Rimas Jasin and Pam Ramsden are participating in the Caregiver Smile Summit
Rimas and Pam participating in the Caregiver Smile Summit.
Rimas is Executive Director of PSS. He has an MA in Human Services and an MPA. He has lead a number of regional and national nonprofit agencies over the past 30 years. Coming of Age is one of the programs of PSS, the multi service nonprofit in NYC that he has directed since 2009.
Pam Ramsden is Manager of Coming of Age. She majored in both Psychology and Communications at the University of Dayton and earned an M.A. in Clinical/Community Psychology from Chapman University. Her professional experience includes: social work, psychometrics, HR, vocational counseling, conference planning and writing. As Manager of Coming of Age,she recruits speakers, initiates workshops and special events, produces monthly newsletters all to inspire people 50 and older to live with passion and purpose.
Their topic is: When Caregiving Ends, How to Find Purpose Again
KEEP YOUR MEMORIES SAFE: HOW CLOUD SERVICES COULD SAVE YOUR BACON IN A DISASTER
(The morale – Cloud Services could help thousands of insurance policy holders.)
Half a year after the Napa and Sonoma wildfires, NBC Bay Area reported on the plight of a homeowner locked in a dispute with one specific insurer.
Thinking they were on to something, they partnered with Telemundo 48 to extend an open invitation to meet other people in similar circumstances. Expecting 55 people to turn out to a church assembly, they doubled that and some.
When the newscasters asked the assembled, “How many lost everything?” every hand in the room was raised. It turned out that all homes were insured by the same company, and when asked who got everything they expected from the insurance policy, no one raised their hand.
The TV crew found out that the insurer was requiring the people to do a detailed, item-by-item inventory of the contents of their home in order to get 100 percent of their coverage. Forgoing the itemized list, the payout would be reduced by 25 percent.
“They could not have made it more difficult for us to do these inventories as well,” Bob Cheal, a fire victim, told NBC Bay Area. The software those homeowners were required to use was glitchy and cumbersome.
A licensed psychologist quoted in the story stated that the inventory process can additionally retraumatize fire victims. I can see why. It’s reliving the story.
The story ended with this piece of advice: “Do a home inventory, now. Take photos or video in every room. Document everything you own. Then, save those files to the cloud services for safekeeping.”
Filing Cabinet or Safe Is Not Enough
The recent wave of natural disasters and the wrath of Hurricane Florence are reminders that storing things in a cardboard box or your desktop computer is dangerous.
Everyone needs to have an emergency preparedness plan that includes protecting important papers and documents in an online system.
“There’s no file cabinet that could have survived the devastation of Hurricane Harvey or Irma,” says Ken Bitticks, co-founder of Digital LifeCloud, a cloud services platform that allows you to securely store and organize the important information that runs your life. If an emergency occurs, you can retrieve it immediately.
Since I live in the Carolinas and was sweating out Florence’s approach to Charlotte, I paid more attention to the online conversation and the media.
They were urging people to take photos or videos of their belongings before they evacuate. That’s a good first step. Putting it in an organized cloud system for easy retrieval is the vital second step.
Online Solutions Vary and Create Siloes
One inclination would be to just take pictures and videos and store them on your phone. However, if your phone does not automatically connect to a Cloud service, or you lose it or damage it when you are fleeing from a storm, you are out of luck
A storage solution like Dropbox can work. But think of services like that as your filing cabinet. What they don’t provide is an organizing structure – the file folders if you will.
Then there are services like electronic medical records, a portal your accountant or insurance agency provides, etc. All of these are silo organizing systems that do not communicate with one another which makes pulling multiple sources of information together in an emergency difficult.
Recently emerging services allow you to digitally organize everything in your life – from all of your medical records and insurance policies to tax returns and photos of your children – and access them 24/7 anywhere in the world.
In many ways, it’s preparing for the oops moments in life – the disasters, lost passport, lost wallet, stolen items. And it allows you to save the ahh moments too – photos, video, life stories that can be cherished forever.
Yeah but It’s a Pain to Organize All of This
You may think it’s a difficult job, trying to organize all this – and it is, if you are trying to scurry around and take photos when you are fleeing a disaster. It’s another matter if you systemically take the time to organize your digital life.
Dorothy, “The Organizer” and face of A&E’s Emmy-nominated hit TV series Hoarders, advises people to start small and keep the organizing sessions brief.
“For those overwhelmed by the thought of organizing documents, I emphasize the simplicity these services provide as well as the gratitude you’ll feel later when you can easily access these records from your mobile device,” she says.
When You Organize and Prepare the Rewards Are Great
Super users of these platforms document big purchases, scan receipts, inventory house contents, and much more.
Bob Hammer is one such gentlemen. His three-year-old laptop was stolen from a hotel, and police needed the serial number. The hotel needed a receipt for the original purchase. He had all of it digitally stored and organized. He received $3,000!
He received an additional $1,000 off the cost of a new automobile. The factory had a “competitor discount” that he got because he could produce the registration for a car he owned previously. He had that organized in a specific auto app that his cloud service provided.
Natural disasters are especially hard for older adults. Few, if any, of us have gone the extra step to create and discuss a plan with family members or plan for how to recharge essential medical devices or refill life-saving prescriptions. And, unfortunately, doctors and hospitals only have the records on services they provide.
As we see these natural disasters increase, consider digitizing your life for safe keeping and, more importantly, for peace of mind.
What method are you using to keep your important records safe? Have you started digitizing your personal information? Which cloud service are you using? Please share in the comments below.
Let’s Have a Conversation!
Peter Rosenberger is participating in the Caregiver Smile Summit
Peter is participating in the Caregiver Smile Summit.
Peter is a thirty-year caregiver for his wife, Gracie, who lives with severe disabilities. He understands the journey. His weekly show, HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER, is syndicated on more than 200 stations. An accomplished martial artist, Peter recently earned a 2nd Dan (degree) black-belt in Hapkido. The martial art provides many self-defense life lessons that Peter incorporates into his show and speaking. In addition, Peter is the author of several books including, HOPE FOR THE CAREGIVER and 7 Caregiver Landmines and How You Can Avoid Them. A pianist for fifty years, Peter recently released his new CD, Songs for the Caregiver. Peter and Gracie live in Nashville, TN, where he also serves and the president and co-founder of Standing With Hope.
His topic is: Caregivers with Hope
The Go Wish Game
The Go Wish Game is a unique way to use playing cards to better understand what you really want at the end of life. Reverend Wildemuth will explain what they are, where to obtain them, and how to use them.
Read more about our expert on the Go Wish Game – Reverend Larry Wildemuth
Rev Larry F. Wildemuth serves as the Chairman of CodaAlliance, the developer of Go Wish Game. He has been part of CODA since its beginning in 1999 as the Community Coalition for End of Life Care. He has served in the pastoral ministry for 25 years before serving as a hospital chaplain for the last 20 years at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. He serves by taking care of patients, their families and staff. He serves on several interdisciplinary teams as well as the adult Medical Ethic Committee and the Infant Bioethics Committee. He was honored recently with the Employee Excellence award in December of 2016 by Board of Supervisors of Santa Clara County.
3 THINGS TO KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR WHEN VISITING ELDERLY RELATIVES DURING THE HOLIDAYS
Before you know it, the holiday rush will be upon us. Often, for adult children, it is one of the few times they get to see mom and dad during the year. Families can be separated by distance (and much more) and caregiving from afar can be difficult, stressful and time-consuming. Here are tips for visiting elderly relatives during the holidays.
When visiting, use your senses: What are your eyes, ears, taste, touch, smell telling you?
Is their home being kept up? Are they having trouble with chores? Is it safe and sanitary? Track the chores you do as they could point to services your loved one may need when you are not there.
Watch for Physical and Behavioral Changes
Has there been any sudden weight gain, weight loss, decline in general hygiene, bruises or injuries to your loved one? Is their strength and balance OK?
Check to see if they have been limited in any way from doing the things they normally do. Arthritis, vision and hearing problems could be playing a part. They may try to conceal it, so be vigilant.
Check for dehydration or malnourishment? Are they eating regularly? Can they prepare meals? Are they eating nutritiously?
What about their clothes? Are they walking around in their PJ’s all day? Are their clothes worn and tattered?
Are your loved ones placing items in wrong places, missing appointments? This could indicate cognitive and physical issues at play.
Watch for Exploitation
Is there anything missing, or have there been any large-scale purchases? This could indicate some type of exploitation by others.
Do they have a new best friend? While 99 percent of home-care staff are perfectly ethical, bad seeds prey on older adults. If your loved one will only talk to you with that person present, it could signal trouble.
Start examining bank accounts for any mysterious activity as well as monitor bills coming in and payments going out. Are bill collectors calling or showing up at the house?
Unopened mail could indicate memory problems, vision problems or hint at financial problems. Sweepstakes circulars could indicate your loved one or someone else is responding to offers.
Expired medications can be dangerous. Check the dates and dispose of old medications properly. Is your loved one taking more prescriptions than before?
Now What – I Think They Need Help
There is a delicate art on how to communicate with an elder. You want to enjoy the time you have with them, not spend it bickering.
One of the toughest conversations caregivers often have is when to take the car keys away. And the first time that might crop up is when you visit and go for a ride with them. Plan a conversation in your head first, then broach the topic.
- Determine with your loved ones, what assistance they need.
- Inventory information on community services.
- Schedule a visit with their physician while you are in town.
- Identify social supports nearby – friends, neighbors, clergy. Meet these people while you are there.
As a caregiver, you can’t do everything yourself and you can’t do everything at once. Advance planning for your older age is paramount. That goes for the caregiver and the parent.
If you need a primer on stepping into caregiving, there are numerous resources out there.
With patience, love, help and support, you will become a caregiving hero!
Are you planning to visit your parents or older relatives for the holidays? Are you prepared for what you might find? Have you ever dropped in for a visit with an older adult who looked in trouble? How did you recognize the signs? Please share your thoughts and stories below.