Wednesday, November 18, 2015

**Tune In Live**

Welcome to this week's blog. I'm Carole Brecht on the left. I'm the writer for this blog. My sister and partner, Jan Steinle, is on the right. Both of us showcase our Zentangle Inspired Art here, and on all our social media. We recently launched our online store - (click) Tangled Art Boutique - housing over 100 images of our Zentangle designs, including a Caregiver greeting card and giftline. 

We hope you find these interviews worthy and enlightening, as we share who we are and what our mission is as founders of The Sandwich Woman Community. 

On Saturday, October 3, 2015, Jan and I were interviewed by Dr John Stanko on his 
(click) "Wake Up To Purpose Radio Show."

Our close association with Dr. John was formed in his (click) Purpose Quest classroom as we searched to discover, clarify, and embrace what we were meant to do in life.  Out of our experience as Mom's Caregiver for several years, and after attending Dr. John’s workshops throughout 2014, we found ourselves creating The Sandwich Woman Community.  We wanted to connect with and support those just like us who were going through the Caregiving journey. During that time we discovered the  Zentangle® art form and fell in love with it. 

We include our Zentangle Inspired Art on all of our social media. Both Jan and I feel it is apropos to The Sandwich Generation…intricate, layered, complex and beautiful.

Click here to listen - a lighthearted, fun and funny interview with one of our favorite associates, our friend, mentor, advisor and soon to be Publisher of my book and our combined book in the near future.  

Jan and I made this "sister tangle". She designed it and I colored it in. A fun project to work on together. 

(click) eCare Diary invited us on their radio show on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 to discuss our view on (click) "Sandwich Generation Caregiving." This interview begins with our Mom's diagnosis of Alzheimer's Disease and the ensuing struggle to find support and resources as Caregivers over the years during her care. 

On Monday, September 14, 2015 we were hosted by eCare Diary for this video interview called (click)"Sandwich Generation Caregiving." This was our first interview and experience to state who we are and what our view is on being a Sandwich Generation Caregiver. 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about us and to listen to our viewpoint of what it's been like for us as Caregivers for our parents and how we see the Caregiver industry evolving. 

Best Wishes, 
Carole Brecht & Jan Steinle

~The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation~

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Copyright 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

~Honoring The Family Caregiver~

Introducing my special guest blogger today, Author of Somebody Stole My Iron: Vicki Tapia~

An Unsung Hero…The Family Caregiver

According to Alzheimer’s Association’s 2015 Facts and Figures, 85 % of unpaid Caregiving help provided to older adults in the U.S. is provided by family members; 2/3 of them women. And, over half of us caring for people with dementia are taking care of parents.

How many of us actually plan on being an unpaid Caregiver? Whether it’s a spouse, parents or a well-loved aunt, it’s unlikely most of us ever anticipate the reality of wearing the label “caregiver.” As the boomer population continues to age, the number of unsung heroes caring for a family member is on the upswing. According to the report *Caregiving in the U.S. 2015, there are currently an estimated 34.2 million American adults taking care of a loved one 50 years or older.

Caregiving can be overwhelming, both emotionally and physically, bringing with it a myriad of emotions, all of which I experienced at one time or another, including:
  • ·      Frustration
  • ·      Helplessness  
  • ·      Anger
  • ·      Sadness
  • ·      Depression
  • ·      Guilt
Caregiving can be lonely! At times, I remember feeling like I was on a deserted island, with nary a person who really understood what it was like.

While speaking at a Caregiver’s meeting recently, two women approached me afterwards to share their stories. One woman told me her spouse with Alzheimer’s is slowly becoming more than she can handle, but her children are insisting that she keep him at home. The other woman suspects that her elderly father, who lives next door to her, is showing signs of dementia, but he flatly refuses to go to the doctor. They were both searching for answers. Like growing old, Caregiving is not for sissies.

I sensed in these 2 women what experts label Caregiver burnout, a very real phenomenon and a number one reason why it’s imperative for all caregivers to recognize the importance of self-care.

If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, I encourage you, please make time for a doctor’s visit.
  • ·      Anxiety
  • ·      Irritability
  • ·      Social withdrawal
  • ·      Sleeplessness
  • ·      Exhaustion
  • ·      Poor concentration
  • ·      More susceptible to illness
*Caregiving in the U.S. 2015 – A Focused Look at Caregivers of Adults Age 50+ was published by The National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) and the AARP Public Policy Institute

* * * *

I'm a long-time lactation consultant and published author of numerous lactation articles and found my energies redirected to the other end of life when both my parents were diagnosed with dementia in 2004. My diary documenting my parents journey resulted in the publication of Somebody Stole My Iron: A Family Memoir of Dementia, a 2015 finalist for the High Plains Book Awards. 

In my memoir, I detail the daily challenges, turbulent emotions, and painful decisions involved in caring for my parents. Laced with humor and pathos, reviewers describe my book as “brave,” “honest,” “raw,” “unvarnished,” as well as a “must-read for every Alzheimer's/dementia patient's family.” I wrote this story to offer hope to others, to reassure them that they’re not alone.


To follow Vicki on social media:

Thank you Vicki for sharing you insight and perspective and for being today's guest blogger.

Best Wishes,

Carole Brecht

~The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation~

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

~ A Caregiver's Helper ~

~Introducing my special guest blogger today: Marianne Sciucco~


~ 12 Ways to Reach Out to Caregivers During National

Caregivers Appreciation Month ~

by Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s love story

Chances are you know someone caring for an ill or disabled loved one. This could be due to an illness such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Cancer, Stroke or a variety of other conditions. Some provide live-in care, others visit daily or weekly, and some oversee care from a distance or care provided by hired aides or a nursing facility.

No matter how the Caregiver performs his or her role, caregiving is a tough job, requiring resources that are often scarce: time, money, support, and assistance.

The CDC tells us that more than 34 million unpaid caregivers provide care to someone age 18 and older who is ill or has a disability, and an estimated 21 percent of US households are impacted by Caregiver responsibilities.

Almost all of this work is unpaid, typically provided by family members, and often performed around the clock with no breaks. In addition, many Caregivers juggle other responsibilities such as jobs, raising children, and managing their own households.

November is National Caregivers Appreciation Month, and a great time to reach out to those providing care and help lighten their load.

In recognition of those who work tirelessly and selflessly to care for a loved one, here are 12 ways to reach out to caregivers, to offer assistance and let them know you care. These people need support, and often that support doesn't cost much, if anything, and takes little time.

1.     Ask if you can sit for them a little while so they can run errands, take a break, see the doctor, or attend church or a caregiver's support group, whatever they need to do to take care of themselves.

2.     Going to the grocery store? Call and ask if there's anything you can pick up for them.

3.     If your employer allows, donate paid sick time, vacation days, or personal time to a coworker caring for a relative who is hospitalized or needs post-hospital care.

4.     Volunteer to mow the lawn, weed the garden, rake the leaves, or shovel the snow.

5.     Share the bounty, whether from your vegetable or your flower garden. Fresh produce and fresh flowers are cheerful.

6.     If you have the skills and tools, offer to change the oil in their car and rotate the tires.

7.     Again, if you have the skills and tools, offer a free haircut to the caregiver and/or their loved one.

8.     Walk their dog.

9.     Ask if they'd like you to wash and clean out their car.

10.  Volunteer to take out the trash and bring the barrels out to the curb on trash day.

11.  Double cook a meal, preferably one of their favorites, and send over a dinner.

12.  Include them in your prayers.


For more information about caregiving and Caregivers please follow #AlzAuthors during 

National Caregivers Appreciation Month, November 2015, or find us on Facebook.

About the Author

I'm not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse. A lover of words and books, I dreamed of becoming an author when I grew up but became a nurse to avoid poverty. I later brought my two passions together and write about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. I grew up near Boston and earned my Bachelor's degree in English at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. I spend a lot of time on Cape Cod. When not writing I work as a campus nurse at a community college in New York’s Hudson Valley, where I live with my patient and reliable husband and beautiful, brainy daughter. We are ruled by Mr. Chance, a cat we rescued who believes he rescued us. I'm currently working on a YA novel, "Swim Season," about the new girl on the team who challenges a longstanding school record, to be released in 2016. A dedicated Swim Mom for ten years, you can find me during swim season at one of many Skyline Conference swim meets cheering for my daughter and her team.

To follow Marianne on social media:

Thank you Marianne for sharing you insight and perspective and for being today's guest blogger.

Best Wishes,

Carole Brecht

~The Sandwich Woman, Caring For The Sandwich Generation~

~Your Caregiver Support Network: Where Words Soothe and Ideas & Art Delight~