Do Men Care Differently?

 male-caregiver

This post is being published on Father’s Day and it gave me an opportunity to think about how the landscape for caregiving may be changing as men become more involved.  According to updated statistics published by the Family Caregiver Alliance (caregiver.org), research suggests that the number of male caregivers may be increasing and will continue to do so due to a variety of social demographic factors.

A large majority of men have fallen into this role by default after losing their job in the recent economic downturn. Others have been providing care all along to their parents but are less likely to have been the primary caregiver.

Other studies have found that 36% of women caregivers handle the most difficult caregiving tasks (bathing, toileting and dressing) when compared with 24% for their male counterparts, who are more likely to help with finances, arrange care and other less burdensome tasks.

What I have found interesting from my own observation is that men care differently for their moms vs. their dads.  Men are probably less comfortable with the personal care tasks with their moms as the statistics suggests and provide more emotional support instead.  The men that I know who are actively involved as caregivers spend more one-on-one time with their mothers than their fathers.  It may have everything to do with their overall relationship and family dynamics.  I believe that they revert back to the little boy who was spoiled by their mothers, the same women whose breast they clung to for nutrition and first developed that bonding relationship with.  The fathers’ relationship evolved a little different.  Men socialize their sons to be less emotional, less nurturing and more independent and self-reliant.  The relationship gets centered on sports, competitive environments and physicality.

Fast-forward 35+ years when that dad is elderly and needs care himself, that son is at a loss of how to navigate this scenario.  This son who is an adult himself, is not able to recall that sense of nurturing toward his father.  What ends up happening (and I suspect men think this is ok) is that the son will visit the father periodically, do only what is absolutely necessary (shave, haircut, doctor visit etc.…) try to compete for the most testosterone in the room and move on.  A lot of grunting and beer probably complete the bonding ritual but that is about it.

Let me know if you have observed any differences in how men care for their moms vs. dads. Leave a comment below. If you liked this article, share it with a Dad for Father’s Day.

In honor of my Dad and Father-in-law, Happy Father’s Day in Heaven!

5 Reasons Why A Caregiver Could Benefit From A Geriatric Care Manager Today

 

GCM2

The term Geriatric Care Manager is a relatively new term and has been around in the healthcare field only since the early 1980’s.  According to the National Association for Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org , the site for industry professionals), a GCM is a health and human services specialist who helps families care for their elders.  They take a holistic approach to eldercare by seeking to improve each client’s quality of life; they also look to find ways to reduce family stress.

Geriatric Care Managers have some professional certification and come with a background in nursing or a degree in social work, gerontology or psychology.  In order to be certified, they have to have a certain number of years of direct practical experience supervised by another professional.

A Geriatric Care Manager can be an indispensable asset to the life a caregiver in five (5) ways:

  1. They conduct a comprehensive assessment.   They assess the older person’s current and past lifestyle, including their needs for home care, transportation barriers etc…
  2. They help families with trouble-shooting everyday problems. Caregivers often don’t have the time or patience to deal with the “red-tape” that consumes our healthcare system overwhelms them.  A GCM can cut through much of that bureaucracy by being the liaison that coordinates all of the care providers in your loved ones life.
  3. They serve as an advocate for the elderly client. It does not matter if your loved one is at home or in a long-term care facility.  They are the extra set of eyes and ears when you can’t be there.
  4. They have great connections. Most Geriatric Care Manager have knowledge of local care providers who could benefit you and your loved one.  They can suggest who to call and can give insight into which agencies have quality programs and services.
  5. They can be a great listener.  Most caregivers can appreciate having someone who will listen to what is important to them and what their fears or concerns are. They are primarily there for their client but they also serve the family caregivers as well.

I had the pleasure of meeting one of these gems  in Bucks County, PACarole Mancini, MMH of Newman Elder Law in Southampton, PA.  She has such a passion for this type of work and exhibits genuineness,  honesty and commitment to the families that she serves.  In a recent interview with her, she described her work as “taking the time to regard each client as a whole person and with careful and loving care, assess their current status – physically, emotionally and spiritually. I note the changes from who they were prior to having problems associated with aging, and I try to narrow the gap with appropriate suggestions regarding all aspects of their health and well-being, so that their lives can be enhanced with realistic possibilities.”

Carole works with Newman Elder Law (www.newmanelderlaw.com)  and sees private clients as well.  She can be contacted at 215-534-3612 or by email carole@newmanelderlaw.com

The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (www.caremanager.org) has a large member database of professionals throughout the country so you can search to find one near you.

Thanks to them for their work they do to support Caregivers nationwide!

Share with us below in the comments about your experience with a Geriatric Care Manager and how they helped you!

 

Do you know a Caregiver who is stressed or needs guidance? Share this email with them on Facebook or Twitter!

WARNING: WHERE YOU LIVE MAY CAUSE YOU TO DELAY IN CALLING 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY!

Unknown

May is National Stoke Awareness Month! The Health Website Medical News Today reported recently that a study conducted by the University of Michigan of 77 African-Americans in Flint, Michigan revealed that concerns about the cost of paying for an ambulance and little confidence that an ambulance would come impacted whether they called 9-1-1 immediately.  I would even go a step further to guess that the same results would show up in rural and other low-income communities who have the same concerns.  The real issues that need to be discussed and addressed are that many big cities and small towns are suffering in this economic crisis with their budgets being slashed and not having enough money to continue employing our first responders.

These are the probably the same communities that have high incidences of residents without adequate health insurance coverage to pay for an ambulance or a lengthy hospitalization.  The study also revealed a lack of knowledge about the warning signs and knowing that receiving specific medication that breaks up blood clots can reduce permanent stoke damage was also a critical factor.

Patients that arrived by ambulance usually arrive there faster and are given higher priority and treated sooner.

Educating everyone in the community about the early signs of stroke and the benefits of receiving FAST treatment can reduce the delay that is caused by misperception and misinformation and minimize the long-term damage. Remember the acronym F-A-S-T:

F is for Face: Does the person’s face look uneven?

A is for Arm: Is one arm hanging down?

S is for Speech: Is the person’s speech slurred?

T is for Time: CALL 9-1-1 NOW

Time once lost can’t be regained.

 M. K. Soni

Share this article with a friend on facebook, twitter, email!

Caring for the Care Giver

Ellen Reaves:

Happy Mother’s Day to the Caregiver’s. Reclaim Your Wellness Today!

Originally posted on Let's Talk About Family:

Many of us are Care givers for family members.  We spend a lot of time and mental energy on this effort.  We know that research shows caregivers are less healthy and have shorter lives than non care givers, but still we persevere in this, our self-appointed task.

As care givers, many of us feel alone in our efforts.  Some are lucky enough to have siblings and/or other family members to help in the primary tasks of care giving.  But too many of us are on our own.

In either case, the most important thing we have to remember (and do) is to take care of ourselves even while we are caring for our loved one.  I know I was extremely stressed out when mom was ill and especially in her last illness while she was in the hospital.  I ran from early in the morning till late in the day…

View original 499 more words

3 Tips for Caregivers to Keep Track of their Tax Deductions

Caregivers on the picketline

Caregivers on the picketline (Photo credit: Simon Oosterman)

MONDAY APRIL 15TH IS TAX DEADLINE DAY!

BUT, it is not too late for Caregivers to Claim ALL of their tax deductions.

2013-tax-refund-300x290

Did you remember to claim medical expenses? Think of all of the over-the counter expenses for medication, durable medical equipment, services, eye glasses, prescriptions etc…  Many of you caregivers pay these on a routine basis without the thought of any tax benefits to you. 

What about those Long-term health costs such as home health care, meals on wheels or any other co-pays for someone to provide services to your loved one?.  These are probably easier to keep track of since oftentimes an invoice is sent.

What about the mileage to and from the doctor’s office, hospital, pharmacy etc…?  These are all attributable expenses that can be claimed for caring for a loved one, even if they are not your dependent.

Many caregivers have to get over the GUILT or SHAME associated with claiming these deductions (they are useless emotions that paralyze us).

Here are 3 tips for you to keep track of expenses that can be claimed as a deduction:

  1. 1.     If you currently pick up the prescription and pay to “co-pay”, most pharmacies will print out a quarterly or yearly summary of all the medication that has been filled.
  2. 2.     Keep invoices or bills from home care or physical therapy agencies that provide in-home care for your loved one if you pay those costs.
  3. 3.     Keep a small notebook/journal in your car or on your mobile device to log your mileage and other vehicle expenses related to caring for a loved one.  It is probably a good idea to keep it all in one place to access when filing time arrives again.

Don’t worry, you still have the weekend to prepare an Amended Return if you need to!

What other expenses are you deducting this year? Leave your comment below and pass this on to another caregiver.

 

Let’s Keep Talking.

Why Do We Have “Cute” names for “Bad” Diseases?

5682611-smiley-balls-with-different-diseases

It seems that growing up in the urban areas of Jersey City, NJ my family would often have these cute “nicknames” for different diseases that were affecting them.  For example, they would say that Uncle Ray has a little bit of the “shakes”, when he was actually suffering with Parkinson’s Disease .  Aunt Emma had a little ”sugar” problem, instead of saying  she was Diabetic.  Years later when I would ask other family members what was the primary cause of death for some relatives, more often than not the response would be – “they were sick for a long time”. Sick from what I would ask? “Arthur would get in those joints and they couldn’t walk anymore, or they had stomach problems, or just bad blood in them” would be their response.  This would drive me NUTS!  This is clearly a situation of a lack of education about healthcare, disease prevention and how it affects your lineage.  I know this is more prevalent in poor, urban minority communities but today there has never been more health information available to the general public.  With the internet at everyone’s fingertips, constant outreach by healthcare organizations and health being on the national forefront with the Affordable Care Act, being able to have more healthcare choices, there are no more excuses.

Maybe this just happened in my family. What about yours? Leave your comments below.

As always, let’s keep talking!

Do You Speak Life?

There is a saying that the power of life and death is in the tongue.  That means that what we speak out into the universe can come to fruition.  Also, what we speak to ourselves can be a “self-fulfilling” prophecy.  What we say has power; we give it movement and meaning when we give it a voice.  As a caregiver, we tend to take on too much, get overwhelmed and then blame ourselves for not doing it PERFECT.  Give yourself a break.  We are not taught in school how to deal with these complex, emotionally charged instances in our lives.  It takes time to sort through.  Everyday will be different and it is a new opportunity to start over, do your best and recognize your extraordinary accomplishments thus far.

images-4

Starting today, speak love, speak positive affirmations, positive reassurance that you are figuring it out along the way.  SPEAK LIFE!

What will your NEW self talk sound like? Let me know in the comment section below and share this blog post with someone who needs a pep talk.

As always, let’s keep talking.

“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives”.

Proverbs 13:3

The Recipe for a Happy Life

I grew up watching my grandmother make the most delicious lemon cakes. She never used a recipe and would throw in all the necessary ingredients and it would come out perfect every time. Fast forward 40+ years and I always need to follow some sort of recipe when I bake.  I still can’t seem to get rid of the lumps or air pockets. Ugh!

Wouldn’t be great if all we had to do was mix together some love, happiness, peace, goodwill, honesty and we would be guaranteed a happy life? Unfortunately, we can’t get rid of the lumps which are grief, loss, injustice, pain and suffering. I think of it as more of a “cupcake surprise” which is throwing in whatever you have on hand and praying it turns out great. For me, I am going to add a little more love today in my recipe. What will you add?


250px-Pound_layer_cake

Who Is Your Sidekick?

Some of the more memorable dynamic duos of my generation (Generation X) were : Lone Ranger & Tonto, Batman & Robin, Captain Kirk & Spock, Bert & Ernie or even Thelma and Louise (you get the point).  As a caregiver, you think that you are in this web of chaos and mayhem all by yourself. When in fact, there is probably someone right by your side that provides you with support, guidance, patience, a shoulder to complain on and will often tell you THE TRUTH when you need to hear it.  This person is often the “invisible caregiver” that gets no brownie points and is overlooked by doctors and other health care professionals since they are probably not directly related to the care recipient.  The spend just as many countless hours worrying, assisting you, and care about you twice as much as you care about yourself.

For me,my “side kick” is my HUSBAND (whom I love immeasurably!).  He has surprised me with his depth of compassion, unwavering support, honest analysis, common sense approach to these emotional issues.  Thanks to him for all that he has done and continues to do.

A Salute to The Sidekicks!

Unknown images images-3 images-2 images-1

 

Do you have a sidekick or know someone who deserves a salute for their support, share this post with them!