Archive for December, 2007

Popular Senior Care Authors, Carol Bradely Bursack

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

carol-bradley-bursack.jpg Part II of the CareGrade interview with Carol Bradely Bursack


What is the biggest complaint you hear about finding care?

Seeking care for a loved one can be a confusing and frustrating experience. People do not know how to get the appropriate information and do not know their options. Dealing with insurance, Medicare and Medicaid can seem like a full-time job, and my result in not obtaining all the benefits that are available. Getting advice from people who have or are confronting the same issues can be helpful. Another good option is to hire

a qualified professional geriatric care manager, if one is available in your area. They can be found at This can be especially helpful if your loved one lives out of town..

What advice do you have for our readers?

If you decide to put a loved one into a nursing home or assisted living facility, do not feel guilty about it. You are not giving up or abandoning them. You are still the caregiver, but are now getting the extra help that can benefit both of you.

If you ask most seniors where they want to be, they will almost always tell you they would prefer to stay at home. While most people are very comfortable in their homes, it may not be the best place for them. The bathrooms may be upstairs, or the house in need of repair. Unfortunately, many people still think of nursing homes and assisted living facilities as cold, uncaring institutions. This may be true of some, but today many homes offer personalized care in a comfortable, homey environment.

When considering a facility for your loved one, the most important thing to look for is how well the staff treats each other and the residents. In her book, “Old Age in a New Age: The Promise of Transformative Nursing Homes”, Beth Baker discusses the need for management to treat certified nurses aides (cna’s) with the respect they deserve. A staff is well- treated will, in turn, treat the residents well. Before deciding on a facility, visit it all times of the day and night. Observe how nurses treat cna’s, and how cna’s treat each other and the rest of the staff. That is the best clue as to how the residents will be treated.

What resources would you recommend for caregivers?

Go to websites such as,,,, and has the eldercare locator, a useful tool for people looking for help. Just be aware that the services found on this site have not been screened.

How do you think the internet will affect caregivers in the future?

I think the internet is great and is going to continue growing. Helpful information is available 24/7, with a growing number of quality sites, chat groups and forums. However, caregivers are very vulnerable and need to be wary of what they read and with whom they communicate. That said, the internet is a great resource that can help caregivers lose that feeling of isolation and let them know there is hope.

Carol Bradley Bursack is a columnist, speaker, blogger and author of “Minding our Elders:Caregivers Share their Personal Stories.” Her blogs can be found at and

CareGrade interviews Carol Bradley Bursack about her book “Minding Our Elders”

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007


minding-our-elders-cover.jpg This is the first of a three part installment

CG: What inspired you to write your book Minding Our Elders?

CBB: I had been a caregiver for seven elders over the span of two decades, and I began to feel very isolated. In speaking with other caregivers, I realized that they also were feeling isolated. I was a writer by profession and always felt that I learned the most through stories. I began writing stories about my own experiences as a caregiver and in telling people about it, realized that they also wanted to have their stories told. The book is really a compilation of stories from many different caregivers, each with their own unique circumstances. I think that because there are so many different people other than myself involved with the stories, it touches a much broader audience. Most people can relate to one story or another.

The goal of the book and my blog is to help caregivers feel that they are not alone. The book has been described as a portable support group and my blog allows for feedback and has chat groups. Friends may offer sympathy, but they cannot truly understand unless they have been in the same situation. But by communicating with others who are dealing with the same issues, caregivers can help themselves and feel less isolated.

When I was caring for my elders, there were no internet chat or support groups through which I could communicate with other caregivers, and I felt very isolated. The computer has opened a whole new world of possibilities. We all know how difficult holidays can be, so I find it most gratifying when people tell me that with my help they were able to make it through.

Carol Bradley Bursack is a columnist, speaker, blogger and author of “Minding our Elders:Caregivers Share their Personal Stories.” Her blogs can be found at and

Tips for Seniors Traveling Over the Holidays

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

The following is a list of helpful tips for seniors and their family’s. Hopefully it will make traveling during the holiday season a bit easier.

  1. Call the airline in advance and ask them to have an employee escort the senior to the gate. This gets them through the screening process, can eliminate the standing by using a wheel chair if necessary and eliminates the confusion of getting to the right gate.
  2. Have the airline mark the ticket Needs assistance and have a family member escort them instead of the airline employee.
  3. Understand the rules of traveling post 9/11. Examples of this include reminding older travelers of the 3-1-1 rule: Each passenger is allowed to carry on as many liquid containers of 3 ounces or less as will fit in 1 zip-lock bag of the 1-quart size. One exception is that medications in their original containers are allowed as carry-on luggage, no matter what the size. Also let them know to bring valuables on the carry on instead of rolled up in a sock in their suitcase.
  4. Do not lock their suitcase unless they have an approved TSA lock.
  5. Ship large or heavy presents ahead of time.
  6. Hire a companion through an agency to get the senior on the plane safely or even travel with the senior to and from the destination. If you are unsure of where to find such a service, call your local Office On Aging or go to websites such as where you can read reviews on senior care providers prior to selecting one.
  7. Wear shoes that are easy to get on and off.
  8. Ask to be taken to a chair to help get shoes on and off.
  9. Any traveler with a pacemaker should not step through the screening gate because the machine may offset the calibration of the pacemaker. Either get a not from a physician or have a pacemaker identification card. Ask for a secondary pat-down.
  10. If there is a frequency or urgency issue with using the restroom, request an isle seat close to the restroom.
  11. Check current passport regulations as passports will soon be required for both domestic and international travel.
  12. Make sure there is adequate time to recoup from their travel once they reach their destinations. Travel can be exhausting and seniors require a longer time to rebound.

For more detailed information, go to the articles page of our website or click here  Holiday TravelTips

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