Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Caregiver's Story of HOPE--for everyone!

     I came across your blog and really identified with a lot of your writing. My name is Cameron Von St. James and I was thrown into the role of caregiver when my wife, Heather was diagnosed with a very rare and deadly cancer called mesothelioma, just three months after the birth of our only child.  We were initially told that she could have less than 15 months to live, but she was able to defy the odds and eventually beat the cancer.

       During her treatment, I had to learn quickly to be an effective caregiver, and there were many times when I became overwhelmed and beaten down by the role, but we managed to fight through it together.  We recently participated in a short video about my wife's cancer experience, which we hope to use to raise awareness and support for people fighting illness, and the caregivers who fight alongside them. Here is the link to the video:  http://can.cr/heather

       I was wondering if you would be interested in sharing this video on your blog? I know that cancer isn't necessarily the focus of your blog,  but a positive, uplifting story about overcoming an illness can be a huge help to any sort of caregiver when they're feeling down!   I'd love to share our message of hope with your readers who might take something away from it.  Please take a moment to watch it, and let me know if you think it's something you'd be interested in sharing on your blog.
     P.S. Obviously my answer was a resounding YES!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

#5 Caregiving Tip: Get your family's papers in order

from When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.

The following discussion may sound cold and mechanical, but it is the most important series of actions any family must take. You will be asking your family members to put in writing who gets what from their estate, as well as when a machine keeping them alive should be shut off--or not.

Get your family's papers in order (living will, healthcare surrogate, will, durable power of attorney, do not resuscitate, etc.), as well as written instructions about everyone's preferences for how they wish to be cared for (yes or no to a nursing home, feeding tube, etc.) and how they wish their remains to be treated (buried, cremated).

Unless YOU make these decisions, they may be made FOR you by a court, hospital, or other authority--against YOUR or your family member's wishes.

Rate your willingness to do this from 0 (not at all) to 10 (of course): 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

If you're not ALREADY a 10, what will it take for you to become one? _________________________________________________________________________________

Today, order When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.

Monday, April 30, 2012

#4 Caregiving TIP: Men are CAREGIVERS, too!

    from When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.

       Caregiving isn't JUST for women. Most people are shocked to learn that about 34 percent of ALL caregivers in the U.S. are men. By one estimate that's 14.5 million men; by another, as high as 22 million.

       Make sure that ALL the men in your family play a PROMINENT role in your family caregiving.

       I especially want to give hope to mothers and fathers whose sons are their likeliest caregiver. A commonly accepted MISPERCEPTION in America today is that if you want to be cared for in your old age, you'd better have a daughter. Traditionally, a son is thought to be LOST to his own family, co-opted by his wife's Even my mother believed it; at least, as a child, I recall her saying, in addition to my brother and me, she would have liked to have had a least one daughter to remain close to her.

       Happily, I proved my mother wrong. In 1998, just before her 80th birthday, I invited her to move in with me. And during the 10-plus years we lived together, she discovered I cared about and for her at least as well as any two daughters combined. My brother was always "there" for her, too.

       Help & Hope for caregivers & potential caregivers: Read Stephen Goldstein's how-to/memoir. Today, order YOUR copy of When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=when+my+mother+no+longer+knew+my+name


Friday, April 27, 2012

5-Star Review: When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name

ForeWord Clarion Review

When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: A Son’s “Course” in “Rational” Caregiving

Stephen L. Goldstein
Grid Press
Five Stars (out of Five)

Memoirists often offer the lessons of their lives for the benefit of others, but few combine
autobiography and advice as seamlessly as Stephen Goldstein in When My Mother No Longer
Knew My Name. Goldstein dedicated over ten years to caring for his mother at the end of her life.
His book describes a journey that required both careful planning and constant flexibility. Along
with detailing his own day-to-day experiences caring for his mother at home, Goldstein offers
ideas for others to consider when the time comes for them to take care of members of their own

Working as a trends analyst, radio personality, and TV talk show host for years has made
Goldstein a master communicator. In his newspaper columns he lucidly observes the defects in
America’s health-care system and offers solutions at the political level. With this book, he
retains the same journalistic clarity but makes it personal by inviting readers into his home and
into the reality of caring for a parent with dementia.

Goldstein clearly knows the shortcomings of the nursing home system in the United
States and wanted no part of it for his intensely independent mother. His memoir could easily
have become a rant-filled manifesto on a pet topic, but Goldstein instead maintains a personal
tone as he offers details of life with his mother. In addition, each chapter is aptly headed with
quotations ranging from sources as varied as T.S. Eliot and Freddie Mercury. Always respectful,
Goldstein gently shows readers his mother’s decline from her delight in managing dinner parties
to her eventual resigned acceptance of eating pureed peas. Even as Alzheimer’s disease
progresses and she doesn’t seem to know him, Goldstein never loses sight of his mother as a
person, offering gestures as simple and profound as always setting a formal place for her at the

Offset from the narrative, in script on a grey background, are pieces of advice for the
reader. These are not merely quotes from the book, but practical tips from Goldstein’s
experience, such as the recommendation to always call 9-1-1 immediately in an emergency
instead of trying to handle it alone. Rather than distracting from the main text, these direct-toreader
messages engage and entertain, keeping the reader involved in the issues under
discussion. Quizzes at the beginning and end of the book also encourage readers to take an active
When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving is available on Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Hellgatepress.com (the publisher's website) and through bookstores nationwide: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=when+my+mother+no+longer+knew+my+name

Monday, April 23, 2012

Rational Caregiving Tip #3: Give Unconditional Love--and I mean UNCONDITIONAL

from When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving
by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.  In the book, there are more than 75 down-to-earth, practical tips for caregivers of individuals with dementia/Alzheimer's.

Successful caregiving begins and ends with unconditional love. And
unconditional love begins and ends with literally putting yourself
in someone else’s skin. And that isn’t just verbal mush: It’s the
result of the definitive life-lesson a gut-wrenching experience taught
me almost immediately after my mother moved in. And as awful
as it seemed at the time, it saved both of us years of anguish and
transformed our relationship into a workable one. Most important,
it made it possible for me to become her caregiver in later years,
without a moment’s resistance or regret. If it had never happened,
our lives together could easily have become intolerable.

When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name is available in bookstores nationwide and through online booksellers like Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and direct from the publisher, HellgatePress.com:

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Rational Caregiving Tip #2: Follow a 3-step process to get psyched for family caregiving

from the nationwide bestseller, When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D.

Assuming you are willing to invite your family member(s) to move in with you, do so before they need care so you can all act assertively. Spare them the public humiliation of no longer being able to live on their own. If you don’t, all of you will likely become victims of circumstances.

As though you were signing an unbreakable contract, tell your family member or members exactly how you see your lives evolving together. I made the mistake of keeping my planning to myself. And I regret not having shared it, because it would have put to rest any doubts my mother might have had about her future.

Explain the extent and limits of your commitment to being a caregiver, if there are any. Come to a shared understanding of what the future may hold for all of you.

For example, agree to the conditions under which you would opt for a nursing home or other facility, or decide never to do so.

Most of all, let your family members know they are safe with you and you will always put their interests first — assuming they are and you will, of course. That overall assurance I did give my mother, over and over again. And I could see from the relief in her expression it meant everything to her. I just never discussed the details of sharing our lives and, if need be, caring for her.

Follow a three-step process to get psyched for caregiving : First, imagine. Second, test. Third, bite the bullet. It worked for me and my mother.

Caregiving boils down to unshakable commitment. Even the most impossible things you may have to put up with become bearable once you commit. When in doubt, don’t — until you’re absolutely sure of the choice(s) you’ve made.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Rational Caregiving Tip #1: In-home care insurance: Pros & Cons

from When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving
by Stephen L. Goldstein, Ph.D. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_0_18?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=when+my+mother+no+longer+knew+my+name&sprefix=when+my+mother+no+%2Caps%2C257

The odds are unpaid family members will have to provide most
in-home care. But, because there may come a time when paid
professionals will need to assist them, it is never too early to weigh
the pros and cons of taking out long-term, in-home care insurance.

There’s a case to be made for getting it — or not. The care someone
needs may at first be minimal, lasting just a few hours, and the cost
may be manageable.

But the bill for 24/7 care can be astronomical.
When my mother needed round-the-clock care, we paid $400 per
day out-of-pocket, just for home-health aides
. She had decided
against taking out an insurance policy. She only needed one-on-one,
professional assistance for a matter of weeks. But it still added up

If she had paid thousands of dollars in insurance premiums
for years, it wouldn’t have been cost-effective for us.

In retrospect, we took a calculated risk and made the right choice. But we may
have been more lucky than wise. We could have faced a major
financial drain.

The lesson is to be prepared: Research your options
and plan ahead, especially for the unexpected, which can almost
be guaranteed to occur. And most important of all, know where the
money for long-term care is going to come from if it’s needed.

There are more than 75 tips in When My Mother No Longer Knew My Name: a son's "course" in "rational" caregiving, based upon a compelling narrative. Order your copy today from www.amazon.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, or www.hellgatepress.com, the publisher.