Caregiving Feed

June is Brain Awareness Month: Helping Caregivers Cope

WheelchairmanJune is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. What better time to become educated about how to help people who have dementia live a better quality of life, help caregivers with support and resources, and teach others about the many types of dementia and other brain diseases? The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011. Since that time, milestones have been identified to meet the plan’s biomedical research goals. But until recent years, the creation of similar milestones on patient care and caregiver support has lagged.  In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association Workgroup published recommendations – including patient-care milestones – to augment the U.S. Government’s “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Read more on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month and tips on how caregivers can grow:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Father's Day Memories: Dementia or Not, He’ll Always Be Your Dad

MindingOurEldersCoverFullThis Father's Day, as on all days, I'll have fond memories of my dad. So will many of you. No matter what has happened to our parents as they age, they remain our parents. Cognitive and physical decline don't take away their legacy as adults. We may have to provide some care that many would consider demeaning, but given in love, no care is demeaning. Part of that love is keeping in mind that this person is our parent, the person who raised us. Respect and preservation of dignity are their due.

Read full article on Agingcare about how dementia doesn't take away our Dads:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol


Often Surgery Seems the Only Choice, Yet Results Can Devastate

DeathDear Carol: My world changed in an instant when, at age 45, my mom suffered a brain aneurysm. Because of that, she had to undergo brain surgery which left her with dementia and severe physical limitations. I quit my job and took Mom home and cared for her for three years. Fortunately, my husband has been supportive and we could afford it. Eventually, Mom’s care needs were overwhelming me and I had to move her to a nursing home. I haven’t been able to drop the guilt that I feel over doing this even though I spend time with her daily.  Mom barely speaks and she’s in and out of reality. Mostly, she sleeps. The doctor calls this the natural progression of the disease. They gave me such hope with the surgery, but afterward, they just brushed off her dementia with the attitude of “it happens.” That attitude still makes me angry. Could I have done something different? – Trish: 

Read full column on Inforum about how even necessary surgery can have devastating results:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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


7 Tips for Preserving an Elder's Vital Sense of Dignity

BicycleRiskFearing that their aging parents could be injured, caregivers can become nagging nannies who try to stop Dad from working in his beloved shop or Mom from gardening. But insisting that elders avoid all risks can compromise their dignity and joy. So how do you find the right balance of concern and trust?

View slideshow on HealthCentral about taking steps to preserve the sense of dignity all ages deserve:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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


Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

CaregiverStressEvery person who becomes a caregiver will have unique personality traits, yet we nearly always share certain feelings and experiences as we travel a road similar to one another. That’s one reason that caregivers often turn to other caregivers for support. It’s a version of the adage that we need to walk in another’s shoes in order to truly understand what they feel. One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others. A positive attitude and a flexible approach can go a long way as we feel our way along the sometimes uncertain path a caregiver must follow. But even the most laid back person is going to feel stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving from time to time. That’s normal and to be expected. With some care, people generally bounce back. What caregivers need to watch for is burnout.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the line between caregiver stress and burnout:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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


Caregiver Tells of Harrowing Experience in Handling Parents' Finances

FinancesFinances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. In the case of caregiver Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, the legal documents for her parents were signed in time — barely.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the importance of getting financial documents in line early:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Communicating With a Person Who Has Dementia Takes Skill, Heart

CaregiverWheelchairCommunicating with someone who has dementia can be an ever-changing challenge. But some things never change. One of those constants is that caregivers and friends must fully understand and accept that the person with dementia is not a child any sense of the word. Dementia may have robbed our friends or loved ones of their ability to understand their own environment, follow a sequence of directions or even understand how to use the toilet. These issues do not in any way make these people less than adults and they should never be treated as such. Treating our elders with respect and dignity means understanding that lost cognitive ability doesn’t take away their adulthood. Elders have lived a lifetime and have left a legacy - some more admirable than others. However, nothing they have done or not done during their lives turns them into overgrown children.

Read full article on HealthCentral about what it takes to be a dementia caregiver:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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


Male Caregivers' Visibility Increasing as Society Changes

MotherSon3...What needs to be done to give men the visibility and support they deserve? Society must catch up with reality. Since men have always been providing care to some degree and will continue to do so in increasing numbers, the fact that a large percentage of family caregivers are men should become recognized as the norm. Strong men are making this happen by overcoming a perceived threat to their manhood and allowing themselves to become visible in public and online. Dedicated women are also spreading the word.

Read full article on Enlivant about how male caregivers are rising in numbers and visibility:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Loving Daughter Views Disease Through a Different Lens Than Nursing Home Staff

CaregiverComfort

Dear Carol: I’m watching my mom decline from Parkinson’s disease complicated by Lewy body dementia (LBD). She has good medical care and lives in a nursing home that has been a blessing to us all. I try to imitate the way that the staff works with her because they seem well trained. The problem is Mom is not just another patient to me. She is my mother. I want to fight what this disease is doing, and sometimes that makes me forget how I should work with Mom’s disease, especially when it comes to her LBD. I just can’t accept what’s happening. I know that my feelings are irrational because her disease can’t be cured. Am I strange for feeling happy with her care on days when she seems okay, but mad at other times? What’s wrong with me that I can’t be like these people and just accept that Mom can’t be cured and learn to help her so that I can let go of my anger? Marianne

Read full column on Inforum about how families must struggle more for acceptance of disease symptoms:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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


12 Tips that May Help Spousal Caregivers Have a Better Life

CommunicatingWhile family members who provide care for loved ones share many issues, there’s a different emotional dynamic between caregiver and care receiver when the care partners are spouses than when they are an adult child caring for a parent. Here, we offer some tips for spouses.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how spousal caregiving is different for adult child caregiving:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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