Empathy for Caregivers Feed

For many of us, the word "home" signifies refuge, safety, caring and warmth –a sanctuary where we belong. It's a place that we know is waiting for us at the end of our daily journey into the sometimes cold and uncaring world.  The actual location of our home may be dynamic rather than static—ever-changing as our personal world changes. Yet the meaning of home remains the same: a place of comfort. Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad came to live with my family after of a series of strokes. The doctors think he has a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s which seems to make him unable to tell the difference between real life and TV. He gets angry if I put the TV remote where he can’t use it, and I can understand that, but way too often, after I get him set up with something that he’ll like, he starts fooling with the remote and ends up watching a violent movie, or even the news, and he thinks he right in the thick of it. As you can imagine, this causes chaos. How do I control this without taking away his right to choose? – CL Read more →


If 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. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. Read more →


Accused 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? Read more →


If you are caring for a parent or spouse who doesn’t recognize you for who you are, that doesn’t mean your efforts are unappreciated. Know that on some level, your love is understood. Celebrate that.If you have rushed around like a wild person trying to make a perfect holiday happen for your family, well, today you are done, no matter where you are in the process. Celebrate that. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home following a series of strokes and, thankfully, the facility is relatively close so I can visit daily. I’ve decorated Mom’s room for Christmas and I bring her Christmas treats to share with others. Dad also spends time each day with Mom. My quandary is that I have a husband and teenage children at home. Mom says she doesn’t have the energy to come to our home for Christmas day and, frankly, I don’t know how we’d manage the wheelchair with all of our steps, anyway. Dad will eat with Mom, but I still feel like I’m letting my parents down by not having them join us as they have in the past. I can’t think of anything that I could do differently, but I still feel guilty. How do I pull out of the funk and provide my husband and kids with a cheerful day? – GR Read more →


The decisions caregivers of elderly loved ones must make during the Christmas holidays are fraught with opportunities to make mistakes in judgment. Chief among them is how much to include a loved one who has dementia in the festivities. Will the Christmas tree bring Mom happy memories of past Christmas pleasures or will it remind her of the Christmas tree fire in her home when she was a five-year-old child? Will the gathering of loving relatives bring her a feeling of being loved and cared for or will she suffer from horrible anxiety because of all of these people who have become strangers? Read more →


There's an image of holiday perfection that our culture encourages. Starting with Thanksgiving, we are inundated with fantasy images of perfect families happily enjoying each other's company during a holiday meal. Most of us have memories from our childhood that feed this drive toward the Norman Rockwell nostalgia of holidays past. If we lived it, we want to duplicate it. If we didn't, we want to create it.  Read more →


It’s easy to feel grateful when life is going well, and certainly, it’s desirable to acknowledge life at its best with appropriate gratitude. What’s not easy is finding gratitude when life hard. Is it even realistic to try? Yes. Discovering gratitude during difficult times can be a giant step toward peace. Read more →


An ongoing concern for many older adults, as well as their adult children, is whether they really need to pay for the services of an attorney when planning for their finances and health care in old age. This is a valid question, and people of modest means often feel that they can’t afford an attorney. However, the reality is that many elder care problems faced by families can be avoided by consulting an attorney before their loved one needs any form of care. Read more →