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Rebecca Crichton, Executive Director, Northwest Center for Creative Aging Rebecca Crichton, Executive Director of Northwest Center for Creative Aging (NWCCA) has facilitated groups and workshops related to Positive Psychology and Creative Aging for many venues in the Seattle area. She has Master’s degrees in Child Development...

With a Little Help’s friend and colleague, Don Desonier is, among other wonderful things, an Elder Care Mediation expert who works locally here in Seattle. He recommended this article to us and we thought we'd share it with you. Elder and Family Mediation Services by Arline Kardasis...

  D-generation - An Exaltation of Larks With a Little Help, CarePartners, and the Greenwood Senior Center, are excited to partner in bringing Vermont-based Sandglass Puppet Theater to Seattle! The play “D-Generation, An Exaltation of Larks” is based on 2016 MacArthur Fellow award-winning Anne Bastings’ Timeslips –...

That Time of Year Again – Tips for Navigating the Holiday Season Rebecca Crichton, Executive Director, Northwest Center for Creative Aging We are already starting to gear up for the holiday season. For many, the period from Halloween through year’s end causes dread. The shortening days...

Good oral health is essential for healthy aging Yet, Medicare does not cover dental care By Jeff Hambleton, MD Many people are keeping their teeth longer than ever before due to better dental care and water fluoridation. But here’s a surprise for many pre-retirees. Medicare does...

Listen to your heart and it will tell you what it wants in matters of love, family and profession.  Listen closer and you'll learn that it needs exercise, healthy foods, and stress control to thrive. Nurture your heart and it will power your body for...

-Painting by Joan Dolan The Artist Within exhibit, featuring 51 artworks created by 43 different artists ages 60-101 opened at the Harborview Medical Center Cafeteria March 10, 2016 after garnering rave reviews at the Anne Focke Gallery during January and February. The thought provoking and profoundly...

If you're reading this blog chances are you're a professional or family caregiver. You know how difficult holidays can be. They impact both the caregiver and the one needing care differently but each usually feel added stress. Planning ways to ease the stress is as important as planning a holiday meal or gifts to exchange. This year, as 12% of Washington families prepare to celebrate with someone who has dementia or a serious illness, helping organizations are gearing up to guide families in ways to make the holidays easier and more inclusive for loved ones in their care.
Are you a family caregiver? I am. In fact, With A Little Help's average staff age is 51 so several of our professional caregivers and office staff members also have family caregiving experience. Understanding both situations strengthens empathy for the natural differences in perspective of client and client's family. I originally conceived of this blog, featuring the challenges and coping mechanisms of four family caregivers, because I was curious about the issues other people encounter in family caregiving and I hoped to gain understanding that would help all readers caring for a loved one. What I found was that these narratives helped me as much in my professional caregiving career as they have in the care of my own mother. I hope you enjoy these four honest and inspiring stories. andrewAndrew Cohen, of Coho Accounting, provides care for his mother. His biggest challenge was preparing emotionally for her journey into dementia. A bright, resourceful and independent spirit, his mother learned she had Parkinson's 12 1/2 years ago but kept it in abeyance for 9 years during which Andrew was able to prepare himself for Parkinson's inevitable physical progressions.  Not all Parkinson's patients develop dementia but when Andrew's mother started experiencing symptoms it put added stress on their ability to negotiate her care and, at times, strained their communication. Where does he turn for support? "I try to remember the good times," Andrew told me. He also receives important guidance from a dear friend who is a hospice nurse and talks to friends about their own family caregiving situations...his "ad hoc support group."  Most remarkably, he founded his business, Coho Accounting, as a result of his experience with his mother's need for fiduciary support. He works now with client families going through situations similar to his own. What has he learned? Three main things: Really listen. Don't disagree with your mother (or with anyone experiencing dementia). Be willing to have difficult and honest conversations.
More than 800,000 people in Washington  are family caregivers. Nationally that number is 65 million according to the Caregiver Action Network. Yet these big numbers don't tell the whole story. Caregiving has changed. Advanced medicine and better treatments for chronic illness means that loved ones are experiencing longer lives and richer programmatic opportunities which, in turn, requires sustained caregiving lasting 5 to 10 years or more. Caregivers are being asked to manage complex medical maintenance or navigate the long term care system while simultaneously trying to keep their own lives stable and balanced. It can be overwhelming. One of the strongest caregiver support programs available nationwide is called Powerful Tools for Caregivers. "I'm one of Powerful Tools' biggest fans," social worker and Powerful Tools facilitator Carin Mack confessed. "Powerful Tools is a 6 week free intensive program that offers family caregivers the opportunity to learn new strategies for self care within a caring community," she said. Classes, held once a week, enhance caregivers' self-care, emotional balance, coping skills, and confidence. In particular, Mack noted, "The group offers ways to handle some of the most difficult emotions experienced in caregiving such as guilt, depression, anger, frustration and grief. It offers new