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February 2010

Third-party aid needed in father’s big move

Dear Carol: My mother died six months ago and my dad is moving from the house to an apartment. Or he’s supposed to be. He can’t seem to make any progress on deciding what to get rid of. The place is packed with stuff that’s accumulated for decades. I’m trying to help but it’s driving me nuts. -Sam

Dear Sam: You are still grieving your mom’s death, you have a life of your own and you are trying to help your dad.  It’s a lot to cope with. Try to step back and take an outsider’s view. Since your parents were in the home for decades,  you likely spent at least part of your you there.

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End-of-Life Issues Addressed In Poems, Prayers and Meditations

FaithtLove "I speak not of death and dying, but of life and living - with faith and courage each moment till the end." ~ Joyce Marie Sheldon

I was contacted by Joyce Marie Sheldon and offered a sample of her work. Since Joyce, who goes by Joy, is aware of my support of hospice care, she graciously sent her first book From Fear to Faith, A Caregiver's Journey, which was endorsed by Hospice International as a tool for people who are caring for a loved one receiving palliative care. From Fear to Faith is about Joy’s journey with her dying husband. It’s a beautiful book – a beautiful gift for anyone you know who is going through this experience.

Joy also sent me her children’s book, Mia and Mr. Red Feather: A young girl’s story about the death of a friend,” also a touching, wonderfully written and illustrated treasure.

Joy has an exceptional Web site that explains far more about her mission than I have room to do here. I strongly recommend that people interested in learning more about Joy and her work go to www.myjoytoday.com.

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Think Carefully About Long-Term Issues before Cohabitating with Your Elders

You're close with your parents and you see them needing help. You've watched their decline, but so far you've handled it and they've stayed in their home. You've hired out the yard work and much of the house work. But it's time now for something different. Dad's often confused and Mom's diabetes isn't being cared for properly. You are wondering, should they move in with you?

Read more about cohabitating with your elders on healthcentral.com:

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Book on Sibling Wars Gives Helpful Counsel

CaringForParents Dear Readers: There are many common threads among caregivers of aging parents, but one of the most common is that of sibling issues. These days, our families are often spread out across the country. Siblings meet up at holidays, but often that is the extent of their relationships.

While many people got along well with their siblings as children, just as many have unresolved issues. Still, most families roll along fairly well, often with limited contact, until they are faced with a crisis. And that crisis is often elder care. Typically, the adult child who lives closest to the parents becomes the primary caregiver, while the other siblings have some input from a distance. This long-distance caregiving has two sides.


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Handyman Dad Could Get Hurt: When Should We Step In?

Dear Carol: My dad was always a handyman around the house. Now he and Mom are in their late 70s. Dad can afford to hire the work done, but he won’t.  I’m afraid he’ll fall off a ladder or something. How do I get him to give it up? Sally 

Dear Sally: You love you dad and understandably don’t want to see him break a bone or cut himself. However, you need to step back and see what you are asking him to do.



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Valentines Day, Anniversaries Can Be Painful for Caregivers

Dad always got Mom roses for Valentines Day. Yellow roses. They were her favorite. After Dad's brain surgery resulted in dementia and he needed nursing care, I took over ordering the flowers for Mom. I have ordered a lot of yellow roses through the years. Pain was always connected with it because the whole process was one of keeping up tradition while the meaning of the tradition was not clear to the receivers.My parents' wedding anniversary was the day after Christmas. That day, December 26, became a dreaded day for me.

Read more on celebrating Valentines Day on ouralzheimers.com:

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The Sandwich Generation: Caring for Multiple Generations

When I was at my caregiving peak, with multiple elders who needed me plus two children - one with chronic health issues - there wasn't a term for people like me. Or, if there was, I didn't have time to read about it. Later, I became aware of the then emerging term "the sandwich generation." Generally speaking, this now popular and descriptive term refers to situations like mine, where adult children who have children of their own are also caring for their aging parents. I know all too well the feeling of being torn between the needs of different generations.

Read more on the sandwich generation and caring for spouse on ouralzheimers.com:

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How to balance an elder’s sense of purpose and dignity with their safety

Joe was in his 80s and lived in his own home. He was my first care receiver. Joe was totally deaf, so to communicate with each other, he spoke and I wrote on a large legal pad. One day, when I hurried into his house through the back door at my usual visiting time, I sensed something odd. Generally, Joe would be sitting at his kitchen table waiting for me. This time, there was no sign of him.

Read more about seniors and dignity on agingcare.com:

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Loved Ones Are Not Always Helpful

My friend and colleague, Leah, wrote this outstanding post on how people react to her dementia:

"Daily struggles with life's moments,
Experiencing voids in time,
Moments lost forever.
Even when reminded about the vent,
No memory exists...

"I had occasion to spend a few days with family-siblings, cousins, an uncle, nephews, nieces, my daughter, and granddaughter-during the days of my father's viewing and funeral. I delivered the eulogy on behalf of my siblings so I had to search into our past a little. I had to ask my brothers and sister for some ideas to add to what I myself remembered and to check for accuracy. It went well, my eulogy,"

Read more of Leah's post on Ouralzheimers.com:

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Elders’ Sense of Home Frustrates Caregiver’s Best Intentions

Dear Carol: My mother is in mid-to-late-stage Alzheimer’s. She is in a very good nursing home, and I visit her almost every day. She breaks my heart because she keeps saying, “I want to go home.” Her home was sold as she couldn’t live in it. What do I say? – Gwen

Dear Gwen: This is a heart-wrenching problem many people face. The fact is, most people with dementia who keep saying “I want to go home.”

Read more about elders wanting to go home on inforum.com:

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