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This past week the Boston Marathon bombings put parts of the city and suburbs on lockdown, providing an unwelcome example of a type of emergency families rarely plan for: terrorism and police actions. Most people who care for elders think often about the elder’s own health crises, and all of us have to plan for blizzards, power outages, and related events. But reassuing a frightened elder during an act of terrorism? Not so much.
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I took a short break this afternoon, and when I tuned back into the world of news, I found that the expected winter storm Friday into Saturday was now being called a BLIZZARD WATCH! Eighteen to twenty-four inches are being forecast with high winds. My goodness... We rolled into action to consider the safety of every shift change Friday and Saturday... will the roads the safe? Will it be snowing too heavily? How can we serve clients Saturday night and Sunday morning safely? We will work with families and caregivers to create a plan for any shift changes that may be made unsafe or impossible by this storm. We will be in touch wiht impacted families and caregivers. In the meantime, this is the right moment to share two blog posts I wrote from a past winter storm/blizzard. They contain info about prepping clients' and the caregivers' homes, and other important information. Please review this and then get into action to get ready.Who Will Shelter Your Elder Loved One in an Emergency? http://www.caringcompanion.net/blog/view/1873-who-will-shelter-your-elder-loved-one-in-an-emergencyFirst Possible Winter Storm Coming, Eastern Massachusetts http://www.caringcompanion.net/blog/view/1163-first-possible-winter-storm-coming-eastern-massachusettsEasten Massachusetts Winter Storm Forecast Upgraded To a Blizzardhttp://www.caringcompanion.net/blog/view/1177-eastern-massachusetts-winter-storm-forecast-upgraded-to-a-blizzard
Habilitation Therapy (HT) is considered by the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Association to be the best caregiving practice that exists today. Learn about this comprehensive behavioral approach that will help both dementia patient and caregivers alike, which can help improve their quality of lives dramatically. HT helps difficult symptoms be reduced or eliminated, regardless of what stage of the illness the patient is current experiencing, by skillfully adapting to the capacities of the patient and communicating accordingly. Habilitation Therapy helps caregivers have positive and successful interactions with dementia patients, reducing stress, allowing greater enjoyment of each day.
Tuesday, August 7, 5:30 pm - 6:45pmConcord Council on AgingHarvey Wheeler Community Center 1276 Main Street Concord, MA 01742
Join the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Association for the Greater Concord "End Alzheimer’s Kick-off" meeting on August 7. Team up with other communities in Metrowest Boston as we work to end this disease that afflicts an estimated 320 Concordians!
Dr. Deborah Bier of Caring Companion Home Care in Concord will lead a discussion based on the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Association's "Habilitation Therapy," an innovative approach that helps families avoid common frustrating pitfalls that Alzheimer's presents, and how actually to learn to treasure the remaining days as they are. John O’Leary, Marketing Chairperson for the Greater Boston Walk to End Alzheimer’s, will lead a discussion on ways we can increase Alzheimer’s awareness and participation in activities to End Alzheimer’s including this year’s Greater Boston Walk.
Friday the 13th was our lucky day -- on Friday July 13, 2012, anyway.
Public Radio International, producer of such popular shows as Marketplace, called to request that I appear on To the Point, "a fast-paced, news based one-hour daily national program that focuses on the hot-button issues of the day, co-produced by KCRW and Public Radio International." The show was devoted to "Home Care and Our Aging Population."
This was our third opportunity for national exposure within a month, including an opinion piece on CNN.com and a series of national webinars requested by the National Private Duty Association. The show examined both the costs of home care and people's attitudes toward old age. The most interesting question, I thought, was
We were delighted to learn recently that CNN.com published a piece I had submitted on the unintended consequences of the Obama administration's intention to change the Fair Labor Standards Act regarding overtime for home care workers. Leaving aside for the moment the merits of the adminstration's proposal and the cautions I was raising as it is considered, it was a milestone for our agency to be on the national stage debating a piece of legislation this important.
Most of the reader comments indicated that people thought I was concerned about the home care agency's profits, but the fact is that the law, if passed, would not affect our profit by a single dollar. That is because Massachusetts already has an overtime provision, so we pay overtime to everyone who works more than 40 hours. What those readers do not realize is this:
The National Private Duty Association (NPDA) recently asked us to present a webinar for a national audience of both professional and family caregivers to discuss the Habilitation Therapy curriculum recently developed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the Alzheimer's Association. I was certified in the first class given using this curriculum designed to help people managing Alzheimer's Disease and other related dementias. The reception to our presenation was so good that the NPDA has asked us to present a series of three more webinars on the topic. We will post details on those as soon as they are scheduled.
You can watch and listen to our webinar on Habilitation Therapy for Alzheimer's at your convenience. Fill out the simple registration form to proceed.
Caring Companion Home Care of Concord, MA was selected by the industry's most prominent national trade organization, the National Private Duty Association (NPDA), to deliver a consumer seminar entitled "When Dementia Strikes: Managing Care and Making the Most of Each Day." It will be delivered as a free webinar on May 16 at 3:30 PM EST. Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) cause grief for families and increasingly complex cases for home care agencies. The Alzheimer's Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have developed an innovative new program to train family and caregivers in the use of Habilitation Therapy to reduce the care challenges in these difficult cases. Participants will learn about best practices in the industry as the country faces this growing challenge. "We are truly honored to have been selected to deliver this information, among the roughly 17,000 thousand homecare agencies nationwide," says Caring Companion owner and long-time Concord resident, Jim Reynolds. "We owe this to our Concord office director, Dr. Deborah Bier, who has become a recognized expert on dementia and home care."
Capacity is limited. Reserve your Webinar seat now here.
Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) cause grief for families and increasingly complex cases for home care agencies. The Alzheimer's Association and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts have developed an innovative new program to train family and caregivers in the use of Habilitation Therapy to reduce the care challenges in these difficult cases. Come learn about best practices in the industry as we face this growing challenge.
Dr. Deborah Bier has been certified to train dementia caregivers and coach dementia families in Habilitation Therapy -- an approach recommended by the Alzheimer's Association that serves as the basis of a cutting-edge program recently developed by the Alzheimer's Association of Massachusetts and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. As District Director of Caring Companion Home Care, Dr Bier was in the first class certified in this new program. She has a 25-year career as a counselor and agency director helping multi-generational families apply wellness approaches to managing chronic illness.
Jim Reynolds, CEO of Caring Companion Home Care outside Boston MA, has established CCHC as a leader in developing innovative technology and care solutions applied to elder care. CCHC has been praised for their unique proprietary family communications platform as well as its focus on wellness and use of Habilitation Therapy to care for ADRD clients.
After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.
Last weekend I attended the Aging in America 2012 conference in Washington, DC, and I had a chance to speak to a several large home care franchisors and a few networks of assisted living facilities who are considering adopting our software. While I was in Washington, I also arranged with the National Private Duty Association (NPDA) to give a webinar on family web portals and what features they can or should provide. And in an unexpected and pleasant surprise, NPDA also invited me and Debbie Bier to give a webinar on Alzheimer's training for consumers. All of that activity made for an exciting week and weekend!
As one would expect for a Washington DC conference,
Caring Companion Home Care has adopted and trains our caregivers in habilitation therapy when caring for clients with Alzheimers Disease and related dementias (ADRD). This approach was developed at the Massachusetts Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, and is considered to be the best standard of care for all types of dementia. Sadly, it is not in as widespread use in all aspects of elder care as it should be.
Habilitation therapy is a comprehensive behavioral approach to caring for people with dementia. It focuses
Course instructor Deborah Bier, PhD (photo, below right) has been a health care educator, author, and wellness coach for over 20 years. She holds a doctorate in therapeutic counseling, and has helped hundreds of individuals and families to live better with chronic illness and disability. She is the director of the Concord, MA office of Caring Companion Home Care. (www.CaringCompanion.Net) and has lived in Concord for 30 years.
Middlesex Community College's MILES Program (Middlesex Institute for Lifelong Education for Seniors) offers intellectual stimulation, interaction, and friendship for adults ages 50+. Some of the topics explored through MILES include history, politics, arts, fitness, health, safety, music, computers, internet, travel, business, psychology, law, poetry and opera. Courses have no term papers, exams or grades, and are held at their Bedford campus. They are facilitated by individuals with expertise in topics based on professional, educational or personal experience. Semester membership fee of $95 includes access to all MILES courses. MILES is an afffiliate of the Elderhostel Institute Network.
For more information or to register, call 781-280-3570 or e-mail Chris Lindsey at
here. To reach the instructor, email
Planning elder care is fraught with emotional minefields. Perhaps nothing is harder than when dementia or Alzheimer's strike, and a loved one’s skills or judgment has degraded and family action is required. This may mean taking away car keys, insisting that a caregiver comes part of the week, or that the elder move to live in a facility. This is always easier if you know that your parent, when entirely competent, had expressed a preference for how to handle the situation. The trouble is that we find that many families have not made such plans.
This is the first of a series of blog posts on lessons learned on navigating that difficult terrain. In future posts, we will address how to handle situations when someone’s competence has declined due to dementia, stroke, or other factors. For today, we will assume the elder is competent to make decisions. This leads to our first recommendation:
Last week I attended a presentation in Concord MA discussing how to care for aging parents. The trials of hospitalization, Alzheimer's, home elder care agencies, financial planning, power of attorney documents, managing family dynamics with siblings, spouses, and children - author Jan Simpson covered the gamut! Her book, "Don't Give Up on Me!" is an inspiring and sometimes humorous memoir and I recommend it to adult children who are entering a phase that may require extended care for seniors or other elder loved ones.
Ms. Simpson is an engaging speaker and easily illustrates many of her points with personal stories that are insightful and revealing on the one hand, without being over-indulgent or self-pitying on the other. For people who have traveled the road she describes with her parents, the drama and sadness can be overwhelming; one senses that at many times it must have felt that way for her, but the story is not about the drama per se, so much as about what that drama reveals about this passage of life.
Download a flyer for this web conference here
Caring Companion Home Care of Concord, MA and the nonprofit National Private Duty Association (NPDA) will host a consumer education web conference entitled Depression and Older Adults – What Every Caregiver Should Know on March 13, 2012, at 8 p.m. EST. The live and interactive program will provide advice on how family caregivers can work with professionals to identify this condition and develop an effective plan of care for a loved one with depression. Caregivers will learn how to identify key issues and problems, locate needed experts and resources, and outline a plan to provide the best care for a parent. The event is free of charge and anyone can participate.
“Unrecognized, untreated depression is widespread among elders, who may present somewhat different symptoms, and who may need different types of treatment than younger people,” said Deborah Bier, PhD, director of the Concord office of Caring Companion. Bier holds a doctorate in therapeutic counseling, and has spent more than 20 years working with people of all ages with physical, cognitive and emotional disabilities. “Effective treatment can bring about an amazing improvement in quality of life and ability to function. This webinar is the type of increased public education and awareness that’s sorely needed.”
Note: The following was published in our monthly column "Living and Loving: Elder Care in the 21st Century" in Gate House News' Concord Journal
Aging has changed during the past generation. From an elderly woman choosing to live alone in Belmont, MA rather than enter assisted living, to a Concord wife with mild dementia struggling to provide senior care for her ailing husband, to a Bedford couple in their 90s and still home with outside help, we see many more families with elders who have moderate to significant needs. Those terms of care can stretch into years.
This requires a change in attitudes and expectations for families to reduce their stress. It’s necessary to reset our expectations and assumptions that result from such widespread changes. Let me illustrate with a story.
Ted and Mikie
I'm middle-aged, and I go through this all the time: where are my house keys... purse... car in the parking lot? How did I forget those printouts for the meeting... to defrost tonight's dinner... to move the wet wash to the dryer before it gets moldy? Sometimes, I'm suddenly concerned I've forgotten an important meeting, but can't recall quickly what day of the week it is today -- much less when that appointment was to take place -- which sends me scrambling for my calendar.
Now, I was about to make an important point here, but I've forgotten what it was... darn! Looking above for reminders... oh, right!
We middle-aged people caring for parents, children, spouses, paid work, projects, community work, and somehow ourselves often become forgetful and distracted. Many of us worry that we are acting uncomfortably like our parents and other elders who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias. Do we have it, too?
Pre-season practices for my kids are underway. College selection is kicking into high gear for our daughter, a CCHS junior. My wife adds a design course to existing commitments. Work is gearing back up. And Mom, nearing 80 in Florida, has begun to need quite a bit of attention. The irony is that I own a home care agency, Caring Companion Home Care in Concord so I talk to busy families in this situation every day.
The Concord Journal has asked me to write a monthly column about elder care for our generation, and what better time to introduce it than during the hectic Back-To-School season? I’ll share the column with our Concord district director, Dr. Deborah Bier (no stranger to readers of these pages), a PhD with 20 years’ experience counseling multi-generational families. We’ll try to provide practical advice combined with a philosophical approach that we have found maximizes the experience of both our elder clients and the adult children who love and care for them.
So in this season of To-Do Lists, here is one that can help keep Mom and Dad safe and keep you sane – and that will hopefully allow you time to enjoy each other and your lives.
Our custom app tracks iPhone/Android-toting seniors at risk of getting lost. Call for details!
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