Grief and Death Feed

Dear Carol: My father-in-law has late stage Alzheimer’s and he no longer knows the family. My husband’s heart breaks when he sees his dad, and he doesn’t want to spend his own Father’s Day going through that pain. I think we should make the effort. Our kids from out of town will call, and our daughter and her family have invited us for an evening dinner. There’s plenty of time to go to the nursing home to see Dad early in the afternoon. I think that I’ve talked my husband into going, but I’d like more insight. To me, it seems important that we visit even if I can’t express why. Can you help? – SA Read more →


There’s a great deal of anger in the world of family caregiving over siblings who don’t help care for their aging parents. Very often, it’s the adult child who lives closest to Mom and Dad who ends up assuming the role of primary caregiver, especially in cases where some degree of hands-on care is required. While this may be a logistically sound arrangement, it doesn’t mean this adult child is best suited emotionally, financially or practically for the job. Read more →


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. Read more →


Dear Carol: I quit a job that I enjoyed, one with good benefits, in order to be a caregiver to my parents up until their deaths just months apart. I don’t regret doing what I did but now I need a change. I’m 57-years-old and must go back to work. Before I even worry about that, though, I’d like to take a vacation. I’ve been planning a cruise with a friend, but my brother has me reconsidering. I didn’t inherit a lot of money, but I have enough for the trip and still retain some savings. He says that I should land a job first and then consider a vacation. I know that he's right in a practical way, but I really need to regroup and do something for myself before beginning to rebuild my life as a non-caregiver. My brother was across the country during the caregiving so I’m not certain that he understands. What do you think? Am I being foolish and reckless and my brother says? – RH Read more →


It’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. Read more →


Dr. Gross’ newest book, “The Only Way Out is Through: A Ten-Step Journey from Grief to Wholeness,” is for everyone who experiences the often searing grief that accompanies the death of a loved one. Since Alzheimer’s is a terminal disease, as is the human condition, most HealthCentral readers are eventually put in a position where they must mourn the loss of their parent or spouse. Dr. Gross communicated with HealthCentral via email to provide our readers with guidance on how to go about getting through that grief. The interview has been lightly edited for length and flow. Read more →


...Realty check: Wrong. Most caregivers will, at least occasionally, have these feelings. You are not alone and you are not a bad person. You are a human being who’d like some control over your own life. You didn’t ask to be put in a situation where you have little chance to work on fulfilling even the simplest of your own dreams. Yet, the situation presented itself and you stepped up to the plate. Read more →


Most of us find, as we travel our unique journeys, that certain phrases or concepts take on the status of truth in our worldview. Our personal truths may not be identical to those of others, but we know what is true for us. Below, I've shared, as food for thought, a few of my own truths that have developed during my personal caregiving journey. Read more →


Nearly every person's childhood leaves them with mixed memories. Even siblings raised together by the same parents can have wildly different views on how their shared childhood played out. For most of us, there are times when we think, "Hmm, Mom was right about that." Other times, we know for certain she was wrong. The same goes for Dad, of course, but we'll focus on Mom in this particular article. Read more →


The issue of elders who were once reasonably clean adults refusing to take showers and wear fresh clothes is one that is far more common than most people think. To remedy this often-malodorous situation, it is crucial to first understand why a loved one is not bathing and/or changing their clothes regularly. There are many possible culprits and often several of them combine to form the perfect unhygienic storm. Getting to the root of their avoidance is the best way to devise a successful strategy for cleaning up their act. Read more →