Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

© 2012 Kathy Quan

Friday, December 23, 2011

Happy Holidays!

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! Make some good memories.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Relax, Prioritize and Enjoy Your Holiday Season

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and got to spend some quality time with loved ones. As we move into the major holiday season, stress and panic are two words that come to mind quickly. This is especially true of those involved in caregiving situations and those in the sandwich generation between being son or daughter and mom or dad as well as just being you and all that that entails.

Take time every single day to stop and close your eyes and take a few deep breaths -- in through your nose and out through your mouth. This doesn't take long and can be done several times a day. Deep breathing helps to improve your circulation. It will relax you and help clear your mind. When you feel the stress building or panic sneaking up to overcome you. STOP!! Close your eyes and breath deeply. It will help to stall the stress or panic and allow you to gain control over the situation again.

If you already have a great relaxation routine be sure to practice it regularly. And if you don't, these deep breathing moments can help you to begin to find a way to stop the dreaded stress and panic that can steal time and precious memories.

Make lists and prioritize tasks. As you cross them off your list, re-prioritize as the importance of some items may have changed. See which items you can delegate to someone else or work together to accomplish. Look at you list with an eye to how important in the long scheme of things this matter will be five years from now...that just might change how urgent it can seem right now. And then again it may add importance to the matter, but remember to prioritize things.

Another important tip to remember is to figure out which things you pushed to the bottom of the list because you really dread doing them. Sometimes if you get some of these things done first, the rest of your To-Do list seems much easier and less stressful. The more we procrastinate doing something we dread, the more it weighs us down knowing we have to get to it eventually. We don't really have a chance to enjoy the things in between because we have this nagging task lurking out there somewhere. Just do it and move on. It will take a huge load off your shoulders when you do. Or see if someone is willing to share the burden and work with you to get it done.

Caregiving can be a very thankless job. So be sure to build in some little rewards for yourself on a regular basis. Look for silver linings, but also make sure you get a little time to enjoy something you like to do too. Take time to read, watch TV, or rent a movie. Hire some respite care if needed and get out for a meal.

As the holidays approach, it's a time for reflection. Encourage family members who may be gathering to bring a list of questions fro your elder(s) to discuss. These may be directly related to your family, or just things in general. The population in their 80's plus has seen a lot in their lifetime. They didn't grow up with television, they listened to the radio. They saw air travel develop. They lived through the Great Depression. How did it compare to our economic situation now? They lived through several wars and may have been in the armed services. There's no better source of history than first hand information. Take the opportunity to fill in a few gaps. Record your conversations. And perhaps if you have several elders present you'll get a collection of history to pass on.

Most of all take time to enjoy the holiday season!!

photo from

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Only Four Kinds of People in the World...

I was reminded of this quote when reading my ezine from The Intentional Caregiver today...

"There are only four kinds of people in the world - those who have been caregivers, those who are currently caregivers, those who will be caregivers and those who will need caregivers". ` Rosalyn Carter.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Medicare Open Enrollment 2011

Open Enrollment for Medicare in 2011 is coming up very soon. The dates this year are from October 15-December 7, 2011. This is an earlier time frame than in the past so please take note. You don't have until Dec. 31 to decide as was the case in past years.

If you need to enroll or change Medicare plans, it must be done during this time open enrollment frame. All changes take effect January 1, 2012 and cannot be changed again until Open Enrollment in 2012.

For unbiased information about Medicare and all of the options to be considered such as Gap coverage, Part D Prescription Drug coverage and whether or not to enroll in an HMO plan is available from the source There are differences in the various plans and comparisons are available from this site. Specific Open Enrollment instructions are available: Click Here

Choose carefully the plan that meets your needs now. Understand that your needs can change over time and what was best in the past may not be best for your future health care.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Consider Scrubs When Caregiving

For anyone providing care to an elderly relative, friend or patent, scrubs are a great option for attire. They are comfortable, allow for ease of movement, and they are designed to live through being beaten up by frequent laundering. Street clothes can hamper the caregiver, and run the risk of being ruined in the course of a normal day of care giving.  Blue Sky Scrubs has been a loyal sponsor of this blog. I encourage you to check out their lines. They offer a variety of great scrubs and even provide custom made scrubs.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Understanding the High Cost of Medical Care

Here's a great article explaining why medical care can cost so much. What it neglects to explain in detail is that the negotiated insurance rates are usually SO LOW that the MD office has to increase the cost just to make enough to stay afloat in the office and pay each of these people. (Same with any medical office or facility.)

Some of the procedures could be shortened and made more cost effective of course, but then someone has to consult with the doctor or his medical group to set up a more efficient office practice, and that costs lots of money too that has to factor into your bill. Interesting.....

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never Forget 9-11-01

In September 2004 I stood at Ground Zero with my husband and oldest daughter. There is nothing that compares to the feeling looking in to that destruction and realizing how the world was changed that day. Never Forget!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Keeping Aging Parents Hydrated and Cool this Holiday and Summer

Hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July! This can be a terrific holiday because it's more low key than some of the others. Picnics, BBQs, potlucks, pool parties. Time to relax and enjoy the summer that stretches out before us. Take time to enjoy yourselves and refresh yourselves.

This is also a time to take note of the HOT weather we can expect over the next few months. Older people tend to "run cold" and may not notice that it's really HOT until they are overheated. I've visited many an elderly patient who kept the heat on in the summer with a median temperature of 80+ degrees inside! So make note of your aging parent's habits and have them turn down the heat and step up the fluid intake to stay hydrated.

Watch for signs of dehydration such as increased confusion or forgetfulness, slurring of words and increased fatigue. Most older people are resistant to increasing fluids as then they have to urinate more often and sometimes this keeps them up at night. Encourage them to start drinking fluids when they wake up and decreasing them late afternoon and to slow intake after 6 PM. This will help with the "up all night" aspect.

Coffee and tea are dehydrating and if 8 cups of coffee is Mom's idea of increasing fluids, you might see more dehydration. Juices, flavored waters and of course plain water are best. Ice chips, frozen ices, popcycles and jello are also excellent sources of fluids and may be more palatable than plain water. They can also be a great way to sneak in extra fluids without alerting them to the process.

If your aging parents have pets, be sure they give the pet more water during the summer months as well and a shady place to rest.

Close draperies and blinds, use fans to circulate the air. And cool damp rags or a baggie of crushed ice on the head, neck or even in the lap can help to keep them cooler and replace or cut down on air conditioning.

Keep activities to a minimum during the middle of the day when it is the hottest. And remind them to eat. Cool foods such as fruits and fresh veggies may be most appetizing on a hot day. Small frequent snacks or meals work well with hot summer days as opposed to large heavy meals, but remind them to not skip meals.

Have a great holiday weekend and enjoy this time with your aging parents.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Some Stylish Aids for Daily Living

One of the hardest problems is getting our loved ones to use devices to keep them safe with their activities of daily living such as canes and walkers. They just won't use them! Grrr!!!

If they could have a cane with some flair and style perhaps they would be more likely to use it. Here's a site that offers some stylish canes as well as other great ideas to assist with everyday living.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Avoiding Financial Scams with Your Aging Parents

One of the scariest things you might not even consider as a risk in caring for an aging loved one or friend is the ramifications of financial scams. The elderly are so very vulnerable. And so many of them still believe in get rich schemes.

Too often we easily dismiss this because our aging parents or loved ones are intelligent, strong individuals who won't fall for some hair brained scheme. But look at all the people who have been hurt by the likes of Bernie Madoff! That set off a world of trouble for almost everyone.

So here are 10 Scary Financial Scams That Target the Elderly. I hope this article gives you good food for thought and opens a healthy discussion with your aging parents and loved ones so that you can avoid financial scams with your aging parents and loved ones.

Friday, January 14, 2011

New Fall Prevention Guidelines

The American Geriatric Society has published new guidelines to help prevent falls.

Falls are a leading cause of death in the elderly. Prevention can be a huge compliance issue especially if it entails a lifestyle change such as removing throw rugs. One of the proposed ideas here includes adjusting medications. This can be another issue especially for those who depend on sleeping medications, anxiety and anti depressant meds. Slow progressive changes may be needed in order to accomplish the goal and achieve compliance.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A Senseless Murder

Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims of the recent Tuscon AZ shooting. We wish for a speedy and full recovery for those who were not fatally wounded, and for compassion and empathy for the families who lost loved ones in this senseless murder. May they be laid to rest in peace!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

It's 1/1/11

•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆ ★ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆
╔╗╔╦══╦═╦═╦╗╔╗ ★ ★ ★
║╚╝║══║═║═║╚╝║ ☆¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.¸☆
║╔╗║╔╗║╔╣╔╩╗╔╝ ★ NEW YEAR ☆ 2011
╚╝╚╩╝╚╩╝╚╝═╚╝ ¥☆★☆★☆¥