10 Americans Honored As 2010 Parentgivers of the Year

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To recognize these unsung heroes and raise awareness about the challenges caregivers face, Parentgiving created the Parentgivers of the Year Awards and is announcing the inaugural recipients, ten outstanding caregivers who were nominated by friends, family—including their own grown children—and health professionals who have seen their devotion firsthand.

The numbers are staggering. Over 43 million Americans are caregiving for an older loved one. Beyond being unpaid for their efforts, many have had to reduce their hours at a paid job or even leave it completely to devote themselves to an older parent, a spouse or a sibling. Caregiving brings emotional rewards, but also sacrifices, including the caregiver's own physical and mental health as their needs are constantly moved to the back burner.

To recognize these unsung heroes and raise awareness about the challenges caregivers face, the website Parentgiving created the Parentgivers of the Year Awards and is announcing the inaugural recipients, ten outstanding caregivers who were nominated by friends, family—including their own grown children—and health professionals who have seen their devotion firsthand.

Electra Jordan of Abingdon, Maryland. More than six years ago, Electra, recognizing that her mother Audrey could no longer manage her kidney disease on her own, moved Audrey from Florida into her own home and has been caring for her ever since, including arranging for her dialysis treatments along with all daily care. Last year, Electra was diagnosed with abdominal cancer and is currently going through extensive chemotherapy following two surgeries, all the while continuing to take care of Audrey. As a single parent, Electra raised two sons, Troy and Yamil, and is also a devoted grandmother to two granddaughters, Asea and Nia.

Electra is being recognized with the grand prize including $2,000, a 3-day short-term respite stay for her mother Audrey at an Emeritus Senior Living community and a $500 gift certificate for the Parentgiving.com store.

Caroline Bell of Anderson, South Carolina. Caroline became a caregiver four years ago when, in the space of one month, she lost her job after 18 years in the corporate world due to downsizing and discovered that her mom, whom she suspected had dementia, had amassed six-figure credit card bills and was hoarding purchases in her home. While her mom is being taken care of by Caroline's sister, Caroline is a full time caregiver to her dad, Robert, and became a certified nursing assistant to better care for him. She is currently pursuing a degree in gerontology and has started Preparing for Care, LLC, a service that educates other adult children about caring for their parents.

Corinne Pierson of Windsor, Connecticut. Cori is caregiver for her mom Barbara, a role that has intensified over the past eight years, coinciding with the birth of Cori's daughter. Cori's role as health advocate officially began 20 years ago, when her mom Barbara had breast cancer, and then extended to her stepfather Norman who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Most recently, medical tests revealed that Barbara has lung cancer, and Cori is trying to persuade her mom, who will be starting radiation treatment, to move into her home to better care for her.

Maria Comito of Urbandale, Iowa. Six years ago, Maria had just started to live her dream, moving to a new part of the country after her daughter Jade went off to college. Then she learned that her mother Grace, a widow, had Alzheimer's. Grace, a cancer survivor, had a long productive life, but now wasn't able to take care of either herself or Linda, Maria's mentally challenged older sister who had always lived with their parents. Maria moved back home to devote herself to her mother and her older sister. Grace passed away last month, and Maria continues the challenge of helping Linda become more self-sufficient.

Patricia James of New York City. Patricia was a professional nurse who gave up her career to care for her elderly parents as she raised her own two daughters, Antonica and Latricia. She was both a single parent and her parents' caregiver even as she battled many medical conditions of her own, including cancer and severe thyroid problems. Patricia helped her mother Annie through the loss of her husband, who lived to 84, and continues to manage care for Annie who has advanced diabetes and limited mobility.

Sandee Farley of Van Buren, Arkansas. Nine years ago, Sandee's husband Mark was diagnosed with Huntington's disease, the debilitating illness with no cure, and she devoted herself to his care. During this time, her caregiving also extended to his mom, a very close friend who suffered a stroke, and her own mom Alyce who has Alzheimer's. Four years ago, Sandee transitioned to a one-level home where her husband could better maneuver and brought Alyce to live with them once Alyce could no longer live on her own.

Caroline, Cori, Maria, Patricia and Sandee are each being recognized with a $200 gift certificate for the Parentgiving store and a 2-day short-term respite stay for their loved one at an Emeritus Senior Living community near them. In addition, Maria will receive the Medminder Maya System with one year's subscription service to make medication adherence easier for her sister.

Henry Doss of West Jefferson, North Carolina. Three years ago, shortly after helping his wife Christine handle the loss of her parents after six years of medical problems, Henry's stepfather fell ill and passed away. Henry then focused his efforts on helping his mother Clara, who lived in another part of the state, stay independent. Henry coordinated all legal and financial matters and arranged medical care for her, traveling back and forth as needed when she fell and broke her hip. Two years ago, when the family realized that it would be best for his mom to move in with them, Henry found a new house where they could all live comfortably.

Julie Lisiewski of Elysburg, Pennsylvania. Julie has been taking care of her mom Anna for the past 13 years, since Anna fell and broke a vertebra. Julie first moved Anna from a house to an apartment where Anna could better manage. But eight years ago, after Anna suffered a severe stroke, Julie moved her into her home. Julie is a nurse, originally specializing in neonatal care, but her caregiving allows her to work only limited hours. At 89, Anna suffers from severe osteoporosis and is extremely frail.

Sally Casey of Grapevine, Texas. Sally lost her mom to cancer in 2000, after 10 years of helping her get through various treatments. She has since been caregiver to her dad Harry, who had has numerous health conditions of his own. Now that Harry, 90, needs greater care, Sally is helping him transition to an assisted living facility, which she says will actually give him greater independence, more attention and opportunities for social interaction. Sally lives in what she calls the "club sandwich" generation, helping care for her daughter Junell's toddler as well.

Tanya Baugus of Grand Prairie, Texas, has spent years behind the wheel of a minivan dubbed the "Senior Shuttle," driving for her elderly aunts and uncles who have no children of their own and depend on her. The shuttle took on two more passengers in 2009 when Tanya made the decision to move her parents, who had been battling health issues, from their rural home some two hours away to a local senior living facility. Their health problems continued, especially for her mom Marie who passed away last month. As Tanya honors her mother's memory, she is focusing her attention on her dad, LaVerne, who is emotionally fragile and has early signs of dementia and arthritis.

Henry, Julie, Sally and Tanya are each being recognized with a $150 gift certificate for the Parentgiving.com store.

You can read more about each of these deserving 2010 Parentgivers Of The Year honorees online at the Parentgiving website.

The 2010 Parentgivers Of The Year Judging

The awards were based on the psychological, social, financial and medical issues faced, challenges that have been overcome to provide care, sacrifices made, and the impact the care has had on the care recipient. The judging panel included:

Joan Garbow, a licensed clinical social worker, a certified case manager and a member of the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers. Currently in private practice, Joan works with clients throughout Fairfield County, CT, by assisting families with eldercare issues.

Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry, New York-based stage actors and husband and wife. Michael's latest book, Family Meals, chronicles the family crisis that unfolded when Jill's mom Lora started having difficulty functioning after her second husband died. They faced the anguish of long-distance caregiving as they tried to adjust Lora's California-based living arrangements to address the beginnings of dementia and her angry resistance to their help, ultimately creating a family-based living arrangement in New York City.

Bob Silver, co-founder of Parentgiving. The Parentgiving.com website grew out of Bob's own family experiences. Bob and his sister Jackie were the primary caregivers for both of their parents, Sylvia and Louis. After becoming educated about assisted living and other care options, Bob helped his parents find care workers to allow them to stay in their own home. He lost his mother shortly before her 90th birthday, after almost 20 years of fighting cancer. In October 2008, his father passed away at age 93.

Julie Davis, chief content officer of Parentgiving. Julie is responsible for all content on Parentgiving including the daily news reports, blogs and features in 16 learning centers from nutrition and better health to Alzheimer's to palliative care. She is the author of over 50 books, many on fitness and health, and the creative force behind 25 magazine launches throughout her publishing career.

The 2010 Parentgivers Of The Year Partners

Sponsors of the awards include Emeritus Senior Living and the YWCA of the City of New York City. Emeritus Senior Living is a national provider of http://www.emeritus.com/services/assisted_living/ assisted living [assisted living] and Alzheimer's and related dementia care services to seniors. Its communities provide a residential housing alternative for senior citizens who need assistance with the activities of dialing living, with an emphasis on personal care services, which provides support to the residents in the aging process. Emeritus currently operates 309 communities in 36 states.

About Parentgiving
Parentgiving's mission is to help people better care for their aging parents. The company's website, parentgiving.com, offers a wealth of elder care information including articles in 16 "learning center" categories, daily newsflashes, senior health tips, caregiver stories, checklists and an online community of blogs and forums. The Parentgiving Store has over 1,800 products for seniors in categories including Alzheimer's and memory aids, home medical supplies, incontinence, mobility devices, bath safety, nutritionals and daily living aids.

To learn more or to set up an interview with any of the 2010 Parentgivers Of The Year honorees, judges or members of the Parentgiving.com team, please call Julie Davis at 203-984-4424 or email Julie[at]parentgiving.com.    

This press release was distributed through PR Web by Human Resources Marketer (SeniorCare Marketer: http://www.seniorcaremarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.


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