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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: AN UPDATE ON ME

I thought it was time for an update on what’s been going on with me. Since Christmas, it’s been busy! Here’s what I’ve been up to:My husband Jim and I went down to Cat Island in the Bahamas for a few weeks. Every year we stay at a little stone cottage … . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: AN UPDATE ON ME

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Unique Canadian Story of Care, Innovation and Refugees

Melissa Campbell, founder of The Refugee Response Group, is a young Edmonton mother with a compassionate heart.  When she heard about the plight of Syrian refugees, she wanted to help ensure that any family seeking refuge in her community … . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Unique Canadian Story of Care, Innovation and Refugees

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: HOME: The Making of a Sanctuary

Guest Post by Vickie Cammack (Originally published in Safe and Secure: Six Steps to Creating a Good Life for People with Disabilities by Al Etmanski)For one glorious summer in the ’70’s, an old tamarisk tree with wide sweeping branches down to the sand… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: HOME: The Making of a Sanctuary

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: An Early Caregiver Month Treat: A Chat With Amy Goyer, Caregiving Author and AARP Blogger

November is caregiving month and to kick off just a tiny bit early, here’s a special treat.  This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Amy Goyer about her new book, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving.  I asked Amy too about her new kindness initiative at AARP and about her own caring life experience.  Have . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: An Early Caregiver Month Treat: A Chat With Amy Goyer, Caregiving Author and AARP Blogger

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Technology & Teamwork Can Ease Transition for Kids With Disabilities

For most, high school graduation is a happy and hopeful celebration as parents launch their children into a successful, independent life.  But there’s an expression that parents of children with disabilities use to describe graduation and their child’s transition to adulthood. They call it ‘falling off the cliff’.  This turn of phrase especially . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Technology & Teamwork Can Ease Transition for Kids With Disabilities

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Tragic Death, A Cautionary Tale and Lessons About Protecting Our Loved Ones

Guy Mitchell.  Guy Mitchell.  Guy Mitchell.  I can’t get that name out of my head.  And when I think of Guy, I am afraid for my son, my mother and my future self.  I am afraid for everyone who is at risk of being vulnerable and ‘cared for’ by the state, behind closed doors.

Guy . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: A Tragic Death, A Cautionary Tale and Lessons About Protecting Our Loved Ones

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Want to Be Included in Your Loved One’s Home Care Team? Here’s How

I spend a lot of time reading about how families manage caring for loved ones all over the world.  Today, developed nations share common challenges –  aging populations, more people trying to balance employment with caregiving, and governments trying to get the most out of family caregivers. All while trying to manage their governments’ over-stretched . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Want to Be Included in Your Loved One’s Home Care Team? Here’s How

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: WHAT IS A SUPPORT NETWORK AND WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME?

I wrote this for an audience of adults with disabilities who want to get started using a tech tool to coordinate the help of friends and family in a circle of care.  But the model works for seniors too, as well as anyone who requires some assistance to get through a life challenge.   . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: WHAT IS A SUPPORT NETWORK AND WHAT WILL IT DO FOR ME?

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Preparing to Care From Afar During Spring Break Holiday

There may be parents of children with disabilities who travel as a family during spring break, but I’ll leave that subject for another post.

Today, I would like to talk about making preparations to care from afar when you leave on holiday and your loved one does not travel with you.  Spring break is . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Preparing to Care From Afar During Spring Break Holiday

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Five Tips for New Caregivers

By Jacob Edward As Americans, we tend to forget that care giving has existed for almost as long as humans have been around. Recently, with the recession in 2008, more people are living in multigenerational homes. In many other countries, multigenerational living is the norm, but for us we’re still working out the kinks. Maybe . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Five Tips for New Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: LIFE GETS EASIER WITH CONNECTION TO A CIRCLE OF CARE

This week, I was honoured to contribute an article to The Home Care Technology Report, a publication of Rowan Consulting Associates.  Tim Rowan is a consultant and information broker on everything to do with home care and technology.  I’m pleased to tell you that I’ve had a huge and positive response to this article from . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: LIFE GETS EASIER WITH CONNECTION TO A CIRCLE OF CARE

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: My Best Caregiving Tip

After twenty-five years of intensive caregiving, the most important thing I’ve learned is that giving good care over time requires a team.  Trying to manage alone and without the help of others inevitably leads to exhaustion, depression, ill health and even family breakdown.  But with a coordinated ‘network of support’, it is possible to locate . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: My Best Caregiving Tip

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Sharing the Care Online – Can It Really Help?

When my son Nicholas was born with severe disabilities in 1988, my husband and I struggled to care for him on our own.  Nick turns 25 at the end of this month and all these years of giving care have taught me one great big lesson.   Caring alone is not a good idea. . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Sharing the Care Online – Can It Really Help?

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Wisdom of Caregivers: Part II – Our Power and Love

Recently, I wrote about the wisdom and knowledge of caregivers.  Families giving care sometimes feel that they are operating in a vacuum – that the only compassionate place is the home because societies in which we live are driven by an ethic of individualism, consumerism and the perpetual growth of a paycheck.  So, how can . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: The Wisdom of Caregivers: Part II – Our Power and Love

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Not Social Networking, CARE NETWORKING

In my life of caregiving, I have learned two absolute truths.  1) That my love, my will and my intellect cannot cure the effects of ageing or disability in the people I love and 2) that caregiving is a job to be shared.  It cannot and should not be done alone, if it is to . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM A Blog by Donna Thomson: Not Social Networking, CARE NETWORKING

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Power Politics: Professional Caregivers in the Family Home

Recently, I gave an interview with Nicole Scheidl, of Fit Minds, a program for enhanced communication between people with dementia and their caregivers.  My topic for this interview was the power relationships between paid caregivers and family caregivers in the home setting.  I blogged about this topic earlier this year in a post titled, . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Power Politics: Professional Caregivers in the Family Home

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Envisioning a Better Future for Caregivers

Arthur Kleinman understands families like mine.  I know he does, because he wrote this: The chronically ill often are like those trapped at a frontier, wandering confused in a poorly known border area, waiting desperately to return to their native land.  Chronicity for many is the dangerous crossing of the . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Envisioning a Better Future for Caregivers

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Torture, The Movies and the Politics of Caregiving

A couple of nights ago, my husband Jim and I went to the movies.  We saw Kathryn Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” – a film already infamous for its portrayal of torture as a measure to ensure post 9/11 homeland security and as a tool to locate and eliminate Osama Bin Laden.

It’s a good film, . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Torture, The Movies and the Politics of Caregiving

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: This Christmas, We are Thankful for Tyze

This Christmas, our family is grateful for Tyze Personal Networks.  For those new to my blog, I am the mother of a young man with severe disabilities who is adored by everyone in our family.  I’m also the daughter of an almost 91 year old who has never listened when folks told her she was . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: This Christmas, We are Thankful for Tyze

THE CAREGIVERS' LIVING ROOM - A Blog by Donna Thomson: Five Tips for Surviving Caregiving

A few weeks ago, I travelled to Vancouver to address a family association and also to give a talk about how we use Tyze Personal Networks to coordinate Nick’s care.  I’ve written extensively on Tyze before, but for the uninitiated, Tyze is a softw… . . . → Read More: THE CAREGIVERS’ LIVING ROOM – A Blog by Donna Thomson: Five Tips for Surviving Caregiving