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THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How Local Communities Can Help Caregivers

If you imagine a caregiver at the beginning of a care journey, he or she might be represented as a dot on the map of a neighbourhood.  She would be surrounded by other dots – neighbours, friends and co-workers. Slowly, as care needs at home increa… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How Local Communities Can Help Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How Local Communities Can Help Caregivers

If you imagine a caregiver at the beginning of a care journey, he or she might be represented as a dot on the map of a neighbourhood.  She would be surrounded by other dots – neighbours, friends and co-workers. Slowly, as care needs at home increase, the caregiver dot floats further and further away from all the other dots. One day, the caregiver finds herself alone, far from the community she once felt a part of.

It’s at that point the caregiver might wonder how to match up her needs at home with whatever help might exist in the community. Possible choices, people to call, agencies to help… it all seems too much and too vague. It becomes easier to do nothing.

Today, I’m offering you the possibility for a different life: a caregiving life within your community.  The answer lies in a technology tool designed to coordinate help for caregiving families called Tyze Personal Networks in Canada or Community Tyze in the US.  My idea is this: pick up the phone and call the director of whatever agency supports your family locally.  It might be the Alzheimer’s Association, Easter Seal or the Parkinson’s Society. Every illness or disease has an organization that offers information and support to its constituents and most have local offices. If there isn’t a disease/disability related association in your area, call the Rotary or Lions Club instead.

You have an opportunity to offer a way for a helping organization to help your family and other caregiving folks in your area to leverage all the good will in your region. Philanthropic groups are always looking for ways to make their dollars work strategically and effectively.  Buying Tyze for all the families supporting an elder with Alzheimer’s in a city, for example, ticks those boxes and more. Here’s how it works:

In a nutshell, your local association buys Tyze at a low cost-recovery rate for tech support. This is a non-profit model of support. The association loads the site with information and support resources of their own. They can add announcements of events and contact telephone numbers as well. Local community partners such as restaurants and cinemas can be listed (but remember, this is a secure site with password encoding, so it’s not advertising. It’s just a list of willing care-partners in your neighborhood). Friends and family are invited to your Tyze network and everyone has access to your updates from home, scheduled appointments and requests for help. There’s a calendar to ensure both personal and medical events are tracked.

I’ve written a lot about how we use Tyze in my family. It’s a great tool and it’s even better if your closest circle of helpers is connected to your primary home care agency or disease-support association. Just write or pick up the phone to make this happen for you and other families sharing similar care challenges in your neck of the woods.

IN CANADA: 
Tyze Personal Networks – Powered by Saint Elizabeth Health Care
90 Allstate Parkway, Suite 300
Markham, Ontario Canada L3R 6H3
Email: 
info@tyze.com

IN USA:  Community Tyze support@communitytyze.com

. . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: How Local Communities Can Help Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

Maria is a frequent guest blogger here at The Caregivers’ Living Room. Today, I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to write about driverless cars, largely because my Mom wants one – badly. This innovation will be transformative for the elderly and people wit… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

Maria is a frequent guest blogger here at The Caregivers’ Living Room. Today, I’m thrilled that she’s chosen to write about driverless cars, largely because my Mom wants one – badly. This innovation will be transformative for the elderly and people with disabilities or mobility impairments. Driverless cars? Bring them on!
Driverless cars are on the horizon and coming with them are a multitude of benefits. Aside from being the ultimate transportation convenience, autonomous cars are energy efficient, very safe and will enable passengers to multi-task to get the most out of their busy days. However, perhaps the population they would most benefit would be the elderly and the disabled.

This new generation of cars would be able to transport the elderly and disabled virtually anywhere, efficiently and safely, without your loved one having to control the wheel at all. Through a combination of sensors, algorithms and GPS tracking, driverless cars can sense exactly where they are and what is around them, making them able to avoid obstacles on the road. They will be able to slow down for pedestrians and detect objects up to two football fields away. Additionally, seniors will be able to call for an Uber-like automated taxi to take them to a specified location. This will change the lives of those who have to wait for someone to give them a ride to get out of the house. Even seniors with mild dementia can navigate riding in a car that has a pre-set destination.

The elderly are already being served by electronic home systems such as emergency alerts, motion detectors, and home automation for climate control and appliances. A recent report predicted that driverless cars will reduce road accidents by nearly 90 percent, just by taking human error out of the equation. Having your elderly loved one driven around by a driverless car is going to be not only convenient but also quite safe.

One other positive to come from self-driving cars is that they are energy efficient and wouldn’t use dirty resources like oil and gas like traditional cars. Energy companies in Alberta have calculated that fuel savings will be around 20 percent just from more efficient driving with less unnecessary stops and starts. If driverless cars were all electric vehicles, that savings could reach up to 94 percent. Because driverless cars would ideally all be electric, cities would have to include charging stations. There is even a prototype of roadways that automatically charge the vehicles as they drive over them.

Eventually, the driverless phenomenon will extend to homes and businesses with mini-vans and big rigs that transport goods via the highways. But for now, the people who may benefit the most are the disabled and elderly. Auto-driving, self-parking vehicles will give them the mobility and freedom they need for a fulfilling life. General Motors has already invested $500 million in ride-sharing service Lyft for a fleet of self-driving vehicles.

Of course, there are obstacles along the way to becoming a driverless society. Self-driving vehicles will have to deal with unforeseen problems like road work, bikers, detours, accidents and traffic lights that aren’t working. The biggest challenge may be getting driverless cars on the road along with so many automobiles driven by humans with their built-in driving impairments like distractions and emotions.

However, all of these challenges are being met and the future of automated cars seems certain to be bright. Having automobiles on demand is more efficient than having an automobile for each member of the family. Adults caring for elderly parents will be able to call for a ride instead of taking off of work for their parents’ doctor’s appointments. Best of all, the elderly and disabled will gain a mobility that they didn’t have when they had to rely on others for transportation.

Maria is a freelance writer currently living in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a minor in Communication. She blogs about environmentally friendly tips, technological advancements, and healthy active lifestyles.

. . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: NEW DRIVERLESS CARS COULD ENERGIZE THE ELDERLY

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Never Feel Alone Again

GUEST POST

My parents turned 70 a few years ago. It was a wonderful celebration full of friends, laughter, food, and dancing the night away. I must admit even I, an only child who often ran away at the sight of parents’ friends, had a lot of fun. But though this celebration was great, by . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Never Feel Alone Again

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Ableism, Community Living and the Myth of Independence

Recently, I’ve seen a trend that worries me. Social media disability support groups are commonly hosting conversation in which independence is trumpeted as an aspiration and fundamental element of human worth.   Independence is the necessary ingredient to The disability movement has always been fractured.  There are parents who seek safety and security in segregated settings, . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Ableism, Community Living and the Myth of Independence

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Hanging Out and Having a Laugh

 

Out in the Hood  Photograph by David Alan Harvey

The sidewalk outside a liquor store doubles as a front porch for two Harlemites. Rather than sit in stifling apartments, many residents hang out on the street, where they can catch up with friends or just take in the scene.

This National . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Hanging Out and Having a Laugh

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Social Connectedness: An Op-Ed

One thing I know about caregiving is that it cannot be done well by one person alone.  We need friends, family… we need support.  And that support is really only very effective if it is coordinated.  So, to that end, I have given a lot of my time and energy to promoting a Vancouver based . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Social Connectedness: An Op-Ed