Aging Today podcaster Mark Turnbull talks with Rabbi Joseph Krakoff of the Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network

A Fascinating Interfaith Dialogue about End of Life Issues

Click on the cover of Rabbi Krakoff’s book to visit its Amazon page.

Podcaster Mark Turnbull is a friend of our publishing house and, in this new hour-long podcast, he talks with our author Rabbi Joseph Krakoff, head of the Jewish Hospice and Chaplaincy Network.

This is a fascinating conversation because both Turnbull and Krakoff began their careers in ministry with congregations. Turnbull is a Protestant minister who moved from serving congregations to his current focus on issues involving the later stages of life. As they talk in this podcast, Krakoff explains that his career has followed a similar path.

Turnbull asks Krakoff what he finds rewarding in this vocational focus.

The rabbi explains that his work allows him to help men and women at a time in life that many people have never paused to consider. “Dying is a life-cycle event—just like birth, bar or bat mitzvah in Judaism or confirmation in Christianity, or a wedding. The life cycle event of dying needs as much attention as the other life cycle events because of the way it affects the individual and family members and friends so significantly.”

However, it’s sometimes challenging to start that kind of conversation and Turnbull asks the rabbi to talk more about the wide range of responses he encounters.

This can be particularly challenging, Krakoff says, with the “half of our community that is unaffiliated, meaning they don’t have a congregation. … When we do reach out, a lot of times we will hear people say, ‘I don’t want a rabbi. I’m not religious and never was.’ But, then, closer to the end, they do want a rabbi, someone to ask about what Judaism says about what happens when we die. … They want to know about verses of the Bible and our teachings around the end and whether there’s something else out there after we die.”

Please, make time to listen to this inspiring hour-long conversation—and please share this with friends.

 

Mindy Corporon on Responding to the Oxford Shootings in a Loving Way

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mindy Corporon is a nationally known advocate for the thousands of families affected by tragedies each year—drawing on hard-earned wisdom she has gathered after a terrorist attack struck her family. Now, Mindy’s life’s work has become a multi-faceted effort to share spiritual solace as well as very practical ideas for coping with trauma and loss. Her podcasts and her community-outreach and training programs already have helped men, women and young people nationwide. So, this week, when a 15-year-old gunman unleashed a shooting rampage inside a Michigan high school, Mindy immediately responded with examples of the many practical ways neighbors can respond. (Wikimedia has more background on the Oxford High School incident and its aftermath.)

.

Responding to a horrific tragedy starts with the simplest of daily challenges

By MINDY CORPORON

With deep respect for the lives lost and the lives shattered in the shooting at Oxford High School this week, we pause and ask ourselves: What can we do?

Crying, prayer and sharing your feelings with your family and friends is always a good place to start. From there, there are different actions depending on whether or not you know the victims.

If you know the victims of the tragedy, you can help by gathering together, being present, assisting with the necessities of daily life, such as laundry, grocery shopping and caring for the family pet. Drop off paper products. Organize a long term plan for meals, beyond the initial days following the event. Their grief will leave them needing help with food and day-to-day needs for weeks and perhaps for months down the road.

If you don’t know the victims, but are hurting for humanity, you can send a letter to the victims’ families to the funeral home.

You can send notes to the high school for students and faculty to read when they return.

Make a donation to the high school for the services they may need, to help with the grief and healing.

Plant a tree or have your own candle-lighting for the victims.

It is important to remember the students at Oxford High School when they return to classes in January. Letters, flowers and cards will help the Oxford community as they reassemble and face their new reality.

.

Care to Learn More?

Mindy writes about the legacy of her own family’s trauma after a terrorist attack in Healing a Shattered Soul, which is available from Amazon.

A popular speaker, teacher and writer, Mindy has dedicated her life to encouraging kindness, faith and healing in congregations, companies and communities. Among the programs she has co-founded with this vision are the Faith Always Wins Foundation and Workplace Healing, LLC.

The emphasis on healing, which is right there in the first word of her memoir’s title, is the core of this book’s power to inspire readers and spark fresh engagement in our communities.

Experts, caregivers point to potential solutions at inaugural forum

First event in Southeast Michigan from local journalism collaborative

A program at Detroit’s Hannan Center that provides day care for adults with dementia, offering a needed break for their caregivers, was one of the projects discussed by panelists at a public forum held Thursday on issues facing caregivers and possible solutions for them. Courtesy of Detroit Public Television

By Lindsay M. McCoy

Paula Duren, a Detroit-based psychologist, is one of an increasing number of caregivers of elderly adults who felt overwhelmed by the task of caring for aging parents, both of whom suffered from dementia.

“There were moments that felt like you didn’t even know what to do,” Duren said. “It brings about a helplessness.”

Duren was a panelist at a recent virtual forum hosted by the New York & Michigan Solutions Journalism Collaborative, a group of news, community and academic organizations that cover chronic problems with a solutions-focused lens, and Strides for Seniors, an annual month-long event series focused on Detroit’s senior centers.

The event, presented by collaborative members Detroit Public Television and Urban Aging News, featured journalists, caregiving experts, and community members who have served as caregivers for their loved ones.

The number of unpaid family caregivers has been rising in the United States, up from 43.5 million in 2015 to 53 million in 2020, according to a recent study by the AARP Public Policy Institute. The causes are numerous—from the aging of the Baby Boomer generation to a shortage of paid family caregivers. But despite formidable challenges, panelists discussed potential solutions being attempted across the United States.

After her experience, Duren founded Universal Dementia Caregivers. The non-profit organization offers support and education to those affected by dementia-related issues through services such as family mediation, legal guidance and workshops on caretaking skills and self-management.

“One of the things we do is invite attorneys in so people can ask their questions,” Duren said. Family caregivers “never think about the fact that (they) might need a power of attorney or a will might need to be established.”

Paid caregiver, funding shortage

The strain of caregiving isn’t unique to family caregivers; professional caregivers are also struggling.

“It’s a job that many spoke … about feeling very underappreciated,” said Sarah Rahal, a reporter for The Detroit News, during the event.

Paid caregivers’ turn over at a rate of 82 percent, and the workforce is currently in need of 34,000 more professional care workers, she said. This is a situation that is “expected to get much worse. There are thousands in Michigan who are in desperate need,” Rahal said.

One solution is dedicating more money toward paying caregivers—raises for paid caregivers as well as funding for the millions of unpaid caregivers.

The recent Biden administration infrastructure proposal originally included funding for increased caregiver pay, but that provision was left out of the deal struck this summer between the White House and a bipartisan group of senators.

Billions of dollars were proposed to go to expanding access to long-term care services in the home rather than receiving care at institutions, and the second priority would be to make caregiving jobs worth having, said Michael Kilian, editor of the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Professional caregiving jobs “don’t pay well and… are very difficult,” Kilian said.

But Biden’s proposal did not include similar funding for unpaid family caregivers. The AARP has found that unpaid caregivers pay on average more than $7,000 a year out of pocket caring for loved ones.

According to Madeleine O’Neill, a reporter with the USA Today Network, there is currently a proposal in Washington that would provide unpaid family caregivers a tax credit up to $5,000 and allow Medicaid to cover more home-based services.

This proposal, if passed, “would be transformational for family caregivers in a sense that family caregivers might actually be able to access professional care for their loved ones and return to the workforce,” O’Neill said.

Needing a break

In addition to financial stress, caregivers also cope with physical and emotional strain.

For instance, Rahal pointed to the difficulty of the work itself, stating that caregivers are injured at a higher rate than even truck drivers in the United States.

Duren, the Detroit psychologist, says caregivers will neglect self-care when they put their loved ones first.

The Hannan Center, a senior center in Detroit, offers respite care in the community through a program called Daybreak. This respite care service allows caregivers a break at affordable rates, sometimes as low as $5 per hour.

“Sometimes it’s just a few hours, sometimes it could be five days a week,” said Vincent Tilford, the center’s executive director. “It helps to improve that relationship between the care partner and the person that they are caring for.”

.

Care to Learn More?

The full public forum can be viewed on DPTV’s website. The interstate collaborative plans to continue engaging the community on solutions for caregivers through events and reporting.

Follow the collaborative’s reporting at nymisojo.com and email story ideas to Project Director Karen Magnuson at [email protected].

Members of the news collaborative in New York include the Democrat and Chronicle, Minority Reporter, La Voz, WXXI and News10NBC in Rochester, and WGRZ, The Buffalo News, the Niagara Gazette and the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal and WBFO in the Buffalo area. Community partners include Rochester Institute of Technology’s MAGIC Center.

Members of the news collaborative in Michigan include Bridge Michigan, Detroit Free Press, Detroit Public Television, Detour Detroit, Hometown Life, Michigan Radio, The Detroit News, Livingston Daily, Macomb Daily, The Oakland Press, Tostada Magazine and Urban Aging News. Four news organizations represented by New Michigan Media are also involved: The Arab American News, Latino Press, Michigan Korean Weekly and The Detroit Jewish News. Community partners include Front Edge Publishing, Michigan State University, Just Ask Talk Show, and Wayne State University.

.

And a special thanks to Lindsay McCoy, an MSU journalism graduate student who covered the forum for the collaborative.

Parenting: Pushing back on the pressures from youth sports

Click this image from the Christian Science Monitor to read Martin Davis’s entire story.

In our We Are Caregiving section, we publish a wide array of stories that are helpful to America’s millions of caregivers, including parents.

This week we are recommending a story for parents by journalist Martin Davis, who specializes in covering the deeper personal dynamics of sports. One of Davis’s stories appears in the current issue of the Christian Science Monitor (CSM), headlined: All play, no fun: Pushing back on the pressures of youth sports.

The CSM editor’s note explains Why We Wrote This: “Amid increasing pressure to treat youth sports like a career, some families and educators are pushing back–demanding playtime be fun again, and offering solutions to make it equitable and affordable.”

Davis reports on “a growing movement to push back on a system that expects children and their parents to treat game time like a career with adult demands and expectations.”

.

.

Care to read more?

ARE YOU INTRIGUED by this column from journalist Martin Davis? Right now, Martin and our editors are completing a book filled with uplifting stories about high school coaches and players nationwide—men and women, black and white, famous and unsung heroes alike.

His book will appear soon in our series of 30 Days With under the title: 30 Days With America’s High School Coaches.

You can follow Martin’s work through his personal website, MartinDavisAuthor.com, which describes his work as an author and editor, as well as his background as a veteran journalist for national publications.

Look around that website and sign up to receive free updates from Martin about new columns and podcasts. You’ll be glad you did!

,

,

Pour a cup of your favorite beverage and enjoy this conversation on Aging Today with Mark Turnbull and David Crumm

Let’s talk about ways to help our caregivers

This podcast may inspire your community

All of us are aging. Right now, more than 50 million Americans are serving everyday as unpaid caregivers for their loved ones.

Click on the cover to visit the book’s Amazon page.

Recently, Front Edge Publishing Editor David Crumm talked with podcaster Mark Turnbull about the many ways we can help our family and friends with these challenges. Here’s how Mark starts the podcast:

As we always do, we want to thank caregivers scattered all over the nation. The theme of our show is about aging with all the many options that are placed before us—on your terms. That’s the key—on your terms. We started this podcast four years ago because we felt there was a huge void about the aging process—and it doesn’t matter about your chronological age. This podcast is all about bringing you experts who can help us to navigate the process of aging.

We agree heartily with Mark’s theme here at Front Edge Publishing, which also produces this ReadTheSpirit.com online magazine each week. That’s why our writers focused on strength-based solutions in our new book, Now What? There are chapters of the books that help families solve common problems—as well as chapters that celebrate the new potential and possibilities that we can discover in our later years.

As we age, we encounter challenges—and, if we are looking, we also can discover many gifts.

A TIP FOR LISTENERS: We hope you will hear something in this podcast that will make you smile and nod along with us. You may find a section or two of this podcast that you would like to replay for friends in a class or small group in your community or congregation. The podcast interface can easily be set to start playing at any point in the conversation.

 

‘I am not Alone,’ connecting Latino households with caregiving services

Front Edge Publishing is part of what has now become a nationwide network of journalists who are committed to publishing stories about caregiving solutions that could help communities nationwide.

Recently, the staff at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, reported on a new program in Southern California that connects caregivers from Latino households with services like respite care, training and support groups in Spanish.

The report says, in part:

The growing need to provide help is shown in a 2020 National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP report. It revealed Hispanic caregivers feel their role gives them a sense of purpose, but they have the fewest caregiving resources and information in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups.

The report also found Hispanic family caregivers are more likely to be in higher intensity situations—meaning they often provide more care—while struggling with lower incomes and often having poor or no health insurance.

The report also explains issues involved in trying to bring such a program to other communities.

 

Native American caregiving for COVID ranges widely from tragedies to model public health responses

The 2021 Cherokee National Holiday, which will be celebrated from Sept. 2-5 this year, will follow public health guidelines. The multi-day festival always is aimed at celebrating Cherokee resiliency. Click on this logo to visit the official website for the Cherokee National Holiday.

.

By DAVID CRUMM
Editor of ReadTheSpirit magazine

Indian leaders often refer to the original scale of their North American communities as “500 Nations”—and in the summer of 2021 they recognize that COVID responses have been as diverse as those cultural communities spread across this continent. Some tribes have experienced the tragic loss of Elders and little—or late—help from government agencies throughout 2020 and early 2021.

Other tribes have become models of public health response.

At their best, Native American leaders have demonstrated the strengths of truly caring communities. Here are some news stories about those efforts that you may have missed—reminders of the potential of Native wisdom and culture in the midst of a public health crisis.

Care to Read More?

Since our publishing house’s founding in 2007, we have worked with Native American writers and journalists to encourage their voices to be shared. Please, read this column in our Front Edge Publishing website that explains the two most important books we have published with Native American writers.