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Cool Free Downloads: Community

The Sides of Your Safety Net

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Here's a great way to get started with building your Personal Safety Net. Download a diagram which will show you the corners of your life. 

Then you can check out the many articles we've made available to you - known as Cool Free Downloads - that cover the wide variety of information to help you learn more in each of the eight (8) corners of your life. The Cool Free Downloads are catergorized under: Career Path, Community, Family & Friends, Finances, Health, Intellect, Spirit, and the Stuff of Life.

Who To Trust? For What? When?

Surveys reveal that Americans have, on average, very few trusted confidants in our lives. Forty years ago, we had six to seven, now it's two to three. If you thought you were alone searching for trusting relationships, you're not. You're in the majority. Now the question is who can you trust and how do you know it?

Identifying Safety Net Members (Pdf)

Use this page as a guide to deciding who might be in a potential members' circle. Put the person needing care (in the center) as self, then let your mind travel toward the outside of the circle in each of the five directions, adding names to each ring as you go.

Paying It Forward

In 2005, Stanford University psychologist Sonja Lyubomirsky decided to put the kindness-fulfillment connection to the test. She asked students to carry out five weekly "random acts of kindness" of their choice, anything from buying a Big Mac for a homeless person to helping a younger sibling with schoolwork. Read about her findings and the research of others . . . .

Giving Helps - YOU!

There’s a deep grassroots "giving back" (or "paying it forward") movement sweeping the country. People across all age groups are volunteering like never before. But giving back doesn’t mean that you don’t get anything in return. Helping others rejuvenates us in ways that another margarita-soaked vacation, more stuff, a fatter resume, or a supersized house can’t begin to. We want to feel useful. We want to find meaning. We want to feel this alive and on fire with possibility. Here are some ways serving others can serve you--from finding your true calling to improving your health to boosting your overall sense of joy.

The (Lost) Art of Asking for Help #2

In her book Mayday! Asking for Help in Times of Need (Berrett-Koehler, 2007), M. Nora Klaver, a Chicago-based master coach, explains The Mayday! Process - a seven-step approach to making sure your "askings" for help and assistance are transmitted with both strength and clarity, on target and complete - we've taken the liberties to add a few steps!

The (Lost) Art of Asking for Help #1

It's important to know - first - when asking for help, a "no" most frequently says something about the folks who are saying it rather than about the person who has asked for help. Remember that - first and foremost!

Unfortunately for many, asking for help translates into a mayday call for help that is not made at all, or only made when there is almost no other choice.

But the good news is that you can learn to ask for help. We've found an author that helps you see that it can be a fairly simple act. But first, you've got to debunk some common cultural myths.

Making Sure Your Wallet Card Works

Our friend Dr. Mel Ganus sent us this wonderful explanation she uses to make sure her "wallet card" works with the members of her personal safety net. She's allowing us to use it as a Cool Free Download - something you may want to read and adjust in order to make wallet card information gathering and using easier for you. 

Dr. Mel starts out by saying . . . "I’m sending you this email because I’ve just taken a class on Personal Safety Nets® and realized that I didn’t want to leave any of you guessing in case I was in an accident and knocked unconscious. You are the people I trust and care about most. I want to make sure you know how to reach each other, and what I’d hope you’d do if I am unable to speak for myself."

Read on, and thanks, Dr. Mel!

Vivian Needed to End Care-Sharing Team Membership

Vivian's membership as part of the care-share team was clouded by her own memories of dark and lonely days caring for her own father. She knew she had not had time to heal from that experience, but would she be seen in a negative light if she left the team?

Deborah's Many Good-byes

She was a professional in her late forties who had early-onset Alzheimer's-type dementia and could no longer function in her many important capacities. We set up a care-share team who worked together for what ended up being a five-year journey.

Maria Lives!

I had walked with Maria as she faced crisis after crisis. I had struggled to help her create positive ways to live her life. But now she'd met the most handsome man and she wanted me to change my role. Could I enjoy my new freedom and expand our friendship?

A Very Useful Home Care Quality Checklist

In keeping with our July 2011 e-Newsletter's focus "Know What to Expect" - which details many of the inherent personal costs for those 61.6 million caregivers in the United States today - we present a wonderful Home Care Quality Checklist for those of you who are interested in considering or interviewing professional (also know as "outside") caregivers.

Use this checklist to see what kinds of services are provided, what's missing and what can be improved. It's a great comparison tool to compare competing organizations.  It can also serve those of you who are caregivers - letting you see what is offeredd in the outside world.

Violet's Selective Communication

Violet didn't trust that her friends and associates would be at her side if they met one another or knew her full story. But her idea of keeping secrets all fell apart when she was hospitalized. Read the Violet's dilema.

Thirteen Years with No Sign of Stopping

Thirteen years ago, Theo and Eve and their friends Tina and Susan were co-workers getting to know one another. . . they invited their friends for a house-warming party . . . over the years the dinners continued. . . (that) built a kind of safety net, supporting each other through difficult career moves, starting and closing businesses, divorces and marriages and caring for elderly parents. Like any team, over the years there were challenges to this group that were met with 1) setting a vision, 2) having ground rules, 3) supporting one another in asking for help, 4) appreciating each other's gifts and 5) playing together and saying thank you. Read their entire story, pages 9-10 from Personal Safety Nets.

Dan & Corie - Creative Solutions and Positive Outcomes

When a care share team works together it needs to be allowed and asked to participate in the ground rules (such as: keeping information from the meeting confidential, not using personal money, honoring limits, time, endings, and being respectful)  - the goal is to set a working vision to reach clear and sustainable solutions. Dan & Corie's story describes how the care share team can get involved with new roles and issues.

Megan's Story - What Can Your Care Share Team Do?

A time will come to look at reaching out to form a team (also known as a care share team) to assist through some change or challenge that comes up for you or someone you want to help. Megan's story helps illustrate that creating a plan of care or assistance, and breaking down this plan into a list of manageable tasks needs to be prioritized to match available skills, information, and individuals.

The Wallet Card: My Key Personal Safety Nets Members

The easiest and most simple approach to understanding a PSN is to use the wallet card. If you take the card and fold it in half you'll see that the front directs a reader "in case of emergency" to "look inside". It bears the internationally acknowledged emblem signifying to first responders that this is serious stuff. On the backside the card gives a place for you to write your name and contact information.

Inside the card are spaces for you to write the names and contact info for the three (that's right: THREE) people who you authorize to speak on your behalf if you cannot speak for yourself. On my card I've added my allergies, and information on my insurance and on my primary care provider.

Being Helped: What I Might Want and/or Need

So, let's assume that all of us will need help at some life stage - to tackle some change or challenge. Where to start? All of Chapter 2 in our book deals with thinking about needs and motivation. From our workbook, Get Ready/Get Started comes "Being Helped: What I Might Want and/or Need." (Appendix 21) Take this list and change it, building and adding to make it specific for your life today - and then revisit it as your life changes and you face new challenges.

Being Helped: What I Might Want and/or Need (Pdf)

This is a beginning checklist - make it work for you by adding topics and categories. Use it often - each time you face a change or challenge. It will be one of the first tools you'll need - putting your needs in order - so that you can ask for specific help.

Groups (churches, non-profits) and organizations (new business partners) can also update this list to make it work for them - there's no limits. Please share your new lists with us!

Seven Steps to Securing Help

For many of us, asking for help, and then receiving it, is not easy. It's certainly part of our North American culture to believe we should be able to handle our own problems and situations. Asking for help can also mean feeling embarrassed and vulnerable as we tell even selected others our personal information. Additionally, there can be an assumption that others have more important things to worry about in their own lives. We might wonder, "Why would someone want to help me?" And if we do get past the "ask" then what? What if they say no? If they say yes, are we ready for their help? This download gives you seven steps to follow when you find it's time to reach out for help...or want to prepare for that eventuality.

Who Will Catch You When You Fall? Getting Your Personal Safety Net Ready

Take this short check-list test to gauge the strength, as well as your understanding of the organizational needs of a Personal Safety Net. Maybe you have some holes in your safety net - this self-evaluation will help you see them and help you direct your energies towards quick steps for the right fix.

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