Empathy for Caregivers Feed

Relatives Who Care More About The Inheritance Than Elders' Care

Money2..Your siblings don't show up at the door to visit Mom. They don't offer to take Dad to doctor's appointments. Heck, they don't even know the doctors' names. They don't know the medications. They don't care about the elderly parent's temper tantrums you, the caregiver, must weather. They don't care that you are the target for verbal abuse from the Alzheimer's afflicted parent. And they really don't care that you haven't had a break from 24/7 responsibility, whether hands-on or helping with all the needs of an elder in assisted living or nursing home, for weeks, months or years. They voice huge concern for the elder, yet they aren't willing to get their hands dirty (figuratively or literally), or open their wallets to help.

Read the complete article on Agingcare about how siblings and others can try to save parents' money for themselves:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

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Abused Adult Children May Need to Decline Role as Primary Caregiver

PensiveDear Carol: When I was born my mother was single and hooked on drugs. She kept me with her, but she abused me physically and emotionally. My grandma gained custody of me when I was five years old and she raised me. Grandma died two years ago and now my mother, who has wrecked her health and is in a nursing home, has decided that I should take her to my home to care for her. I don’t hate her, but I really can’t forgive her, and I can’t take care of her anyway. She is my mother so I do feel guilty. I have followed your work and you have addressed similar situations, but I need to hear this as meant for me. What is my duty in this situation?– AE

Read the full column on Inforum about how forgiveness can help a person move forward:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


When a Loved One With Dementia Thinks You're Stealing

AngryWomanAccused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem?

View the slideshow on HealthCentral about when a loved one thinks that you are stealing:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


Maintaining Dignity of Aging Parent Often Takes Special Insight

Friends6Dear Carol: I’ve decided that my mother must have dementia. Today I discovered that her tax return was rejected because she had marked several things wrong. She took this to my husband because she didn't want me to know. Also, her housekeeping is terrible. It drives me nuts that she doesn't even throw away garbage when the can is a foot from where she puts the garbage down. These are just examples of what is happening. How can I convince her that she needs to let me handle things and that she needs to trust that I will do what is best for her? I understand she doesn't want to give up her independence but I'm tired of cleaning up her messes and would prefer to just handle things myself so that I only have to do things once. – BY 

Read full article on Inforum about how adult children's reactions can make a difference with aging parents:

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 

Over 50 experts can guide your caregiving journey when you won this virtual summit. click the image below to learn more:

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Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders

Guitar2Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.

On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well supplied with CDs from the Big Band era. This music represented the time of his life when he was, perhaps, the most care free. Very little could get Dad smiling quite like a Buddy Rich CD.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how music can help Alzheimer's:

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Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 2

JohnDrake...When we left Part 1 of Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas, HealthCentral and Barbara Drake were discussing, via an email interview, how health insurance, or lack thereof, affected the move to Peru. 

Barbara Drake: I should add a caveat for anyone thinking of moving an elder to Latin America. Our experience involved caring for an elderly person who was relatively healthy. Apart from Alzheimer’s, my octogenarian father didn’t have any major chronic illnesses. He had an enlarged heart that wasn’t giving him trouble at the time we moved him. Our care focus was on getting help with the daily tasks of living, not caring for someone with a chronic illness who needed serious medical interventions.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how Barbara Drake decided to take her father, who lived with Alzheimer's, to Peru:

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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Reasons Why Some Caregivers Say “No” to Help

HELPThe Instinct to Protect: While many caregivers come to terms with the fact that we can't make our loved ones completely healthy again, we still want to be the person who provides care and safeguards their well-being. This protective instinct is powerful and hard to overcome.

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

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


Caregiver Needs Medical Care before Health Is Irreparably Shattered

Stress3Dear Carol: I’m an only child and single. My mother developed cancer in her 70s and I helped Dad care for her until her death two years ago. Only months after her death, Dad turned into another person. It’s not that he was simply angry. He seemed to be hallucinating and could be violent. I managed to get him to a psychiatrist who said that Dad has mixed dementia, likely a combination of Alzheimer’s and something else, maybe Lewy body dementia. The trauma of seeing his wife decline and finally die in a nursing home may have kicked off Dad’s symptoms and I’m sympathetic, but I could not handle Dad’s situation alone and eventually placed him in the VA home.

Read full column on Inforum about caregiver burnout and the need to take action: 

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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When Both Parents Have Dementia: How to Cope?

CaregiverStress"My mom and dad both have dementia. I am all alone taking care of them since my sister passed away. I have no one to help me. I get sad and frustrated with them both. How do I deal with my feelings?" These are powerful words from one AgingCare.com forum participant. It is a cry that is all too familiar for many family caregivers and one which will touch the hearts of most readers. Many of us feel alone when we are trying to care for our aging parents and there are no siblings to help, or our siblings won't help. When we have one parent who has this disease, it is hard. When we have two, it is often nearly unbearable.

Read full article on Agingcare about how difficult it can be to cope when both parents have dementia:

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

caregiver smile summit


Long-term Caregiving Will Change Your Life

CaregivingChangedLifeMost caregivers go into caregiving mode with full hearts and wonderful intentions. They rarely stop to think, "Hmm, this could go on for years. I'd better plan it out. If I move to part-time at work, have more child care and spend mornings caring for my parents' needs, it will be difficult, but possible. If I continue to work full time, I'll have more for retirement, but I can't do it all. I have to plan this out." No. We just jump in. Dad has a stroke, so of course we are there to help. He survives but needs a great deal of care. Mom can't handle the hard physical work of caring for Dad. And she's getting forgetful. So, it's up to us. We make sure our folks get in-home help and make adjustments in our own lives so we can give them maximum help. Sometimes, we quit jobs or go to part-time work in order to care for our parents.

Read full article on Agingcare about how caregiving will change your life in ways that you may never have thought:

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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