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November 09, 2018

Don't Avoid Planning Your Death


When John McCain and Aretha Franklin recently passed, there were many differences in the way they pre-planned, spoke about their wishes and made mindful decisions to implement these and the world took notice. Relieve the family of a burden they don't need, follow McCain's way. A recent article from USA Today...


Don't avoid planning your death. John McCain and Aretha Franklin showed us why it matters.


Michael Hebb, Opinion contributor Published 5:00 a.m. ET Oct. 2, 2018

John McCain had a plan for his final months and funeral. Aretha Franklin didn't, and the result made her family unhappy. We should all learn from this.

Much has been said and written about the political messaging of Sen. John McCain’s funeral: That he was true to his maverick, straight talk to the end. That it wasn’t about party (he asked both George W. Bush and Barack Obama to eulogize him) but about morality. But whether you admired McCain as a politician or not — what’s undeniable is that his final act was a courageous one: He faced his impending death straight on and left his family and friends few questions about his final wishes.


More than half of American adults don’t have a will, and many more have never talked to their loved ones about what they want done with their remains or what kind of funeral they want.


McCain, in contrast, attended to every detail, gathering a group of people to start planning after he was diagnosed with glioblastoma. Months ago, he personally reached out to those he wanted to eulogize him, going so far as to summon former Vice President Joe Biden to his home to make the request. While his family members clearly suffer as they mourn him, his clarity about what he wanted stands as a tremendous gift, the gift of not having to make endless complex decision during the peak of grief.


Aretha Franklin didn't plan her death.


If we contrast McCain’s death planning with that of Aretha Franklin’s, we face more questions than we do answers. According to her nephew, Aretha didn’t talk about plans for her funeral, though she was 76 and had terminal pancreatic cancer. The family ended up asking a pastor who had spoken at other family funerals to eulogize her, and afterwards her nephew issued a statement about how aggrieved and offended they were by the content of the eulogy.


When the Queen of Soul died, she also did not leave a signed will, which means her estate settlement will cost many legal dollars — and many years — to sort through. An attorney who handled entertainment matters for her for 30 years repeatedly urged her to put together a will and a trust. She understood the need, but he said that “it just didn’t seem to be something she got around to.”


I can’t know why Aretha Franklin didn’t want to talk about her impending death, but it is not uncommon. As the founder of Death Over Dinner and the host of hundreds if not thousands of conversations about death over the years, I’ve seen that resistance cut across race, age, geography. Talking about death is frightening, it’s emotional, and it also can feel a little bit like you’re inviting death in by speaking its name.


A colleague of mine, Chyna Wu, grew up in Hong Kong and said she has always been surprised by the Western discomfort in talking about death. She said her friends consistently discourage the use of the word “death” in her marketing materials — and yet she’s a grief specialist. If she won’t use the words death and dying, who will?


McCain knew how he wanted his life to end.

John McCain was not afraid of talking about death and was very clear when he shared the bleak survival statistics for his aggressive glioblastoma that while he would fight it, he had a lot of projects he needed to finish up in a hurry. Those included an HBO documentary, a book with longtime collaborator Mark Salter and a 40-page document outlining his memorial plans.


McCain made the decision to end treatment himself. And as Cindy McCain wrote of her husband’s death: “He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best.”

It’s how many of us would like to go. But though 80 percent of people say they want to die at home, only 20 percent do. Because we’re not communicating our wishes, our family members don’t know. Death is not a medical act, and it’s not a political one. Death is human, and the humans in our lives will undoubtedly be better off if they know how we want to be honored.


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November 04, 2018

Why You Need To Have Your Advanced Directives In Place Today


It's only natural to want to avoid having to think about putting your Advanced Directives in place. We don't like to think about death and dying. It's scary and believe avoiding the topic will somehow make it go away. Pre-planning requires you to think about all these questions and to put in writing your wishes in the event of a debilitating illness, tragic accident or when sudden Dementia enters and you can't think for yourself any longer. Be mindful now!


Not easy I know. In summary you are really answering questions regarding the point in time when you can't make these decisions. How long do you want your life prolonged in the hopes of recovery. Discussing this with family and designating  a health care proxy for yourself just insures your family will know what to do when the time comes. 


When filling out these directives, do so with careful consideration and thought. The question to ask  yourself is this. If life changed and if you were suddenly in a state of a persistent vegetative state and the doctors told your family that there was no chance of recovery, what would you want them to do? It's easy for the body to remain in this state with breathing assistance and to have a liquid concoction of processed food being inserted into your body. And it is easy for this to be the medical default measure used. What do you want? Do you want your body, mind and spirit to stay this way indefinitely? You have the power now while in your right mind, to decide. Put it in writing! Save your family possible years of angst, be pro-active while you can.


https://eastenddoulacare.com/advanced-directives


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October 26, 2018

Doctors Need to Speaking to Patients More Clearly When Dying - There is Too Much Confusion.


Recently I was visiting COPE, a wonderful foundation for parents who've had children pass away. There is support, workshops and so much more, a great resource if you know anyone who may need it. I sat at a table with the Director and bounced a few thoughts off one another. We spoke about the reason people believe Hospice's are for the the very end stage of life, the last week or so. 


As I've said before, this is not so. Hospice can come into your life much earlier and offer you a plethora of extremely needed resources. With COPE being so knowledgeable, the consensus was that it is the Doctors who really need to start a conversation much early with patients. Of course this is a really tough discussion to have, however, in an article written by the BBC that you can see HERE the report states that Doctors should be talking to people who could die within 12 months and give them choices over their future care. The report also says this rarely happens and our Doctors need to be proactive, I completely agree. It seems when the one off conversations do happen they are usually around the bed with 5 strangers, pagers going off and the room is very chaotic. A more private and sensitive conversation needs to occur during this really significant moment in a persons life. 


The General Medical Council said that patients should be considered to be approaching the End of Life if they have the following five criteria.


a. Are likely to die in the next year.

b. Have progressive , incurable conditions. 

c. Have other conditions and are generally frail. 

d. Have conditions that could cause death if there was a sudden deterioration. 

e. Have life threatening acute conditions caused by sudden catastrophic events.


The Report said Doctors can handle this in a number of ways.


- As the patient if they would like to have the conversation and get the information they need.


- All professionals involved with treating the patient with a terminal illness should be involved in the planning of care. 


- Start conversations earlier regarding the future, a conclusion doesn't need to be reached but the conversation has started.


- Use appropriate language with patients and their families and involve all the correct people. 


Unfortunately, new Doctors are not getting enough hands on training to talk about dying with their patients and the families. What do you think? Shouldn't this be changed? 


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October 16, 2018

5 Ways to Deal With a Difficult Person That You Love


We don't want to admit it, we love them but don't like them. "How is this possible", you think? "I'm a nice person. How is is possible that I allow them to get under my skin like that? They are my family. I know I'm wrong in feeling this way but they just don't get it. They don't understand me, they don't understand life and they don't understand that the world doesn't revolve all around them."

 This can be a Parent, a Sibling, Aunt, Uncle or Cousin. So many people can fit the role, the problem is... How do we deal with them?


1. Imagine Calm

Even the best of us have our thoughts and opinions regarding another person's behavior. All of a sudden, past events creep in and you remember when he did that, or when she said that. You remember when they behaved like a crazy person at Thanksgiving dinner last year and how you will never forgive them for that one. Let it go! When you know you'll be together, do some breathing exercises. No kidding, listen to some calming spa or piano music on the way over. These techniques do work, they bring your stress level to a calmer state. Forget about that last time. This is a new day, breathe, remember you are a happy person. Picture white light surrounding them. Don't judge them on past events. Today is fresh, let's begin again. Believe it or not, when you purposefully change your vibration, the outcome of a situation can be a more positive and lighter one. 


2. Don't Be On The Defensive

This is tough, you have to behave purposefully. Again, the vibration you bring into the room can escalate or diffuse what could have been an uncomfortable situation. The person is most likely feeling the same angst you are. A calm presence is a good thing. People like to be around calming people. It can lower the intensity of any situation if you don't play a part in it. Smile on the inside and know, they are family. They've had struggles like all of us and sometimes handle them in an off putting way. You can never be too kind to someone. Kill em' with kindness does work. They'll be wondering what's up with you but it will help ease any situation so it flows more peacefully and with less negativity. 


3. Keep Your Distance

Not always, but when you feel words beginning to get heated or the conversation is just getting ugly, walk the other way. Don't engage in drama. We all have our opinions and sometimes they can be just as strong as the other. Change the conversation, walk away or bring up something funny so everyone gets distracted. Some people are just shouting out for attention. Give it to them. Ask them how they're doing. Ask details, be genuine and offer good feedback. This can be difficult sometimes but with practice, you can turn around the whole direction of any conversation. 


4. Listen

We all think we are good listeners, not always, be attentive and listen. This person may be crying out for something. It could be attention or it could be just needing to vent as this is their only opportunity to do so. Less is more. Don't interject your opinion,  especially if it's harsh. They may not be looking for advice or to hear how it happened to you and what your outcome was. They just may be needing an ear, a shoulder or a sounding board. Breathe, diffuse and listen. Smile and excuse yourself to use the restroom, that usually works. 


5. We All Have Choices. 

Lastly, always remember that we all have choices. We can choose the way we act, the way we dress, the job we have and the people we associate with. We can choose the way we exercise, the food we eat and the liquids we drink. We can choose our faith, our friends and the color of the clothes we wear. We can choose to associate with certain people, or not. We can choose to be in their company, or not. We can't choose however, our blood relatives. Some may be easier to get along with than others, but if your related, your related. So in the end, the choice you have is to react differently, stay calm and positive, or not. You can engage in the drama, add stress to your body, be agitated and aggravated, or not. Think mindfully the next time you visit Mr./Mrs. Wonderful. Have a plan and let no one get in your way. May the force be with you!





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October 10,2018

5 Ideas to Implement When An Elderly Parent Refuses Help


Rest assured, this is a common occurrence. You are worrying about Mom or Dad day and night waiting for the next fire drill to occur. Seriously, this is how it goes. One day they are independent, loving life and living an ideal every day existence. The next they are not handling the simplest task that was easy just last week. Your eyebrows wince, really? Is this happening? Did that just happen? You know where that is! You know how to do that!


This is natural. This is part of life, it's not only new to you but for Mom or Dad as well. They want to make their own decisions. They don’t like feeling confused and certainly don’t want to have to depend on you, let alone someone else. Try a different approach. Look from outside the box. Instead of getting annoyed or impatient, think of a few alternatives.


1. Create a Support Team –

Before hiring professionals to step in, make a list of family, friends, neighbors and acquaintances. These can be people from church or other groups that they are affiliated with. Next make a list of concerns you have regarding the day to day issues arising. Then have family meeting. Perhaps Frank from next door can pop in a day or two a week to see if Mom needs anything minor to be done. Ask Frank! People are willing to help more than you’d expect. Ask your sister Belinda to stop in on Mondays to check in, be sure they have food in the house and the laundry is being taken care of. Ask your niece Julia if on Wednesdays she can stop by on her way home from school to be sure everything is running the way it should. If it’s early in the game, by enlisting in help from the circles you have around you now, it will work wonders in getting the support where there once was none. People will commit, just ask.


2. Making Home Safe –

You’d be surprised after many years, things around the house are not conducive any more to aging parents like they were when you were in the house. A home assessment has to be done. Get help doing this. Have a meeting with Mom or Dad to discuss any changes you can help with. Go room by room, be sure everything in that room is easy to navigate. Seniors can accumulate a lot of belongings over the years. They forget it all adds up. Messy clutter has to go. In a nice and polite way. Offer your help. Offer in a kind way, not in a demanding or controlling way, there will only be discord. Look for safety hazards when it comes to bathing or cooking. A walk-in tub, handles in the bathroom, better floor mats for example. How are they doing with stairs in the house. Perhaps a bedroom upstairs, now needs to be moved down. Make your list and get going. Yes, your eyes are rolling but you’ll only have to assess once initially, later on again as their chapter changes.


3. Hiring Help- Slowly! –

Independent people don’t want strangers in their home let alone working there. Try to incorporate little things. If a few of you chipped in to have the lawn cut every few weeks it won’t be so bad. How about a house keeper every other week? Yes, the very kind girl who lives down the road who is looking to help and needs the work. Bringing people in slowly, a little at a time is much easier and it doesn’t feel like you are trying to implement big changes that are not wanted.


4. Extra’s –

There are many essentials that need to be met when seniors live on their own. There are gadgets and tools to help simplify day to day. Electronic Pill Boxes, Apps to remind you to take care of tasks or take the medications timely, and all on their phones. If they still don't have one, get one. There are easy ways to prep meals for the week, make the individual portions, label and pack the freezer. Healthy eating can become a challenge. Help in preparing meals is key now. Meals on wheels may become an option at some point. Research the internet. There are monitors to call for help, phones with large numbers, computers meant for ease of use and more. There are new and innovative ways help keep Mom and Dad safe and comfortable in their own home.


5. Organize Paperwork! – Big!

Spend a little time organizing paperwork and important records now! Make sure that everything is easily available when you need it most. Getting all documents in order now may be a little time consuming but will help tremendously in the long run. Things need to be discussed, questions asked. Advanced Directives need to be completed! If Mom wants to be buried in the red dress with the red feathers in her hat, so be it. East End Doula Care helps with this if you need it. Check out our Advanced Directive Tab for more info.


Just remember, everything is happening exactly the way it should be. This is just another chapter we are all in, learning new things and coping with new strategies that need to be implemented. Take them in stride but be mindful. This is the circle of life. Pre-planning is key, before something happens… have your plan in place. 

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October 5, 2018

Amazing Things People Want to do With their Bodies When they Pass! Really.


Today was a magnificently wonderful day! I got the chance to spend the day with my great nephew, his first day here on earth. Wow! Words really can't describe the honor it was to be in his presence. Then I come in and read about the things people want to do with themselves after leaving this world. Life is CRAZY! One extreme to the next all in one day. Just another day. What do you think about these ideas? 


1. Resomation- St. Peters-burg FLA is currently the only place in the US where you can have your tissue dissolved in a process to liquefy your body leaving only the bones behind. They are then pulverized and returned to the family in a box. 


2. Natural Burial - The one we know about at East End Doula Care. No embalming, wrapped in a shroud or placed in a biodegradable casket to compose naturally. Many local funeral homes offer sections now to implement this wish. 


3. Eternal Reefs- For those who prefer to nourish a more aquatic environment after death. A Georgia based company creates an artificial reef material from a mixture of concrete and human remains and it is placed in areas where reefs need restoration enabling the attraction of fish and other organisms to turn the remains into an undersea habitat. 


4. Cryonics- For people wanting to hang on to their old life, and with a lot of money you can go the cryonics way. The process of freezing a person's body in the hopes that later medical science will make it possible to revive them. This can range as high as 200,000 for a whole body or about 80,000 for your head.


5. Space Burial- If you'd like a piece of sci-fi, you can always get some of your ashes shot into space. Your remains can hitch a ride on a rocket headed for the stars where your remains are launched. Only a few grams of you can travel this journey. About a 1,000 but if you want to orbit the earth, 3,000 is more likely. 10-12 thousand if you want to be launched on to the moon. 


6. Mummification - Not just for Egyptians any more. For both people and pets, this request starts at about 63,000. A small price for believers who think they one day will have a second shot at life. 


7. Plastination - People are signing up to donate their bodies for education and /or display for future medical labs. Things that make you go hhmmmm. 


8. Freeze Drying- Yes, immersing your corpse in a liquid nitrogen. It's a process that somehow turns you into a compost. Alrighty then! Let's start that new garden!


9. Paper Weight or Diamond - Yes many companies are now compressing ashes into your most prized possessions. Interesting!


10. Fireworks! - Yes you can go out with a BANG! You can be mixed with a fire work mixture and be shot up into the air in the colors of your choice. 


So here are a few ideas for you to ponder. I'll have to think about these for a while, too many choices for me to think about this weekend! Have a nice one.

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October 4, 2018

What Exactly Is Hospice?


Hospice is more then just a treatment we add in at end of life. It is a whole plan of care given to people facing a terminal illness. Hospice specializes in easing pain, physically, emotionally and spiritually by a team of professionals who coordinate exactly what you need. They incorporate medications, medical equipment and supplies. They help your family learn how to use all of these to bring the patient the best possible care.


 So many people don't know the benefits hospice can offer. Once you are having increasing issues and you see the decline and deteriorating health, it may be time to look into hospice. Hospice is available not only at the very end of life but so much earlier on. Ask now, don't wait until later to ask for help. Please contact your local hospice to hear the specific guidelines as to who is eligible. 


A hospice team is made up of certified physicians, nurses, social workers and home health aides. They also offer a volunteer to spend time with the patient and a Chaplin upon request. Hospice is available to you, not only in a specified hospice facility, but can accommodate you in your home, a long term facility, assisted living, retirement community or even a hospital. Depending on your needs, the hospice team can visit from once a day to several times a month. The benefits are enormous for families when caring for a loved one at home. 


When it comes to paying for hospice, there are several options including Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance. You local hospice will educate you on their criteria. You can also ask about respite care. Most hospices provide this for you when needed. 


Hospices are amazing entities that are available for you when you need the help. Don't wait until you are near the end days or during your transition period. These amazing teams step in, provide a plan and get to work in providing the most care and comfort when you need it most. We are fortunate to have hospice care right in our back yards. All you need to do is reach out.

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October 01, 2018

Providing Comfort Near End of Life


By now, you may have your medical team and hospice team in place. You may even have an End of Life Doula on board to guide you along the way. We all have the same goal, to relieve as much suffering as possible and to keep the dying person as comfortable as possible now. Improving the quality of life is essential now.


End of Life is scary. What will happen? What can I do to make this easier? Can dying be any easier or is it just wishful thinking? Everyone feels differently at the end of life. Some may just want to close their eyes and be done with it, let go of all the pain and sadness. Others will want to be surrounded by friends and family and not want to be alone. Sometimes we don’t get to choose, it happens for us.

In general, people who are dying need comfort physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.


A person can be uncomfortable for many reasons. They are physically in pain or have breathing issues. They are sensitive to hot and cold surroundings. They can’t eat due to digestive issues. Their skin grows thin now and feels beyond irritated. They want to sleep all the time. Comfort is key now. What can you do to help with these kinds of issues? 


Speak to your nurse about pain management. A lot of people don’t want pain meds, never have and never will. This may be the time that changes. If you need them to be comfortable, this may be necessary now. Morphine when given properly, eases pain and shortness of breath. Given carefully by a medical professional, this successfully provides comfort. Without it, what could have been a meaningful time with family, now has become draining, irritating and leaves you with the inability to be as present as possible.


With age, skin becomes more delicate and fragile. It’s so important to apply an alcohol-free lotion to all areas of the body. This is soothing and helps them feel more comfortable. Be sure if not mobile, you are moving and turning to remove pressure points from turning into painful bed sores especially on the heels, hips, lower back and back of the head.


Loss of appetite in normal. It is natural to not want to eat, it can cause nausea, vomiting, constipation and more. Don’t force anyone to eat. Swallowing can get so uncomfortable especially for people with dementia. Keep watch for feelings of discomfort when they are hot and cold. You will see the clues. Provide cool cloth’s or add blankets when necessary. 


Most of all try to keep activities or visits simple and calm. There can be little or no energy at this time. Comfort is key. Mental and emotional stress are natural anxieties that can cause depression and overall sadness. Even when the person feels like withdrawing from the world, they may be afraid to be alone. Don’t stop visiting or spending time. Isolation is a fear now. Hold their hand, let them know you are there and will help them get through this time. The simple act of being there, in their space can be very soothing. Don’t worry about running out of conversation. Quiet moments are good too. Be comfortable with that.


Soft lighting, soothing music and limited distracting noises such as loud TV’s or blaring music are important factors. Help the surrounding environment to be soft, subtle and soothing. Think outside of the box. Bring in a few favorite things. Comforting and feel good things the person always liked before. Maybe a candle or two, photos or nature sounds in the background. This is their time, make it as comforting as possible. The way you would like it to be if the roles were reversed.


Lastly, address any spiritual issues. Of course, everyone is different. Religious or not, we all have a sense of a spiritual awareness within our hearts. Praying, talking, reading spiritual passages or calming music are all ways to bring in peaceful vibrations. Maybe the person wants to speak to a pastor or priest. Give them the option. Bring in family and friends for short periods only Saying goodbye’s, making amends or just spending time will do wonders for both yourself and the person you love. 


Always remember, take the time you need to step away. Caring for someone you love is very taxing on your body, mind and spirit. When you step away, you can breathe and replenish, enabling you to feel good and be much more helpful to the one you love. 

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Acceptance

September 20, 2018

A magical potion is available to us today. That potion is called acceptance.

We are asked to accept many things: ourselves, as we are; our feelings, needs, desires, choices, and current status of being. Other people, as they are. The status of our relationships with them. Problems. Blessings. Financial status. Where we live. Our work, our tasks, our level of performance at these tasks.

Resistance will not move us forward, nor will it eliminate the undesirable. But even our resistance may need to be accepted. Even resistance yields to and is changed by acceptance.


Acceptance is the magic that makes change possible. It is not forever; it is for the present moment. Acceptance is the magic that makes our present circumstances good. It brings peace and contentment and opens the door to growth, change, and moving forward. It shines the light of positive energy on all that we have and are. Within the framework of acceptance, we figure out what we need to do to take care of ourselves.


Acceptance empowers the positive and tells God we have surrendered to the Plan. We have mastered today’s lesson, and are ready to move on.

Today, I will accept. I will relinquish my need to be in resistance to myself and my environment. I will surrender. I will cultivate contentment and gratitude. I will move forward in joy by accepting where I am today.


(Author Unknown) - This was saved in my file with articles I relate to. We all need to practice acceptance of the things we cannot change. I believe it makes for a much more peaceful existence).

Times are Changing! 10 Things to Do When Helping Mom or Dad Stay in their Home.

September 25, 2018

1.Start with an honest conversation. Talk to your parents, openly and honestly. Bring in the conversation letting them know that they need to make good decisions regarding their future care. Encourage them to express their ideas and concerns. A big fear our parents have is that they don’t want to be a burden to their children and they don’t want to give up control or the decision making in their lives. Being open and honest is key here. Approaching the situation in a controlling way feels demeaning and will bring discord right off the bat.


2. Make a list of priorities. Make a list of what needs to get done and how you will plan to do it. What needs to be done now! Being organized puts you in control, reduces stress for everyone and ensures that your parents get the assistance they need. What kind of changes need to be done around the house? Who can help implement these? Make a list of family members to approach and ask for help with different tasks. You’ll find that most people want to help but they’re not sure what to do or how to offer their help. Assign tasks. Ex: Mary is good at cooking, maybe she can help with an extra meal to freeze each week. (Mary would love this!) or, Richie is good at construction, maybe he can help fix that hand rail, (I’m sure with a plan, Richie would love to pop in and offer his services).


3. Build a support system. In most families, one person assumes the role of primary caregiver, however that should not take away from everyone else lending a hand. Take a couple hours to make a few calls. Siblings, cousins, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and friends. Call acquaintances or church friends. Have a brief conversation, ex: Hi Belinda, Mom and Dad seem to need a little extra TLC lately. Do you think if once in a while I called on you to maybe stop by or lend a hand if needed, you could be available? You’d be surprised at how many people would love to help but don’t want to intrude in your personal space.


4. Don't be afraid to delegate. Now that you’ve done the prep work, it’s important to not let these discussions fall to the way side. It may take a little pre-planning on the weekend. You can ask someone on your list to pick up a few groceries. You can call the local High School and ask for about a volunteer program, someone to help rake the yard or just spend a little time. You can ask a neighbor to please keep an eye at informing you of anything that may seem off. Think out of the box, think creatively and you will come up with many resources to help keep watch when you are not around. There are many services available today in your local communities. Meals on wheels, Companion Services and many other Volunteer programs just waiting for you to reach out. services.


5. Offer alternatives. With family members, don't accept excuses for not helping without offering alternatives. A sibling who lives far away, for example, can help with paying bills, contacting doctors' offices or seeking support from local agencies. Siblings who have young children can cook meals or bring kids along for visits and outings. There are many ways family and friends can help without having to go too far out of their way.


6. Avoid discord. Stick to your schedule of ideas. Be clear and concise with friends and family in a kind but determined way that will meet your parents needs. You may need to schedule a meeting. Phone calls may be enough. Be sure you do this in a loving way. Being bossy or demanding will push people away. “Kill em’ with kindness”, a good motto. Sweetness goes a long way when asking for help. As human’s, we are giving by nature. Approach your family and friends in such a way and they will be offering more then you would ever have expected.

7. Children should be included. Put it out on the table, we could really use your help! When your family dynamic requires more and more time from you, let’s face it, this can be draining. Have a family meeting and encourage your children to come up with ideas on their own with ways they can contribute and be a part of your helping team. You’d be amazed at what they come with. Young children, teenagers or older children alike, we all have something to give.


8. Talk to your spouse. Have a discussion with your partner about your care-giving responsibilities Can they help, will they help? Suggest specific ways your spouse can help, and show appreciation for his or her efforts. Let they know that your relationship is a priority and you are thankful for any help they can give.


9. Seek out support. There are support groups and people out there to help you if you need it. Try the internet, local support groups and services. Seek and ye shall find. Be determined to find solutions and you will.


10. Call East End Doula Care. Browse through our website, www.EastEndDoulaCare.com , Although we offer End of Life guidance, Elder Care Assistance is a service we provide. There are many ways we can step in to help to bring balance into this unbalanced time. Give us a call. (631)946-8100.

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August 20,2018

August 17, 2018

Finding Expert Senior Care


Finding the right guidance when you are just starting the senior care search is important. There are a lot of so-called “experts” to be found, but many of them are just out for their personal best interest and are not all that dedicated to finding out what’s best for you. You only know you are looking for someone caring, loving and willing to hold your space when you can’t be there.


If this sounds overwhelming, don’t worry! I’ve put together a lot of what you’ll need to succeed right here. This time can be overwhelming we know. Who do I call? Do I look in the Yellow Pages? Shouldn’t I get a referral from a friend? These are just a few questions you may have when looking to fill in the gap of time when you can’t be there.


Getting Started


If you are helping to care for a loved one for the first time, you probably have so many questions and concerns about the best way to ensure that they are getting all the help that they deserve.


In fact, this is one of the bigger problems that family caregivers face. It’s not that they can’t or don’t want to help with a loved one and their daily lives, it’s that they don’t have the proper knowledge or training to do this in the best possible way. There’s a reason why caregivers need training and experience to be great at their jobs–it’s often a very tough one! That becomes even more the case when a loved one has an extensive set of needs of disabilities that they face. Finding a great caregiver is a lot harder than just bringing someone into your home to help out.


I encourage you to check out the non-profit organizations and public organizations that are in your area and available online to get started. AARP and county senior services groups have a lot of informative material that is designed to make your care search a lot easier. A lot of county organizations also keep a list of recommended caregivers of various types on hand to help give your search a jump start. 


At East End Doula Care, we believe that senior care is a personal thing. No two individuals are quite the same, no two people require the same approach to their care. We are specifically trained to look out for what’s best for your loved one, then take the proper steps to help them get there. This is one of the reasons why we are dedicated to helping provide great care to the people that need it.


The right caregiver for your family will depend on your unique circumstances. Knowing what these are before you get started will help you to have a better understanding of where to start.


Maybe East End Doula Care is not the right fit for you. We can  provide you with alternate resources and avenues that may be exactly what you and your family need right now. We are here to help.



How to Survive Traveling with Mom and Dad

August 17, 2018



5 Tips for making sure your trip goes off without a hitch!


Traveling with Mom or Dad can be the best! You love these people! They are the reason you are alive after all. Some of us get along like a picture-perfect postcard, and then there are the others. We want to be the perfect family, but it isn’t always the way. And what is perfect anyway? We still strive to have fun together and make the ever-lasting memories.


To avoid any confusion once you are on your way, it’s always good to have the talk. Approach it in a good loving way, you don’t want any discord before you even pack your suitcase. Here are 5 tips to help you while traveling with one or both of your parents. They will only ensure a more peaceful journey ahead.


1. Be Respectful


Your parents deserve respect all times. Let’s face it, we wouldn’t our children speaking to us in any demeaning way. Our parents can really say things to annoy us sometimes, just remember this, smile and don’t react. Yes, smile and let it go as quickly as their breath that traveled across the room. You may or may not take their advice, it doesn’t matter, it benefits the situation to breathe, take in the words and either adhere to them, or let them flow past you like the breeze on a September day.


2. Have Boundaries


Have the talk about boundaries. Be sensitive. Let them know what is and isn’t their business on this trip. For example: If you decide you want to go out dancing one night or over to the hot tub at midnight, they must respect your decision to do so. Let them know you’ll appreciate their concern, you’ll have your cell if they get too worried and even offer to take an Uber if necessary. Just make sure your words are coming from a place of compassion and concern to make this the best trip ever. Be sure your tone isn’t arrogant or bossy, they may decide to just not go. Be gentle.


3. Think about where they are right now.


Your parents may be aging, and things are changing up a bit. Maybe they can’t walk as fast or the need to stop off to stretch and use the bathroom. Let them know you will be slow moving for them and realize this trip is for them to get complete enjoyment out of. They will only do things to the best of their ability and you may need to tailor certain activities around this. Frequent bathroom breaks or eating may be issues. Just remember to let them know that you are aware if there is something you want to do that they are not able to, you will find alternate places for them to see or visit so they don’t feel left behind.


4. Honor your parents, never treat them like children.


Remember to make decisions together, don’t plan a strenuous day without letting them know in advance. Give them the dignity and respect to have an input on where you will go and on the things you will do together. You will have a much better time together in keeping the lines of communication open with one another, always.


5. Be sure all your financial decisions are clear and you are on the same page.


Make sure you both are clear on the financial arrangements on your trip. Will you be splitting the room? Who will pay for food? Are you going to split all costs? Do your parents expect you to pay for everything or will they be paying for things? These are things you need to make sure you have clarity on before you start your trip. It may not seem like a big deal but can certainly become one very quickly and put a huge damper on the entire trip.


Lastly, have fun. You may never get to do this again together. My family took a large out of state trip together a couple decades ago. My Mother talked about it for the rest of her years, it gave her one of the most special memories in her lifetime


Go with that mindset and you’ll create magic! 

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries

What to Say to a Dying Person

8-12-18

Someone you care about is nearing the end of their life. We know this is a part of our circle but somehow it doesn’t make it any easier. This is a delicate time. Emotions are running high and fear of the unknown surrounds everyone.


It’s a big step on your part taking the time to visit. Feelings of awkwardness and uneasiness surround you. Remember that even your presence during this time is a gift. Holding space with them, holding their hand and just sitting nearby mean more than you know.


Touch is important, their hand, shoulder or a hug shows a person you care and that they are not alone. Even if they are in an advanced stage, your presence will help them feel comforted and cared for.


There are a few things to keep in mind when visiting. Be aware of everything going on around you. Remember this time is not about you, it’s all about them. Be in the moment no matter what your feelings and emotions may be going through. Have an open mind, you may feel uncomfortable but you are there to be giving of yourself.


Be a good listener, this is probably the one of the best gifts you can give them. People nearing end of life want to talk, get things off their chest, express their fears and memories. Each person deals with death so differently. Meet them where they are. You may need to be a sounding board or a safe place where they can share with you what they can’t share with other people in the family.


Don’t judge, just console. Avoid cliches such as “meant to be” or “I know how you feel”. You really don’t know how they feel. If you’re not sure what to say simply remind them you are there for them, you love them and will take care of anything they may need.


If it is appropriate, share your spirituality with them. Ask if they would like to pray. If receptive, you may even ask if they would like to talk to a chaplain, priest or pastor. They may not have felt comfortable talking about this with immediate family or caregivers, you would be opening the door.


Be honest but with compassion. If your lost for words, ask them what they are experiencing right now. Ask what you can help with, chores or shopping maybe. Maybe a card game or listening to some of their favorite music. Talk about funny memories, a dash of humor could be exactly what is needed right now.


According to Dr. Ira Byock, a palliative care physician and author of Four Things That Matter Most, the following words are what a dying person most wants to hear.


“Please forgive me.” This is one of the most important ways to deal with regrets. Keep the conversation simple and apologize for your part in what happened. Whatever your loved one’s reaction, you will know that you’ve done all you could to find resolution.


“I forgive you.” Ideally, a person facing death would be willing to have this conversation, and granting this forgiveness allows you to make the most of their remaining time. If the person is not ready to address the situation or their role in it, you may simply speak it in the interior of your heart, knowing that releasing the hurt can be just as valuable for you in achieving peace after the person has passed on.


“Thank you.” Letting your loved one know that he or she has made a significant impact in your life may help them face death with more peace and dignity, with the confidence that they will not be forgotten and that their life has meant something. Discuss their legacy and your fondest or most impactful memories.


“I love you.” Say it often. If you’ve never said it, this is the time. You may be surprised at the reaction, and how it can really bring peace and satisfaction in this important time.


Always remember that depending when you are visiting, there may not be many visits left. Be sure to look them in the eyes, show affection and have no regrets that things are being left unsaid or unresolved. This may be your last chance so fill it with all the love and compassion you have for them this very minute in time. 



Happy is a State of Mind

July 15, 2018

“Happiness is a state of mind” is easy to say,  but a lot harder to employ. There are days you wake up and the very first thought in your mind is… “Oh great, I can feel it now, today is not going to be a good one.”


You have to remember your thoughts are powerful and you can make or break a day with the positive or negative thought you think on first thing in the morning. You have the choice to think it’s going to be a really great day, or not. You have the choice to sit up in bed, put one foot next to the other on the ground and say, “My body hurts, I wish I could stay in bed today”, or “Thank you the universe, I got to wake up today and I’m going to make it the best day ever!” 

It’s all a choice!


If you force yourself to think good thoughts, you will, it works! Below are 10 things you can do to feel a little more happier, starting today!


1. Go to bed each night with your last thoughts being the most positive you can think of. Think of all the things you are grateful for. You have a place to live, you are healthy, you are well nourished, you have people to love, You have warm blankets to keep you warm, you have a car to drive, You're able to read this! Review your own list in your mind and make this a daily bedtime ritual.


2. Wake up each morning with the same positive thoughts. Don't get out of bed without taking a few deep breaths and feeling grateful. Grateful for the day, that you are alive and that you’ve been given the opportunity to go out into the world to do what you do best. Say a quick prayer or just a simple Thank You to the Universe for giving you this day.


3. Look for affirmations that you love and can relate to. Keep them on your desk, the kitchen counter, your pocketbook, wallet or even on the bathroom mirror. Keep your favorite in your car so every time you leave the house you can remind yourself of the things that make you feel good.


4. Find Gratitude in little things throughout the day. There are thousands of things you can be grateful for this very minute. Be grateful that you can walk out to your car. Be grateful that you can make choices throughout the day and that your mind works as great as it does. Be grateful for your clothes, your new haircut or that there are people in your life who care about you. Just look and you will find tons of reasons to be grateful.


5. Get Moving! Exercise is not for everyone, it should be, but it’s not. If not, you really need to find ways to move a little more. Park further away, take the stairs or just take a walk in the morning or at the end of the day. I promise you it does wonders! Getting your heart moving just a little bit more on a daily basis, helps you look better, feel better and think more clearly. The studies are there, it’s been proven and you know it. Take one baby step at a time.


6. Get more sleep. This can be hard if your mind races at night with things you’ve done or things you need to do. Your mind is filled with chatter that no one else in the world hears but you. Put a stop to the chatter game. Lie in bed and breathe. Listen to your breath, that’s all, just listen. Don't let the voices creep in, put a stop to it. Breathe in, breathe out. Do this for as long as you can, you got it! And you thought you couldn’t meditate! Fragrantheart.com offers free guided meditations, how awesome! I couldn't live without them!


7. Smile! Smile as much as you can throughout the day. Smile and say something nice to someone. Great shirt, nice hair, what a great help you are! Even when you’re not feeling it, Smile! It could change the whole mood in the room.


8. Make plans to spend time with friends. A movie, a bite to eat or just to get together and catch up. Being with other people not only makes you happy, but gives you something to look forward to and we all need that. Make sure you bring your smile!


9. Give Hugs! You say, "I can do that, that's an easy one!" Sometimes it’s not so easy to do. Challenge yourself, pay attention to it and just do it. You break down walls, get rid of barriers and make people feel good. Double bonus! At the same time you are making yourself feel just as good. Just grab’em, pull them near and hug with full arms. There's something about a good hug, a strong whole hearted hug that makes you never forget it. It feels really good. I know a few people who give hugs like this. They are so good. They are memorable and they make you feel warm, cared for and loved. Give hugs like these. 


10. Remember to love yourself. We tend to put that on the back burner. Treat yourself with something nice once in a while. Even a walk in nature, a beautiful place. This is giving to yourself and gives you pleasure. We all need pleasure. Plan a day, make the time and do something for you that takes you to a happy place. Your body, mind and spirit will greatly appreciate you! 



Just Be Kind! 

February 14, 2018

Show a random act of kindness to another, we hear this all the time. Why you may ask? Doing something for someone else does so much more for you then it ever could for them. Being kind gives you an inner kind of fulfillment that's hard to find in your life. Try it and you'll see what I mean. 


We all want to give love and be loved. Every single one of us. If you think your singled out and don't need love in your life, your wrong, we all do. 


There are so many ways to show you care. Some ways can cost a lot, other ways not a single dime. These are the best! Just show up, lend a hand, give a smile or help. Just give the gift of time. These things are all free. 


We live in a hectic world. Our time is consumed with schedules and tasks and it's so easy to forget what our lives are really supposed to be about. Time with Family and Friends, people we care about, this is key. We say we will and we don't. We don't have time, we are too busy. The excuses are endless. 


Make the time, Life is too short!  Be kind and make the time. 


You may think your indestructible and it won't happen to you, be assured it will. Don't let another minute pass you by. Reach out, even if it's once a week. You'll feel the change in yourself. Don't be a taker all the time, be the giver you were meant to be. I know it's hard to go the extra mile in our every day craziness. Do it just because, and better yet, do it anonymously! 


*Drop off potted flowers at someones door with a card that reads, "Be surrounded by beauty all the time, just because!"


*Send a card - "Thinking of you today".


*Pay for the persons groceries in line behind you. 


*Cook a favorite dish, or pick something up and drop it off to a friend or neighbor, just because. 


*Send a random email to say how much you care, how much they mean to you and how lucky you are to have them in your life. 


Do what feels good to you and watch how it makes you feel. We are all blessed to have come into the world, to meet the people we meet and to have the freedom to make it the best journey ever. Only you can make your world a little brighter each and everyday. Give back and watch it come back to you tenfold, wait and see. 



Let It Go!

March 15, 2018

Everybody goes through their own journey and we tend to forget that. We are all in different places at different times in our lives. Sometimes we're not very empathetic to this and at times even judgmental. Our lives are crazy we know this. We need to remember that just because our lives may feel calm and drama free at the moment, it doesn't mean your friends life is going in the same direction. You need to breathe, and just Let It Go! 


Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone else is to back off and give them a little space. We need to stop being so critical, judgmental and clingy. This causes angst and bad feelings where there didn't have to be. Our lives are too short. In the future if you were to look back and see the stupid argument you just had or listen to an audio of the words you spewed back and forth, most likely you'd laugh. 


We don't even realize we're doing this. We judge and criticize the people we love. The way they look, their clothes, the way they keep their rooms and even their point of view. The words just roll off our tongue, we couldn't catch them if we tried.  It's so much better to just keep quiet during these times. 


Our minds are powerful, we CAN control them if we choose to. Being a better listener will help you be more compassionate, understanding and empathetic versus adding in your two cents all the time. 


If you conciously remember everyday to allow the people in your lives to just be themselves, your relationships will grow, be more peaceful and so much more enjoyable. 


You'll feel so much better. What could have been a heated conversation and battle of words, now has the potential to be a more supportive and understanding conversation. Exude a loving presence and watch what happens. 

Learn to just LET IT GO!