Empathy for Caregivers Feed

A Deserved Vacation from Caregiving Should be Guilt Free

AirplaneDear Carol: I’m 69-years-old and widowed. My76-year-old single sister has advanced osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, and lung disease. I cared for her in my home for over seven years. My health is deteriorating and my doctor has warned me that, if I don’t change my caregiving situation, I’m in for big health issues. My sister said that she understood, so six months ago she moved into a nursing home. The facility is lovely and the staff is great. The staff members have told me that she has made friends and, considering her health, does very well. When I observe her, I see that she’s great with others, but her attitude toward me has changed. I visit daily and bring her everything she wants, but she piles guilt on me and complains about her life. Now, I have a chance to take a week-long trip with a friend to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I told my sister about this opportunity and she’s pouting. She says to go but then acts hurt. Her caregivers tell me that she’ll be just fine. I want to take this trip. It's finally a chance for some real fun, but how do I enjoy it under these circumstances? TR

Read full article on Inforum about caregiver who wants to take a trip:

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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


Short Valentine's Stories Needed for Dementia Spouses' Valentine's Day (or Anniversary) Celebrations

LoveI've been through many Valentine's Day celebrations with my parents where I tried my best to help them carry on their past traditions. It was grueling for me and only somewhat satisfactory for them, but I felt that it must be done. I'm now collecting a few stories for publication in an article that I'm writing on Valentine's Day celebrations. For this, I'd like to hear from spouses who try to carry on the Valentines Day (or anniversary or any day celebrating their love) traditions. I'd also like to hear from someone who feels that it's best to skip marking that day and when or why they made that understandable decision. 

Please send stories via the www.mindingourelders.com "contact" box, or message me on Facebook or Twitter (@mindingourelder). I'm looking for little vignettes of around 100 words. I want to credit you so please give the name as you'd like to be credited. The state or province where you live would also be nice.

Whenever possible, I like to share your stories with a huge readership. This will be an article for HealthCentral.com so your stories will help a lot of people.

Thanks to all of my dedicated readers, caregivers, seniors, spouses and loved ones.

Blessings,

Carol

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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


8 Tips to Help Caregivers Improve Their New Year

Relax3In the New Year, because your loved one’s situation hasn’t changed, you might think that nothing can improve your own situation. But if you are open to change, you may find that the symbolism of the New Year does offer opportunities to make your life better. Resolve to improve your life through better self-care.

View entire slideshow about caregiver self-care on HealthCentral:

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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


Embarrassing Social Behavior Can Stem from a Number of Causes

AgressionDear Carol: My dad has always been blunt with his words and loud when he’s unhappy with some service but lately he’s become publically belligerent over the slightest irritation. I find this humiliating. A recent example was when we went to a fairly nice restaurant and there was a spot on his spoon. It was just a water spot and could have been wiped off, but he made a huge scene. The waiter apologized and brought him clean silverware but Dad kept shouting that this is no way to run a business. I wanted to crawl under the table. Is this just old age affecting him? He’s 76 and he can’t drive anymore because of his eyes so we try to help out. I’m not sure what to do about his behavior or if there’s anything that I can do. What would you suggest other than not take him out in public, which, I’ll admit, we have considered.  GE

Read complete column on Inforum about embarrassing behavior from parents:

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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


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

DrivingFor 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 complete article on HealthCentral about helping elders give up driving when it becomes necessary:

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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


Restructuring Life After Caregiving Ends

CaregiverGroupDear Carol: I helped my mom take care of dad for years after he’d had a stroke. Dad died last year and Mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his death. Apparently, she had cancer symptoms for some time but was so focused on dad that she didn’t follow up on her own health. Mom died last month under the care of a wonderful hospice organization, but now I am lost. I’m divorced and never had children. Caregiving was my life for over ten years. I have enough money not to have to work so I just sit and watch TV, not even registering what I'm watching. I once thought I’d travel but now I have no desire to do so. I understand that I need to build a new life for myself but I don’t even know where to start. How do people “recover” from caregiving once it’s over? MB

Read more on Inforum about how to help yourself find a new normal after caregiving ends:

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Depression: How Big of a Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Is It?

Depression7It seems that there’s always something new popping up in a headline stating that this condition or that disease increases our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While the constant barrage of negative information can be frustrating, it’s simply a byproduct of the intense research being done to discover the cause or causes of Alzheimer’s. That’s all good. For people with depression, however, seeing their illness on lists for traits that make them more likely to develop AD is worrisome. How seriously should people with depression take this information about which they can do little?

Read more on HealthCentral about how depression can increase your dementia risk:

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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


Recognizing Elder’s Life Legacy Strategy to Cope with Loved One’s Decline

TimeDear Carol: The New Year is arriving and I’m trying desperately to make my annual list of things that I’m happy about and the things that I want to improve on. This year I’m struggling. My once healthy mom had a sudden, massive stroke in October and is now in a nursing home. She’s always been vibrant, both physically and mentally, as well as a kind, loving mother and grandmother. Her volunteer work is a local legend. Now, she’s barely able to speak beyond a mumble.  She can’t eat without help. Her mind is muddled and the doctor says that she is unlikely to improve. When I look at her I feel my memories of her, as she was, disappear and I feel sorry for myself.  I feel guilty about my self-pity because I know that this should all be about her, but I can’t help it. All I can see is the horrible present Mom’s past fades away. How do I get anything positive out of this New Year knowing that Mom’s future is so bleak? KW

Read more on Inforum about the importance of recognizing an elder's life legacy:

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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

 


New Year’s Resolutions: How About Caring for the Caregiver?

CoffeeCupHow long has it been since you asked for help – hired or volunteer – so that you can be your own person for just a bit of time? Too, long, I suspect. This is a new year, which makes it a good time psychologically for an attitude adjustment on your part. Changing your attitude toward your caregiving responsibilities doesn't mean that you don't love the person you are caring for as much as ever. Changing your attitude may even be evidence, once you think about it, of the depth of your love.

Read more on Agingcare about adjusting your attitude to make more room for self-care:

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

 


Should You Pressure Mom and Dad to Move Closer to You?

 Airplane
...Often the adult children need to travel south to handle sudden hospitalizations or other emergencies. This causes problems with jobs and kids at home. So they beg their parents to come "back home." Parents balk. "This is my home, now. I don't want to leave my friends. I don't want to leave my church. I don't want to live in the cold and risk a fall on the ice." Then there's the reverse...

Read full article on Agingcare about whether or not to convince elders to "move back home"

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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