COD Library Blog

March 24, 2015, Caregiver Support Group Summary

Caregiver Support Group meetings are all about sharing issues/situations, asking for and giving supportive suggestions, exploring options and making connections. The topics, issues and suggestions below reflect the flow of conversation at a given meeting. We don't usually have a set agenda, and the items listed are based on the moderator/recorder's memory. If I've forgotten or incorrectly stated something, I encourage members to email me at smithkak@cod.edu or post a comment to this entry. ~Debra Smith, Health Science Librarian, Support Group Moderator

All links and mentions of the COD Library Caregiver Resource Guide refer to http://codlrc.org/HS/care

The group discussed and recommended:

  • Gathering and sharing email addresses so that members can contact one another between meetings and continue supporting one another individually or to the group as a whole
  • Having Debra create a summary of meetings documenting issues/topics raised and suggestions shared. Members recommended a blog format if possible so that members have the option of adding comments [DONE! If you're reading this, the blog is working!]
  • Adding a section to the caregiver guide that covers grief, loss, caring for the caregiver, hospice/end-of-life issues. Group members expressed the need to continue offering support to caregivers after the death of the care recipients. Grieving is an ongoing process and individuals deserve/need support whenever they need it whether it is right after a loss or year(s) later. [DONE! I've added a new section called "Hospice & Post-Caregiving (Including Grief & Loss)"]

Members reviewed some of the links and resources introduced/suggested during the first meeting utilizing the COD Library Caregiving Resource Guide. Debra navigated the site and showed members where new resources were added as well as updated the group on suggested resources that will be added to the Library's print collection.

Issue # 1 Driving, Driver's License/Plate Information, and What is the Best Way to "Take Away the Keys"

The subject of caregiving individuals and what to do when driving becomes a danger to the caregiving recipient or other people on the roads was brought up multiple times during the meeting in a variety of contexts.

Supporting previous meeting suggestions of getting support from "outside" resources, a member suggested contacting the DMV prior to bringing in an elderly care recipient for the required driver's license renewal test or somehow letting the DMV staff know that there was a concern about the individual's ability to safely drive a motor vehicle. The group thought it would be a good idea to try and take elderly individuals to DMV locations at non-busy times or to smaller, less crowded locations where there would be more time staff interaction and assistance. Hearing that it might be time to stop driving from a DMV employee supports the caregiver and helps prevent negativity between caregiver/care recipient

Another suggestion was to have the same type of interaction with healthcare providers so that caregivers have support when difficult life-changes need to occur

A member remembered that VA hospitals have a program that helps evaluate whether or not veterans can/should be driving. Researching after the meeting, I found this helpful online brochure that gives many tips, suggestions and support resources regarding evaluating the ability to drive (applicable to all individuals, not just veterans):
Driving & Dementia published by va.gov

Another member reminded the group of Illinois reduced license plate fees available for senior citizens and information on the program being found on the Secretary of State's Web site. The program used to be called the Circuit Breaker Program but is now known as the Benefit Access Program:
http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/services/bap.html

Senior citizens and the disabled in Illinois can also qualify under the Benefit Access Program for free public transportation:
https://www.illinois.gov/aging/BenefitsAccess/Pages/default.aspx

Issue #2 Where to find good deals on medical supplies

During the February meeting, a member mentioned that amazon.com is a great resource because many different kinds of items can be ordered online and delivered to distant caregiver recipients in a timely manner. This session a member mentioned using allegromedical.com for medical supplies because they offered reasonable rates and good deals. The question is....where do YOU get the best deals on medical/caregiving supplies? Inquiring caregivers want to know!

Issue # 3 The difficulty "finding good help" to assist in the care of loved ones

Members shared the wide-range of professional assistance available. Frustrations over promises of great care from professional organizations and actually receiving poorly trained or unmotivated employees that delivered sub-par care were discussed. Stories of wonderful, compassionate professional caregivers were also told.

It is often very difficult to transition from being on equal footing with individuals to becoming their caregivers (difficult for caregivers AND care receivers!). This discomfort can make caregivers feel powerless or hesitant which can hinder them from being as proactive and definitive as they need to be when requesting and receiving "outside" (professional) assistance. A member shared an example of how to make a clear list of expectations, how to share it with providers, how to follow up by being present the first few times a provider comes and then make "drop in" checks unannounced to check up on care. Also important is to let providers know the consequences of the expectations not being met. If something is to be done, it should be done. If it is not, the provider will be let go. By being polite, clearly stating expectations and consequences, and firmly standing by these expectations (represented in writing as well as verbal agreement), service providers will soon realize that you (and those for whom you care) are not to be taken advantage of or given poor service.

As a follow-up, here is a copy/paste from a caregiver message I sent to workshop attendees this past December regarding the same topic:

For individuals interested in how to locate/screen/interview home care professionals: I’d like to give you this link as a good place to start thinking about the important characteristics/qualities of a care giver. Remember, each of us (and the individuals for whom we provide care) is a unique being and some questions/characteristics may be more or less important depending on individual needs.

http://www.elderlawanswers.com/12-interview-questions-to-ask-an-in-home-aide-9730

I share this link because the short article contains quality questions that can be easily adapted to different levels of care AND the links at the bottom for additional resources are useful too!

Issue # 4 Member Recommended Book

moments of joy.jpga member talked about giving a copy of this book to her mother, a primary caregiver, as a Christmas gift. The book was well received and describes the ways that caregivers and care recipients can find moments of beauty, love, and joy in otherwise stressful and difficult situations brought on by age, illness, or disease. It is called Creating Moments of Joy for the Person with Alzheimer's or Dementia: A Journal of Caregivers by Jolene Brackey (4th ed, 2008) ISBN-10: 1557534624 (available for $18.25 on Amazon.com). The book's description reads:

Jolene Brackey has a vision. A vision that will soon look beyond the challenges of Alzheimer's disease and focus more of our energy on creating moments of joy. When a person has short-term memory loss, his life is made up of moments. But if you think about it, our memory is made up of moments, too. We are not able to create a perfectly wonderful day with someone who has dementia, but it is absolutely attainable to create a perfectly wonderful moment; a moment that puts a smile on their face, a twinkle in their eye, or triggers a memory. Five minutes later, they won't remember what you did or said, but the feeling you left them with will linger.

Did I miss something? Do you have suggestions to add to our conversation? Please leave a comment below!

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February 24, 2015, Caregiver Support Group Summary

Caregiver Support Group meetings are all about sharing issues/situations, asking for and giving supportive suggestions, exploring options and making connections. The topics, issues and suggestions below reflect the flow of conversation at a given meeting. We don't usually have a set agenda, and the items listed are based on the moderator/recorder's memory. If I've forgotten or incorrectly stated something, I encourage members to email me at smithkak@cod.edu or post a comment to this entry. ~Debra Smith, Health Science Librarian, Support Group Moderator

All links and mentions of the COD Library Caregiver Resource Guide refer to http://codlrc.org/HS/care

Issue # 1: Caregiving recipients can't always be accompanied to healthcare provider visits. Sometimes patients forget (or don't understand, or don't want to comply) the information/directions shared by healthcare providers.

Possible solutions:
Invest in a small, easy to use recording device. Take the device to all Dr visits (whether patients are accompanied or not) and record all discussions. Inform the healthcare providers prior to taping discussions (call ahead and notify the office if patients are coming alone) so that everyone knows that the discussions are being recorded for later listening and greater understanding/compliance with visit outcomes.

If someone can accompany the patient, bring a list of questions and write down answers to questions so that they can be reviewed later. Even if patient goes alone, send along the list of questions or share with healthcare staff prior to visit so that the questions can be addressed.

A member recommended a professional organization that accompanies special needs and elderly patients to healthcare visits. These professionals take notes, share family/caretaker questions/concerns and bring back answers. The specific organization used by the support group member has been added to the "Resources Recommended by COD Caregiver Support Group Members" at the bottom of the Resource Guide. Sanders & Warren Geriatric Care Management, LLC. Visiting Angels was also mentioned by members. Their site is listed in the same section of the resource guide.

Issue # 2: Difficulty in assisting people move around outside of the house during the winter when they are unsteady, in wheelchairs, using walkers, canes, etc

A member suggested soliciting volunteers to help keep sidewalks & driveways clear of ice and snow. It was pointed out that many schools, nonprofit organizations, the Boy Scouts and religious organizations encourage community service/volunteering. Caregivers were encouraged to reach out to local groups that might have willing and able volunteers

Issue #3: Avoiding arguments pertaining to care and proper use of medications and assistive devices

Many members struggle with noncompliance and the frequent "arguments" that arise when trying to care for individuals. Instead of always feeling solely responsible for "policing" or enforcing proper behaviors, caregivers were encouraged to get help from surrounding "resources" such as calling a pharmacist to confirm when and how to properly take medications, calling a healthcare provider's office to reaffirm that assistive devices like walkers and canes should be used regularly, using neighbors or family members to help convey the importance of issues....the main idea is that caregiver's should not isolate themselves or take full responsibility. Caregiving, like raising children, takes a "village" and support is available!

Try to remain positive and avoid negative statements. Speak to care recipients as their "partner" in caring. For example, instead of telling someone they MUST take their medicine on time EVERY day, try involving an outside, supportive source to deflect possible anger/resentment off you, the caregiver. Say to the person you're helping, "We seem to remember differently about when you should take your blood pressure medicine. Let's call the pharmacist (or Doctor's office) right now and ask them whether or not you should take this every day or just when you don't feel well." Sometimes, just the way we phrase things can make a difference between an argument and a collaborative "venture!"

Issue #4: Caretaking from a distance

Many members provide care for distant friends and family members. Utilizing the state, local, religious and nonprofit organizations nearby care recipients was recommended. If individuals need help researching resources in distant locations, contact Debra Smith!

Another excellent resource located in the "Web Sites for Specific Types of Caregivers" section is:
FCA--Handbook for Long-Distance Caregivers
This free PDF download is provided by the Family Caregiver Alliance. It describes how to assess a care situation; develop a care team; hold a family meeting; access community organizations and private agencies; and balance work and caregiving.

One member reported how great amazon.com was because everything from books and music to diapers and food/grocery items could be ordered and delivered right to a caregiving recipient's door in just a few days!

Issue #5 Dealing with Dementia-related Behaviors

Many of the group's members are struggling with the wide-variety of behaviors, emotions, and cognitive difficulties that arise from the various types and stages of dementia (or Alzheimer's). The qualities of patience, humor, and forgiveness (of oneself and our care recipients) were brought up multiple times as good methods for coping.

An extremely practical and informative web site dealing with dementia behaviors is found in the "Caregiving for Specific Patient Populations" section of the caregiving guide:
FCA's Caregiver's Guide to Understanding Dementia Behaviors
A fact sheet, from the Family Caregiver Alliance, providing practical strategies for dealing with behavior problems and communication difficulties often encountered when caring for a person with dementia.

Issue #6 Check out this Website and the accompanying book!

ageofdignity.jpgBased on a member recommendation, added to the "General Caregiving Web Sites" section of the Caregiver Guide is a link to Caring Across Generations.
The Caring Across Generations campaign is a national initiative to transform the long-term care system and change the way we care in this country. The book discussed on the site, written by Ai-jen Poo, called The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America has been ordered by the COD Library and will soon be available for check out.

Reminder--The COD Library has an extensive collection of caregiving-related resources including books & DVDs. If you want help locating resources (electronic, print, or media), don't hesitate to email "your personal health librarian" Debra Smith smithkak@cod.edu

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Got Data on the Brain?

datainformationliteracy.PNG So do we! Check out the newly arrived book on the topic, Data Information Literacy: Librarians, Data, and the Education of a New Generation of Researchers by Jake Carlson and Lisa Johnston and published by Purdue University Press.

According to the book's summary,

Given the increasing attention to managing, publishing, and preserving research datasets as scholarly assets, what competencies in working with research data will graduate students in STEM disciplines need to be successful in their fields? And what role can librarians play in helping students attain these competencies? In addressing these questions, this book articulates a new area of opportunity for librarians and other information professionals, developing educational programs that introduce graduate students to the knowledge and skills needed to work with research data. The term “data information literacy” has been adopted with the deliberate intent of tying two emerging roles for librarians together. By viewing information literacy and data services as complementary rather than separate activities, the contributors seek to leverage the progress made and the lessons learned in each service area.

The intent of the publication is to help librarians cultivate strategies and approaches for developing data information literacy programs of their own using the work done in the multiyear, IMLS-supported Data Information Literacy (DIL) project as real-world case studies. The initial chapters introduce the concepts and ideas behind data information literacy, such as the twelve data competencies. The middle chapters describe five case studies in data information literacy conducted at different institutions (Cornell, Purdue, Minnesota, Oregon), each focused on a different disciplinary area in science and engineering. They detail the approaches taken, how the programs were implemented, and the assessment metrics used to evaluate their impact. The later chapters include the “DIL Toolkit,” a distillation of the lessons learned, which is presented as a handbook for librarians interested in developing their own DIL programs. The book concludes with recommendations for future directions and growth of data information literacy. More information about the DIL project can be found on the project’s website: datainfolit.org.

Questions or suggestions? Contact me.

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Spring Break Hours

TulipsThe Library will be open throughout Spring break with reduced hours. But we will have some area closures for construction and be closed Sunday, April 5 for Easter.

The lower level of the Library will be closed Wednesday, March 25 - Sunday, April 5 for the installation of new furniture.

  • All regular services will be available upstairs.
  • Reserves are available at the upstairs Circulation Desk.
  • Additional computers are available in the Academic Computing Center.
  • Need help? Ask a Librarian.

Library hours over Spring break are as follows:

Saturday, March 28: 9 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday, March 29: 12 noon - 6 pm
Monday, March 30 - Thursday, April 2: 7:30 am - 7:30 pm
Friday, April 3: 7:30 am - 4:30 pm
Saturday, April 4 9 am - 4:30 pm
Sunday, April 5: Closed

Have a safe and restful break!

Photo credit: twitter:aidanmorgan

Lower level closing March 25 - April 5

The lower level of the library (SRC 2nd floor) will be CLOSED Wednesday, March 25 - Sunday, April 5. The library will remain OPEN during this time. (But check the main library page for adjusted hours during spring break.) All library services will be available on the upper level of the library (SRC 3rd floor). While the lower level is closed, you will need to enter and exit the library through the upper level doors on the south side of building.

The lower level will be closed so that furniture and shelving can be shifted and replaced. This shift is the final stage of the library remodeling that has been happening over the past several years. When the lower level of the library reopens on Monday, April 6, a number of improvements will have been completed:

  • New books, along with popular DVDs and graphic novels, will be immediately to your right as you enter the lower level main entrance.
  • There will be a new area of seating and tables by the circulation desk for students working with the anatomical models on reserve.
  • The reference area will be brighter and easier to use with lower shelving in some areas where you can rest a reference book on top of the shelving while you read it. Other areas will have slightly taller shelving with pull-out shelves to support reference books while using them.
  • New shelving will make it easier to see and use current periodicals and magazines while requiring less floor space than the old shelving.
  • The old study carrels and computer tables on the lower level will be replaced with new furniture that will match the rest of the library.

In addition to all these changes on the lower level, there will also be some new shelving installed on the upper level on the third floor. The Career & College Information Collection (CCIC) and the Juvenile Collection located on the north side of the upper level will both be shifted to new shelving. Some of this shifting will take place immediately after spring break, Monday - Thursday, April 6 - 9.

Thank you for your patience while this library improvement project is being completed.

Community College Research Paper On the Value of Math

ccrc.PNG

Columbia College's Community College Research Center has just published a working paper on math in the community college titled "The Labor Market Returns to Math Courses in Community College."

According to the abstract,

This paper examines the returns to math courses relative to courses in other subjects for students in community college. Using matched college transcript and earnings data on over 80,000 students entering community college during the 2000s, we find that college-level math coursework has an indirect positive effect on award completion that is stronger than that of coursework in other subjects. In terms of direct effects, we find mixed evidence on the direct effect of enhanced math skills on earnings over other college-level skills. Overall, the combined direct and indirect effect appears to be adverse: compared with other courses or college pathways, more math coursework in community college is modestly associated with relatively lower earnings in later adulthood. However, this association is sensitive to modeling, and we do find heterogeneous results by gender, race/ethnicity, and initial college ability, as well as by math field and level.

Interested? Check it out for yourself!

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Announcing the New Media Lab

We are pleased to announce that the College of DuPage Library’s Media Lab is now open for student use:

Media Lab logo
Three years in the planning, the Media Lab is a place “where COD students can create and edit all kinds of digital audio, video, and images. The Lab consists of four imaging stations and two separate A-V editing suites. The Lab is free for all COD students to use--you just need a valid COD Library card.” During the hours that it is open, the Media Lab is staffed with assistants who are prepared to help students using the equipment and software.

Increasingly in today’s workplace and for students in any program of study, digital literacy requires more than knowledge of computer technology for word processing or spreadsheets. It also requires the ability to edit and implement media elements for projects, portfolios, or simply for personal enjoyment. In creating this Media Lab, our desire has been to provide a place where all students in all programs of study can experience firsthand what it takes to design, create, and produce a media project.

For the experienced student who needs access to a high-end Mac workstation to finish a project, or for the new user who would like to experiment with Adobe’s Creative Cloud software for the first time, the Media Lab is the right place to be. For more information and for the hours of service, please see the Media Lab’s web page at http://codlrc.org/lab.

Be watching for the following promotional announcements about the Media Lab:

  • Pick up a Media Lab bookmark in the Library
  • Watch the Courier TV broadcast on March 19 to see a segment about the Media Lab.
  • There will be orientation sessions to introduce the features of the Media Lab.

If you would like to know more about how the Library’s Media Lab can benefit your students and classes, please come see us in the library or send an email to Colin Koteles at koteles@cod.edu.

Pew Research Report on Science and the Public

Pew.PNG
The Pew Center is launching a new research series on Science and Society. The executive summary of the report covers topics such as vaccination, climate change, offshore oil drilling, and genetically modified foods. It covers the gap in perceptions on this topic between AAS scientists and members of the public.

The Pew Center explains why it's digging deeper into perceptions of science by listing the following:

Many Americans hope that advances in science will improve people’s lives and enhance the economy. They are anxious to understand what innovations will disrupt existing daily activities and business routines. Policy arguments about science-related issues have held center stage in the Obama era, starting with protracted debates over medical care and health insurance and extending into concerns over energy and the environment, policies around food, challenges created by digital technology disruptions, and whether educators are preparing today’s K-12 students for a future with greater requirements for science and math literacy. Check the rest of the explanation here.

The report should provide an interesting conversation starter among your office mates and students. Happy reading!

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Free Ebook on Science Education

stem ed.PNG

Want to check out the core standards for Science Education? The National Academies Press has issued A framework for K-12 science education: practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas, a free ebook. You can find the ebook in our catalog as well.

Here's the publisher description:

"Science, engineering, and technology permeate nearly every facet of modern life and hold the key to solving many of humanity's most pressing current and future challenges. The United States' position in the global economy is declining, in part because U.S. workers lack fundamental knowledge in these fields. To address the critical issues of U.S. competitiveness and to better prepare the workforce, A Framework for K-12 Science Education proposes a new approach to K-12 science education that will capture students' interest and provide them with the necessary foundational knowledge in the field."

In order to access the ebook, you'll need to create a username and password. Enjoy!

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