January 2005 - New Year, new
hopes, old lessons. I admit it. Sometimes it is apply the
principles of fearless caregiving all the times. But when I do apply
them to my everyday life, remarkable things do happen. A few things
first, we received commitment from our friends at Clay Aiken’s
foundation (Bubel-Aiken) that Clay will be the keynote speaker at the
Fort Lauderdale Fearless Caregiver Conference and we will be the
official hosts of the first Voices for Change Gala to occur the night of
the conference in the Spring. I am a fan of Clays work as a singer but
much more importantly as a vocal advocate for issues dealing with
children living with Developmental Disabilities. But back to my lesson.
In one of my frequent recent trips to the northern climes, I found
myself stranded in the Philadelphia airport with about 700 other
February 2005 - I spent a week
this month in Honolulu with my friends Steve and Angie Potts, who were
hosting the “Hawaii Voices for Change Gala” for the Bubel-Aiken
Foundation, just to see what we may be in for in a few months.
Hey, it was all for work, I swear. Actually, most of the days in
Hawaii were spent in the convention center trailing Steve and Angie as
they worked hard to make the event a success (which it was). I got
to spend some time with ClayFans who are as dedicated to the work of the
foundation as they are to Clay’s performances. Next time, maybe I’ll get
to eat some Poi.
Next identity theft article:
March 2005 - The month of inclusion.
Not only because of the upcoming Bubel/Aiken Foundation gala we are
hosting next month along with our annual Fort Lauderdale Fearless
Caregiver conference, but because of the lessons that I have learned
about the similarity between those with differing caregiving situations.
There is much of the same type of joy that is felt by an Alzheimer’s
caregiver who was able to glimpse, for just a few moments, signs of
recognition behind the insidious veil clouding their loved ones mind and
an Autism teacher who hears an eight year old child speak for the very
first time. We are truly all in this together.
We also produce the first issue of the South Florida edition of
Today’s Caregiver magazine. Now, that’s a homecoming.
April 2005 - What is the saying March goes out like a
lamb…This April actually came in on winged feet. On the 16th we
spent the day with 650 of our favorite people at the Fort Lauderdale
Fearless Caregiver conference in the morning and capped it off with an
elegant gala with over 450 in attendance.
The day was in the true spirit of Sharing Wisdom
with an active question and answer period that covered everything from
latest medications, to security technology. As usual, it was a
real joy to watch the experts on the panel taking notes as conference
attendees support their fellow caregivers with tremendously insightful
answers. After all, who are the real caregiving experts but those caring
for their loved ones. The month ended with a trip to give a
keynote speech to the Montana Gerontology Conference, now I know what
they mean by Big Sky country.
May 2005 - How timely is it that Older
Americans month and Elder Law month coincide with the opportunity to
rant on about a few of my favorite issues. On more than one
occasion this month I had to put a halt to the age-old but misguided
concept that you are no longer a caregiver once your loved one is living
in a long term care facility. Nothing can be further than the truth and
hopefully, this myth will be dispelled along with the other one which
also reared its ugly head this month, the one that says that you can not
speak up for your rights in the hospital for fear of retaliation. But as
usual, I was able to turn to our readers to get the most valuable and
appropriate advice to answer this caregiver’s concerns.
June 2005 - Adult Day Care, Respite and Advance
Directives…this month was all about caregivers doing the right things to
support their loved ones. We met Alice in California who brought
her entire support group to share the day with her as she was honored
with a Fearless Caregiver Award and talked about AD2 which stands for
Adult day care to the second power. In other words, utilizing Adult Day
Care is also an opportunity for a smart caregiver to add some respite
into their schedule.
July 2005 - I remember it as it was only yesterday. The
rain soaked Fourth of July weekend, when a friend and I backed a rental
truck up to the printing house to take delivery on the first issue of
Today’s Caregiver magazine. I spent that weekend as I spent many
others in the early days – driving around South Florida delivering
magazines to hospitals and other care facilities. It was a great
opportunity to watch how people responded to the magazine and to spend
time talking with readers making sure that we were covering issues of
importance to our fellow caregivers.
August 2005 - The dog-days of summer have ended with a bite
worse than many of us in the South have seen since Hurricane Andrew in
1992. It ended with deadly force as Katrina moved into the Gulf
Coast with devastating force. When she first came ashore in our South
Florida neighborhood, we lost power for a day, which finally goaded us
into purchasing a generator with wishes of never having to use it. Since
Katrina, we have stayed in touch with our friends and colleagues in the
gulf coast states trying to help in whatever way we can. Our prayers are
with them. As in natural disasters, we caregivers need to remain
prepared for whatever health issues can befall us or our loved ones.
Being prepared ain’t just for Boy Scouts anymore.
September 2005 - As the Gulf Coast deals with the devastating
blow dealt by Hurricane Katrina and questions ensue about governmental
response efforts, it reminds me of the simple fact that we as family
caregivers need to be prepared for the many possible challenges that
arise on a moments notice. And as I found on a recent flight, you not
only need to know that there is an emergency plan, you also need to be
able to enact it on a moments notice.
October 2005 - Still Helping - It is fourteen years since dad
passed and I think about him some part of most every day. He was such a
kind and giving man that I think he would be happy to know that his
illness was the impetus to create all we do to help care for caregivers.
In fact, he is still helping people he would never get to meet and I
think that somehow he knows and is smiling.
For the first time in over five years, we did not publish one of the
weekly newsletters, but that is the least of our worries as Fred
Flintstone’s wife comes to visit and bring a truly frightening Halloween
Trick or Treat.
November 2005 - I imagine that my new friends in Sacramento
are grateful my electricity came back on two days before my visit to
host a caregiving conference, since I was able to take a long hot shower
for the first time in the two weeks since Hurricane Wilma struck.
I don’t think the attendees at our second annual Connecticut Fearless
Caregiver conference knew what was wrong, but I’m sure that they know
something was amiss the day of the event. They didn’t know that a few
hours before I learned of losing someone dear to me only hours before
December 2005 - A year unlike any other. (Hopefully.)
Be it the Age of Pisces or the Age of Aquarius, 2005 was certainly a
year marked by powerful waters. Beginning with the aftereffects of a
tsunami and ended with a series of devastating hurricanes, the Age of
Peaceful Waters couldn’t come fast enough.
January 2006 - We started the year talking with “Cool Joe” -
Joe Montana. After his years of relative safety on the gridiron, he is
talking about something which almost tackled him after he retired and is
of great importance to many of our readers.
February 2006 - Ah’ Roma - It’s off to Rome – Not
Italy, but still nice. We host a Fearless Caregiver conference with the
local Area Agency on Aging in Rome Georgia and it is a real hit. An
attendee talks of a something near and dear to my heart which I wish no
other caregiver ever needs to hear from their family members.
March 2006 - Nifty Fifty - Some dates stick in your mind - like the
impending date on the calendar signifying your fiftieth birthday.
Thankfully my friends and loved ones make it more palatable at a
celebration in my favorite Indian restaurant. Then I hopped on a plane
to spend a few days at the ASA/NCOA annual conference with colleagues
from across the nation. Certainly takes the sting out of the new decade.
This edition’s cover interview is with a celebrity who could be
called nothing less than a true Fearless Caregiver.
April 2006 - My Barking Heart - It has been six months since
Hurricane Wilma (blue tarps still on roofs) and five months since my
eighteen year old cat passes. I guess some folks thought it was about
time to add another member to the family. I guess they were right.
May 2006 - CEO’s All - One of the most important
goals of a Fearless Caregiver conference is to allow all of the
healthcare professionals to spend the day together breaking bread,
sharing wisdom, and to better understand each others role in the
healthcare system. This includes all members of the team from doctors to
nurses to family caregivers and organizational leaders. This is why we
were so excited this year to create a panel of leading national
healthcare CEO’s designed to interact directly with family caregivers at
the Fort Lauderdale Fearless Caregiver conference. And interact they
June 2006 - Listening to the Experts.
It is hard to believe but the fifth “Summer of Respite” begins. We
are firm believers in the value of respite to caregivers and our loved
ones, but many times we don’t even know where to start to achieve some
much needed relief for ourselves. As usual, you need not look any
further than your fellow caregiver to supply a wide variety of respite
options that have worked for them. As I always say, never ignore a
chance to listen to the real caregiving experts – your fellow
July 2006 - The best anniversary gift - Eleven
years, fifty conferences, sixty celebrity caregiver cover interviews and
two hundred and eighty eight newsletter columns and still nothing can
equal the excitement that we feel when caregivers share their advice,
insights and wisdom with their fellow caregivers.
August 2006 - My Dog Days of Summer Rant
We have heard from a lot of caregivers over the past few months
who seem to be hearing the same blather from friends and family members
about when a caregivers role ends. I think that it is best to leave that
question to the real experts – the caregivers themselves.
September 2006 - Waiting for Godot, Ernesto, or Wilma
So far this hurricane season seems to be turning all of the
prognostications into hot air (fingers crossed, there are still months
to go until the all clear is sounded). But as in caregiving there is no
such thing as too much advanced preparation.
New channel at caregiver.com:
Ovarian Cancer Channel
October 2006 - Come Fly With Me - Austin and Houston in
one week (with a short hop back to Miami in between to see the
veterinary surgeon, ah the joy of puppies), there is nothing in the
world like being in the room with hundreds of family caregivers who all
previously thought that they were the only ones who could understand
what caregivers go through on a daily basis as we care for our loved
November 2006 - Midterm madness - Well the Midterm
elections are over and the Respite Bill has still not been signed, but
it does seem to be on its way to the president’s desk. Now that the
campaigning is over, we need to find out who our newly elected (or
re-elected) representatives are and get out our pencils and pens to make
sure they know what their bosses (you) demand from them in the coming
December 2006 - Farewell 2006 - Well, we squeaked by this
year with hardly a leaf out of place, none of the pre-ordained
hurricanes seemed to make land in this neck of the woods (I wouldn’t
mind a repeat of this performance next year). The Lifespan Respite Care
Act of 2006 (HR 3248) does get passed and signed into law
(congratulations to Jill Kagan and her dedicated team) and we end the
year with more caregiving wisdom being shared. Bring on 2007.