The Working Consumer: Finding Independence for People with Developmental Disabilities
March 26 2015
by Christine Kristanich
When someone receives care from a caregiver, people often assume that they have lost their independence. But often for people with developmental disabilities, it’s just the opposite. Many people with developmental disabilities currently hold minimum-wage jobs while receiving care. They hop out of bed, go through their morning routine, commute to work, and return home later with experiences to share about their day—all while earning a paycheck. Despite their disability, with the support and encouragement of their caregiver and care team, they are able to gain a sense of independence and manage their working life...
Coping with Traumatic Brain Injury
February 22 2015
by Jennifer Olsen
Terry* is polite, optimistic, and fun to be around. In conversation, his words and mannerisms don't raise any eyebrows—as long as the topic doesn't drift beyond the past few minutes. When I first met him, I asked, "What time did you leave the house this morning?" He reached into his pocket, pulled out a notebook, scanned the page, and confidently responded, "7:30 a.m." Terry has no short-term memory...
Diabetes Care: A Family Affair
November 25 2014
by Carol Renaux
With diabetes on the rise in the U.S., most people have heard the word but have a hard time wrapping their mind around what it truly means. For people who require around-the-clock care, receiving a diabetes or pre-diabetes diagnosis can be paralyzing, and generally means that more life changes are to come...
How To Be Your Own Advocate
October 29 2014
by Andrea Galvin
There are times when caregivers need to advocate for themselves or for the person they care for. Situations may range from advocating for better educational services for a child with special needs, changing medical protocol, making an insurance claim, obtaining a VISA to visit another country, acquiring Social Security benefits for a person with disabilties, or settling an unscrupulous business transaction...
Cultural Sensitivity and Medication Management: Reconciling Personal Beliefs with Care Plans
September 22 2014
by Douglas Castellanos
In Spanish we have a funny joke, which I think is universal: There’s a girl who is always praying to God to win the lottery. “I’m a good person,” she cried. “I really need this. Help me win the lottery, please.” One day, she got really upset about it and asked God why she hadn’t won yet, since she prayed every day. All of a sudden, she hears the voice of God say, “Maria, buy a ticket.”
In my work as an RN, I care for people of all cultures, heritages and religions, and sometimes I’ve seen prayer replace medication adherence. Personal beliefs sometimes feel in conflict with care plans for some consumers. By listening, educating, and creating an ongoing dialogue, care teams can be sensitive to different cultures and respect consumers’ faiths, while also giving them the best care possible.
Memory Box: How Consumers with Dementia Benefit from the Comforts of Home
September 19 2014
by Judith McGrath
When I worked in a facility that specialized in caring for individuals with memory loss, I witnessed countless people feeling disoriented, nervous, and confused. One particular day, I noticed a tearful woman anxiously wandering up and down the hallway. She appeared to be looking for something or someone. Her dementia was in an advanced stage, and she was almost completely nonverbal. As I pondered the best way to help, I saw a staff member named Anna gently taking the woman by the hand and seating her on the couch next to a "memory box"...
The Power of Family: A Full Circle Caregiving Story
June 25 2014
by Tom Riley, CEO
Her name is Harriet Lyons, and she was born in 1926. She has six children, 12 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 3 great, great-grandchildren. She's done many remarkable things in her life but few more important than taking her granddaughter Charlene in when Charlene's mom became unable to take care of her. That was 22 years ago. Today, Charlene, age 23, is Ms. Harriett's caregiver. Their uncommon bond is a remarkable testament to the power of family and to life coming full circle.
Dealing with the Diagnosis When a Disease Hits Home
June 23 2014
by Rochelle Mills
In 2007, my mother was diagnosed with Frontal Lobe Dementia. This diagnosis confirmed what my brothers and I had suspected for a number of years: something was wrong with mom. She got lost on her way to my brother's house on Christmas Day. She would say, "I have never been here before," as we made our 100th trip to the Dairy Queen for her beloved chocolate cone...
Remembering Cinderella: How Elders Can Benefit from Pets
May 28 2014
by Sue Gregg
Cinderella was a very smart cockapoo with brown and white curls. Born on January 12, 2000, she was a Y2K puppy. Cinder, as we affectionately called her, was also a dog with a remarkable story and life journey...
The Importance of A Good Night's Sleep: 10 Tips for Caregivers
May 28 2014
by Rachael Lee McCowen
Tossing and turning late into the night. Checking off mental to-do lists before bed. Sleep can sometimes feel like a luxury, but getting adequate rest is essential, especially for those who provide around-the-clock care to others.