Military Wife Wins Long Distance Caregiver Award for Heroic Steps to Bring Grandmother Home

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Caring from a Distance (CFAD), a non-profit caregiver group dedicated to helping Long Distance Caregivers is proud to announce that Rosalyn McFarland of Ellenwood, Georgia is the recipient of its first "public" Long Distance Caregiver Award. It took almost two years and a little help from CFAD Samaritans to bring Rosalyn's plan to move her grandmother from New York City to Georgia to fruition. But she succeeded.

Caring from a Distance (CFAD), a non-profit caregiver group dedicated helping Long Distance Caregivers announces Rosalyn McFarland, of Ellenwood, Georgia as the recipient of its first "public" Long Distance Caregiver Award. It took almost two years and a little help from CFAD Samaritans to bring Rosalyn's plan to fruition. But she succeeded.

Rosalyn first contacted Caring from a Distance through its website at Her October 2007 email stated her problem. "My grandmother lives alone in NYC. She has no family members willing to assist her…She is no longer able to care for herself. A home health aide visits her during the day time but she is alone at night and has had several mishaps during that time. I am contacting you because I would like to move my grandmother to GA where she can be closer to family but I don't know exactly how to go about it and what steps to take."

In January 2009 Rosalyn went from 'concern' to 'crisis' mode when she learned her grandmother had been hospitalized for a broken hip and was refusing treatment. Flying to New York for what she thought would be a few days, renting a car with a GPS system, Rosalyn went into action. It took three expensive weeks and many changed travel plans before she returned home. During that time she obtained the documents giving her legal authority to manage her grandmother's affairs; secured her grandmother's apartment, mailbox and bank accounts; visited several and identified an appropriate rehab facility in New York for post-hospital care; and orchestrated a complex jurisdictional transfer between facilities and boroughs. She did all this between daily visits to see her grandmother and serve as her in-patient advocate for care and aftercare.

While Rosalyn kept extending her New York City stay, her husband, Army Sergeant Major Kevin D. Hubbard, (335th Signal Command (Theater)) was in Ft. Gordon, GA receiving treatment in the Defense Department's Warriors Transition Program for wounds he suffered in Kuwait.

Responding to Rosalyn's calls, Caring from a Distance cast a wide net to provide the tools needed to help her navigate a multi-front crisis. First she needed legal authority to act on her grandmother's behalf: CFAD contacted the National Senior Citizen Law Center (NSCLC), which suggested an eldercare lawyer from the New York public interest law group Self Help Legal Services. The lawyer faxed forms to the hospital and advised Rosalyn on legal matters. A local NYC CFAD Samaritan, Margot Jones, spoke with Rosalyn and suggested contacting the local police to resolve access to her grandmother's apartment

It took until July for Rosalyn --- a nurse who works twelve hour shifts --- to overcome many work/family obstacles and fulfill her plan to bring her grandmother to Georgia. On October 6th the family gathered there to celebrate her 96th birthday and see her hold her great-grandchild on her lap. Carol T. Underwood died a few weeks later and was buried at the Farmingdale Memorial Veterans' Cemetery on Long Island in early November.

Long-distance caregivers play an unique, often unsung role among Long Term Care providers in the United States. "They can help pinpoint problems and respond to an urgent need to move from one level of care to another, " says Nora Jean Levin, Executive Director of CFAD. "Like caregivers everywhere, Rosalyn did this while juggling work, family and personal demands to be there when needed. We celebrate her tenacity, devotion and care." As Pamela Patton, co-founder of CFAD, noted in her "virtual" tribute to Rosalyn, "Sometimes it is not enough to just have a website to reach out to caregivers. In truth there are many resources. Sometimes it is necessary to have a local navigator or a CFAD Samaritan like Margot Jones, who are willing to step up and respond to a call for help, pointing a distance caregiver in the right direction."

To view the CFAD "Virtual" Awards ceremony for Rosalyn McFarland and to meet Rosalyn, her husband Kevin, and others who helped her on her journey, please visit the favorite list of our YouTube channel.

About Caring from a Distance
Caring from a Distance (CFAD) was founded in 2002 to serve the seven million Americans who help manage the needs of seniors or other loved ones while living hundreds of miles away. The organization was created by men and women who personally struggled with the anguish, stress and frustration of long distance care.

Through its one-stop website, Caring from a Distance offers families a bridge to the full spectrum of local eldercare resources, from housing through home services to respite options. CFAD accepts no funding or advertising from individual service providers. Its support comes from volunteers, foundation grants, on-line donations and individual contributions.

In May, 2009, Caring from a Distance (CFAD) inaugurated a "private" Long Distance Caregiver Award as an opportunity for families to honor the caregiver's role for their own members. The "public" Award is from the organization itself to a caregiver who sought help from CFAD. The Award is a beautiful etched glass standing plaque containing a message and an original, signed, giclée print.

The Caring from a Distance website has been recognized as a reliable internet information resource for long distance caregivers by, and the new Vetaran's Administration On-Line National Resource Directory partnership for wounded, ill and injured service members, veterans, their families and those who support them.


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