Empathy for Caregivers Feed

Coping with Criticism from the Loved One You Care For

CryingWomanOne day my dad, who had dementia caused by a failed brain surgery, said to me, “You used to be a better office manager,” (one of my validating roles for him).  I choked back tears as I said, “Dad, I’m doing the best I can.” He looked up at me, his eyes suddenly clear and lucid, and said “Yes, I know.” Then, he quickly returned to his world of dementia. I keep that precious moment tucked away in my heart to bring forth when I, myself, need validation that at the bottom of it all, my loved ones knew I did my best. 

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Caregiving Rewards Can Outlast Challenges

LookingDistanceCaregivers of elderly or disabled loved ones work hard. There’s no getting around the sacrifices of time, energy, private life and often financial wellbeing that caregivers, be it family or professional, often make. However, the rewards that accompany this self-sacrifice can be priceless.   With a caregiving history involving decades of caring for multiple loved ones, I know quite a bit about the hard times as well as the blessings of caregiving. Yet, because I’m an eldercare columnist, I receive letters from individuals who have caregiving responsibilities far beyond anything I’ve ever imagined. 

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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


Tales From a Veteran Caregiver of Multiple Elders

LakeIt’s been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories” and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com.When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver “in the trenches” stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival.

Continue reading on HealthCentral about how a veteran caregiver survived:

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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


Male Caregivers Need Unique Support

ViewaloneTraditionally, most men have a harder time sharing feelings and emotions than women do. They seek medical advice less often than women and they tend to resist attending specialized support groups more than women. While the trend for younger men may be leading them toward a more open way of communicating, it’s the older generation whose wives have developed Alzheimer’s that is faced with caregiving. These men are often uncomfortable sharing confidences with people who they view as outsiders.

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Elders May Use Complaints to Boost Sense of Control

StormywaterDear Carol: Over the last several years I’ve been helping my mother stay in her apartment but we finally decided together that she’d be safer in assisted living. I work a full week and she has mild memory issues so this seemed like a good solution. She never seemed pleased with our prior arrangement anyway, so I had high hopes for this move. Last month she moved into a lovely assisted living facility but she’s still complaining. Before, I never could do anything right. Now the staff is terrible and I’m no better. All I want is for Mom to be somewhat content. She was never an easy person to live with, but she was a decent mother. What can I do to improve her mood?  E.A.C.

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White House Conference on Aging Part 2: Help for Aging Boomers

I WhiteHousen part 1 of the two part White House Conference on Aging series, I focused on the new website launched by Health and Human Services at aging.gov. This website should make it far easier for people in various states to get access to their community resources. Below I’ve given a brief overview of other caregiver centric topics covered at the conference.

Continue reading on HealthCentral about additional caregiving news from the conference:

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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


Terminally Ill? Where We Live Can Affect Aggressiveness of Treatment

Prayer-10021187You’ve had an advanced health directive, often called a living will, drawn up along with your other legal documents. This vital document tells medical people how you should be treated if you can’t speak for yourself. It also names a health proxy to speak for you. This advanced directive is also included in a Power Of Attorney for health. You congratulate yourself on getting this task done. You’re confident that your wishes will be followed no matter what happens to your health.

Read more on HealthCentral about how where you live may affect your end-of-life care:

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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


White House Conference on Aging Part 1: Finding Local Services

WhiteHouseConverenceThe White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA), held July 13, 2015, brought together 200 experts and advocates from around the country. These professionals and volunteers from many related fields were challenged to examine the problems and opportunities we, as a country with an enormous number of caregivers and aging boomers, face.

Read more on HealthCentral about the launch of a great new government website:

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Choosing a Care Facility? Listen To Your Gut

Picnic2 People often ask what to look for when choosing an assisted living facility or a nursing home for a loved one. There are grading sites such as the Medicare Nursing Home Guide, found on Medicare.gov, and I suggest you use them. However, there are many things that go into good care that can’t be measured on a chart. In order to see the heart of a facility, you need to spend some time there. Observe routines and pay attention to the atmosphere. What is your gut feeling about the place?

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Caregiving: Unearned Guilt Intrinsic To the Job

DepressedIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt.

Read more on HealthCentral about how caregivers suffer from unearned guilt:

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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