The last installment of United Spinal Association of Houston’s Conversation and Learn Series was on November 14th and it was one for the books. This final event was called We've got your back: Care for Caregivers and was all about Caregivers and exploring the local support services committed to simplifying life for them. Luckily, there were 3 amazing caregivers there to tell their story and help spread their knowledge. Tara, Ana, and Cathy thank you for sharing your amazing stories and offering support and inspiration to so many people. There were some really great organizations that came out as well, below is a short description of them and their contact information, as well as some notes that I took from listening to the speakers.
West Gray Multiservice Center
This Center is part of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and is the Adaptive Recreation center. They were created to provide a variety of recreational, sporting and quality of life programming for people with disabilities in the Houston area. This center is a really great resource for caregivers and the community, they not only have adaptive programs and activities but they know where and who to contact for anything you may need. Caregivers can find some piece of mind knowing that this center is a safe place with trained professionals and a place where they can find common ground with other people in a similar situation. It can even aid in furthering the independence of the person you are looking after by allowing them to participate with their peers safely. Some of their programs include an after school program, power soccer, wheelchair basketball, adaptive yoga, and is home to a range of support groups.
Check out their website and their Facebook page for the contact information and times of all their events and programs. You can get to their website here: http://www.houstontx.gov/parks/adaptivesports.html
Peeples Choice Remodeling
Peeples Choice is a family run, local company that specializes in renovations for independent living. These guys do not play around and produce some truly amazing work at an affordable price. They are all about bringing top quality service to everything they do, ensuring complete customer satisfaction. If you or the person you’re caring for are in need of home renovations for independent living, these guys are your answer. Check them out at their website: peepleschoiceremodeling.com or give them a call at (281) 508-0156.
My Doorstep Vet
My doorstep vet is a unique house call veterinary practice that can manage the majority of your pet’s needs at home in a stress free environment. Often, pets can be overlooked when someone is injured, has an illness or has a disability, this is the perfect solution. If you have a pet you know that getting them to a vet, especially if you have multiple pets, can prove to be difficult and stressful. Add having to care for an individual who has difficult circumstances or being that individual can be even harder. Utilizing My Doorstep Pet eliminates the hardships of taking animals to a vet and caregivers know how valuable saving time and unneeded stress can be. Check them out on their Facebook page or at their website: www.mydoorstepvethouston.com. You can also give them a call at: (832) 416-5125, or email at Drtina@mydoorstepvethouston.com
Canine Companions for Independence
Assistance dogs are a great companion for someone in need and wanting greater independence. They cover most of the bases and have service dogs, hearing dogs, facility dogs, and skilled companions available. This non-profit was created to enhance lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support to ensure quality partnerships. The coolest part? You can get a dog for free. All that you have to do to get your companion is be approved and go through a short training. Outside of giving away assistance dogs, they do have options for people to volunteer or donate to their cause. Check them out on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram or their Website: www.cci.org. You can also contact them by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or give them a call at: 1(800) 572-BARK (2275)
How can Uber help? Well they have rolled out wheelchair accessible vehicles! This section of Uber is called WAV and is accessed similar to calling a regular Uber by swiping right in the option slider. If you have never used uber, it is a ride sharing app where you input your destination and call a car, there will be a fixed rate that you pay depending on time and distance and you pay through the app. WAV is the same thing only with accessible cars, eliminating the need to have to schedule a ride in advance, because its on demand with a touch of a button. An added benefit, Houston residence who need accessible cars can use this promocode: WAVHOU to get $20 off your first ride! Download the Uber app in your app stores.
As I said above, finding ways to make your life easier is essential if you are a caregiver and HEB has been hard at work. They now have an app that will deliver groceries to you or they do Curbside so you can drive by and they will bring your groceries out to you! Another cool thing that HEB has done is make pre-portioned ready to cook meals and has a nutritionist on staff. The nutritionist will walk around HEB with you and help you grocery shop. Nutrition is another thing that can be hard to keep up with so this is a pretty cool. You can download their app in the app store and you can check out their website here: https://www.heb.com/
Houston Food Bank
Having a disability or caring for someone who has one is time consuming and can be very expensive, often resulting in poor nutrition, going hungry, or even watering down food and drinks to make them last longer. Luckily, the Houston Food Bank is here to help and offers a variety of programs to the Houston community so that kids and adults get the nutritious meals they need. If you don’t need to use their services and have time to volunteer they are always needing help, and if you have an extra few dollars they welcome donations. Just $1 provides 3 meals for a child, adult, or senior. They do have a Facebook, but the best way to reach them and find out more is their website https://www.houstonfoodbank.org/ or call them directly at (713) 547-8623
Evergreen Private Care
Evergreen Private Care is a private home health care company that does companion care, personal care attendant & home health aide, skilled nursing care, homemaking, and more. Their about them is “For over a decade, our staff has set the standard for excellence in private caregivers. Evergreen Private Care continues to provide excellent services for clients needing care in their homes, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and assisted living facilities or skilled nursing facilities. An in-home assessment and evaluation assures customized private care solutions. Evergreen Private Care is committed to providing quality home health care, cost conscious private care for consumers in hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and private places of residence.” Dedicated to providing the best care to your loved one and customizing a specialized plan for their specific needs, the highly skilled caregivers at Evergreen Private care can help. Check them out on facebook or at their site https://www.evergreenprivatecare.com/ or give them a call at (281) 320-1856
The Center Houston
A little bit about The Center Houston:
“For more than six decades, The Center has empowered individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to live meaningful, dignified lives filled with opportunity. Through innovative programs and services in areas like employment training, community living, and day habilitation, we help our clients develop the skills and tools necessary to grow as individuals and participate fully in their community. Always growing and changing, The Center currently serves over 450 adults with I/DD in the Houston area. We tailor the support we provide to the varied needs of the people and families we serve. Each day, in each program, we witness breakthroughs, tender moments, and everyday victories that affirm our steadfast commitment to our guiding principles of choice, growth, and personal independence, and the humanity within us all.”
They are a great resource for the Houston I/DD community and have an extensive list of programs and resources available to you on their site. They have multiple different programs and services in the areas of in the areas of day habilitation, employment support, and community living. To find out more information you can connect with them on Facebook and other social media or check out their site at https://thecenterhouston.org/ or call (713) 525-8400 or you can email them at email@example.com
At Bering Connect they believe that the path to healing is the journey toward wholeness and peace. They have a variety of support groups, workshops and assistance to help you and your loved ones cope with hardships and eventually overcome them. They have a support group specifically focused for caregivers and helping them get deal with the hardships that occur, called Care4Care. Some of their other programs are grief recovery programs, bering spiritual support group for individuals affected by HIV/AIDS, community seminars, Mens cancer connect a support group for men affected by cancer and more. It is a ministry but they accept people with all beliefs and regardless of sexual identity or preference in love. For more information check out their website at http://www.beringsupportnetwork.org/ or you can call them at (713) 526-1017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Easter Seals & Bridging Apps
Easter Seals of Greater Houston is an incredible organization that offers help, support, hope, and answers to people with disabilities and their caregivers. To do this they have therapy, training, education, a whole section dedicated to community resources, support services, and a range of programs and activities. This organization is not only a great time for the child or person with disabilities, allowing them to connect with their peers and develop some independence, but it is also very helpful for the caregivers and parents. Isolation and feeling like your in this alone can easily creep in but having this group offers support and a community that’s there for you. On top of that it offers something fun and safe to do with your child or person you are caring for. Caregivers need breaks too and with programs like Camp Buckaroo and other summer camps you can rest a little easier knowing that they are in good hands. Check Another benefit for caregivers is a break and a fun thing to do with out their Facebook and twitter pages to stay up to date with the many things going on. Check out their website at https://www.eastersealshouston.org/
One of their newest programs is called BridgingApps, which provides resources, education and information on apps and mobile devices to help people with disabilities and their caregivers enhance everyday life. It is actually extremely beneficial to anyone, regardless of if they have a disability or are caregivers, because it has a range of apps from relaxation, to medical health organizers, even apps to help quit smoking. This program also holds family night every Tuesday, Digital training workshops the 4th Tuesday of the month, and you can schedule individual sessions and training. Follow them on facebook and twitter for updates and check out their website for more information: https://www.bridgingapps.org/
App highlight from the event: Carely- an app to schedule family and friend visits to your home, facility or hospital. One thing that was mentioned was how difficult it can be to schedule family and friend visits and how it is even more difficult to have to turn them away. This app allows you to easily schedule visits with a visitor calendar and user profiles. There are some other cool features that you can check out by clicking and following this link, here.
Houston Area Parkinson Society
The Houston Area Parkinson Society’s mission is to improve the quality of life for those affected by Parkinson's disease through services, education and advocacy. They are the only local resource that provides specialized support and tools for long term disease management for individuals with Parkinson’s and their families. Each week HAPS provides 34 free physical, occupational, speech, water, Tai Chi and other therapy groups. Free support groups are available for individuals with Parkinson’s and caregivers to share their experiences in a warm, friendly environment. In addition, HAPS offers free transportation services to and from HAPS therapy sites and physician visits. Respite, social services and educational programs are also available.
For more information visit their site at: https://www.hapsonline.org/ or call 713-626-7114
United Spinal Association of Houston
This chapter of United Spinal is a truly special group of people striving to make a difference in the lives of individuals impacted by a disability in the Houston community. Their mission is to serve the community through comprehensive education and resource delivery, compassionate community outreach, purposeful community reintegration, and dedicated people-centered advocacy. An awesome thing we learned is that their education and learn series will be continuing again next year and hopefully years to come. Another big announcement is the opening a new adaptive arts program called Opening hearts and minds an exclusive art experience, which will be starting pretty soon! Follow them on Facebook to stay up to date on events an announcements and check out their website for more information on their programs, resources and more: https://www.unitedspinalhouston.org/
Notes from the night
1) Tips to find a caregiver:
-if they ask about money walk away
-Interview and try not to be too concerned about their previous experience, base it on personality and if you can get along with them, and if they can and will give their heart and soul. They can be the least experienced but if they will give their everything for your child, parent, friend, or other family member they are your person.
-Don’t treat them like employees but as friends. You need to trust them when you aren’t around and like them when you are, because your going to be interacting a lot.
-good resource to find one: anyone in your network that has had one, usually the word of mouth is the best recommendation.
2) To not get overwhelmed as a caregiver break down your day and responsibility somehow. Focus on the day and what you can handle, think what can I do today, this hour, what do I need to get done today. Find your priorities and mange the time.
3) As a caregiver isolation and loneliness can set in and can be really hard. Find a support group, it can really help having people around you going through the same thing or something similar. It can be online, over the phone, or in person; one is not better than the other it is a personal preference, so whatever works for you go for it. It is also helpful to find an outlet and to take time for yourself, it can really help.
4) Caregiver Action Network is an awesome support group for caregivers and was recommended. For more caregiver support groups give us a call or shoot us an email and we will connect you with someone who can help!