Family Caregiver of the Year: Cast Your Vote

Denise

Family Caregiver of the Year: Cast Your Vote

Denise
https://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:small/plain/posts/18df7420-c1c4-4ce7-90d0-7d0dcb24d993/cindy-e1523364513142.jpghttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:full/plain/posts/18df7420-c1c4-4ce7-90d0-7d0dcb24d993/cindy-e1523364513142.jpgIt's time to vote!

Our Annual Family Caregiver of the Year Award honors individuals who care for a family member or friend. Anyone who cares for a family or friend with a chronic illness, disease or injury (a family caregiver) is eligible to be nominated and to win.

Please vote for one of the nominees, below, keeping in mind the following criteria:

  • The family caregiver’s ability to complement their caregiving responsibilities with their own needs and interests.

  • The family caregiver’s problem-solving techniques.

  • The family caregiver’s use of community services.

  • The family caregiver’s community involvement.


Voting ends at Midnight ET on April 15. Our five winners will be announced on May 1.

The five winners will be featured on Caregiving.com and on Caregiving.com's podcast, Your Caregiving Journey, as well as receive a free registration to our Third Annual National Caregiving Conference which happens November 9 and 10, 2018, at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare. We’ll honor the recipients at a reception on the evening of Thursday, November 8. (While winners will pay for their hotel stay and travel to Chicago, those who nominated our candidates agreed to help the family caregiver attend the conference.)



Meet our nominees and then cast your vote here.

Denise Bampoe
Michelle Fenoglio
Diane Glittenberg
Caryn Golden
Pamela Ludwick
Nneka Njideka
Heather Oglesby
Cathy Parks
Casandra Porter
So'oletonga Sopi
Cynthia Thompson



Nominee's Name: Denise Bampoe


Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
Let's face it we're getting older each day but so are our parents. This fact didn't become apparent to me until I started to see how frail my Dad was becoming. I was just going along in life doing what most young adults do travel, hang out and focus on moving up in my career. No one thinks about the fact that your parents may get ill and will need help to perform the regular activities of daily living that we often take for granted. Also, of course no one wants to think about the fact that your parents won't be around. You keep those thoughts to the back of your mind , if at all. I had met the love of my life and the next thing on my agenda was to start a family because of life goals - that next thing that everyone says you have to do next. However, sometimes we don't get to control what happens next and that plan was interrupted! I found myself running to the hospital and patient care facilities for my father who suffered from chronic kidney failure and was on kidney dialysis. Soon thereafter my caregiving duties expanded to include my mother, who initially was my father’s primary caregiver, until diabetic episodes eventually led to leg amputations. This led to a lot of frustrating situations which can be tough on an only child dealing with a lack of support. To top it all off, I was in the the height of my caregiving season as both parents were struggling with some major health challenges and I had just gotten laid off from my job in one of the biggest recessions of historical record. Now I look back at that time and see it as a blessing because I was able to devote full time to caring for both of my parents whose illnesses had become critical. Had I still been working full time, I don't think I would have been able to handle it. I learned how to effectively run a household while juggling multiple responsibilities and managed to slip in some of my own self care while ensuring my parents had what they needed. While some things were certainly challenging, I was being sharpened and prepared for what would be the biggest and most important role in my life to date. This experience made me into a better person - more compassionate and empathetic and understanding of those with disabilities. I have become an advocate on a mission to help others be of service to their loved ones.

How does the nominee complement his or her caregiving responsibilities with their own needs and interests?
I always joke that as a caregiver I've become a lawyer, a doctor, a nurse, financial adviser, advocate, secretary, representative, manager, liaison, chef, nutritionist, general contractor, household engineer, researcher, and coordinator. Doesn't this seem like a lot? However, when I'm not doing these duties outside of working full time, I enjoy going to church and make time for myself with regular gym visits. After seeing the health ailments my parents encountered it further encouraged me to watch my own health habits. I think caregiver's often get stuck in stagnation as we're so focused in fulfilling other people's needs so it becomes necessary to have some type of outlet for yourself. This is why I try to go to the gym on a regular basis and one of my favorite classes is grooving to the enchanting rhythms of zumba. Additionally, I enjoy experimenting with trying different organic and clean eating whole food meals which I share with my family at home. I've also recently started dabbling with making my own homemade body butters as another way to reduce toxins in my life. Creating things is a great stress reliever.

Tell us about the nominee's problem-solving techniques.
There was a time when my parents were having an issue with the nursing home rehab and coordinating their discharge and setting up homecare. As a result, I elicited the help of a physician/nurse advocate team to represent myself and my parent because I had taken it as far as I could go. Since I wasn't familiar with the bureaucracy of the medical facility system or had insider information on the industry - I knew it was time to get help from individuals in the arena to get my parents the care they needed so they can age in place at home -which is what they preferred. With diligent research and an established plan of action, we were able to assess their needs, make the appropriate modifications to the home which included adding interior and exterior handicap ramps to accommodate the wheelchairs that both of my parents now needed. Being able to help them age in place was one of the greatest gifts I could give to them and fulfilled one of the great joys of having more time and moments with them. I was able to get them the managed care they needed, resources and provide a safe environment they could enjoy.

How does the nominee use online resources or community services?
I joined a local caregiver support group which I found to be a great help during the height of my caregiving journey. Being in the company of others who are facing a similar situation, https://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:full/plain/posts/e14f1f9e-0c75-4625-a132-7078c19c9b1d/20171101_115329-e1523362025920.jpghough I participated in other extracurricular activities, hhttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:small/plain/posts/e14f1f9e-0c75-4625-a132-7078c19c9b1d/20171101_115329-e1523362025920.jpg just dealing with the various emotions that one encounters on this journey - really helped. I encourage everyone to find a local support group, whether it's in your home area, online, at your local house of worship, or community and/or eldercare centers to do so. Additionally, I've signed up to be on the mailing list of my local state and assembly people. When they are holding events pertaining to healthcare, legislation and issues facing elders, I make sure to attend. I've learned about a lot of resources and know that the people I voted for in my community, actually care about what's important to not only me as a caregiver but what affects our elders and aging population.

How does the nominee remain involved in his or her community (including online)?
As I became more seasoned in my caregiving journey, I found that more friends were beginning to experience some of the challenges that I faced and came to me for advice. I noticed that I was more readily able to offer suggestions that could help in many situations. I didn't start out with the goal of sharing my caregivng journey but realized that I couldn't really withhold the knowledge that I gained along the way. Leading, teaching and inspiring has been my mission but it has further evolved to encourage other caregivers, like myself who are only children or those who feel like only children, seek joy, walk in love and still live on their purpose even while caring for others.To do this I felt compelled to start my own site https://bewellbeswell.com to chronicle my journey and help others with tools and resources so they can become the best advocate for their loved ones. I've hosted a video series to introduce the topic of getting ready to care and what you can do now and in the future to be prepared for caring for an aging parent. Additionally, I've attended local eldercare conferences and events so I can learn as much as I can to share with friends, family and others I meet along the way. If I know of a resource or a tool, I will gladly share any info I gained so that person can either avoid or be best prepared for various things that arise. I hope to start a series of live workshops that can help the community at large.

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Nominee's Name Michelle Fenoglio


Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
My cousin Michelle has cared for her daughter with special needs for nearly 23 years as well as raising a healthy older son, working as a single mother and giving back in her community as well. She would never feel worthy to receive any award or recognition yet I have always watched with great admiration for her faith and perseverance. Her special needs child thrives becahttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:full/plain/posts/73fa4247-ffad-4db6-bbd3-65ec0b90c934/Heather-e1523362179906.jpghe nominee complement his or her caregiving responsibilitiehttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:small/plain/posts/73fa4247-ffad-4db6-bbd3-65ec0b90c934/Heather-e1523362179906.jpgut her life as if it is just “normal”. She never dwells on the negative and it radiates from the smile she wears when I believe many would cry. She uses every hurdle as a tool to show others the beauty in what she was dealt.

Tell us about the nominee's problem-solving techniques.
She knows how to speak with authority without ever being condescending. It’s amazing how she works with doctors and insurance companies to make sure her daughter receive the best of care. She also managed to raise a son who became a successful man and attend all of his activities without sacrificing either child’s needs.

How does the nominee use online resources or community services?
People admire her blogs and posts and she is an advocate to many others with the inability or knowledge to find resources for their children.

How does the nominee remain involved in his or her community (including online)?
She has been on her city Chamber of Commerce for 10 years and takes her civic duties very seriously.

Nominated by: Danica Fenoglio

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Nominee's Name: Diane Glittenberg


Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
Pamela has been taking care of her son for the past 20 years. He has 2 rare disease’s. She is a rock!!!

How does the nominee complement his or her caregiving responsibilities with their own needs and interests?
She puts all of her sons needs before hers. She is loving, caring and makes sure that all of his doctors appointments are taken care of

How does the nominee use online resources or community services?
Mainly online resources

How does the nominee remain involved in his or her community (including online)?
She is very involved with the ITP Website as well as the COPE moms Website from the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp.

Nominated by: Ron Siegel

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Nominee's Name: Nneka Njideka


Tell us about the nominee's caregiving story.
My mom's mom experienced a traumatic brain injury, as a result her memory and her mobility have been altered. My mom assists my grandmother daily with scheduling the following: medical appointments, church, social appointments, transportation ashttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:full/plain/posts/7479138d-6fa5-4be7-92b3-07d1aceac360/Cathy_Jones-e1523362529983.jpged contractors and home repair in the wake of Hurricane Sanhttps://images.caregiving.com/unsafe/pr:small/plain/posts/7479138d-6fa5-4be7-92b3-07d1aceac360/Cathy_Jones-e1523362529983.jpgbilities with their own needs and interests?

She walks to work daily, which provides 50 minutes each way of uninterrupted alone time. She has a hula hoop in her office and she rides her bike to the park regularly. She is also intentional about meeting bi- weekly (at minimum) with friends and maintaining her own medical appointments.

Tell us about the nominee's problem-solving techniques.
Encourages my grandmother to focus on making decisions that will contribute to living her best life based on "what's possible". She utilizes mindful based stress reduction techniques, asks for additional help when needed, and is cognizant of when to take a break.

How does the nominee use online resources or community services?
My mom utilizes online resources on a regular basis to attend various community meetings inorder to learn additional information. AARP, Neurology Now, as well as Family Caregiver Alliance in particular have been amazing resources when looking for support and ways to build community - being able to reach out to some of the people who are/have been in the "caregiving" role has been a huge help. In turn she has created her own safe spaces and local community around the caregiving journey as described below.

How does the nominee remain involved in his or her community (including online)?
My mom is very passionate about care-partnering with her mom and mindful of the challenges associated with this role. Being a caregiver can easily be overwhelming, especially when one forgets to care for themselves in the process. In order to stay fresh and up to date, my mom regulary peruses various websites to obtain new resources and to explore new ideas/helpful tools. She sponsered a workshop called 'Caring for the Caregiver' at our local library, a free community building event to celebrate care givers, to network with other caregivers, share ideas about self-care, how to balance work life and caregiving, and to share positive strategies about the caregiving journey.

Nominated by: Cyn Njideka

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Nominee's Name: Heather Oglesby