Monday, January 17, 2011
Moms still has a strong desire to walk but it takes a strong caregiver to support her while she struggles with her walker. We sit together watching television and she hugs me but we need to support her. We let her dangle her legs on the edge of the bed so she can continue to move or lift up her legs. What's special is when she's sitting on the top mattress of the day bed and I'm sitting on the bottom while supporting her...she brushes my hair just like when I was a small boy.
I'm evaluating her physical and emotional needs. Do I need to make a change in caregivers to match her new requirements? Her diet is two Ensures per day, oatmeal with grounded calcium pills and one slice of bread, sweet and sour rice with chicken, and a variety of dinners. Although she tries to feed herself the caregivers will spoon feed her to finish her meals.
I emailed her doctor with the new changes and probably will receive a doctor's appointment this week. Mom will be 90 years old January 30th.
Monday, November 8, 2010
I was watching a movie My Sister's Keeper with Cameron Diaz that spotlighted the decisions and sacrifices that family caregivers make in the care of their love ones. Cameron Diaz played the mother and primary caregiver for her daughter who had cancer. She had to choose between the needs of one child against the needs of her other children and her relationship with her husband. Cameron Diaz's character chose her daughter with cancer over the needs of her son and younger daughter. I'm curious what decisions and sacrifices did you make as primary caregiver for your love one?
Friday, November 5, 2010
Today, it's a three-hour escape from taking care of my mom who has dementia. I could listen to the ball game on my AM/FM portable radio while taking mom to the bathroom, cheer Cody Ross as he hit two home runs in the playoff game against Philadelphia, and finally hugging a complete stranger next to me when the Giants beat the Texas Rangers for the World Series championship.
What is your escape? Is it getting a massage or taking a long walk on the beach?
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Here's a profile of my mom that I provided her caregivers and any medical facility.
- My mom needed her glasses to see and that she had great eyesight reading out loud every sign on the streets and freeways.
- My mom went out everyday to the parks, shopping centers, with the help of a walker.
- My mom needed guidance and help to walk to the bathroom 24/7.
- My mom does not plan or cook her meals.
- My mom loves going to the dog parks in Alameda while eating her McDonalds lunch from the car.
- I also provide a mini-family album and pictures of her with the caregivers.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
- What are your love one's wishes for medical procedures
- Living wills.
- Updated auto insurance
- Medical power of attorney for health care concerns
- Power of Attorney for legal decisions
- Access information or keys to safety deposit boxes, emails, medical websites, social networks
- Financial power of attorney to take care of bills
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
According to several medical articles and private discussions with medical people a "shadow" could be just about anything. In a 89-year old woman who has never smoked in her life the "shadow" is not cancer although discussion with a pulmonary doctor should be scheduled in three months after another x-ray. According to a radiologist X-rays are full of shadows and light which the radiologist must interpret- so much depends on the angle at which the person is standing, the angle of the camera, how close or far the patient is from the camera and a host of other things.
The last X-Ray had the radiologist holding my mom up inorder to get an X-Ray...not exactly the correct way to have an X-Ray.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Doctor recommended that we X-ray her lungs in three months. I could worry but what's the point. She's able to walk with the help of her walker and caregivers. She goes out everyday and wander shopping centers. She still lives in her own home and have meals in her kitchen. Her life looks good to me.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Friday, April 2, 2010
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I am seeking a part-time caregiver who has experience with dementia. My mom is 89-years old, Filipina and is still living in her home. My Monday and Tuesday caregiver who has been with us for a year will be moving on as a new assistant teacher. The caregiver MUST live in a 10-mile radius of Oakland, California and have transportation with insurance. Please DO NOT apply if you live outside the 10-mile radius of Oakland. Mom takes her walker and has daily walks in parks, shopping centers, doggy parks, and senior citizen recreation centers. Mom uses a walker and is able to go to the bathroom with assistance. I want a caregiver who will stimulate mom with physical and mental activities. Hourly rate is $12.
This is my first want ad for a caregiver in www.care.com. It's a simple process and very cost effective than Craigslist ($75) or any other newsmedia. I became an official member for 30 days and placed an ad for $30. I could have applied for the 3-months member or a 1-year member but I felt confident that I could find a caregiver within that time. I found care.com communication between family member and caregivers very effective and provide some safety for caregivers because emails are onsite. I have received emails from 18 caregivers from the bay area but I found one common thread from placing ads in care.com and Craigslist. Caregivers do not read or understand my requirements that I want caregivers who live in a 10-mile radius of Oakland. I received emails from San Jose, Fremont and San Francisco; all outside the 10-mile radius of Oakland.
Care.com also provides a limited and free background check on all their caregivers on request. They will also provide an extensive background check for a fee. The website provides family members a profile of all their caregivers and sometimes a picture. Finding that right caregiver is like joining several dating services and looking for that right one. I would highly recommend Care.com as an excellent source to find a caregiver.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Murphy's Law - "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong."
Life for a caregiver is a rollercoaster of Murphy's Law events. My life managing a staff of caregivers was running very smoothly and even when there was a blip on the system I was ready for the opportunity to handle the blip.
The first blip was my mom's part time caregiver who handles the Monday and Tuesday daytime shift informed me that she would be moving on to a new job after a year caring for my mom. I was ready and looking forward to retaining a new caregiver through www.care.com/ nationwide service. The second blip was the laptop computer that we used for Safeway grocery orders and Netflix DVD deliveries was attacked by viruses. The third blip was Comcast services went haywire so Mom and the caregivers received only half the cable stations. What was really frustrating was Comcast's customer service stated that it would take four days to get a repair person out to the house. The fourth blip was my cell phone screen froze and I spent 45 minutes talking with a T-Mobile customer service agent only to tell me that you need to upgrade to a new phone. Upgrade means you need to buy a new phone dummy. The fifth blip was mom's new caregiver has only five months experience driving a car. The sixth blip was Mom got focused on visiting the cemetary which delayed my flight plans. The seventh blip was my fellow passenger soaked me with her can of soda. The eight BIG blip was a family member got a diabetic seizure but he's OK. Today was a relatively good day...nobody got hurt or died just lots of blips.
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
My first answer is because I was the only male caregiver at my support group meetings but now I would respond in a different way. As a young boy, I was fascinated by DC Comic's SuperMan.
"Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings at a single bound. Yes, it's Superman, strange visitor from another planet who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel in his bare hands' and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitian newspaper, fights a never ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way"
Every morning, I and millions of other caregivers nationwide wake up and we put on our CareGiver Super Uniform and in one single bound we take care of our love one. We are special people willing to quit our jobs, have no social life, leave your family and friends, move into your parent's home, live a isolated life, and the willingness to care for your love one.
When we step outside in our real identities at family gatherings, shopping centers or for just a walk in the neighborhood...I hear their comments "you're such a good son, your father would be so proud of you, God will bless you, I haven't seen you in a long time; where have you been, I've been planning to stop by but I've been so busy, why don't we get together and have coffee, etc." We are the invisible segment of our population. We are invisible by the state and government when they conduct their unemployment surveys but we are working.
In my real identity, I feel tired...I feel frustrated...I feel anger...I am tired of the repetitive questions, I am lonely...I am tired of not getting real help from my friends and family...I am tired of living in my own Groundhog Day that never ends, but only repeats, I feel dispair...I am tired of feeling sorry for myself, I miss my real mom, sometimes I feel nothing BUT every morning I put on my CareGiver Super Uniform and I am strong again until one day my Kryptonite strikes and I break down or end up in the hospital or die...it has been the fate of many caregivers but I decided no more...it's time to begin a new life.
Monday, March 1, 2010
The objective behind the commercial is that senior citizens like my mom would receive a medical alert pendant that would allow our her to call out (verbally with her voice) to an audio receiving device and talk directly with a dispatch call operator, without the need to reach a telephone. The service was designed to appeal particularly to seniors who lived alone and who might experience a medical emergency, such as a fall in the bathroom, which would leave the parent alert but immobile and unable to reach a phone WRONG...the commercial was designed directly at the adult children whose parent lives at home ALONE.
My mom fought tooth and nail whenever I brought up the subject because she has also seen the "I've fallen and I can't get up" commercial. Mom looked at me with that superior look "I am not old and I can take care of myself" and I said I will hire a live-in caregiver if you don't wear the pendant. She finally relented and said "I will wear the pendant."
Here's an update version of the commercial; http://tiny.cc/cUAM9
Several months have passed...
It was a typical day for mom. She ate the same cereal and toast for breakfast. She watched Regis and Kelly; then changed channels to watch her favorite Soaps. Around noon time, she went outside to inspect her flowers in the garden but for some reason she left her walker on the front porch. She inspected her roses and losted her balance. She called for help and then pressed her medical alert pendant.
Activating the medical alert pendant outside her house but within the range of the monitoring device alerted the emergency call center. The emergency alert operator would have called out and because mom was not in range of her voice she proceeded to call the names on the emergency call list. I was the first person on the list and because I left my cell phone on my work desk when I went to the restroom; she proceeded to call my mom's next door neighbor "Mr. Thomas." He volunteered to be on the emergency list and had a key to mom's house in case she fell inside the house. It's important that anybody on the list have a house key because otherwise the firemen will have to break down the door or windows.
"Mr.Thomas" found mom outside in the garden and he called 911. She broke her hip. I received another call from the dispatch center to let me know of the situation. If mom did not have the emergency pendant and the knowledge on how to use it; she would have been outside in the garden for hours.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
This caregiving system allows mom to stay in her own home and gives me a LIFE after several years of taking care of mom. It's not the perfect system because it's extremely expensive but my work provides the income to make it work.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I entered all the necessary information of my mom who has dementia and checked off the requirements for the caregivers. Based on my requirements the best caregiver for my mom is between the age of 26 to 30 years old, a non-smoker, no caregiver agency, has transportation with insurance and lives within 5 miles of my mom's house. Mom still lives in her home. The caregiver data search delivered six possible caregivers.
If you like a specific caregiver you can send a message to the caregiver to set up an appointment. Care.com provides a limited background check or for a fee provides you with a indepth background check. The bottom line for any search for a caregiver is the depth of qualified caregivers that meets your qualifications. So far I have not found that special caregiver for my mom. I'm a little unusual because I currently manage a staff of three caregivers and one part timer. I designated one of my caregivers, a former emergency nurse and has a strong management background to be my head caregiver. I live in Los Angeles but I visit mom almost every other week.
Mom's caregivers take her out to shopping centers, doggie parks and senior citizen activity centers every day. Two of my caregivers are filipina and speaks Tagalog however, mom does not speak the language anymore. Finding the right caregiver was not easy.... Craigslist, word-of-mouth, caregivers agencies, nursing schools; all the above. I have a person who can provide a detail background check and I am now experienced in qualifiying caregivers on the phone and during my indepth interviews. The bottom line is the interaction between mom and the caregiver. I wish care.com was available several years ago as one more resource.
I began my life by hiring a live-in caregiver but after 6 months she couldn't handle it by herself. I have now three full-time caregivers and one part-time caregiver working two 10 hour shifts. I have also designated one caregiver as the staff leader that each caregiver sends their reports to. The staff leader has the ability to hire a temporary caregiver through an agency when needed. I'm also looking for a new caregiver to replace one of the staff caregivers when she graduates from nursing school.
I am in the best health of my life but I am still responsible for the management and care of my mom. I have a "What If" plan in case something happens to me...a domino phone call takes place to make sure mom will always be taken care of. I can now take a deep breath, read my newspapers, drink my Peet's coffee and share my life with someone.
Former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, MD
Mutual support groups, involving little or no cost to particpants, have a powerful effect on mental and physical health. The psychological and physical health importance of this diffuse community is striking...The self-help movement, both in face-to-face and virtual arenas has tremendous therapeutic potential."
American Psychologis feature article "Who Talks? The Social Psychology of Illness Supportr Groups" by K. P. Davison, J. W. Pennebaker & S.S. Dickerson
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much."
Quotations provided by ED
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Family Caregiver Alliance
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- The Gift of Time - Give your family member or primary caregiver a day off by personally taking care of your love one or by making arrangements with the caregiver to schedule a professional caregiver to take care of your love one.
- Home Cook Meals Delivery Service – In the San Francisco Greater Bay Area we have Home on the Range deliver nutritious delicious meals Monday through Friday. The meals can range from Grilled Mango BBQ Chicken to Italian Veal Stew to Roast Turkey. Contact Home on the Range before 1:00 PM and your meals will be delivered before 6PM. Home on the Range can be contacted at 510-251-8030 or 415-333-1787. Monthly menus are mailed or you can view the menu on http://www.homeontherangemeals.com/.
- Grocery Gift Card – give your family caregiver a gift card for groceries or place an online order for them. I order online with http://www.safeway.com/ every two weeks and the service is excellent. As a homebound caregiver I find the online grocery service with Safeway very convenient.
- Netflix Movie Delivery Gift Card – I love going to the Movies but as a full time caregiver it's impossible. Netflix is the best solution for the homebound caregiver. Netflix has a program that fits any budget or movie requirement. The process of selecting a list of movies from 75,000 titles is fun and easy. I'm a action, science fiction and drama guy. I watch 4-6 films a week from my list. My program allows me to receive two films at a time with no limits per month. Keep the movies as long as you want because there are no due dates or late fees. Netflix provides free shipping both ways and the shipping envelope is also your return mailer. The movies on my list arrives in one day. Have fun receiving your movies by mail!
- Professional In-Home Massage – This is my most favorite gift from a friend. Most caregivers do not pamper themselves. This is the perfect gift for your family caregiver.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Thursday, October 4, 2007
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Friday, September 7, 2007
Wednesday, September 5, 2007
I do understand that the majority of caregivers are women and perhaps their needs are greater but why are they limiting the program to women?
Monday, September 3, 2007
I would like to thank all the CareGivers nationwide, Women and Men, for their responses and support of my question to the AARP's Scholarship program. I would also like to thank AARP for their response and understanding. It is my hope that the entire FAMILY share the Emotional, Physical and Financial demands of Day-to-Day CAREGIVING SUPPORT of our love ones.
Here's AARP's response:
"Thank you for your interest in the AARP Foundation Women’s Scholarship Fund. It is a new program that just launched last month. The foundation is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for all as we age. We lead positive social change and deliver value to those 50 and older with emphasis on those at social and economic risk. Women are 75 percent of the elderly poor and our goal with this new scholarship is to help secure the future of as many women as we can. While the scholarship is primarily for women, gender is one factor in consideration, as is age. Those 40+ who are women meet two of the established criteria for the scholarship. Other criteria include: those raising grandchildren or another family members’ children, those who have been out of the workforce for a long period and those who are in dead-end jobs. All of the criteria will be considered in awarding the scholarships. If you feel that you meet several of the criteria, please feel free to apply. Additionally, please check out the AARP Foundation’s Public Benefits Outreach programs at http://www.aarp.org/money/lowincomehelp/quicklink/ for more information about programs to assist caregivers, as well as benefits that are aimed at helping people like you. We hope that you will find our programs useful.
Deborah Briceland-Betts National Director, Women's Programs
Thank you AARP and Deborah
CareGiver Guy, Email; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Every morning, I set the table with her oatmeal breakfast, juice and her medication. Her caregiver comes in Monday thru Friday at 7AM. Mom woke up early this morning and we get into this discussion on Why She Needs a Caregiver? She's complaining that she doesn't need a caregiver. Thank God the CareGiver finally arrives at 7AM. I had to tell the CareGiver that mom is hiding her purse in the second bedroom closet. I'm still looking for her watch, the kitchen spoons. and my keys.