Since elders by definition have many decades of life to their credit, they will likely enjoy looking back on the past. This is especially important when people have Alzheimer’s disease because their disease prevents them from forming new memories. Nearly everyone enjoys reminiscing to some degree. To help you kick off a nice visit with the elder you intend to spend time with try bringing some props. Physical reminders should help your visit go more smoothly.
Many caregivers ask how to respond to siblings who, after being directly and distinctly asked for help, either skirt responsibility with excuses or become outright nasty if they are asked for assistance in a direct manner. Let's look at a few examples and contemplate responses. These can, perhaps, trigger ideas about how to handle your unique circumstances:
Dear Carol: I have been taking care of my aging parents’ needs for several years. Since I live near them, and caregiving suits my personality, I’m happy to do it. My parent care has gone from just running a few errands and accompanying them to the doctor to going to their home daily and doing their laundry, most of their cooking, and setting up medications. I realize that my siblings, because they live out of town, can’t do much for our parents. All that I ask for is a pat on the back now and then for what I do, but it’s like they live in another world. They are glad that our parents are taken care of, but they offer no support or even a thank you. I’m not asking for help, but I’m becoming resentful which I don’t like. Am I selfish to want some recognition? Susie
The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards
If ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. While some reasons caregivers feel guilty are unique to their situation, many are commonly shared in caregiving. Below, I’ve listed four causes of unearned guilt that most caregivers share, along with some ideas that I hope will help you look at your situation more realistically:
An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman
Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion.