Death Feed

General End-Of-Life Discussions Can Keep Conversations Natural

GetImageDear Carol: My mother, who is 81, has been happily involved in her life at a good assisted living facility near our home. She’s been hospitalized several times because of heart issues but this hasn’t affected her feeling of independence. Mom takes her medications and has been doing well.  I took her in for a mammogram because of a breast lump which ended up being non-cancerous but the scare opened my eyes to the need to talk more with her about her final wishes. Her mind is still good. She assigned me Power Of Attorney years ago for both finances and health care, but we haven’t discussed in depth what she would want done now if one of her health problems worsens. I’m afraid that if I bring up the issue she’ll think that I’m expecting her to die any day! How do I begin? Mel

Read more on Inforum about discussing end-of-life wishes:

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

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Hindsight for Caregivers: What Would You Do Differently?

MomDaughter3As a seasoned caregiver of multiple elders, I can choose to torture myself with my perceived failures at being a perfect caregiver, or I can choose to forgive myself for being imperfect, and recognize that I did the best I could at the time. You have the same choice. Much like an adult who realizes that he or she has a "wounded child" living inside – a child who suffers from unearned self-blame or low self-esteem because of life events – many adult caregivers carry the guilt from their "infant" caregiving years to their grave. They spend precious time thinking about how they should have understood someone's needs better, could have been more patient, would have done any number of things better, if only they knew then what they know now.

Read more on Agingcare about hindsight in caregiving:

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“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

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Advanced Dementia: When Is It Time for Hospice Care?

Comfort...Unlike these other serious illnesses, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and dementia are extremely difficult to categorize into neat stages of progression that are typically used to determine whether hospice care is appropriate. Life expectancy is difficult, if not impossible, to pinpoint for a patient affected by AD and related conditions like vascular dementia, Lewy Body dementia, and frontotemporal dementia.

Read more on Agingcare about when to call upon hospice for someone who has Alzheimer's or another dementia:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Long-term Caregiving May Shorten Life Up To Eight Years

StressA study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years.   For this study, Ohio State University’s Ronald Glaser, head of OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at OSU, teamed with Nan-ping Weng and his research group from the National Institute on Aging. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how long term caregiving can shorten the life span of a caregiver:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


To Live and Die with Serenity and Peace Try Forgiveness

MotherdaughterForgiveness nearly always changes lives for the better, even if one of those lives is about to end. Whether we are the forgiver or the person being forgiven, the blessings flow both ways. To me, forgiving one another for being flawed human beings is an important key to a reasonably serene life. However, this mutual understanding is not always easy to come by.

Read more on Agingcare about forgiveness as a way toward serenity and peace:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Dementia Boot Camp: Training to Be a Caregiver, Part 2

Brain7An aide pushed a wheelchair toward me, mentioning “the one in the black pants.” I was wearing black jeans.

“This one’s hospice?” she asked the woman who brought me in.

“Yeah,” she said. “I’ll put her in this chair,” the woman said. “No one who uses this chair lives long, anyway.”

Read Part 2 of Dementia Boot Camp on HealthCentral:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Celebrate National Healthcare Decisions Day by Ordering Amazon Best Seller "Wishes to Die For"

WishesToDieForBestSellerLast year, I reviewed the first edition of "Wishes to Die For" for my newspaper column. The review can be read below.   I was later asked to write the foreword for this second edition. It was an honor to do so because I still consider this the best book available for people who want to learn how to take control of living until they die.  - Carol

“Code Blue!: A voice cries out in the Emergency Department. “Is there a doctor who can ‘tube’ a patient in Cardiac Cath Lab?”

These beginning lines of “Wishes To Die For: Expanding Upon Doing Less in Advanced Care Directives” by Kevin J. Haselhorst, MD prepare the reader for an adventure in self-examination...

Read full article on Inforum about mapping about your healthcare decisions: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


National Healthcare Decisions Day Reminder to Stop Procrastinating

Journal1If you are one of the millions of adult children who worry about your aging parents, National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is April 16th,  could be a very important day for your family. National Healthcare Decisions Day is set aside to spread awareness about the need for everyone to appoint a healthcare representative.

According to Pew Research on end-of-life treatment, the growth in the number of people who say that they have a health directive went up 17 points between 1990 and 2005 - from 12% in 1990 to 29% now. Likely, today the number is much higher. However there are still far too many people without a healthcare directive.  

Read more on HealthCentral about how you can begin the process:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Hospice Care about Re-Focusing Priorities, Not Giving Up

HandsComfortOur culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.   The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care. 

Read more on HealthCentral about hospice care as a positive move: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


How Caregivers Go About Rebuilding Their Lives After Caregiving Ends

Road...Many of us start our caregiving career by assisting an elder in his or her home, or we have a spouse who declines and we become the default caregiver in our own home. This care expands to a point where we need some type of respite, often in the form of in-home care agency help. Eventually, the move to assisted living or even a nursing home may become necessary for everyone's health and wellbeing. Whatever happens, we remain caregivers. Many of us continue to see our care receiver daily. Most of us continue to be involved as advocates and support throughout the time of need. When our loving attention and care is no longer needed, we can, indeed, feel lost.

Read more on Agingcare about rebuilding life after the death of your loved one:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling