ASK KELLEY - Is there help for children of those struggling with addiction?

Dear Kelley,
My daughter has been struggling for years with addiction. She was recently arrested and is now incarcerated. I had to take in her two children, my grandchildren, as she is no longer able to care for them and they do not have a relationship with their father. I’m struggling because I am retired, living on Social Security, and am having a hard time affording the things the children need. Do you know of any help out there?
Parenting Grandparent

Dear Parenting Grandparent,
Thank you for your question. This is a challenging situation that many families are facing. Fortunately, there are organizations that can help. ServiceLink Resource Center would be a great place to start for support, education, and guidance on local resources and services. For example, ServiceLink helps connect family members taking care of a relative child with small respite grants through the NH Family Caregiver Program. Additionally, the Family Resource Center at Lakes Region Community Services offers a Parenting the Second Time Around support group where they cover topics such as: child development, living with teens, discipline and guidance, legal issues, advocacy, and more. Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region is another great, local resource that offers education sessions for family members that have been impacted by substance use disorder as well.  As you already know, parenting is just as challenging as it is rewarding.  Self-care is essential.  Your psychological health is just as important as your physical health.  Take time to go for a walk, paint, write, listen to music, spend time in the garden or with your friends.  Don’t be afraid to seek support from others when you need it.
 To connect with your local ServiceLink, please call 1-866-634-9412 and ask to speak with a Caregiver Specialist. For more information about services or programs offered through Lakes Region Community Services Family Resource Center or Navigating Recovery of the Lakes Region visit:  and

Central NH VNA treats kids in their homes

LACONIA — Central New Hampshire Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice is the only VNA north of Concord that provides home-based health care to children, no matter where they’re born. Last year they cared for 113 pediatric patients in their homes and made over 600 home visits. Some were born in Concord, others in Dartmouth. But when they come home to any of the 45 communities in the Lakes Region, Central VNA is there. The beauty of homecare is that, unlike scheduled visits in clinical settings, it allows a close assessment of home and family, creating the ability to address issues before they become problems. This, in turn, mitigates the need for extended and expensive services.

In 2017, Central New Hampshire VNA nurses and medical social workers saw dozens of children exposed to opioids in some fashion, and provided safe, appropriate, and loving care right there in the home. Sadly, the need for bereavement services for children who have lost someone to the opioid crisis has skyrocketed. To address this need Central VNA has created a new bereavement workshop for all ages: Arts-Music-Memory-Hope. Free and open to the public, these workshops are designed to offer children, teens, and their families a means of expression and a path to healing.

For more information about the Central New Hampshire VNA programs for children, contact Schelley Rondeau, RN, Maternal and Child Health Program Manager, at 603-524-8444.

March Wellness Wisdom to focus on financial planning March 21

MEREDITH — The March Wellness Wisdom program will focus on budgeting strategies and financial planning. It will be held Wednesday, March 21, at 10:30 a.m. at the Meredith Community Center, One Circle Drive.

The guest presenter will be Ron Elliard, an estate planner and retirement specialist with Merrill Lynch. He has a passion for supporting and empowering the people he works with to have the quality of life they are looking for in retirement. He will be offering insight, tips, and strategies as well as answering questions.

This is a free program, open to all. If you would like more information or have suggestions for future topics, contact the Lakes Region VNA at 603-279-6611 or the Meredith Community Center at 603-279-8197.

Guidance on Advanced Care Planning offered on April 16

FRANKLIN — On April 16, in observance of National Healthcare Decisions Day, Franklin Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice is offering an opportunity to learn about Advanced Care Planning and how important this can be to your family. Area residents can meet with the agency's medical social worker, hospice administrator, and chaplain to discuss what Advance Care Planning is and how to prepare for the unexpected for yourself and your loved ones. There will be two sessions held at the agency's offices at 75 Chestnut St. in Franklin, 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. To reserve a spot, call Nancy at 603-934-3454.

Some of the most difficult conversations we have with our loved ones are the ones where we discuss what our wishes are for medical treatment if we were unable to make medical decisions for ourselves. Though this topic is hard to discuss, many of us will face the need to make medical decisions for a loved one, and doubt we have made the same choices our loved one would have made. If we are fortunate, our loved one planned ahead and wrote down in an Advanced Directive what their wishes were. Unfortunately, the reality is that many families are left wondering.

What are Advanced Directives? Broadly they are decisions about the care you would want to receive if you become unable to speak for yourself based on your personal values, preferences, and discussions with your loved ones. For example, if you are in an accident or have an illness that leaves you unable to talk about your wishes, who do you want to make decisions for you? What about if you were in a coma or the end stages of dementia? Would you want a feeding tube placed or to receive mechanical intubation? If you had a heart attack, would you want CPR?

Conversations regarding end of life are deeply personal; the conversation is not easy. People often wonder how, when and where to discuss them. Is there a way to know the right time or place to talk with my family about my wishes? For Elaine Cartier, Hospice Administrator at the Franklin VNA & Hospice, the answer is a simple, “Yes,” Cartier says, “This conversation doesn’t have to be scary and together we can plan ahead.”