Thursday, January 27,  2005, Issue #208

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From The Editor

There's Snow Place Like Home

Last weekend, as I was returning from a meeting in the northeast, I found myself stranded by the (as the media puts it) BLIZZARD OF THE YEAR, which, to me, seems just a tad presumptive, since it is only three weeks into January.  My cabin row mates, George and Julie Fox, were a middle-aged couple from Pennsylvania, and together we endured a five hour tour of the airport tarmac, with the plane slowly inching towards the de-icing station until the weather became so bad that take-off was no longer an option and we returned to the now-closed airport.

As we took advantage of the waiting time to get to know one another, I was reminded of our regular advice to caregivers, ‘Never miss an opportunity to talk with other caregivers in hospital waiting rooms, doctor’s offices and pharmacy lines and even on airplanes.’  Conversation with the Foxes included George’s challenges with getting his dad to stop driving, Julie’s taking care of George during and after his stroke six years ago at 42 years of age and long term care options for Julie’s mom.

George told me how he succeeded in guiding his extended family into a unified care team by making sure that each member was tasked with handling specific details which took into consideration their abilities and interests. I shared some of the insights on that subject that I’ve learned from caregivers at the Fearless Caregiver Conferences across the country.

When it became clear that we would all be in danger of sleeping at the airport that night, I used my cell phone to find a hotel with rooms in the downtown area and Julie, on her cell, rebooked the three of us for the first flight out on Sunday.  To make a long story (and night) short, we developed (with two of their other friends) the camaraderie and teamwork that is possible for strangers to acquire when faced with emergency situations. Together, we all found rooms and shared stories and cell phones and when we returned to South Florida the next morning, after searching in vain for their bags at the airport, I raced them to the port where they managed to catch their ship for a now much deserved cruise.

The only other times that I remember having this kind of quick and constructive bonding with strangers was as a caregiver, waiting those long nights in the local hospital emergency rooms. Then as now, we shared stories, caregiving tips and made friendships that have lasted for years. In those cold and uncomfortable hospital waiting rooms, I discovered that in any healthcare situation, the best caregiving expertise is available not only from the people in white coats, but also from your fellow caregiver sitting next to you. And who knows, you may even enjoy the wait.    

Dates are still available for the 2005 Fearless Caregiver Conference Tour.  Bring a conference to your community. Contact us for more information.

The deadline has been extended for the third annual Caregiver Friendly Awards. The new deadline is February 28, 2005. 


Gary Barg



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Feature Story

Looking Into Assisted Living
Long Distance

By J Lang Wood 

It was sometime late in 2003 that I realized something had to be done with Mom.  She had reached the end of her ability to manage her affairs independently, and the reports I got from family and friends in Illinois began to fill me with alarm.  ...Continued

Related Articles:
Long Distance Caring 

by Emily Carton

It is not uncommon for families to be separated by great distances. But what happens when one or both parents reach a stage in their lives where they appear to be frail and vulnerable?.....Continued

Long Term Care Facilities
By Michael Plontz

It is often a difficult decision for family members to admit a loved one into a long-term care facility. It is equally difficult to learn there is a problem with the facility and/or staff after you thought your loved one was safe and secure......Continued




The Caregiver Friendly Award deadline has been extended to February 28, 2005!

You still have time to enter the best of your Caregiver Friendly solutions for
consideration and be part of a select group honored with Today’s Caregiver
magazine’s Caregiver Friendly Award. <<read the details>>


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Guest Column

Hiring Private Duty Home Care Workers:
Why Work through an Agency?

By Rona S. Bartelstone, LCSW, BCD, CMC

One of the greatest long-term needs of older adults and those with chronic illnesses is for in-home, custodial care services. These workers are often referred to as home health aides, certified nursing assistants and custodial care workers.....Continued


Wellspring Source: Still Waters Run Deep
by Dr. Marie DiCowden

Meditation is a process that, over time, brings about profound changes These changes include actual increase in energy and decrease in debilitating physical and emotional problems. ...Continued

F   r   o   m       O   u   r       R   e   a   d   e   r   s


My husband was diagnosed with ALS, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or better known as Lou Gehrig Disease in 2000. He cannot walk, eat, use his hands, arms or talk. I am my husband's full time caregiver 24x7 365. He went to the hospital for a feeding tube placement because he could no longer eat or swallow. After his surgery he had respiratory failure which put him on a vent with trach which he will live with for the rest of his life.

The reason I am writing is because there are several agency that will pay caregivers, but they will not pay the spouse to care for her husband.  How does that make sense? I would like to know if there is anything offered within the states or federally for caregivers that care for there spouses to receive compensation.

I would love to be able to go to a job for 40 hours a week, but instead I have chosen to stay home and care for my husband, which is 168 hours a week. Please don't get me wrong,  I am not complaining. I wouldn't want to be any where else at this time. But I know no one that would work at a job 168 hours a week and not get paid. Also because I am no longer working I will not be eligible for Social Security Disability after five years.

I have heard in Oregon that they will pay a spouse to be a caregiver if it is 24 hour constant care.  How does that work? I probably do the work of five people but all I want is to get paid for one. Caring for someone at home is very expensive that demands so much care as my husband does.

So if you could please direct me to the proper place that will recognize spousal caregiving as a job, and pay me for a job well done!   Love doesn't pay the bills and if it did,  I would not be writing this letter at all.

Thank you in advance for reading my letter.




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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor
There's Snow Place
 Like Home

Feature Story
Looking Into Asosted Living Long Distance
Guest Column
Hiring Private Duty Home Care Workers