caregiver info graphics

in support of National Caregiver Month (November) I want to share a couple info graphics that really summarize current understanding of caregiving. National caregiving month started in 1997 by the National Family Caregivers Association and began as a week of acknowledgement during Thanksgiving. Now, it has evolved into a month-long celebration of family caregivers!

Take the time to read these infographics and appreciate the contribution made by family caregivers! much love.

 

 

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Caregiver apps

Compiled from Caregivers for Home (have you seen their site? some great info!)… listed below are some apps to help support you during day-to-day care:

To keep all your info in one place. Log essential personal information, like insurance; set up a calendar for caregiving events; manage medications, create a contact list, and keep a medical history log… also you can share information with family members under tight security features.

Balance

For the Alzheimer’s caregiver. It offers reference and information, caregiving advice, medication management features, and up-to-date news on Alzheimer’s disease. There is also a “doctor diary” for logging symptoms and taking notes that may be relevant to the next visit.

CareZone

To share. Invite family and friends to join you as “helpers” and create a shareable task list, journal, pictures and recorded voice message.

Mobicare

To keep track of meds and symptoms  Keep a profile of the person you’re caring for and basic symptom tracking system. You can also track medications.

RX Personal Caregiver

To manage medications. Track doses, dosage, refills, and missed dose instructions. Includes a guide to over 15,000 drugs and sends FDA alerts for recalled medications.

Unfrazzle

To maintain productivity in multitasking. Features include to-do lists, journals, excellent tracking methods, and easy ways to share information with family members and friends.

Elder 411

To get expert advice. Advice categorized into 10 eldercare topics. You can add your own notes to any of the tips. This app serves as a great resource of information and advice for caregivers.

Pocket First Aid & CPR

For day-to-day and emergency needs. All content from the American Heart Association. A great resource for immediate first aid and CPR needs.

Also, check out more of my favourite apps for Parkinson’s, from the World Parkinson Congress and National Parkinson Foundation. Do you have any more to add to the list? Let me know in the comments below! much love.

Partners in Parkinson’s care

In light of National Caregiver Month, I wanted to share some tips from the Parkinson Disease Foundation on being in a “care partnership”:
I prefer to call this relationship a “care partnership” because I believe it is one that is truly reciprocal. As a person with PD adjusts to physical changes and, at times, to changes in personal independence, the care partner must learn to adapt to a different relationship dynamic and perhaps to greater “ownership” of duties that their partner had previously handled.
  1. Your experience is unique – respect your own journey
  2. Even though you didn’t sign up for this role, it doesn’t mean you can’t be GOOD at it!
  3. Have open communication
  4. Don’t let the disease define you
  5. Find a GOOD doctor and go as a team
  6. Don’t apologize for getting a second opinion, that’s taking care of yourself
  7. Learn about PD step-by-step
  8. Educate others on PD
  9. Actively find support to help you manage the day-to-day AND to share your thoughts, feelings, experiences and valuable information
  10. Discuss future financial and medical plans NOW
  11. Remember: SELF-CARE IS NOT SELFISH!

For more details on these items, check out: www.pdf.org/pdf/fs_pd_partnership_08.pdf

much love.

 

Is caregiving good for you?

In celebration of National Caregiver Month (November!), I want to share the idea that caring for a chronically ailing or disabled family member might be good for you! … what? Really? After all, we hear about caregivers being depressed, stressed, and fatigued…
Dr. David Roth, in the American Journal of Epidemiology (2013), presents his “healthy caregiver hypothesis” and shows non-caregivers have higher mortality rates than caregivers! Thus, we can’t dismiss the idea that caregiving can help increase physical activity, mental stimulation (multitasking!), social connection, sense of purpose and usefulness (L. Freedman)!
Paula Span, of The New York Times’ “The New Old Age Blog” does a great job of summarizing these findings here! On a side note, I had the pleasure of hearing Paula at the keynote address at the Canadian Association on Gerontology meeting last month (see HERE and pic below).
paula span canadian association on gerontology
… and I love this quote:

“caregivers are among the privileged ones who can make a difference in the life of the patient”.

Don’t forget to hug a caregiver this month! much love.

How exercise improves brain health

Last week I mentioned some specific exercises targeted to PD symptoms (see HERE and HERE)… today I want to share WHY exercise is so important for brain health.

New Research out of the Dana-Faber Cancer institute and Harvard Medical School (Spiegelman & Greenberg, Cell Metabolism 2013) shows that endurance exercise, such as distance running or cycling, releases a protein (FNDC5) that improves brain health while promoting the growth of nerves associated with cognition.

Alzheimers and Exercise

In laboratory rats, PGC-1α (which is also found in humans) led to improvements in protein FNDC5 and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factors (BDNF). PGC-1α is thought to coordinate the gene response to exercise,  blood pressure and development of obesity.

Exercise stimulates BDNF expression in the hippocampus, the part of the human brain associated with memory and learning. In this study, specific improvements in awareness and memory recall was demonstrated. BDNFs are also responsible for creating new brain connections (neurons, synapses)

Memory is Enhanced by Exercise

Rich Exercise Regimens Promote Cognitive Health

So, keep moving! much love.

Other reference:

http://www.ibtimes.com/exercise-improves-brain-health-could-lead-new-alzheimers-parkinsons-treatments-1424338#.Ul35Vb9PDvQ.twitter

images from bodbot.com

VOTE surfrider VI for Phillips benefit brew!

Living on the West Coast we are involved in surf culture… we spend a lot of weekends among the waves and even gear our yoga practice towards surfing.

We especially support the Surfrider Foundation, Darc is the treasurer for the local chapter and you can often find us on weekends out cleaning up the beaches.

This year the local brewery Phillips will create a special beer for a charity, name the beer after the cause and donate the proceeds to the charity… and Surfrider Vancouver Island has been nominated!

To support the protection and enjoyment of oceans, waves and beaches all you have to do is click on this link HERE and vote for Surfrider VI! (… and you can do it everyday until November 16th!)

The sea-life and surfers on the West Coast thank you!

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much love.