Caregiver Resource

Caregiver Support & Resources by Bill Humphreys – Thursday, October 5th, 2017

Bill will share his own personal journey as a caregiver and will provide helpful tips, resources and self care techniques that will benefit both individual and professional caregivers.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Please RSVP by October 4, 2017

Crater Community Hospice

3916 S. Crater Road

Petersburg, VA 23805

Certificate of Attendance Available

For more information or to RSVP contact Patti Cox

(804) 840-6454 or pcox@cratercommunityhospice.org


Ask the Expert – A dementia-focused educational series for caregivers on September 27th

Are you a caregiver and need resources? This presentation is for you!

Honoring and Serving Veterans








At our November Coffee Chat, the topic was Honoring and Serving Veterans. Crater Community Hospice has been privileged to serve many local veterans and their families.

CEO Brenda Mitchell was joined by two of our volunteers who shared what it means to them to be a veteran volunteer and how they as well as the veterans and their families have gained so much from each other.

Lyn Whitmer told the attendees that “I am proud to be a veteran and excited and humbled about the opportunity to connect and support veterans in hospice care. I have only been volunteering a couple months but have already seen the positive benefits of honoring with the Pinning Ceremony and sitting with them individually and sharing their life stories.”

Both volunteers strongly recommend that other veterans get involved with Crater Community Hospice as they feel it adds so much to their life.

We are proud to be a participant in the national We Honor Veterans program. This collaboration between the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and local facilities works together to provide the best services to our veterans. We work to understand the unique needs of veterans and their families, educate our staff and communities about these unique needs, and coordinate care with VA.

We have previously discussed details of the We Honor Veterans program, and especially our Veteran-to Veteran Volunteer program here.

We hope you can join us for our next free Coffee Chat on Thursday 12/1 at 8:00 am with Don Phelps, Director of Spiritual Care Services at SRMC on “Coping with Grief During the Holidays.” Discover coping mechanisms and rituals of remembrance that will help you and your family through the upcoming Holiday Season. Free, rsvp requested by 11/29 804.840.6454.

For a full listing of upcoming community events, please click here.

If you are a local caregiver, sign up for our monthly e-newsletter with tips here.

Brenda D. Mitchell, RN
CEO, Crater Community Hospice, Inc.

November Coffee Chat – Honoring our Veterans

Join us Thursday November 3rd for our monthly coffee chat and learn more about the “We Honor Veterans” program.

November Coffee Chat

Medicare Tips and Strategies

Coffee Chat Presentation 9/1/16

Mike Mason taking questions after his presentation


Our September Coffee Chat featured an informative presentation on Medicare’s Most Wanted Tips and Strategies with “Medicare Mike” aka Mike Mason, an independent agency owner specializing in Medicare insurance and education. Here are a few highlights!

Most people know that Medicare is health insurance for those 65 or over, as well as younger people with certain disabilities including End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD). However, Medicare can be very confusing because of the detailed and often changing regulations. As an introduction, there are four main parts – A, B, C, and D:

  • “A” and “B” are the original
  • Medicare Part “A” (Hospital Insurance) helps cover hospitalizations, skilled nursing facility care, hospice, and home healthcare needs. It does NOT cover custodial or long-term care. It is free if the individual has worked the equivalent of 10 quarters
  • Medicare Part “B” (Medical Insurance) is mostly physician coverage – helps cover outpatient services, labwork, tests, durable medical equipment (DME), preventative services and screenings and certain medications. It has a monthly premium
  • “C” and “D” are the newer portions run by private insurance companies
  • Medicare Part “C” (Medicare Advantage) includes all benefits and services covered under “A” and “B”. It also usually includes Part “D” and may include additional services for an extra cost.
  • Medicare Part “D” (Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage) helps cover prescriptions – it may lower your costs and protect you against higher costs in the future.

Here is a helpful chart courtesy of Mike that summarizes your Medicare options:

Medicare Options

Summary of Medicare Options


In general, Medicare does not cover:

  • Routine dental
  • Hearing aids
  • Routine eyecare or glasses
  • Custodial care

There are several available Medigap / Medicare Supplement Insurance plans. “F” is the most comprehensive and covers what is often the patient’s responsibility for most medically necessary items. It’s pricing is not standardized from the difference insurance companies that offer it, although the coverage is. There is a six-month open enrollment period for Medigap coverage at age 65 where you can sign up without any required health history questions.

Annual enrollment is October 15 – December 7 each year. There is a penalty for late enrollment and a separate penalty for Rx if you could have enrolled earlier but didn’t. So make sure to sign up when you turn 65!

Links to more Information:

  • There is often financial assistance available for those on Medicaid earning less than $12,000/year. See: socialsecurity.gov/prescriptionhelp
  • Retirement Planner: Applying For Medicare Only (even if you are waiting to apply for your Retirement or Spousal Social Security payments): https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/justmedicare.html
  • There is a calculator for Rx costs on different plans as well as lots of other information at the government’s official website: medicare.gov
  • The State Health Insurance Assistance Program, or SHIP, is a national program that offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare and their families: shiptalk.org

We hope you’ll join us for the next Coffee Chat on Thursday Oct 6 at 8am to hear Debra Ogilvie, Au.D discuss the latest advancements in hearing aid technologies and tinnitus management. If you want another chance to hear Mike’s presentation, he will be speaking on Oct 6 at Soup for the Caregiver’s Soul at 1pm at Swim RVA, 5050 Ridgedale Parkway, Richmond 23234; RSVP for that at 804.768.7878 or leidheiserd@chesterfield.gov And if you are interested in having Mike speak to your group please contact him at mikemason1968@aol.com.

Brenda D. Mitchell, RN

CEO, Crater Community Hospice, Inc.

Stress and the Holidays

The holidays can be both a joyful and stressful time of year, with an endless “to do” list of holiday shopping, decorations and financial stressors. It can be even more difficult for those who are grieving the loss of a loved one or caring for a loved one with a serious illness. When others around you seem happy and full of holiday cheer, you may want to just skip the holidays altogether. The sights, sounds and smells of the holiday season can be overwhelming and the period of time leading up to the holidays can actually be worse than the day itself.

Before Christmas Day, think about what might be tough and plan ahead, for example the “empty chair” ….should you keep it in place or remove it from the table all together? Should the oldest child or another family member sit there now? Should you set a place in honor of your loved one who isn’t with you this year? There’s no right or wrong answer, do what’s best for you and your family!

Be realistic…. Don’t over schedule, you know yourself better than anyone. Set realistic goals and always have more than one plan. By having multiple plans, plan A, B and C you can quickly move to the next plan if the previous one isn’t working or becomes too difficult. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do things the way you’ve always done them. It may be a good time to start some new traditions, this doesn’t mean you’re going to lose the old traditions; you can always go back to them or incorporate them again when you’re ready. Just because you’ve always put on a huge feast doesn’t mean you have to this year, have everyone bring a dish, have another family member host Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, or go out to a restaurant this year.

Address the “elephant in the room,” acknowledge your loved one and include them in holiday gatherings by lighting a candle, making a “toast” in their honor or sharing favorite memories and funny stories about them. It may be difficult to start these conversations but it will benefit everyone around you and help each of you heal, a little bit at a time. A wonderful new tradition is to cover the table with a plain table cloth, provide permanent markers for family members and guests to write what they’re “thankful” for on the table cloth, a favorite memory or message to your loved one; children can have fun by drawing pictures. Bring the tablecloth out at each holiday gathering until it’s full and then start a new one!

Remember to give “thanks” for those who have touched our hearts and lives with their memories and love, which can never be taken from us. This year give thanks that the grief you feel is based on the beautiful memories you have made and on the enormous love you’ve shared!

by Patti Cox, Hospice Bereavement Counselor

Caregiver Respite & Resources

“Help is Here” is more than a tag line at CCH. It is who we are and what we do for patients, and caregivers. Caregiver stress and burnout are common among people who have cared for the elderly and people living with a serious illness. At CCH, we encourage families to use our services long before they think the patient is ready for hospice care so that the patient and the caregiver can take advantage of our unique services especially designed to offer respite, renewal and resources.

With support from CCH’s hospice care team, including our in-home volunteers, caregivers are given the opportunity to take time for self-care, knowing that someone is at home with their loved one. Self-care is important when seeking to avoid caregiver burn-out. Self-care includes eating right, getting enough sleep and taking time to do things and participate in activities that renew your energy. This can include exercise, yoga, meditation, journaling, creative arts, massage or just having time away from the one for whom you are caring.

Crater Community Hospice has received a grant enabling us to offer massage therapy, aromatherapy, and music therapy for patients and caregivers. In-patient respite care can be arranged for the patient to receive care in a local hospital or nursing care facility, giving the caregiver a much needed break while ensuring that their loved one is well taken of.

Caregivers are encouraged to ask for and accept help, and set realistic goals and expectations of what can be done each day. Remember that laughter is often the best medicine and find what helps you relieve stress and keep a list of these activities at hand. Caregivers are also invited to visit Crater Community Hospice’s Pinterest Page for visual stress relievers and a virtual vacation, and call CCH ((804)526-4300 for support. Don’t do it alone. Help is Here.

by Brenda Mitchell,MSN,RN,APHN-BC,CHPN,CHPA
      Executive Director, Crater Community Hospice