The Kathi Koll Foundation

Serving our community.

Helping Caregivers Through Their Challenges

by: Kathi Koll on

Kathi’s Caregivers would like to share a couple of favorite stories of recipients who have received gifts from us in this first quarter of 2018. Sometimes life’s little things are hard to manage. For example, Jess Esquivel’s grandmother needed wheels and a basket for her walker, but the family couldn’t afford the $66 to buy them.A $299 bath transfer chair was also out of the question. Then the Kathi Koll Foundation stepped in to make these needs a reality. The wheels “help grandma safely navigate and turn in the bathroom—turning was a challenge,” Esquivel said.   ...read more

Finding One’s Way As a Caregiver

by: Kathi Koll on

When Tina Lewis’ mother became ill, life became tumultuous and exhausting. Not only was her mother suffering, but Lewis, an only child, was suddenly a caregiver tackling numerous challenges. The first was simply figuring out what was wrong. Initially some doctors thought that depression might be the cause of her mother’s difficulties, but Lewis knew that wasn’t the case. She told them, “You're not listening to me. This is not depression. This is something else. Depression is part of it, but this is something more serious.” Eventually during a 10-hour emergency room visit,  ...read more

Bringing Back the Joy: How to Find Happiness for Caregivers and Survivors

by: Kathi Koll on

The eighth in our nine-part series for new caregivers. When a stroke or other sudden health event has wreaked havoc on a couple's life together, retaining intimacy and joy may pale in the face of preeminent life and death issues. Yet after the shock dissipates and life continues for both the survivor and the caregiver, finding ways to reawaken joy and intimacy can be crucial for the survival of the couple. And if each partner chooses to seek happiness in the new circumstances, both joy and intimacy can be rediscovered in new ways, so that life can once again be fulfilling, even if it   ...read more

A Path to Emotional Support for Caregivers

by: Kathi Koll on

The seventh in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. Caregivers suffer disproportionately from depression, anxiety and loneliness, but each caregiver can take one step that will help combat all three: finding a support group. This may not be easy, and it may take time to find the right group, but once you find it, that group can provide not only stories and guidance from a community of caregivers but also emotional support and a stress escape valve to help through the many challenges of caregiving. “It gives them an element of feeling that they're not in it alone—just f  ...read more

Getting Support: The Challenges Caregivers Face and How to Overcome Them

by: Kathi Koll on

The sixth in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. When people becomes parents for the first time, they encounter a new world with demands and stresses and joys that they never anticipated. Becoming a caregiver is a bit the same way. There may be a stronger closeness and love that develops, but there will also be stresses that are unexpected and require new skills to handle. Just like new parents, who may want to provide the sole care for their children, caregivers often have a hard time enlisting others in the tasks required to care for loved ones. The reasons are varie  ...read more

How to Find Help-- Tips for Caregivers and Loved Ones

by: Kathi Koll on

The fifth in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. Strangely enough, when someone suffers from a stroke or other debilitating ailment, at least two people end up needing help—the sufferer and the caregiver. But often, caregivers, who may be spouses, children or other relatives, are so focused on the needs of their ailing family members that they forget about their own needs as they look for help. In fact, many don't even realize that it's important to call themselves caregivers. “Most of us call ourselves daughters, wives—'I'm not a caregiver; that's   ...read more

Entering the Medical World As a Caregiver

by: Kathi Koll on

The fourth in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. When you are suddenly thrust into life as a caregiver, handling a loved one’s medical needs can be one of the most confusing things for you to manage. Unless you have a medical background, you’ll be learning all sorts of new vocabulary and medical processes. You may be interacting with multiple doctors about varied medications and treatments, all of which you need to oversee. You may need to perform a litany of tasks at home, ranging from administering injections to monitoring blood oxygen levels, while also assisting with baths  ...read more

What to Do When the End Is Near

by: Kathi Koll on

The third in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. One of the most heart-wrenching aspects of being a caregiver is deciding how to let go of your loved one. When is the right time to move a patient into hospice, which can provide loving and professional support while someone is dying? When would residential placement be helpful, or would dying at home be preferable? Could palliative care, which helps with pain management, be of use? How do you approach making certain the will and any other legal issues are properly addressed? Should preparations be made in advance for a fu  ...read more

How to Build a Caregiver Support System

by: Kathi Koll on

The second in our nine-part guide for new caregivers. How to Build a Caregiver Support System When suddenly thrust into life as a caregiver, one needs support—financial, social, emotional, and physical—but how and where do you find it? The answer to that will be unique for every person and each situation. Some people might have big families or an extensive group of supportive friends who jump in to help out, but most will not have this ideal situation. And even with strong support, caregiving can be such a demanding, lonely job that isolation is c  ...read more

Financial Tips for New Caregivers

by: Kathi Koll on

Financial Tips for New Caregivers: What to Expect and How to Find Your Way The first in a nine-part series for new caregivers. When one suddenly becomes a caregiver, the challenges can be immense and confusing.Aside from the varied emotional and medical stresses, caregivers must deal with sudden and unexpected financial changes. When Janet Dodson, a Kathi Koll Foundation award recipient, lost her mother, Dodson and her stepsister became the caretakers for Dodson's stepfather, who has Parkinson's disease. Aside from the family's grief, the financial and legal stre  ...read more