Idaho Commission on Aging to develop a four-year statewide plan

The Idaho Commission on Aging (ICOA) is developing a four-year statewide Senior Services Plan and has contracted with Idaho State University to assess Idaho’s needs.  This survey is about your experiences with the services and resources in your community that assist older adults with living independently.  These are also services and resources that provide older adults with choices so that they have more control over their daily lives.

image of mailbox on barn door titled "feedback"

ICA is helping ICOA distribute the online survey. Please share with your networks. The link is below:

ICOA’s Statewide Senior Services Needs Assessment

ICOA is tracking outreach efforts, so please Kevin Bittner know who you asked to assist with the distribution and the resources you used to reach others. Kevin can be reached at or 208-334-3833 x236.

If you have any questions, you can direct them to Kevin or to Pam Oliason at

October is Residents’ Rights Month

Although we want to make sure you are aware of your loved one’s rights all year long, we thought you should know about October’s Residents’ Rights Month. The goal of Residents’ Rights Month is to provide education and awareness around the rights individuals have when staying in long-term nursing homes or assisted living facilities; specifically, individual dignity, choice, and self-determination. These areas of focus are included in the federal Nursing Home Reform Law.

To learn more click on the following link Residents’ Rights Month.

Know your rights infomraiton flyer

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Idaho Caregiver Alliance News Brief

The Idaho Caregiver Alliance is excited to share some information with you which is why we created an ICA News Brief. Hopefully, your inbox just received it. But, just in case you missed the news, Here is what the brief included.

Breaking News:

We are excited to announce that Governor Brad Little will be signing the National Family Caregivers Month Proclamation on November 7th at 9 a.m. If you are around and would like to participate, please email Marilyn at by Oct. 31, 2019.

AARP is updating their Idaho Resource Guide and we need your help.

AARP, with the help from our team, is updating their Idaho Resource guide (here is the link to the current Resource Guide). Part of this update depends upon you and your needs. Please take a moment to complete the following survey by Friday, October 18, 2019.  Here is the link to the Resource Guide for Family Caregivers Key Informant Survey.

Idaho Commission on Aging to host Town Hall Meetings throughout the state

The Idaho Commission on Aging (ICOA) is conducting town hall meetings statewide to gain public comments on their four-year Senior Services State Plan. Such services include, but not limited to, home-delivered meals, homemaker, respite, senior transportation, home modification, legal assistance, adult protection, and Ombudsman services. Here is a list of the meetings we have been notified thus far:

  • Idaho Falls– Monday, October 21st, 11– 3 p.m., Idaho Falls Senior Center
  • Ririe– Tuesday, October 22nd, 11– 3 p.m., Ririe Senior Center
  • Stone – Thursday, October 24th, 11– 3 p.m., Curlew Senior Center
  • Pocatello –Friday, October 25th, 11– 3 p.m., Senior Activity Center
  • Twin Falls -Monday, November 4th, 11– 3 p.m., Twin Falls Senior Center
  • Burley –Tuesday, November 5th, 11– 3 p.m., Burley Senior Center
  • Nampa– Monday, November 18th, 11– 3 p.m., Nampa Senior Center
  • Weiser– Tuesday, November 19th, 11– 3 p.m., Weiser

  • Advocacy Challenge Banner with link

Are they catching on?

image of the first part of article includes image of elder seated on a walker with someone kneeling beside himCaregivers are out there already taking care of hundreds of thousands of individuals in Idaho every day. It seems as though the need for caregiving services may be catching on. 
Judith Graham wrote an article, published in the Kaiser Health News, talking about this topic. Although her article discusses the providing of care for the older population, my hope is that this will bring more awareness around family caregivers and the huge responsibilities they face daily while caring for their loved ones. 

To read Judith’s full article, titled Drumbeat Builds For A Peace Corps of Caregivers, follow the link.

Click here to check out additional resources we have listed, one being your local Area Agency on Aging. 


The Idaho Caregiver Alliance was in the Boise State News

Clip of articleA professor at Boise State University and member of the Idaho Caregiver Alliance Leadership team, Sarah Toevs, spoke about Idaho rural communities and Idaho family caregivers during the AARP Livable Communities Rural Livability Workshop. 

Check out the full article posted in Boise State University’s Boise State News –Sarah Toevs shares best practices for caregivers in rural communities.

Check out AARP Livable Communities: Rural Livability webpage for more information on what was covered at the conference and to check out other related resources. 


A Caregiver Conversational Guide for Falls Prevention

snippit of first two paragraphs of the conversation guideCreated in partnership between the National Alliance for Caregiving and the National Council on Aging, this Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers is a wonderful resource. The guide provides data on falls, reasons for increasing stability and physical fitness, what resources are available for caregivers, and much much more. 

To access the full document, click on this link which will guide you to Falls Prevention Conversation Guide for Caregivers.

Shared Caregiving Stories

Quote-for the last four years or so, i've been in this cycle of injury, pain, rehab...I've felt stuck in it. The only way I see out is to no longer play football. It's taken my joy of this game away.In this segment of Shared Caregiving Stories, our very own ICA member Jeannette D. Mayer shares her view of how Andrew Luck’s retirement from the Indianapolis Colts parallels the experiences of being a family caregiver. 

To read the full posting, of which I highly recommend, click on this link Luck’s Retirement Parallels Military Caregiver.

Male and millennial caregivers

Elderly person with male nurseTraditionally it has been thought that a caregiver is female and 50+ years of age. This is no longer the case. Men now encompass 40% of the family caregivers now providing care. And there are more than 10,000,0000 millennials who have stepped up to the caregiving plate. It’s time we recognize caregivers come in all shapes, genders, and ages. 

For more information on millennial and male caregivers check out this article on The Invisibility of a Family Caregiver by Jean Accius with AARP.

Shared Caregiving Stories

Guest blog by one of Idaho's caregivers, Jeannette D. Mayer.

Stand Closer, It's Shoter than You Think

This age-old joke never gets old. How many of them can you think of? How many of you have some hanging in your bathroom? They all are great to get a giggle.

Now to get to the touchy part: when we are talking about men with brain injuries and/or spinal injuries, these jokes are no longer funny. Traumatic brain and/ or spinal injuries can create incontinence issues, which can be frustrating, hair pulling, puddles of disasters. This is true not only for the man, but also for his family. Nothing is worse than walking into the bathroom and stepping into a puddle of wetness in the middle of the night. The smells, the yellow stain on the bathroom mat, the fighting with him to clean up after himself are endless battles. Battles that many times fail, especially when dealing with traumatic injuries. Often these men don’t have the mental abilities to understand what is happening to prevent these accidents from occurring.  Trying to change his behaviors is frustrating for you both.

I’m here to tell you to KNOCK IT OFF. This is a battle not worth battling. A war that is non-existing.

Incontinence is not just frustrating for the family, the spouse, the parent, the caregiver. It is even more frustrating and embarrassing for our Veteran, Our American Hero who would like nothing more than to leave a clean a floor and front of the toilet. We haven’t even covered the even more unmentionable “number two” mishaps. That’s another smelly messy embarrassing story line.

There is hope with a simple solution.

First, remember to breathe (maybe breathe through your mouth instead of your nose) – these happenings are out of our control. We can’t control them from happening so let’s embrace what we can do.

Second, now that you have accepted this new ever changing daily normal let’s prepare for these uncontrollable moments.

How do we prepare? That’s the fun part.

·      Put a couple bathmats that are small and don’t have the rubber backs (this way they are easy to wash & dry) in front of the toilet. Pick some fun bathmats that make you both smile.

·      Keep a roll of paper towels and bathroom cleaner by the toilet – so when the mishaps occur, all you need is right there for an easy clean-up.

“Alakazam” the magic is created for you both! Short, sweet, simple fix.

Does this mean you will never have your frustrating moments? Nah, they will still come. Let them come. Embrace them. After all you are human with real feelings and emotions. Just do your best to not let them take over.

 As a caregiver, we carry so many extra responsibilities. Learning to control what we can while letting go of what we can’t will help us keep being successful caregivers. We can’t fix what isn’t working correctly in our wounded Veterans. However, we sure as heck can find ways to not only help support them, but also help support ourselves in the process. Finding these simple little tricks will keep us keep moving forward.

Find ways to simplify your life, this is another way to promote selfcare.

We are a Military Family who is American Made!  

We Reach Higher, Dream Brighter, and Hold on Tighter.

Clean toilet

Your Opportunity to Speak

megaphone with important coming out of it Hello!

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has recently opened public comment on an 1115 waiver to add work requirements to Idaho’s Medicaid expansion. During the legislative session, the Idaho Caregiver Alliance spoke out in support of implementation of Medicaid expansion as supported by the voters last fall and in opposition to these work requirements as burdensome, unnecessary, and costly. Two public hearings are planned in Boise. If you are not in Boise, you can call in to testify.

Public Hearings

Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019

Location: Lincoln Auditorium in the Idaho State Capital Building, 700 W.

Jefferson St., Boise; or call in to 1-877-820-7831, 301388#

Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Mountain Time)

Friday, Sept. 6, 2019

Location: East Conference Room in the Joe R. Williams Building, 700 W.

State St., Boise; or call in to 1-877-820-7831, 301388#

Time: 1 p.m. – 3 p.m. (Mountain Time)

To help you develop your testimony:

Here is a link to information on this waiver application and a template to send your message via email:

Here is the link to the draft 1115 work requirement application

You can also share your story on the Close the Gap Facebook page:

This is your opportunity to speak out on this important issue.

On behalf of the Idaho Caregiver Alliance,


Marilyn Sword
Frontier Group, LLC
Box 225, Boise, ID  83701