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pfapWherever America devotes resources miraculous breakthroughs are possible. We're celebrating great strides made in fighting Breast, Prostate, and Colon cancers, for instance, with tests for early intervention and increasingly effective drugs. Those advances are the result of research and continuous funding.  This month hopes ride high that pancreatic cancer awareness will translate into more research for drugs or diagnostics to improve survivability from this ruthless killer well on it's way to becoming the second leading cause of cancer deaths by 2020.
Marcia Ives, owner of With A Little Help, and Shawn D'Amelio, Director of Business Development, joined 45 other table captains in support of EvergreenHealth Foundation's Seasons of Hope Fundraising Luncheon this month.  The annual event raises money for The Gene and Irene Wockner Hospice Center in Kirkland as well as Complementary Therapies, Uncompensated Care and support services for Hospice and Palliative Care offered through EvergreenHeath.
With A Little Help recognizes Family Caregiving month! Thank you for all the meaningful hours you contribute in support of parents, partners and friends in need.  We're in awe of the dedication and poise you demonstrate as we work side by side in support of your loved one.  We join millions of Americans who pause this month to recognize all you do. We're inspired by your loyalty and the way you graciously make room in your lives for increasing care needs. We know it can be hard to ask for help and difficult to make financial allowances for professional caregiving relief.  We understand that hiring a caregiver often means dealing with change and privacy concerns for yourself and your family and we appreciate your generosity in letting our staff be your support.
In early December friends and coworkers of Kate Lounsbury gathered on the Bainbridge Island Ferry to remember and celebrate her life. The Bainbridge ferry paused briefly as friends released Kate’s ashes.  Kate battled large B Cell Lymphoma for several months before exercising her right to Death With Dignity under Washington’s 2008 law. With assistance from Compassion and Choices, she died peacefully at home among friends on October 26, 2013.
[caption id="attachment_1735" align="alignleft" width="229"]Kate, second from left, with friends from the dance world Kate, second from left, with friends from the dance world[/caption] Last October before our coworker Kate Lounsbury died of lymphoma she asked this blogger to write about her choice to use Washington’s Death With Dignity law to acquire legal aid in dying. Kate hoped it would promote wider public understanding. Before writing, I spoke with coworkers and friends and asked for their perspectives on Death With Dignity. Many had voted for Initiative 1000 which established the law with a 58.6% margin in 2008. All said they’d vote the same way again today. That was clear. But some expressed conflict about the actual act it legalized---aid in dying. Would I make that choice? they wondered aloud. How would I feel when someone I loved made that choice?! I think many people experience similarly unsettled emotions. Some are conflicted or opposed ideologically or because of religious faith. Complicating our feelings is the fact that death is rarely discussed in our culture and is hard to imagine. In that, Kate’s view differed from us all. She didn’t have comfortable distance from imminent death. She knew her life would end-- painfully-- and, understanding that, she was unwavering in her determination to choose the manner in which she left this world and her beloved friends behind.

    Wondering what to do this weekend? Drink, dine, and enjoy good company  in Georgetown at  The Healing Center's Oktoberfest fundraiser. The Healing Center, a grief support community in the Roosevelt/Ravenna district, provides group and individual services for adults, teens, and children whose lives have been...

[caption id="attachment_1753" align="alignleft" width="140"]Dan and Ann Streissguth Dan and Ann Streissguth[/caption] “My wife is full of life; full of happiness and joy,” Dan Streissguth confided to me when Ann rose to prepare coffee and snacks for our meeting. On her return they shared their inspiring story of partnership, devotion to community, and the development of Streissguth garden. It began with Dan’s first sight of Ann in the garden next door. “She was a young assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington School of Medicine,” Dan reminisced. He was already a well-established local architect and admired professor of Architecture at the University of Washington. Ann was new to the neighborhood but Dan had been living alone in his 4 story house for eight years. Through the foliage of their opulent backyard gardens, plants were admired, conversations began, and now, 46 years later, Dan relays his still delighted surprise with the exclamation, “I married my next door neighbor!”
EW archEW blue 1EW wave Does spiritual essence stay the same despite physical or cognitive changes? That’s a deep question, isn’t it? We may wonder things like this when faced with serious physical decline or a loved one’s advanced dementia. How can we reach someone we once knew? Sandy Sabersky, founder of Elderwise, Seattle’s innovative day program for people living with early to mid-stage dementia, based her program on certainty that essence does stay the same. Programs are geared to access wholeness and essence through intuition, imagination, and inspiration. That core philosophy, called “Spirit Centered care,” drives the unique and nurturing day program and its exciting community partnerships. [caption id="attachment_1661" align="alignleft" width="151"]Don paints amaryllis Don paints amaryllis[/caption]
Are you a family caregiver for someone living with Parkinson’s Disease? Do you know about the “Caregivers Day Off” program? Caregiver’s Day Off, sponsored by the Washington Chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Association, serves families coping with Parkinson’s in King, Pierce, Snohomish, Skagit, and Island counties. With A Little Help is proud to be one of three local home health agencies trusted to support and serve Parkinson’s family caregivers through the program which sponsors 20 hours of free professional care annually.
Dementia strikes an alarming number of people in King County. According to a King 5 report, in late 2012, over 150,000 people locally have Alzheimers or Dementia. King County’s population was just over 2 million in 2013. That's an incidence of approximately 1 in 7 which is why most of us know someone who has dementia or someone who worries about memory loss. Medicine is still trying to understand how to delay, halt or predict dementia. We can’t cure it but we may be able to reduce our risk up to  50% by taking physical and mental steps toward more robust health.