NEW research opportunity

Hi!

Just wanted to point out that I have a new tab… RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES.

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And, yes, that means I am off-and-running with my latest research study. SO, PLEASE check it out if you are interested in getting involved – Specifically, I’m looking for care partners of persons with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or Parkinson’s disease to fill out a questionnaire! *the 4 hours/week requirement could include basic housekeeping chores (laundry, dishes, cleaning), errands (shopping), transportation, cooking – I’m looking for people across all disease stages.

Pretty simple, and you could be doing your part to better understands unique care needs and experiences across disease groups.

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… looking forward to hearing from you! much love.

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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.

Gerontologists and family on the East Coast

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks…

I was at the WPC2013 in Montreal, the first week of October, and recently have been on the east coast for a couple conferences.

The Canadian association on gerontology held their annual conference in Halifax… which, is close to family for me! I presented some PDF research on categorizing dementia caregiver stressors across neurodegenerative diseases (AD, PD, MCI, DLB).

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The typology shows that different symptoms, lead to different secondary strains (i.e. memory –> role-strain, motor –> constant vigilance) and this varies with disease. The implications of this are that we cannot provide the same support across all dementia caregivers.

I also did a workshop on Yoga for Parkinson’s disease, with a specific focus on application to this population from a pathological and physiological perspective, as well as some issues around current yoga research.

Aside from both of these, I got to teach early morning yoga classes for those participants who wanted to get some physical activity in before the conference sessions. I had a good group of 12 people both days… you know who you are, way to go! Thanks to Moksha Yoga Halifax, and my dear friend Jo, for letting us use your yoga mats! … and for the delicious breakfast date with your cutie!

After my workshop, I hoped in my car and drove up to Cape Breton Island. Let me tell you, the trees on the east coast are so incredibly beautiful this time of year. It was indescribable. The pictures don’t do it justice.

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I have a “boatload” of family in and around Nova Scotia (that’s what happens when your dad is 1 of 10 siblings!) and was lucky enough to see: 4 Cousin, 7 Aunts or Uncles, and Nanny … the one and only.  All who left me feeling spoiled and full of love … not bad for a 30hour trip to the Island and a 2-hour conference break!

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… and then my adventure continues in the NorthEastern United States. Stay tuned. Much love.

my guest posts on contributors.healthline.com

hey … did you know healthline.com has a new site “Healthline Contributors“, showcasing persons with expertise and interest to share interesting stories or advice?

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I was asked to contribute a few pieces, and you can check out all my guest posts HERE … on topics such as;

Healthline.com also contributed a guestpost to my blog on Exercise and Parkinson’s disease, you can read it HERE. If you’re interested in writing a guest post for this blog, or want me to contribute something to your site, I’d love to hear from you! You can contact me at : kaitlyn.p.roland@gmail.com

much love.