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Walking The Tight Rope Of Sanity –

072616 Graphic Roger Renik

Tuesday, July 26th, 2016,  we will be talking to have Roger Renik who found caring for an aging parent had many additional emotional aspects and challenges. Balancing on a tight rope and juggling many roles like a stressful second shift job, being a husband and father to two, plus caring for a parent can set life up to be unbalanced.  In Roger’s case, the conclusion of the caring for his mom was just the beginning of another challenging chapter in his life.

 Contact Information For Roger Renik:

rsrenik2@att.net

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Voices of Those Diagnosed with Dementia

Dementia Chats™ was created with the intention to educate people living with dementia; their care partners both family and friends as well as professionals and advocates.  Our Experts are those diagnosed with dementia. We have been doing this series since July of 2012, but given we changed platforms in 2016, only those videos are listed below.

Join Us Tuesday July 26th

11am EST, 10am CST, 9am MST, 8am PST and 4pm London time

 All sessions are recorded and will be archived below.

To Enter Click Below

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:  https://zoom.us/j/754961834

Or Dial: +1 646 558 8656 (US Toll) or +1 408 638 0968 (US Toll)

Meeting ID: 754 961 834

International numbers available:  https://zoom.us/zoomconference?m=_eEg53ol0nKrCvwkJL7IC976NtUtxewq

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Why Are There Not Enough Caregivers

To Help The Elderly

   By Carole Larkin, ThirdAge Services 

Today we focus on getting help in the home caring for your elderly loved one (with or without dementia).

This is insider information taken from the leading academic journal in the United States called “Generations”. It is produced by the foremost academic and professional organization in America, The American Society on Aging. All content in their journal is researched and documented by the highest credentialed researchers in Aging topics. For more information on “Generations” and the American Society on Aging go to: www.generationsjournal.org and www.asaging.org. All information in quotation marks is directly from the Spring 2016 issue of Generations. (Volume 40 number 1)

Question: Why are there not enough caregivers to help the elderly (with and without dementia)?

Answer: There are a number of reasons why we in the United States are having trouble getting quality help, or sometimes any help at all to care for our loved ones at home.

  • There is a lack of people available to do home care jobs relative to the number of people who need their services. As you’ve heard over and over again, there are a huge amount of baby boomers now getting old enough to need care, added to the fact that people are living longer than they used to, and they also need care. Baby boomers did not have enough children to replace themselves, so there is a much lower population of people of working age (25-54) to tend to older adults who need help. “demand for direct care staff during 2002 through 2012 rose by 917,000, while demand from 2012 through 2022 is projected to be 1.3 million-a 43 percent increase. What is far less visible is a tectonic shift in the supply of the traditional source of the direct care workers: WOMEN ages 25-54. Between 2012 and 2022 the net number of women entering the workforce will be only 227,000, compared to the net demand increase of 1.3 million direct care positions.”
  • And not every person of the 25-54 years old age group is going to become a home care worker, of course. They’ll be any one of a number of other professions, like doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc. And there is a much worse shortage of these people in rural areas than in the cities, as younger people continue to desert those areas for better paying jobs in the urban areas.
  • Added to all that, the home care jobs themselves are low quality jobs. Very often the pay is low, there are no benefits like health care, or, work schedules are unpredictable and are mostly part-time. “Thus, it is difficult to recruit paraprofessionals from other low wage jobs when those jobs make fewer demands, and pose less risk for injury, or emotional and physical strain.” (Think McDonalds, Walmart, etc.)

Question: What can be done to help fix this situation?

Answer: Well, the most obvious answer is of course to give the home care workers higher pay, more benefits and a more predictable schedule. That would immediately attract more people to those jobs.

Question: Can that be done?

Answer: Aha, now we enter the heart of the matter. Well, in the past and continuing through this moment, there has been no political or societal will to change things. There has been and still is, no value given to the services that home care workers perform for us.

  • Society gets care for free from family members. The thought is why pay others to do the same job and certainly why pay them even more to do the same job? Society takes both sets of care for granted in the past, and even today. Elderly, sick and disabled people don’t contribute to our Gross National Product, so they are a negative force as opposed to a positive force in our economy. There can be no value given to those who care for them. Everyday people would have to change their minds and decide there is value in caring for our elderly, diseased and disabled as opposed to seeing it as a drain on our society. I don’t see that change in attitude happening any time soon. Do you?
  • All the groups in society who can effect change (called “stakeholders”) and who pay for caregivers have no desire to REALLY change the way things are. These “stakeholders” are “Policy makers (the government and politicians), insurers (health insurance companies), employers, and consumers (regular people).” Oh, government may hold hearings, insurance companies may issue a few long term care policies that pay towards agency caregivers, a few employers allow benefits towards caregiving, consumers complain of having no help, but don’t do anything but complain about it. But really none of those things significantly affect the status quo.
  • The government tried to improve pay for a substantial number of homecare workers by having the Department of Labor include them as part of the general workforce for the first time, giving them the right to receive the minimum wage and receive overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week starting January 1, 2015.The Home Care Association of America (both home care companies paid by Medicare and/or Medicaid and home care companies paid by individuals) sued the Department of Labor to stop the rule from being implemented. They lost. The Supreme Court ruled on October 13, 2015 and set enforcement to start 30 days later.

(November 12, 2015.)

  • The companies got around the rule (for the most part) by reducing their caregivers’ hours to less than 40 hours a week, effectively making them part-time employees, not subject to overtime. To be fair, some private companies did ask their clients if they would pay overtime costs to keep their same caregivers over 40 hours a week. Few families decided to pay more money to the caregiving companies, opting to have more caregivers come to their houses to cover caregiving tasks if they had more than 40 hours caregiving time in a week. For many families with a person with dementia, this caused more confusion and upset for the person with dementia suddenly having a stream of people coming in to care for them, instead of just 1 or 2 persons a week. Either way, by homecare company choice, or by family choice, those most vulnerable were hurt. This devaluing of the person with dementia and of the caregiver is happening now, and will continue into the future because there is nothing in place to change it.

So, in summary, expect things on this front to get worse before they get better (if ever) because of a lack of people to do the job, and because the people who do the job are overworked and underpaid. In this instance, it’s fair to say that we are getting what we are paying for.   Are you ready to pay more to get quality caregiving? Think about that.

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   Carole Larkin with ThirdAge Services  third_age_services_logo

Additional Resources

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Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio – July 21st

2:00pm EST, 1:00pm CST, 12:00pm MST, 11:00am PST and 7:00pm London 

 

The Detoxing of Caregivers: Key Tips

for Survival, Strength and Patience

Thursday, July 21st, we will have Dr. Lawrence T. Force, a Gerontologist, who has worked in the field of aging and for over 30 years. Dr. Force is the Founder & CEO of AgePlan, a national advocacy and training organization.  Come and join the conversation.

Contact Information For Dr. Lawrence T. Force, Gerontologist                          

Email: drltforce@gmail.com                              

Twitter: drforce                                      LinkedIn: Dr. Lawrence T. Force

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Finding Calmer Waters

On The Caregiver Journey

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Today we are lucky to have Barbra Cohn who is a health writer and certified nutrition educator who offers support to caregivers, guiding them to make healthy food and lifestyle choices. After caring for her husband who died from younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease, she has written a book to help caregivers and their care partners (the person they care for) experience more energy, restful sleep, increased relaxation and inner peace. Her book “Calmer Waters: The Caregivers’ Journey Through Alzheimer’s and Dementia” was released June 1st.

Contact Information For Barbra Cohn:

Email: healthwriter1@gmail.com

Blog: barbracohn.com

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Conscious Caring Resources

with Vince Zangaro, founder of

Alzheimer’s Music Fest

ConCarRes_part_logoWelcome to Conscious Caring Resources, which is another platform to help you care for others and yourself provided by Alzheimer’s Speaks.

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Here, like with all Alzheimer’s Speaks platforms – Radio – Blog- Webinar- Resource Directory – Keynotes- Training and Consulting; We believe in giving voice and enriching lives around the world when it comes to our dementia are culture.

We were lucky to have Vince Zangaro Alzheimer’s  founder of Alzheimer’s Music Fest with us.  His journey started over 10 years ago with his father. His dad was 62 when diagnosed, and Vince was only 29 when his world completely changed. It was a difficult time for both of them to say the least.

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As his dad’s disease progressed, Vince shares how he has evolved into a better man. Vince like many had friends suggesting he put his Dad in a home, but he made a promise to his mother before she died at age 55 that he would take care of him.

Vince talks openly about his difficult decision to Give up or Grow up!  Thank God for all of us he Decided to Grow UP and make a difference, not only for his father but for other families who are struggling on their own journey with dementia.
Vince founded Alzheimer’s Music Fest to help others be able to care for their loved ones at home.
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The Alzheimer’s Music Fest will be held on August 6, 2016 at Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth, Georgia.

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By Kevin Woo

I didn’t know Pat Summitt, but I’ve thought a lot about her the past few weeks. I remember her stalking the sidelines at the University of Tennessee on the basketball court that bears her name. I remember her array of orange suits. I remember the stare that she gave to players when she wanted to get their attention.

It’s ironic that I, along with thousands of people throughout the country, have spent time remembering and reminiscing about Summitt’s career because it was Alzheimer’s disease that took her life.

Summitt, died on June 28, 2016. She was 64. Summitt was the head basketball coach at the University of Tennessee for nearly 40 years and led the Lady Vols to more wins – 1,098 – than any other coach (man or woman) in the history of college basketball. In her nearly four decades as head coach, her teams won eight national titles.

She began her coaching career in 1972 after the passage of Title IX. Her first contract paid her less than $250 a month, and along with that princely sum she had to wash the teams’ uniforms. The uniforms, by the way, were purchased from the proceeds of a donut sale.

Over the next four decades, she became the face of women’s college basketball. Her success on and off the court proved that women could compete on the same level as men.  She won 15 coach of the year honors, was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama, and was named the Naismith Coach of the Century.

Those statistics and awards reflect Pat Summitt, the coach. But she was so much more. She was a daughter, a sibling, a spouse, a mom and a mentor.

She was diagnosed with early onset dementia in May 2011. True to form, as she announced that she’d be leaving the basketball program she said, “There’s not going to be any pity party and I’ll make sure of that.” She didn’t want people to feel sorry for her. Someone asked how she would handle life with Alzheimer’s. She repeated what she had told her players – left foot, right foot, breathe, repeat.

I discovered something as I was reading about Coach Summitt. Every player who ever played for her, all 161, graduated. Think about that. Every single woman who played basketball at the University of Tennessee under Pat Summitt earned her degree. Summitt believed that education was even more important than athletics. At a time when you read about infractions with this college program or that college program, Pat Summitt ran a clean program, and made sure that everyone went to class and graduated.

I can’t even imagine what it must have been like for her to live the last five years with Alzheimer’s. Today when I watch the Lady Vols play, I still see her stalking the sidelines, giving that famous stare. How does someone with such energy, vitality, and drive die so young? How does someone who had to keep so much information in her head during a game take the news that she has Alzheimer’s?

Before she died Summit founded the Pat Summitt Cure for Alzheimer’s Foundation. For information on Alzheimer’s disease, Coach Summitt and how you can make a difference, you can visit the Pat Summitt Foundation at http://www.patsummitt.org/.

If you or a family member are struggling with the disease, and life seems overwhelming, remember what Coach Summitt taught, “left foot, right foot, breathe, repeat.”

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