Empathy for Caregivers Feed

Pride and Fear May Explain Elder's Refusal to Use Physical Aids

WalkerAideDear Carol: My mom loves to shop, attend church, see local theater, and go to park events. We’ve done these things together for years. What’s changed is that Mom had a stroke last year. She recovered well, but she is unsteady on her feet when conditions aren’t perfect. She’s supposed to use a walker for balance, at least when she goes out of the house, but she refuses. I’m always nervous that she will fall, so I want her to hold onto me, but she hates that. I’ve begged and I’ve nagged, but I don’t get anywhere. How can I convince my stubborn mother to cooperate? – MC

Read full column on Inforum about seemingly stubborn elders and their walkers:

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Driving and Memory Loss: Tips to Help Compromised Elders Give Up Driving

Driving2For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be.

Occasionally, people in the earlier stages of cognitive or physical decline will recognize the signs of that decline when they have a close call while driving and scare themselves into giving up their right to drive. More frequently, if the person has developed Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, and the disease has advanced to a point where judgment is affected, a prolonged battle often erupts.

Read full article on HealthCentral to learn tips about how to help your compromised loved one stop driving:

Sign up for the Caregiver’s Smile Summit: 0ver 50 Experts on Caregiving, Aging, and Care Partnering

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


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:

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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


Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the controversy when it comes to funding Alzheimer's:

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


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


You Are Not Alone: Caregivers Share Their Experiences and Insights

CaregiverGroupThankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone.

Read full article on HealthCentral about caregivers helping caregivers:

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


Respecting Elders' Dignity May Require Accepting Risk

Gardening1Think about it. Barring dementia – and as much as we hear about dementia, not everyone over 65 has become unable to make decisions – our elders should be able to exercise their rights as adults. Aging should increase dignity not take it away. Maturing should earn us respect for what we’ve been through, not derision for being a bit weathered physically and somewhat different in how we may process information. If you carefully read the first paragraph of this article you’ll see that much of what I describe sounds like raising children. Ouch!

Read full article on HealthCentral about accepting risk for the greater good:

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


Is Alzheimer's As Hard on the Caregiver As the Person with the Disease?

AnxietyIt seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who’ve never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and the toll it takes on the caregiver:

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

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


Parsing Validation: Helping People Living with Dementia Maintain Self-Worth

CaregiverWomanValidation is a term often used to describe different approaches to helping improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Webster defines the word as “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.” I believe that all caregivers who practice any form of validation when caring for a person living with dementia aim for the same result. They want to help the person maintain their sense of self, and they want to lower the anxiety and stress that stems from the person living with dementia losing the ability to readily understand the world around them.

Read full article on HealthCentral about validating the people who have various types of dementia:

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