Elderly Caregiving – Caregivers Helping Caregivers

When we hear the word caregiver, we automatically relate it to someone who cares for another person. Although this is true, caregivers are much more than that. Caregivers are people who may have to give up their jobs. Caregivers are people who may have to communicate less with their family and friends. When I hear or think of the word caregiver, I relate it to a person who is strong, compassionate, and wonderful. Caregivers are the key to their loved ones physical and emotional well-being.

As a social worker, I have interacted with many caregivers. What I hear the most is, “Some days are better than other days.” This is a natural feeling. That is why it is important to take everyday and live it day-by-day. The question then is: “How do we live it day-by-day if it seems like it won’t get any easier?” I feel that the best way to learn about anything is to speak to or to hear about someone who has been through or is going through a similar situation.

If you are caring for a loved one who has dementia, you can join a support group. Support groups are a wonderful way of interacting with others who are going through similiar situations.

If you would rather be on the Inernet to find help, there are many sites you can go to. You can join message board discussions, caregiver chats, or receive news letters.

I have included several Caregivers’ Home Pages, along with one home page created by a strong woman diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s that I find extraordinary. They explain their stories as caregivers as well as providing many links to caregiver resources.

East Asia – Capitalism, Chinese-style

The oddest thing on the television screen was not the image of Chinese President Jiang Zemin standing in front of a twenty-foot high golden hammer and sickle embroidered on a blood-red backdrop curtain extolling the virtues of private industry. Indeed, that was odd. But even stranger was the fact that one could watch the speech at all — an official of the People’s Republic of China detailing his political and economic policies for the world, live on CNN. The Chinese government is not particularly known for its transparency, or for caring enough about its world image to strive to look reasonable on television.

But this is a different China, one which, under Jiang’s lead, appears to be serious in an ambitious and risky plan to privatize nearly all of its 125,000 horrendously inefficient state-run enterprises, and engage the world in freer trade. At the recent Communist Party Congress, the 15th such meeting held since Mao Zedong founded the Chinese Communist Party in 1921, President Jiang declared that although China would continue to “oppose bourgeois liberalization,” the nation would move toward “a modern form of public ownership . . . both under capitalism and under socialism.”

If Jiang couldn’t bring himself to say the word “privatize,” China’s real economic movers and shakers, who are policy planners weighed down not with Communist ideology but with economic studies published by Western universities, are spreading the word with great vigor. At this week’s Asia-Europe Economic Ministers’ Meeting held in Tokyo, Chinese Minister for Foreign Trade Wu Yi advocated Chinese accession into the World Trade Organization (WTO), and pledged that China would “obey the rules of world trade.” In the case of the WTO, these rules include strict codes on labor laws and other measures to which China has objected in the past. One assistant to the foreign minister, who has been the lead negotiator in China’s WTO accession process for seven years, declared repeatedly in closed sessions that China wishes to join the global economic community. He argued for more transparency, not only of trade information, but also in the actual process of creating trade policy. This is not Nixon’s China.

The rest of the world welcomes China’s new declarations of openness, but not without some reservations. Sir Leon Brittan, Vice President of the European Commission, stated that even though there was still “quite a lot to be done,” China should be admitted to the trade group “as soon as possible.” But this attitude is dependent upon China’s willingness to play by the WTO’s strict rules on political and economic freedoms, and further willingness to allow WTO countries to verify their claims of good behavior. Sir Leon said that, although many nations would welcome Chinese accession, “it only makes sense if China agrees to certain measures.”

Computer Gaming – Review: Carmageddon

Speaking realistically, the violence and blood when you hit someone are a little over the top, like the explosions and gibblets in Quake, which make it pretty hard to get the game confused with reality. While I’m sure the countries that banned the “human” version of the game have their reasons, I really doubt anyone would get their car and go on a rampage after playing this game.

Anyway, getting back to the game itself, graphically, Carmageddon is really amazing. Basically, every object (except for the people and power-ups) is 3-D. Not only that, many objects can be knocked over and pushed around. Toll booths, telephones, street lights and even trees will, after a sufficient amount of pushing (you can actually start to see them lean over), fall over and become part of the battlefield. It’s amazingly fun to get a streetlight moving at high speed down a street, and watch it take out a group of pedestrians standing on the corner. “Nice Shot Sir!” the game says.

Also notice the “real life physics” in the game engine, which is really noticeable when you hit a small lump in the road and go flying hundreds of feet into the air. Okay, so it’s not entirely “real life,” but “real life” isn’t this fun. Flying over a cliff and ramming into a palm tree in mid-air (and knocking it over, sending it spinning down the road) is really, really cool. Drive your car up a steep cliff, and you could find yourself rolling down it, landing your car on its back (fortunately you can hit the “recover” button to right yourself again, for a fee).

So I guess that’s about it for my review of Carmageddon. It’s a pretty kick ass game. If you are one of those people (and you know who you are) who think it’s much more fun to play Nascar by going around the track backward, taking out your fellow drivers one by one, then I’d definitely recommend Carmageddon.

The Art and Craft of Scriptwriting — An Overview

At parties, new acquaintances inevitably ask me what I “do” for a living. With the recognition that this is purely small talk for the most part, I proceed to give my “short answer” — that I work as a creative account executive and scriptwriter for a video and multimedia production company.

For some reason, this usually generates a brief silence. Then, to my secret amusement, someone almost always will respond, “OOOh — that must be interesting. Do you know a lot of TV stars? Like _____?”

It’s tempting at that point to confirm my closeness to the named figure and to wax eloquent on his assorted peccadilloes and quirks. Unfortunately, unless I’ve had a lucky encounter at an airport or the local supermarket, it’s sure to be someone whom I’m only likely to meet on “Rosie” or “Oprah.”

Ahh, but instead, my conscience takes over. I continue smiling brightly, and swallowing my worst instincts, carefully explain the types of scripts I do are primarily the tool of businesses or organizations — not Hollywood or New York. And that, although I occasionally work with celebrities or government figures, my scripting generally is not targeted towards broad based entertainment. If heartened by a smile from one of the group, I’ll go on to descibe its varied media nature, how that features in production — and the non-fictional character of its prose.

Pleased with the thorough nature of my discourse, I then enthusiastically affirm to my — now — glaze-eyed listeners that “Yes,” it is indeed “interesting.” Somehow, at this point, people tend to drift politely away.

If this situation sounds familiar — or even if it doesn’t, but strikes a sympathetic chord — you’re in the right forum. By entering this site, you indicate a willingness to participate in a “no holds barred” discussion of writing for an ever changing range of technology.

Perhaps you are a professional video or interactive media scriptwriter, who’s bursting to contribute her own particular experience.

Or you could be a young person, “hooked on” the new internet games and looking for a career . . . Or an educator who wants to incorporate the new technology into his classroom.

Administrators of non-profit organizations may access this site looking for an inexpensive means of promotion. And corporate communicators are always worthy visitors for their interest and tips on trends and usage.

There’s a good chance you could be an employee or volunteer, who’s been told to write some TV spots, or a script for the first time. Guidelines are important.

Becoming a One-Income Family

Three years ago, I was an award-winning journalist with a promising career at the largest newspaper company in the region. I had a decent salary, excellent benefits, a flexible schedule, and fabulous co-workers.

Then I had a baby.

I knew right away I wanted to stay home and home school my daughter, but it wasn’t until my son was born two years later that I was finally able to move forward with my dream. I had no idea how we would ever make it happen financially. My husband’s job didn’t even cover half of our bills. We would have to do some creative financing to make it work.

It took us about six months to really figure out our finances and come up with some new money-making ideas. But between my husband’s day job, his extra money from band gigs on the weekends, and my freelance writing jobs, we were finally able to make it work. My daughter is now 2 ½, and I’ve recently started with some fun preschool activities with her. While we are far from rich, we do manage to make ends meet, at least most months. Here are my tips to help you along the road to becoming a one-income family:

Make the commitment:This may seem obvious, but without a team effort from you, your partner and your kids, home schooling on a budget simply will not work. You need to come to terms with the fact that there will be sacrifices. Nothing great ever came easily. But also keep in mind that home schooling is well worth the effort.

Assess your financial situation: Put it all on paper, and be realistic. This is not the time to “pad the books,” so to speak. Put every dollar on paper that will be coming in each month, and then write down every single expense you will be responsible for. If the expenses are greater than the income, your budget will simply not work.

Plan the budget: Get a logbook and keep track of all your expenses, from utilities to groceries to car repairs to birthday gifts. The more detailed the books, the better you can plan your finances. After you have a strong handle on how much money you will need to live on and how much you are bringing in, you can start to plan your spending accordingly. If you are spending $100 a week eating out, for instance, you may need to get a good cookbook from the library and start experimenting with low-cost meals. If you are used to buying new clothes every month, you may have to start heading for the clearance rack or even thrift stores to get your shopping “fix.”

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