Author: Cori Carl

Working while caregiving: how we do it

Many of our community members have had to quit their jobs or retire early in order to serve as a family caregiver. Many more struggle to juggle caregiving and their career. Working family caregivers often manage to stay at work by arranging for a flexible schedule, cutting back their hours, switching to a different type of job, or arranging to work from home. Other caregivers find themselves becoming entrepreneurs developing tools and products for other caregivers. Rick Lauber When Rick’s parents couldn’t live independently any longer and needed his support, at first he was able to continue working full...

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Tax breaks for caregivers

I don’t need to tell you how expensive caregiving is. I won’t claim that tax breaks for caregivers are enough to really lessen the financial squeeze. Every little bit helps, though. A tax deduction lowers the amount of taxable income you have. If you make $30k a year and have $5k in deductions, you only owe taxes on $25k. A tax credit reduces the amount of taxes you owe. If you owe $5k in taxes and have a tax credit for $1,200, you will only have to pay $3,800 in taxes. If you’re self employed, there are other considerations, too....

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When caregiving means selling your home

Few people expect helping a family member to require them to become a bit of a tax expert, but many of us find ourselves navigating major financial decisions. Your real estate attorney or financial advisor may not offer up information about the tax breaks you’re due as a family caregiver. Asking them if you qualify can save you thousands of dollars of taxes you don’t need to pay! Your accountant may not tell you about caregiver tax breaks Click To Tweet If you’re about to sell your home or the home of a family member because of their health, read...

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Let’s come together as caregivers

As America becomes more and more fractured, caregiving is one thing that can bring us together. The burden of caregiving is inescapable. Rural, urban, suburban, caregiving cuts across geographic divides. No political affiliation is immune to illness, disability, or aging. No amount of money can insulate you from the stress of caregiving. Even the wealthiest worry about the cost of medical care and support. Caregiving cuts across political divides Click To Tweet We’re not going to shy away from talking about the issues that affect our lives: health insurance, medical costs, access to treatment, and the lack of support...

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What’s left behind

The caregiving for my Uncle fell upon my mother. He did not want the family to provide hands-on care, so he made sure to have a live-in home health aide. The logistical and legal aspects of care and his estate were still significant. After his passing, I went with my mother to help clear out the home he’d lived in for over 25 years. His home was always meticulous, so it was odd to see things that didn’t belong. The TV captures his personality so well. Even retirement communities don’t design space for mobility devices. You can die at...

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IFTTT for caregivers

If this, then that is a handy little free tool to automate tasks. This isn’t an app that’s going to take up a bunch of your time — I use IFTTT every day, but I only log into my account once a year or so. Set it and forget it. Here are some tasks you might find helpful… Send a message when you’re on your way If someone wants to know when you’re heading home — or leaving home — this is a handy tool. Android / Skype / Gmail Keep your family in the loop This is a simply...

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A caregiver’s guide to Facebook

We’ve all heard stories about people using Facebook to reconnect with long-lost classmates or make new friends. I love Facebook because it helps me keep in touch with friends around the world. Now, when I call someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, I already know a little bit about what’s going on in their lives, so I can ask specific questions and skip the small talk. It’s easy to remain a regular part of someone’s life through a quick comment or share. It also lets me know when to reach out to a friend who might be in...

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A caregiver’s guide to prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is highly treatable. You will hear over and over again that men die with prostate cancer, not of prostate cancer. You might be shocked to discover how many men you know have had prostate cancer or are living with prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer for men worldwide. 1 in 6 American men is diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetimes. The vast majority — almost 100% — of men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer are still alive 5 years later. 1 in 36 will die of prostate cancer. Nearly...

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Thoughtful gifts for family caregivers

It’s rare when there’s a gift that’s perfect for 99.9% of any group of people, especially one as diverse as caregivers. But there’s one gift nearly ever caregiver is hoping you’ll give them: Your time. We’re hoping you’ll call and say: You’re free this weekend and would love to keep an eye on mom. You can take her to the doctor’s the next few appointments. You’re running to the store and would be happy to pick up whatever I need. You’re going to come mow the lawn this week, so what time works for me? Those gifts are difficult...

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Support caregivers this #GivingTuesday

Caregivers make up the 65 million Americans who selflessly give their time, energy and resources to care for loved ones. From sick spouses, and children with special needs to aging parents or relatives with handicaps. Caregivers are the ones who sustain our communities, but who will support them? The Caregiver Space is a dedicated online space for exhausted caregivers to safely express themselves, find emotional support and the tools they need to live healthier lives. Support someone on the forums You know how hard caregivers work. Sending a caregiver a note of encouragement and support can make a big...

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We’re Partnering With The Mighty!

We’re thrilled to announce a new partnership that will bring The Caregiver Space’s resources in front of The Mighty‘s wide-reaching readership. We will now have a growing home page on The Mighty and appear on many stories on the site, allowing us to get many more people involved with our organization. The Mighty is a story-based health community focused on improving the lives of people facing disease, disorder, mental illness and disability. More than half of Americans are facing serious health conditions or medical issues. They want more than information. They want to be inspired. The Mighty publishes real...

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What are the 5 words you never got to say to someone you love?

As caregivers, we spend a lot of time with the person we’re taking care of. Sometimes that leads us to neglecting other relationships…and sometimes the time is never quite right to say what we’ve been meaning to say. Here’s what our community members wish they could say to someone they love, in 5 words: I got my bachelor’s degree. To my dad. Quitting school was the one thing about which I felt I’d let him down. – S.S. I understand and forgive you. – S.L. I’m sorry I hurt you. – T.M. I value your love Mom. – S.S. I...

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Call for submissions

We focus exclusively on providing content by, for, and about caregivers. You’re a caregiver if you… are supporting a loved one through an acute illness, like cancer are supporting a loved one in recovery after an accident provide support for a loved one who has a chronic illness or disability, like diabetes, mental illnesses, or autism help an elderly relative or friend with household chores, the bills, and other tasks are a professional caregiver in a home, nursing home, hospital, or other facility volunteer to support the ill, disabled, or elderly have ever done any of the things mentioned...

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Programs that actually pay family caregivers for their dedication

We all know there isn’t enough support out there for family caregivers. However, there is some support out there. As a family caregiver — a spouse, sibling, child, other family member, or friend — you may qualify for financial assistance. Some programs in the US provide family caregivers with a set stipend while others provide an hourly wage. You certainly won’t get rich as a paid family caregiver, but it can help replace some of the lost income and cover some of the increased costs of caregiving. I can’t work now. I don’t have an income but thankfully my...

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The real reason we don’t pay family caregivers

We hear it all the time — and I’m sure we’ve all said it, too — our society doesn’t value family caregivers. It sure feels like we aren’t valued. Doctors refuse to share vital information with us, while they’re pushing more and more responsibilities on us — assuming we’ve got the time and the skills to be chauffeur, nurse, housekeeper, and errand runner. But then there’s the stuff about how we’re saints and heroes. I personally find it cloying. I do not feel like a saint when I’m changing my grandmother’s diaper while she’s shouting for the neighbors to...

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What does family centered care mean?

Many healthcare systems treat family members of patients as an afterthought. Organizations  might have a brochure or two on how we should take care of ourselves, but enough hospitals have neglected this aspect of healthcare that AARP actually campaigned to require hospitals to provide discharge instructions to family caregivers. Thankfully, there are healthcare systems that are providing exceptional support for patients and their caregivers. Our Canadian community members rave about their experiences with Saint Elizabeth. Saint Elizabeth provides a full spectrum of care, from home to hospital. Encouraging a support system Did you catch the finale of Mad Men?...

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Fixing health insurance headaches

Anna Renault had a severe reaction to a medication to control her chemotherapy side effects, sending her to the emergency room with anaphylaxis in 2009. The bill for this life and death situation was rejected by her insurance company. Somehow, her treatment was being billed as having been for the flu, which Blue Cross/Blue Shield felt did not qualify for emergency treatment. Luckily for Anna, she’d requested a print out of the diagnosis and treatment as proof of her allergy. Her health insurance company eventually paid the claim in full. When she received additional cancer treatment last year, her...

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Share your story

We focus exclusively on providing content by, for, and about caregivers. You’re a caregiver if you… are supporting a loved one through an acute illness, like cancer are supporting a loved one in recovery after an accident provide support for a loved one who has a chronic illness or disability, like diabetes, mental illnesses, or autism help an elderly relative or friend with household chores, the bills, and other tasks are a professional caregiver in a home, nursing home, hospital, or other facility volunteer to support the ill, disabled, or elderly have ever done any of the things mentioned...

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How you can help friends and family manage their meds

Remembering to take medications goes way beyond remembering to take a pill in the morning and one before bed. We’ve got charts on the fridge or spreadsheets or notebooks to tick off which medications get taken when — and which ones they’ve actually taken. You don’t want anyone to accidentally take their medications twice. There’s got to be a better way, right? Well, there is. It’s Medisafe, a medication reminder app. If your loved one struggles in managing their medications — with a little help — this could be the perfect tool for you. How does Medisafe work? Patients...

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Get control of your to-do list

The list of things that need to happen when a loved one is diagnosed with a serious illness is huge…and keeps changing. There’s so much research to be done, doctors chosen, appointments scheduled, records requested, insurance disputes, disability claims, trips to the pharmacy, someone to pick you up after appointments. Your life is taken over by the endless task of coordinating care. But the world doesn’t pause after diagnosis. The world doesn’t pause after a cancer diagnosis Click To Tweet When I ask caregivers how we can better support them, the answer is always ‘come clean my house.’ The laundry keeps piling...

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Pearl’s Choice

You want to choose a retirement community, either for an older relative or for yourself and your spouse. The number of options are staggering — and there are so many different amenities and pricing structures. Sure, there are paid services to help you choose or directory companies, but they only recommend companies that have paid to be listed. Bojana Nedic worked with seniors who had recently been discharged from restorative care. Not all of her clients were able to move back home to age in place — they needed a new place to call home where they would be...

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Finding people who’ve been in your shoes

Kinsights is a site that connects parents — and is a fantastic resource for parents of children with special needs, disabilities, or illness. Kinsights also stores important medical information and records, making it easy to keep everything organized and have fast access to it when you need it.   Jennifer Chung, Kinsight’s founder, was kind enough to chat with us: What sparked the idea of Kinsights and what do you think is the most essential part that has made your company such a success? The idea was born from Dr. Carol Wilkinson’s experience as a pediatrician (she is the Kinsights Medical...

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Coordinating care: Welkin Health

Welkin Health is working to provide continuous patient support, using a mix of technology and people with the hope of better serving patients and their families. Most of the tools Welkin Health provides help care teams work better together, but they also make it easier for patients and caregivers to get the information they need, when they need it. I got a chance to speak with Chase Hensel, Co-founder and CEO to talk about his vision for Welkin Health. Why is now the time to tackle chronic care management? Chronic disease is an epidemic in this country.  As of 2012,...

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What’s hospice, really?

We get questions about hospice care every day on the forums and on Facebook. My mother recently worked with one of the case managers at Vitas to provide hospice care for my great uncle. Our family was grateful for the help they provided. Barry Kinzbrunner, Chief Medical Officer and EVP at Vitas, answered some common questions about hospice care for me: How can a family caregiver know when they can benefit from hospice services? Hospice is an option for people with a terminal illness, when medical treatments cannot cure their diseases. Patient and family caregivers can benefit from hospice as...

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Someone to talk to

At The Caregiver Space we work really hard to support each other. We have our chatroom, online support groups, forums, and private messaging so you can connect with each other. Plus, we get some pretty lively discussions going on in Facebook. But what about when you want to talk to someone now and no one’s online? Need to talk NOW? Here’s where to get support Click To Tweet sam:) Sam:) aims to create a community of positivity. It connects anonymous strangers to talk about, well, just about anything. To get started you can download the app (on iOS or Android)...

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