Archive for August, 2008

Obama and his grandparents, copyright CBS Interactive, Inc

Obama and his grandparents, copyright CBS Interactive, Inc

I recently came across an article on the NYTimes Caregiving Blog about Obama and McCain’s views on long-term care.  In lieu of my recent post regarding this topic, I wanted to share this article as well as some of my personal views on the subject.  Both presidential candidates say  they plan on making changes to improve long-term care availability, Medicare coverage, and maybe even some “help” to caregivers.  We shall see.  One thing is for sure- changes do need to be made… and quickly.  With the largest generation (Baby Boomers) in the United States now approaching “senior status”- our government needs to make changes to our health care system a top priority- and not just lip service during their campaign. Whether it be Obama or McCain- The new president and his staff need to put new systems in place. (more…)


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In a world of increasing health care problems, with elder care and caregiving growing perhaps as fast as gas prices- having good health insurance means a lot more now than just having a low copay.  It’s clear that the kind of health insurance you have has a huge impact on the the kind of care you receive.  But what defines “great health insurance”?  And nowadays is having even the best insurance enough?

My mom worked as a R.N. for the city for over 17 years.  I had always heard from both her and her coworkers that “they had the best health insurance”.  When my mom suddenly became sick, I assumed that her insurance would cover all her needs and that she would receive the best possible care.  Reality first set in early on when my mom was in an acute rehabilitation hospital receiving treatment for a stroke.  The Case Manager met with me to discuss her benefits and specifically how long her insurance would pay for treatment.  Even her Case Manager said her coverage was in fact “as good as they come”.  With stroke, like many other illnesses, frequency & longevity of treatment can play a big role on how well a person can recover.  In short, my mom’s insurance policy would cover the following:

         -60 Days in an Acute Skilled Nursing Facility
         -60 Days in a Long-Term Skilled Nursing Facility
         -120 Days of Home Health Care
         -60 Outpatient Visits

Great!  This coverage sounded good to me.  I felt instant relief!  Sounds too good to be true, right?  Well, it was. (more…)

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Caregiver Anticipatory Grief.  I am so glad someone finally gave a title to a feeling that I, like many other caregivers, go through.  Pamela Larsen Schroeder, a fellow caregiver and a Health & Wellness Coach, wrote a great post and finally shed some light on this matter. 

“It is so wonderful to see the genuine affection and regard that congregants in our small community church have for my mother…  It’s been tough going to funerals with her this past year. Holding her hand as she says, “goodbye,” to a friend; knowing full well, that one day I’m going to be saying, “goodbye for now,” to her. And I’m going to be sitting in that pew without her by my side.”  Read her full post…

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The emotional rollercoaster of caregiving

The emotional roller-coaster of caregiving is a topic that could endlessly be talked about and yet never gets old.  My journey started suddenly when I, an only child, was thrust into the role of caregiver after my 57 year old mother had a massive stroke.  During the first few months, in the midst of absolute chaos, I became a robot that seemed only to be programmed to “get things done”.  Of course I FELT everything.  But at that time, I didn’t have the opportunity or luxury to fall apart.  I wanted to to.  Oh, believe me, I wanted to fall apart.  I wanted to curl up in bed, pull up the covers, and never come out.  I wanted to quit, give up, scream for help, yell at everybody, self-destruct, and in rarest form-even die.  (more…)

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My caregiver story

 PART TWO of MY STORY (Continued from Part One of My Story. )

Back to my story…so my mom was in the rehab hospital working on various kinds of therapy.  She had had a massive stroke on the left side of her brain, which left her right-side paralyzed along with 100% loss of her speech. I went to the hospital everyday, to spend time with her, sit in on her therapy sessions, and meet with various doctors and therapists about her progress.  Meanwhile, I was also running around crazy, trying to get legal documents in place, social security disability, her work pension, fighting her insurance to get the best care, and just about a million other things that needed to be taken care of.  While there was a war going on in Iraq; I felt like I was in my own war- at home. 


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As caregivers, we often (if not always) put our loved ones first.  We do everything we can to help out the person we are caring for.  We help them with meals, we take them to doctors, we drive them where they need to go and most of all we are there for every accomplishment and disappointment they encounter.  So why is it that we get all the blame?  Our families seem to criticize a lot of what we do and how we do it.  No-body’s perfect; not even caregivers.  But at the end of the day, we do what’s best for them.  It’s us, after all, that have made the sacrifice.  We do it because we love them and because we (most likely) are the ones in our family that are loyal, caring, and want to the “right thing”.  On our own we are usually the first ones to feel we are not doing enough or to feel guilty over everything! So why in the world do we need more of that from our family?  I guess, as a spectator, its easy to criticize what someone else is doing.  After all, anyone can be a “Monday morning quarterback”.

Wow!  I feel better already- venting really helps!  I personally hate to be negative but… I guess sometimes you just have to get it out.   And if you are a caregiver, you know!  I would love to hear your thoughts and personal experiences on this.  And vent if you need to!

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