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November 2010

Mom Is Tired of Struggling and Wants to Die

Dear Carol: My beloved mother is 93 and has been right paralyzed for years from a stroke. She’s in a very good nursing home, the family is actively by her side as much as possible, and we try our best. She says she is tired and just wants to die. I feel completely helpless, when she says that, and just say, “Please, Mom, don’t.” How do we handle this?  Virginia

Dear Virginia: When my grandmother, who was my mother’s mother, was in her late 80s and very ill, she told Mom that she was tired of fighting. She was in pain from advanced cancer. She said she was ready to go.

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“Lessons in Loss and Living” Helpful Tool for Coping with Grief

LessonsLoss

 The only way that I’m aware of to avoid grief is to never feel love. Since most of us wouldn’t choose to go through life never loving, we will likely, at one time or another, have to cope with grief and loss.

 Michele A. Reiss, Ph.D. wrote “Lessons in Loss and Living: Hope and Guidance for Confronting Serious Illness and Grief,” with that goal in mind. Reiss has spent over 30 years in the field of psychotherapy, counseling people through their grief process.

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Was Your Thanksgiving Day a Dress Rehearsal?

Thanksgiving is over, and hopefully most of you who are caregivers were able to enjoy it to some degree. When I had multiple elders living in multiple places, each holiday was a challenge. I wanted to give everyone the holidays they were used to, and that, of course, was impossible. Therefore, I was hard on myself.   I kind of consider Thanksgiving the dress rehearsal for the Christmas holidays to come.

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Caregiver Stress Can Make Carers Feel Trapped: What to Do?

Human beings, especially loving human beings, seem to have a penchant for "beating themselves up" over imperfections. This isn't the place to go into all the various psychological issues that make us feel we need to do everything perfectly, but the most common and obvious issues generally stem from trying to please our parents by being very, very good, and not feeling as if we measure up.

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Why Do Some People Find Excuses to Avoid Nursing Home Visits?

There is little that can cheer a nursing home resident more than a visit by a family member, or even a friend. Yet many good hearted people find excuse after excuse to avoid visiting a parent, grandparent or friend in a facility. Excuses vary with the people and family dynamics, but sometimes the reason is much deeper than the excuse.

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Finding Gratitude in the Face of a Devastating Illness

Most of us have a hard time finding gratitude in the midst of trouble. That’s human. However, I believe in my heart, that gratitude, when sought, can improve our own quality of life whatever the circumstances we are facing. Thanksgiving, a holiday many of us celebrate even if it’s by watching a football game and eating too much, is supposed to be a time to reflect upon our blessings. But I’ve seen some people forget that they have multiple blessings just because “their” team lost the Thanksgiving Day game!

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How to Start a Conversation About Elder Care And Senior Living

If you’re headed off to see your parents for Thanksgiving or other seasonal holidays, you may find that there are surprises in store for you. Adult children arriving from a distance are often shocked at how their elders’ health has failed. Even though parents who have not seen their adult children for a time can perk up and seem to be doing better than they actually are, generally a few days of this is all they can sustain, until their true health and living problems begin to show.

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When a Cure Is Not Possible We Sometimes Have to Settle for Contentment

Most caregivers would do nearly anything to cure their sick loved one. However, we know that we are not going to cure our father of Alzheimer's disease, nor our mother of Parkinson's disease. There are many illnesses that attack our elders that can't be cured. Aging in general is eventually fatal. Therefore, after all medical options for cure have been tried, we often have to accept the fact that the person will not get better. What then? For me, as a caregiver, the answer was to try to help my loved ones feel as content with their quality of life as possible.

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Download  Senior Living Conversation Guide in a trifold layout

Download  Senior Living Conversation Guide in a one-sheet layout

 


Finding Gratitude Even When the Feeling Is Elusive

Dear Readers: As we watch loved ones suffer with health issues and decline, it’s not always easy to find anything to be grateful for. Even though most of us know that many people face harsher circumstances than we do, it’s human to succumb to self-pity. It’s easier to slide into a negative mindset when we feel lonely and isolated - forgotten in our troubles than it is to find things to be grateful for. Yet, Thanksgiving, the holiday many of us will celebrate this week, is supposed to be about gratitude.

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Study Shows Old Blood Pressure Drug Could Be New Alzheimer’s Treatment

Could this be another case of old is new again? In a National Institutes of Health funded study done by the National Institute on Aging, a high blood pressure drug that was used decades ago has been found slow Alzheimer’s-like development in mouse brains.

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