Empathy for Caregivers Feed

Dementia Death: Conflicting Emotions Are Normal for Caregivers After a Loved One Dies

Funeral“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head slumped to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy? Yes, I did. What I knew was this. Dad was finally released from the cage that had trapped his spirit over this last decade. 

Read the full article on HealthCentral about the emotional turmoil a caregiver can endure after the death of a loved one from dementia (or any long illness):

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 smile summit


5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships with Friends when Dementia Takes a Seat

Hands10Memory loss can be one of the first symptoms a person experiences with Alzheimer’s, and those living with Lewy body dementia may also become easily confused. These varied symptoms can make maintaining relationships more difficult, but friendships are no less important for people with dementia than for the rest of us. Maintaining relationships, however, especially among friends who are not pressured to continue involvement because of a new sense of duty over a person with dementia, can take work. This guide discusses how caregivers can help by educating willing visitors who want to be helpful but simply don’t know how to make a visit tolerable, let alone, meaningful.

Read full article on HealthCentral about maintaining friendships when dementia is a big part of life:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


How to Cope with An Elder Who Loves to Complain

Anxiety1You've taken your mom to the doctor and she's upset with you because the doctor's office was cold. You've helped your dad with the yard and he's annoyed that you didn't mow the grass in the right pattern. Why do many elders complain about everything you do? Much depends on the parents' personalities throughout life. If your parents were the bickering type and were always negative, this complaining may be the only way they know how to communicate. They may not even be aware how their attitude affects others. Since you grew up in their household you can ask yourself, "Is this how they always acted?"

Read full article on Agingcare about coping with an elder who loves to complain:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Helping in an Emergency Shouldn’t Tag Neighbor as Full-time Caregiver

ComputerFamilyDear Carol: I own a condominium in a building where two elderly sisters live. Though we didn’t spend time together we’d always been friendly and they seemed to have plenty of other friends, though no family. Three months ago, the youngest sister fell and needed to go to the emergency room. The older sister asked for my help so I called 9-1-1 and accompanied them.  I was happy to help, but now that the younger sister is home they have both grabbed on to me as their savior. They want rides to medical appointments, help with their checkbook, and even cleaning. I telecommute with work so, while I am home a lot, I don’t have much free time. It seems that the ladies’ declining health has scared away the other friends and suddenly I’m “it.” I feel trapped into being their caregiver and that’s not what I intended. How do I get out of this situation? – MB

Read full article on Inform about how to withdraw from feeling trapped into caregiving by a neighbor:

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

caregiver smile summit


Adult Child Doesn’t Need to Remain Target of Parent’s Misplaced Anger

StressedCaregiverDear Carol: My mother has always refused to take any medication even though she’s needed a prescription to control her blood pressure for years. Predictably, at 74, she had a massive stroke and now she will require around-the-clock care for the rest of her life. There is no sign of dementia. Mom’s in a nursing home and getting great care but she is extremely angry and she focuses that anger at me. I can’t provide the care that she needs at home, but I still feel guilty about placing her in a facility and she knows how to manipulate that guilt. I visit daily. I know that I’m doing all that I can, yet her anger gets to me and then I start resenting her. How do I change this? Donna

Read full column on Inforum about how to calm parent while caring for yourself:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

Minding Our Elders lets you know that you are not alone, that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done, You do the best you can, and that is good enough. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to have. What a gift she gave us. – CM Jones


Encourage Seniors to Stave Off Loneliness by Staying Active

Pool...That's just the problem. He helps out too much. Ann's dad had owned his own business and had employees. He was very successful. Ann's mom used to complain that after he retired, he wanted to run the house, but it didn't seem too serious. Then, when Ann's mom got sick, her dad's energy went into caregiving. He was a wonderful caregiver all the way through. At first, the move kept everyone busy, and the arrangement was new. But now, all of the "advice" is getting old. Ann's trying to be patient but doesn't know what to do with her dad.

Read full article on Agingcare about ways to keep elders busy:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


The Stigma of Dementia: Learning to Cope

Caregiving8People stare. Most are not unkind, they are just curious. But when someone "different" from the norm becomes part of their environment, they often gawk without thinking about or understanding how this affects others. Anyone who has cared for a disabled child or has a visible disability of their own knows this. However, people who care for an adult who lives with dementia may have more difficulty coping with the stares of the public because the person they are caring for was once their dignified father, a charismatic mother or our spouse. The pain of seeing others stare, not knowing how this person was robbed of his or her cognitive abilities, has the potential to bring out the defensive little brat that lies within each of us.

Read full article on Agingcare about coping with the stigma of dementia:

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


Joining In Loved One's Dementia World Makes Life Better for All

Alzheimers_elder_caregiver6Dear Carol:  My father has Lewy body dementia and he hallucinates, which I understand is part of the disease. I was raised to not lie. Your writing, as well as articles on the Alzheimer’s Association website and that of many medical people, seems to advocate lying to your parents or spouse once they have dementia. When my dad tells me that he sees people in the garden who aren’t there and wants to know what he should do, I get frustrated. I tell him that no one is there and that he’s imagining it. Then he gets upset and insists that two people are out there. Next, I get mad because he won’t believe that no one is out there. I don’t want to lie. What should I do? Lana

Read more on Inforum about how joining our loved ones in their world can help everyone connect:

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


Faith Helps Many Caregivers Relieve Stress According to Study

Prayer3Caregiving can mean that nothing seems to change as we go about our daily routines, endlessly keeping tabs on all that must be done for our vulnerable loved ones, yet knowing that the next moment a life threatening, or at least quality of life threatening, incident can occur at any minute. This combination of unchanging daily routine all the while staying in a fight or flight mode because of a possible crisis situation can be exhausting. The only way I have ever coped with these issues is through my faith—I am never alone. My deeply held sense of spirituality has given me relief from the endless routines of caregiving as well as life-changing crises. Somehow, my core belief has helped me as a caregiver.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how faith can help caregivers relieve stress:

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


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:

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