Caregiving Feed

Dear Carol: I read your column about a woman whose friend was getting lost when driving and she wondered about confronting her friend about possible dementia. I beg everyone that if people suspect that their older friends or family members are slipping mentally they pull their keys before something bad happens. I say this as the victim of a very old woman who should never have been driving. I was riding my bicycle in the bike lane when she hit me and dragged me half a block. She was driving a huge, old vehicle and didn’t even know I was there. I will forever live with the physical pain and limitations that remain even after repeated surgeries for the injuries I sustained. Old drivers need to be pulled off the road. – SM Read more →


The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read more →


Summer is a time when it’s generally easier for elders to be out and about than when snow and ice are an issue. Even if our loved ones have dementia, severe arthritis, lung issues or a combination of ailments, there are things we, their caregivers, can do to relieve a sense of being left out of life that can affect people in their situation. Think about the personality of your ailing elders and consider excursions or entertainment that they may enjoy.  Read more →


Residents and their families would gather on the patio, or find chairs under the trees out on the lawn. The able-bodied served those with more limited abilities. For years, the grill chef was the husband of one resident. He was aided by other spouses, children and grandchildren of residents, as well as staff. Read more →


Dear Carol: My parents have lived together in assisted living for several years and loved their lifestyle but now my mother, due to a massive stroke, now will require nursing home care. I’m aware that we must consider available openings but we’d like to have options. From the talk around the assisted living facility, nursing homes in our community are all quite good but some seem better than others. Any tips? – MC Read more →


While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. Read more →


Choosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions. Read more →


Aging can bring unique joys, but for many it also brings the loss of physical and, for some, cognitive abilities that they feel once defined them. These losses can usually be absorbed if the elders stay connected to the greater community in some way and/or they enjoy engrossing hobbies. But many become isolated, either because they don’t feel like making the effort to stay connected or they lack the opportunity. Those who do become socially isolated will often succumb to disease or early death. Read more →


Dear Carol: I am caring for both of my parents who are over 90. Mom has Alzheimer’s. Dad tries to help but he's limited in what he can do. Frankly, some days I feel limited as well. I’m so exhausted all the time that I can’t even enjoy my grandchildren. I know that I need more outside help, and maybe even need to change our living arrangements, so I’m looking into that. What spurred me to write to you, though, was that people who were caregivers, but whose parents are long deceased, will say to me, “At least you still have your parents." This happens even if I just sigh or say that I'm tired. What's with these people? I believe that they are now glamorizing what they did. I’m sure they miss their parents, but I think it's the parents they had before illness took over who they miss. Their comments make me feel hurt and guilty. Do they know what they are doing? OP Read more →


Ideally, family members see one another often enough that they can become comfortable discussing issues that come up naturally as parents grow older. When this is the case, adult children are likely to hear when close friends of their parents have moved to assisted living, or have become ill. They may even hear stories where their parents’ friends didn’t assign powers of attorney for healthcare and their finances so that when one or both became very ill, their children are left trying to care for their parents with their hands legally tied. Read more →