Friday, August 31, 2007

For Peace of Mind - The Caregiver Resource Helpline

When crated in the middle of caregiving, it would've been so nice to get elder care information quickly and easily. Six years ago, I was embedded in books and the Internet! Now the Internet is full of resources that I can easily access but I've found another tool that doesn't require a computer, Internet connectivity, or tired eyes glaring at a monitor!

I found a phone number 1-888-797-7806 - its loaded with peace of mind, 24/7 - telling me all about elder care! What's my interest or concern of elder care?

Physical & Mental Conditions of Aging? Typically, in later life there is a strong association with several chronic health conditions that can affect physical & mental health!
Living Arrangements? When caring for an aging family member nearby or from a distance, making the most appropriate living arrangements requires knowledge of housing options, awareness of community resources and assurance that your aging family member is in a safe environment.

Fianancial & Legal Assistance? Making informed finanacial and legal decisions are critical to successfully managing the affairs of an aging family member. You'll learn about long-term care insurance, sources for paying medical expenses and federal benefits such as Social Security, SSI, Medicare and Medicaid. Discover strategies for protecting your family member and his/her assets.

Self Help for the Caregiver? Informal caregiving is a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Understanding how to balance responsibilities by taking care of your needs and involving others helps manage the natural stress and isolation of being a caregiver.

Dealing with Changes? Change is the most predictable aspect of caregiving! You can expect to have strong feelings as you manage the role and responsibilities of caring for an aging family member. Coping with these changes successfully is the key to having a fulfilling and satisfying caregiving experience.

My hope for you is that you gain balance using the Caregiver's Resource Helpline.. it's free! And the helpline covers Austin resources.

Thank you for visiting. Carol at

Please call 1-888-797-7806 for peace of mind.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Managing Physical & Mental Conditions of Aging

Announcing a new Caregiver's Resource to Austin!

Concerned about an aging family member? For peace of mind call 1-888-797-7806 - Announcing our Caregiver's Resource Helpline serving the Austin Metropolitan area!

The's Caregiver Resource Helpline! If you or someone you know is caring for an aging parent, loved one, relative or friend - direct them to 1-888-797-7806, 24 hours a day. This help line offers free information to family caregivers on topics of elder care issues and interest!

Typically, in later life there is a strong association with several chronic health conditions that can affect physical and mental health. Here are a few topics the Caregiver's Resource Helpline addresses:

Vision & Hearing
Taste, Smell & Touch
Help With Eating
Maintaining An Active Mind
Dealing with Confusion

Call now if you are confused on where to start, need quick access to information or ideas that help with elder care concerns! The Caregiver's Helpline is ready and available to help you get quick information on your questions.

Call: 1-888-797-7806!!!

Check it out and thank you for visiting. Carol at

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Are You in a Mid-life Tug?

Do you find yourself rushing around during day? Trying to beat the traffic to work, driving kids to school, fumbling with lunches, back packs, and brief cases, when you get the call. Dad's in the emergency room, alone, scared, and stressed - "please come home, I need you," he pleads.

But "home" is 200 or more miles away, and it'll take you hours to get there plus the home health aide you'll have to hire, will set you back $400 at least.

And what about work? There's a major business deal you're about to close this afternoon. You're worried about your dad, the kids, the boss and how in the world you can pay for it all.

Welcome to the world of family caregiving! You're now a part of the sandwich generation with all the trimmings. And don't even think about how little you've saved for retirement at this point in your life. Yep, you need help.

The good news is, there's plenty of it out there - if you know where to look!! Now, that's another topic. But there is help. There are programs to national organizations, from books to Web sites - all there for you to research and a huge industry has sprung up to assist in juggling the demands of raising kids while also caring for aging parents.

I wish I had paid more attention when my dad or mom landed in E.R. I guess resources were a bit hard to locate or maybe I thought "the family" had to handle it alone. It was our job. Beside mom and dad expected that of us... we owe it to them. Maybe that's why I didn't bother. But had I known back then what I do today.. it would be different. And a couple of things I'd do now are:

1. Bring up "the aging" conversation with parents early on - get them engaged with you in finding viable and quality solutions that'll help them so you're not left carrying the bag.
2. Call a family meeting and get everyone else engaged. It's better down the road.. eliminates future stress, anxiety, and family estrangement. Trust me, it happened to mine and I'm not sure that can be healed.
3. Do your research now. Get a plan in place. Talk with an attorney about legal matters and estate planning. Take the time to find local resources while your parents are still able. Resources are popping up everywhere due to the explosion of aging America.
4. Financially plan with them - so your parents have one? If not, take measures on learning how to do that.
5. Do it now! Learn about the most common aging topics of interest which include; physical and mental conditions of aging, living arrangements, financial & legal assistance, self help for the caregiver, and dealing with changes. is headed in that direction. We'll keep you posted. Thank you for visiting! Carol

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Austin Working Family Caregivers

It was a humbling experience giving a presentation to the Northwest Methodist Church in Austin last evening. Family caregivers who are working full-time and caring for an aging parents are down to earth people with very big hearts!! I was honored to be part of the experience with them.

We talked about caring for ourselves first, then helping others. I asked how many believe that self care is selfish? Most raised their hand! I believe that's the most prominent gene caregivers embody... putting others before us. I think most mothers have this gene. Observing my own mom throughout life - she placed us, the kids, before herself at all times, even in our adult years.
With that said, I'd like to share some of the topics discussed last evening on self care for the caregiver:

First, Empower Yourself!
Empowerment. We hear that work a lot, but it always seems to be so vague and unattainable.
What does it mean to become empowered? It’s defined by many family caregiving advocates as a sense of confidence in your ability to bring about positive changes in your circumstances and to rise above the day to day challenges you face in your caregiver journey. It’s the optimism we strive for to take a positive approach in an effort to achieve a better quality of life for ourselves and our family. Sometimes it is the tiny changes we make in our lives that can have the most profound impact towards a much healthier and positive outlook.

Four Principles to Live by:

Believe in yourself
Protect your health
Take charge of your life
Find ways to de-stress

Overcoming Guilt

How do we overcome guilt? First understand it – What is guilt – We all are born with a guilt gene

Guilt is an inherent human trait that should be seen as a gift, however, most of us do not see it as such and rather than deal with guilt, we naturally attempt to squelch it. However, guilt is that nagging voice with in us all that is like water upon a stone and is meant to bring us to a realization that there is a standard and we have fallen short, but whose standard is it?

Tips for Caregiver Burnout

It's helpful to talk it out with a friend or someone your trust. Don't forget about yourself - take time out for you
Be realistic about the care recipient's needs - your not totally responsible

Ask for help - You don't have to walk this path alone
Develop tools for coping... see below
Stay healthy
Get a massage
Get educated

Remember when caregiving - care for self first. You are no help to a loved one if you are depressed, unhealthy, tired, unhappy, depleted, and stressed.

Thank you for visiting. Carol @

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Is Caregiving Impacting You Financially?

The costs of caregiving can effect our career goals, our paychecks, our retirement, our health, our stress, our emotions, when we choose to care for elderly parents.

Is caregiving disapprotionately impacting women? While the emotional and physical burdens of taking care of an aging parent or relative is known, the longterm cost financially of informal caregiving is less frequently discussed. Caregivers may feel guilty complaining about what society has said should be a labor of love. And this is the tough one... the guilt we feel when we've had enough. Overloaded with our own lives and jobs, elder care is a huge undertaking. Just trying to care for an aging parent takes on a life of its own, much less trying to juggle my own household, family, and work.

The problem is pervasive and disproportionately affects women, creating a public policy challenge. Females generally have less money and live longer and are more likely than men to be the caregiver-and to need one.

Amy Friedrich-Karnik, a spokesperson for Family Caregiver Alliance says, "women tend to suffer financially in their later years because of the financial impact caregiving has had on them." I personally have first hand experience with that one. Scaling down my job from full-time to part-time to help mom with her CHF disease made a big dent in my income and retirement savings. No doubt about that. But I can also say, I've seen many men carry the load of caregiving for their aging families. But typically, it's women who normally step up. My brother didn't. And there are many families with that scenario. But not all men/women are the same. Thank goodness.

Between 59 percent and 75 percent of the caregivers are female. While more men are carrying the load, women, on average, give 50 percent more time than the average male caregiver, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.

Nationally, one-third of caregivers who are employed take a leave of absence or give up work temporarily or permanently.

I personally lost thousands of dollars working part-time and my sister suffered a great deal of stress eventually developing high cholesterol and getting a bad case of shingles.... ugh!
If the goal is keeping loved ones out of institutionalized settings, informal caregiving provides a means to accomplish that and also save our families a lot of money, not to mention the government. Only 7 percent of older adults who have a long-term care need and a family caregiver are in institutional settings, compared to half of those who have no family available, according to the Family Caregiver Alliance.

There are several solutions that can help caregivers like me to stay at work full-time rather than lessen work hours. Providing caregiving resources to families through employee assistance programs or other employment benefits and having work cultures that support caregivers through flexible work hours also is part of the solution, experts say. A Met Life study found that caregiving costs businesses more than $33 billion annually in lost productivity.
There are some state and federal lawmakers proposing to have paid family leave for caregivers. Only California has such a measure. One measure that has failed to pass Congress is aimed specifically at women; it would give Social Security credits to people who leave the workforce to care for someone.

Other options are tax benefits - but is a caregiver who quits their job more to help an aging relative more deserving of a tax break over a caregiver who continues to work full-time while giving care? That's the big debate.

If you're interested in learning more visit these websites: The U.S. Department of Human Services' Administration on Aging has a 12-page booklet, "Financial Steps for Caregivers." Go to:

Also visit: Family Caregiver Alliance,, giving facts, perspective on caregiver issues, including state-by-state and federal updates on public policy measures.

Thank you for visiting. Carol @

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Allowing Access to Assets

I read a great article written by an elder law attorney on estate planning awhile back. If my parents had known the consequences of turning over their assets to our names, I believe they would have re-thought doing so. How many of you have added an adult child’s name to one of your bank accounts? You may want to read this.

You probably added a child’s name to a checking account or savings account, or your home/real estate, or all of your investments for emergencies or for “convenience” purposes. You, like many elders, fear that you will be suffer an accident or get sick and that someone has to be on your accounts in order to pay your bills. You believe that this arrangement will keep your life running smoothly.

What you might have done, instead, is just the opposite. You may have placed your money in jeopardy, created a tax liability or even given up control of your well-being. Like my parents, do what you want, but know the consequences of these choices. Consider the following when thinking of turning your assets over to someone.

When adding someone’s name to your real estate by deeding that person an interest, you are making a gift. Check with your state department of revenue for current gift tax exemption, you might owe a gift tax to your state's Department of Revenue. That payment could be due by the next April 15 following the year of the gift. Failure to pay the tax could result in the addition of interest and penalties. Far too many people transfer an interest in their real estate to their children hoping to save it from long-term-care expenses. What they have actually done is incur gift taxes, and possibly a Medicaid transfer penalty. So, check with an elder law attorney before making any transfers or name changes on your assets.

And if you add someone’s name to your money, you could be giving up control.
A true story: A man preparing for a senior event (in case life would throw one his way) added the names of his two adult children to his savings account. He grew older, suffered from physical infirmities, and his children wanted him to go into a nursing home. He didn’t want to go, saying that he would use his savings to pay for professional caregivers to come into his home.
The children contacted the bank and froze the account so he could not use the funds in the account. They could do that; they were co-owners on the account. Many months and a court hearing later, the children each received a third of the account, and the man was left with a third. He remained in his home, but he was estranged from his children.

So, what do you do? How do you give someone access to your money but not ownership? You sign a document called a Durable Power of Attorney for Financial Decisions. By appointing someone your agent in this document, you give that person access to your money to pay your bills and take care of any other financial business that you need. The key is, your agent doesn’t own your money. Could your agent act improperly and use your money in ways that you didn’t intend? Yes, but there are legal remedies available for that. Consider the consequences. Always, always, check with an Estate Planning Attorney or an Elder Law Attorney to know your options and what consequences they may bring.

If you have a quick Elder Law question or concern - Ask it here!! WorkingCaregiver Ask the Expert. Thank you, Carol

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Guiding Working Family Caregivers

Are you in a caregiving role for aging relatives? Let me help you find the answer. Do you answer "yes" to one of the following?

  • Driving to and from doctor and other health care appointments.
  • Communicating with healthcare professionals
  • Assisting someone to pay their bills
  • Helping someone clean their home or arranging for house cleaning
  • Assisting with or arraning for home repairs
  • Helping arrange for home health care or hospice services
  • Contacting or helping someone communicate with community service organizations Area Agency on Aging or Alzheimer's Association
Based on the research,caring for an elderly person requires understanding of the aging process, knowledge of community resources, legal and financial matters, long-term planning and, of equal importance, knowledge of how to take care of yourself, as the primary caregiver. Additional research reports caregiver stress as the most pervasive health problem, stemming from worry about their loved one�s condition as well as being overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities.
For help in understanding the aging process - giving you quality answers go to - WorkingCaregiver eBook preview! You will find it useful.

The problem for most family caregivers is that they do not readily reach out for help. They find it difficult to give themselves permission to ask for help even when they have family or friends willing to help. Support from family and friends can help relieve the burden of caregiving. Purchase and download the Caregiver's Resource Audio E-book and you'll learn how to take charge, avoid burnout, isolation and involve your family members.

So, whether you're new to caregiving or used to weathering the storms, we're excited about offering the Caregiver's Resource Audio E-book to help you feel more confident, shorten your learning curve and empower you to meet the challenges of caring for an aging family member or an elderly loved one.

You'll feel more confident to meet the challenges of caring for an aging family member.
Preview Here.

Thank you for visiting and checking out the eBook... we love it! Carol at