So Much More than Just a 2014 Monthly Calendar…
2013 is still here, but Willis “Skip” Bergoine already is benefiting from a 2014 monthly calendar for caregivers created by Sarasota resident Julie Cook Downing.
Bergoine has started reading the 48 inspirational phrases – four for each month – that Downing compiled for the calendar. “You reach a point where you feel guilty and you feel sorry for yourself,” said Bergoine, a Sarasota resident who cared for his wife at home as she struggled with dementia. “Those little messages have helped me get through tough days.”
America’s 44 million informal caregivers have to work harder than others to fight off depression and anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association. People who provide unpaid care at home to their chronically ill loved ones also tend to get less sleep, face more financial pressure, and suffer from more backaches, headaches and other physical ailments.
Downing is on a mission to help ease the pressures faced by informal caregivers. The Sarasota resident has created a Caregivers’ Comfort® calendar that includes eight features designed to meet the unique needs of informal caregivers.
“This is more than just a calendar; it’s a tool that provides solutions,” Downing said. “Caregivers need inspiration, appreciation, recognition and organization, and this calendar provides all of those things.”
Downing created the calendar based on her own experiences caring for a mother with Alzheimer’s and a father with dementia. She also is trained in human resources and training administration, travels as a guest speaker, and leads numerous support groups for informal caregivers.
The Caregivers’ Comfort® calendar comes in two versions: one for all caregivers, and one designed specifically for veterans. Both have the same goal: to provide both practical help and emotional support to informal caregivers.
The practical features include:
• a separate section specifically for medical appointments and medication
• a Patient Notes and Observations page
• a Caregiving Resources page to document contact information for doctors and other health care specialists involved in the patient’s care
The calendar’s inspirational features include:
• a Caregivers’ Comfort® Certificate of Appreciation to the caregiver
• a Gratitude Page (record of kindnesses)
• monthly “to-do” suggestions geared toward stress reduction
• a copy of the Caregivers’ Comfort® Creed, which is a commitment to transform negative emotions into positive ones
• four inspirational sayings for each month
For Bergoine, who lost his wife in April, the inspirational sayings are just one of the features he has grown to appreciate. Bergoine said the Caregivers’ Comfort® calendar system for tracking medical appointments and medications would have helped his wife, who often became frustrated by losing track of those very details.
“Her self-esteem would just plummet,” Bergoine said. “She would say, ‘I’m so dumb.’ It just tore my heart out. This calendar would have made it easier to track her appointments.”
Others are finding that the Caregivers’ Comfort® calendar is a perfect holiday gift. Katie Woods, a Sarasota resident, has sent copies of the Veterans’ Caregivers 2014 monthly calendar to friends throughout the country.
“They make great gifts,” Woods said. “I think they’re beautiful, and the planning that went into them is very good.”
For Patricia Reece, whose mother is in an assisted living facility because of severely arthritic knees, the calendar’s monthly “To Do” suggestions are the highlight.
“We work hard to make sure my mother is cared for and uplifted, and in order to do that, we have to be able to uplift ourselves,” says Reece, who lives in Skokie, Ill. “This Made in America calendar helps you to bring value to yourself as you are trying to bring value to your loved one.”
The Caregivers’ Comfort® calendar for Caregivers, and the Caregivers’ Comfort® Veterans Caregiver calendar, are available at http://caregiverscomfort.com/products/. Downing can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-360-3580.
|Veterans’ Caregivers Calendar