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.

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.

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.

cookbook care

after many recommendations and being on my “to read” list for a while, I finally sat down (well, on my busrides) and read A Bitter Pill: how the medical system is failing the elderly by Dr. John Sloan, a physician in Vancouver, BC, who now provides homecare healthcare to frail older adults.

The book talks about how the healthcare system is not providing for needs of a growing older adult population. His thoughts are that older adults needs are only met once we start to see them as individuals, with individual care needs. And that often by following standardized clinical care guidelines (or “cookbook care“) we are doing more harm than good.

cookbook care

He introduces lots of care-stories as well as different views his older patients have on dying, that range from “I don’t want to die with sombody I love hating what they have to do for me. I’ve had a great life, now it’s over.” to “I’m not ready, no way! I might miss something!

The answer to the question “what do older adults want?” is discussed throughout, and in the end the only answer is “they want us to listen“. How true! Just to genuinely be there and listen to their stories, complaints, needs, etc. … who doesn’t want that? And at the end of their life, that is what might provide them with the most comfort and affection.

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caregiving is never easy. it takes a big heart, courage to do right by the person you’re caring for, the strength to carry around the significance of the role, and lots of patience… no matter if your role is personal or professional!

Success should be measured by:

  1. staying true to what’s happening
  2. listening to what the person wants
  3. treating them as individual human beings
  4. accepting they may be near the end of their lives
  5. and don’t try to hide mixed-feeling about the job… it’s not always an easy burden to bear!

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Encouraging new attitudes in health care, as Dr. Sloan mentions, will only improve care for everyone! It’s a very honest read that I highly recommend, and a much needed change in heart for healthcare. much love.