2001, he was an avid mechanic that kept all of our cars in good running condition. Now that responsibility has come down to me and I am grateful for the years of experience in working on cars with him that I have behind me now.

All of my dad's old tools went to my older brother, who is also a mechanic and classic car restorer, but I have a decent collection of tools built up and am building even more. The only problem is... they seem to walk away when I am not looking.

I'm not sure if this is due to being borrowed or because when my brother got the tools he got the storage chests as well and I have no proper place to put my tools now. Which means I need to get me some nice storage and install it in either the old log garage, my dad's old workshop, or in the new metal shed we just built a few weeks back. My preference is to put it in the log garage after we get the floor cemented in properly. Which means that at the moment I am in the market for finding what I need for the garage.

I have collected a nice selection of power tools (routers, skill saws, drills, Dremels, etc) and am getting some nice mechanic's tools collected up - both for the car and for my ATV. So my storage will need to be multi function. has some very nice storage solutions on their website, including stacking storage bins with shelves and locking storage cabinets. I like things that look tidy, so the open bin carts are not of interest to me unless I built a closet for them to slide into, but the full locking storage cabinets are great and would offer a lot of storage for the tools and parts that I would want to store away.

They have one titled Locking Storage Cabinet that has adjustable shelves inside and in the doors that would be just what I would need for putting my power tools away. I think I would add the modification of drilling a 1/2" hold in the back to run a 110 line through and install a power strip bar along the back of the cabinet or on one door to let me plug in the battery chargers for my tools if I wanted to. I think a better one for that would be the mesh fronted cabinets, so will require more planning. I have time through, late as it is I think it'll be next spring before we can put garage floor.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Six Years, and Ready for 60 More

Today marks the sixth year since a major stroke left my dad in need of a full-time caregiver. Six years ago, while other people were still focused on the events of 9/11, my family was focus on Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane Washington. On where my dad was being treated after he suffered a massive stroke.

Six years has put us through a lot. I have learned a lot about what it means to be a caregiver.

I've fought my way through burnout and depression.

I've found out what true best friends are as the three most important non-family members in my life steadfastly stood by me and coaxed me through the rough spots as other friends faded away into the background.

I have discovered that people can wear themselves out so much they collapse unconscious while engaged in a conversation with someone.

I have endured as doctors told my dad he had under two weeks to live.

I've seen doctors panic at his irregular heartbeat, give him Nitro and then rush him off to the emergency room - only to have his normal doctor shake her head and inform them his heart *always* sounds like that.

I have watched others try to take on the tasks that I trudge through. They never last more than a week, maybe two.

I have learned to do the work of two nurses, a physical therapist, a home maker, a cook and a maid and still find the energy to work at the home business I am trying to run.

I have seen a lot and experienced a lot and my only wish is that my dad will need my help for at least another 20+ years. I don't regret for a moment having been the one to take on this task, even if there are times I sit and cry and think how I should just walk out and let one of my older siblings be the responsible one.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

From the Editor

This week I want to cover information on physical therapy. This is prompted by my dad, who as regular readers know had a massive stroke years ago, being sent to physical therapy for evaluation by his doctor to see how he is doing and if they can help him any since he has not had any therapy since just after his stroke in 2001.

My mom and sister took my dad in for the first physical therapy appointment yesterday. I have not heard a lot about what happened other than the therapist that did the preliminary review said she needs us to send in one of his support things for his ankle, seems they don't have any air casts or other kinds of ankle support there for him to use when he's walking. I would have expected them to have something like that, but I guess they are not as well set up as I had thought. I do know they are still a fairly new therapy place in the Valley, so I guess they just had not had reason to need anything like that until now.

I have several different kinds for him, I'll just send a few in and see which one they like the best.

This week I will look at things that pertain to physical therapy from a caregiver's perspective. What it is, why it is needed, when to consider it, and home exercises that can be used to supplement therapy sessions.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Best credit cards

Financial strains of being a caregiver can take it's toll. One of those tolls is in your credit rate suffering. It can be hard to find a credit card that you can qualify for and that can help in rebuilding your credit after it has suffered the long term blow of getting things settled down after the life altering events that surround becoming a caregiver. Sites like CardFusion can help.

The CardFusion website can show you the best credit cards to help you rebuild your credit. And if you are not in need for a credit rebuilding card they can also help you with cards that focus on low interest, balance transfer or any other features that fit your needs.

Search by issuer, network or category to find just the plan you want. And be sure to check out their learning center to learn more about credit cards, your credit score and more.

This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit


What to include?

I'm having a little trouble deciding what all to include in this site as it melds into being a newsletter format. Stroke, heart condition, and diabetes are things that I have personal experience with, but I know that I have readers that care for loved ones with Alzheimer and other conditions. Where is the line between having included enough and not enough when the subject is Family Caring for America's Retired and Elderly?

I am glad that I have given myself the weekend to consider this, if anyone has 2 cents to chime in with let me know what matters to you. Okay?

H.R. 1161 Social Security Caregiver Credit Act of 2007

I went out and checked Thomas for any news on H.R. 1161 to see if it had any changes. There have been none since this bill was sent into the Subcommittee on Social Security in March. This bill was introduced mid February of this year, and has been introduced in the past by Rep. Lowey and each time it has failed to escape the subcommittees. We need to let congress know we care about this bill. I don't know a lot about how to properly go about that, but I plan to learn. If you would like to help let me know. Thank you.

Title: To amend title II of the Social Security Act to credit prospectively individuals serving as caregivers of dependent relatives with deemed wages for up to five years of such service.
Sponsor: Rep Lowey, Nita M. [NY-18] (introduced 2/16/2007) Cosponsors (None)
Latest Major Action: 3/7/2007 Referred to House subcommittee. Status: Referred to the Subcommittee on Social Security.

Committee/Subcommittee: Activity:
House Ways and Means Referral, In Committee

Subcommittee on Social SecurityReferral


Kango Vacation Planning Site Nearing Beta Phase

As caregivers I think we are often used to not having our opinions taken into consideration, but Kango would like to change that for everyone that is trying to plan a family vacation. Imagine having a chance to speak up and help design a vacation planning site that would actually give you information you can use? That would offer recommendations you can trust on destinations for Family Camping Trips and vacations.

Kango wants you to sign up for the waiting list for their private bets test that will launch this fall. They want to invite you to join other beta testers in talking about the Kango website and helping to create a site that you can actually use for planning your vacations.

I personally think that the best thing we could do would be to offer our invaluable services as family caregivers in helping to guide the site to what people need when looking for destinations where they can take handicapped or special needs children. It can be hard enough to find kid-friendly destinations, and we have the power with Kango to help in creating a site for vacation planning that will allow parents of handicapped and special needs children in finding reliable and dependable destinations that will be suitable for their children and to find personalized recommendations on the destinations so they know that it is a destination that is going to allow their child to have an enjoyable and fun filled vacation.

So please, if you have the time and can help with beta testing and making suggestions from the perspective of someone that has unparalleled knowledge about what it takes to take a handicapped or special needs person somewhere I urge you to sign up as a beta tester and help ensure that is a part of the options offered by Kango.

Thank you!

This blog post was based on information provided by Blogitive. For more information, please visit


Why change the site?

I realized that it might be questioned why I would change the way the website is laid out, and the answer is quite simple. It is not working how it is now. Things are scattered and I will go a long time not thinking to update parts that should be kept up to date, so I am making an actual newsletter format that will allow me to be certain I have covered all of the necessary topics each week as I build specific columns that I hope will be of interest and use to my readers.

Family CARE is going to be getting a new look

Along with several of my other blogs, Family C.A.R.E. is going to be getting a new look, it will be leaving behind the traditional blog format of random posts about scattered topics within it's niche and instead will take on the appearance of a traditional newsletter with columns and articles and even a weekly header and index section. I am very excited about how this new format will benefit the readers of this blog as I feel it will make it more user friendly and allow my readers to better find what they are interested in hearing about within my blog. I will spend the weekend working on getting this organized and launch the new newsletter format on Monday.

Privacy Policy