Death Feed

Hospice Care: Help During End Stages of Life

ComfortNo one needs to die in pain. That is what the social worker told me as I signed the papers that would put my father on hospice care. That is the mantra of hospice, and it became my mantra as well. I had no choice but to believe it since my dad had suffered so much. For weeks, each time I walked into Dad's room in the nursing home, he would be rigid in bed, up on one elbow and slamming his fist against his hand. Pow! Pow! Pow! Over and over, he pounded fist against hand. I would try to get him to relax; to lie back. He couldn't comprehend. Pow! Pow! Pow! He was trying to knock out the pain.

Read full article on AgingCare about how hospice can help your loved one through the death process:

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


Broken Heart Syndrome Hastens Death of Some Spouses

HeartDear Carol: I read one of your articles which said that you had lost both your parents in quick succession so I identify with you. I live in the UK. In early March, I lost my father, aged 92.  He didn't want anyone with him when he passed away. Then, exactly two months later, my mother, aged 88, passed away at home. She waited until I was holding her hand, then she squeezed my hand, slightly opened her eyes to look at me, and peacefully passed on. Mum and I had talked about the future and I told her I would always live near her, or with her, if she preferred. She had seemed fine, but shortly after Daddy's death, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Mum passed away within three days of leaving the hospital. I was able to tell her how much I loved her, but then I had to let her go. I just wondered how quickly your Mum passed away after your father, and if you believe that your mum didn't want to go on without her husband. Thank you for reading this. – Meghan

Read full column on Inforum about broken heart syndrome:

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


What to Say, and What Not To Say, to People Who Are Grieving

Comfort15It’s difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about how to comfort others who are grieving:

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


Caregiving Rewards Often Outlast Challenges

Caregiving6Many people are providing intensive care for adult children, others for parents or spouses. I feel it’s safe to say that all of us, with our diverse caregiving responsibilities, have had times when we wonder if we can go on. Conversely, nearly all of us have also had moments when we’ve looked at the people we are caring for and realized that being a caregiver is not just a responsibility, but an honor.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving rewards can affect our lives forever:

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


Nursing Home Staff May Not Always Foresee an Approaching Death

Deathcomfort2Dear Carol: My 83-year-old father died recently. He had been in a good nursing home for three years, and there were no changes I his condition that I could see, yet he suddenly died. I keep second-guessing the nursing home staff for not warning me, which is probably unfair, but I can’t help but feel that they should have had some clue to Dad’s impending death. I’m not saying that they were neglectful in any way, and certainly they weren’t responsible for his death. I’m just wondering why they didn’t pick up on what was happening so that we would have had some warning. Shouldn’t they have been able to let us know that he may only have a week or a month to live? Should I ask them for an explanation? – Pat

Read the full column on Inforum about how to cope with the shock of sudden loss under these conditions:

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

Ebook on sale this week for $2.99 in honor of "the longest day" and Alzheimer's Authors


6 Ways to Stop Stressing about Potential Disease

Brain4Many people are genetically predisposed to developing certain diseases, among them diabetes, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It’s natural to worry if you’ve watched family members endure the illnesses. However, the cortisol released in your body by chronic stress, which can be caused by worry, could increase your susceptibility. The fix? Be proactive. Limiting stress may not completely protect you from the disease that you dread, but it can help your overall health and, for some diseases, this could help you avoid a trigger. Where do you start?

View slide show on HealthCentral about how to stop stressing about potential disease:

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


Memory Impairment May Not Be First Sign of Alzheimer's

Memory1Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it? Indeed, a new study showed that behavioral changes affected 80 percent of those who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which for many people is a precursor to Alzheimer’s. These behavioral changes often became evident well before noticeable problems with memory.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the first signs of Alzheimer's:

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


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


9 Surprising Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Health

GutBacteriaIt’s not sexy but it’s real. Many scientists are now looking at the gut as a primary source of many diseases that plague humankind. Probiotics, the prebiotics that they feed upon in the gut, as well as changes in our diet are being studied as possible methods of preventing or curing major diseases.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how gut bacteria can affect health: 

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


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