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Wednesday April 28, 2010 - Issue #483

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  From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 

The Best Medicine, After All

It is always refreshing when science is on your side.  For years, I’ve been talking about the power of laughter for family caregivers. It may not be the first conversation to have with someone who just received the call in the middle of the night that something traumatic has happened to a loved one, but eventually they will smile. And if today’s 12th annual Fort Lauderdale Fearless Caregiver Conference is true to form, we will be sharing laughs as well as tears and wisdom with one another.  The truth is that there are some things that will make family caregivers roil with laughter which non-caregivers could never understand.  Another powerful reason for joining a support group…but that is another rant.

As I mentioned above, statistics are now on my side when discussing the power of humor for family caregivers. A new study finds that laughing a lot can actually make you healthier by lowering blood pressure and bad levels of cholesterol.
Dr. Lee Berk, from Loma Linda University, California, who led a study on the healing power of laughter, said emotions and behavior had a physical impact on the body.  He concluded that ''the body's response to repetitive laughter is similar to the effect of' ....continued 

Take care

Gary Barg

Long Distance Caregiving Support




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Feature Article

Before It’s Too Late:
Planning for an Emergency

By Hilary Gibson, Staff Writer

Children are usually taught about fire safety and disaster preparedness in school. Experts in the field, such as firefighters, teach through demonstrating how a family should safely and quickly evacuate their house during a fire, or how to seek shelter during a natural disaster, like a tornado or hurricane. The children are then encouraged to take the information they have learned and share it among their family members at home. By practicing in-home fire and shelter drills enough times, a family can become fairly secure with the fact that everyone will know a way of getting out of the house or taking shelter.

However, if you’re among America’s 54 million caregivers, knowing how to evacuate a loved one or how a loved one can take shelter during an emergency may not be as easy as just stepping out a door, or crawling out a window, especially if your loved one has mobility challenges and physical issues. Not only do you have to consider how you yourself will get out of the house during an emergency, but how will your loved one also be able to escape? These are just a few of the questions that a caregiver must consider in order to arrive at a much-needed safety plan for their loved one. Once a safety plan has been created, it is wise to rehearse it, making sure that there are no other problems that arise during an emergency. It’s also a good idea to discuss a finalized evacuation plan with other family members who may not live with you, as well as with neighbors, friends, and any other personal care attendants that may be a part of the in-home caregiving team...continued

Today's Caregiver magazine - Digitial Edition

March/April Issue

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Guest Column

What to to about Mom or Dad? Find the Expertise You Need in a Professional Geriatric Care Manager

By Cheryl Smith, MA

You are managing your time pretty well—things are tight and there are activities you would like to add to your schedule, like a yoga class or a new hobby, but you just can’t juggle one more thing.

But then something happens that is about to add a huge responsibility to your already overloaded schedule – there is a crisis with your elderly parent or relative. The crisis might involve your mom or dad falling and breaking a hip, rear-ending another driver, getting pneumonia, or wandering away and, this time, can’t find their way back home.

How do you find the time to add one more thing to a schedule that is already full? How do you take time away from your job or taking care of your own children? You are determined to take care of your parent the same way that they took care of you, but how? Feeling overwhelmed, or giving into a meltdown, is not the only alternative.

Don’t get frustrated; get help to deal with this new complex situation. With more than 80 percent of elder care (an average 71 hours a week) provided by family members, an emerging field of geriatric experts known as professional care managers have sprung up to help....continued



Eight Tips to Managing Caregiver Guilt


Guilt is a common feeling in the landscape of caregiving. Guilt can propel you to be the best you can be…or it can immobilize you.

For caregivers, painful feelings — such as guilt, sadness and anger — are like any other pain. It’s your body’s way of saying, “Pay attention.” Just as the pain of a burned finger pulls your hand from the stove, so, too, guilt guides your actions and optimizes your health.

You have a picture of the “Ideal You” with values you hold and how you relate to yourself and others. Guilt often arises when there’s a mismatch between your day-to-day choices and the choices the “Ideal You” would have made. The “Ideal You” may be a parent who attends all of the kids’ soccer games. Miss a game to take your dad to the doctor, and you think you’re falling short.

You may have needs out of line with this “Ideal You.” You may believe that your own needs are insignificant, compared to the needs of your sick loved one. You then feel guilty when you even recognize your needs, much less act upon them. A mother may ask herself, “How can I go out for a walk with my kids when my mother is at home in pain?”...continued



I would like to know what do I need to do to apply for an Insurance for working as a Caregiver.
I have applied for a caregiver job with a family and they want for me to have insurance just in case something happens to their loved one while I'm watching them.
Could you please guide me in the right direction.

Answer This Week's CareNote Support Group Directory. Click here for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.

Caregivers need your help. Please add information about your local support groups to our Support Group Directory. Include the name of the group, where and when it meets, city and state and support group leader contact information.

Have an idea for an article? We are always looking for contributing writers. For more information contact

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Inside This Issue:

From the Editor

The Best Medicine,
After All

Feature Article

Before It’s Too Late: Planning for an Emergency
Guest Column

What to to about Mom or Dad?
Find the Expertise You Need in a Professional Geriatric Care Manager

Eight Tips to Managing Caregiver Guilt




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My sister and I were desperate. We knew our dad's driving skills had greatly diminished. He was the type of person who didn't want to be a burden of any kind...continued

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