Empathy for Seniors Feed

Dear Carol: My dad has aggressive prostate cancer that has spread to his liver and bones. His oncologist isn’t very communicative and when I asked about hospice care he said that’s up to us. He told us that Dad won’t get better but that he can keep treating him if we want. The treatments make Dad miserable. If they won’t help, what’s the point? I feel strongly that Dad needs hospice care and have been trying to talk my mom into it but she’s dragging her feet. How do we go about getting the service? Which one do we choose? Will Mom have to go on Medicaid to get it paid for? This is her biggest fear. – ST Read more →


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 →


Sometimes a person with Alzheimer’s disease has to be placed in a nursing home. At this point, the caregiver’s job switches from day-to-day care to being an advocate. While this is a different role, it is a very important since your interactions with staff will help guide your loved one’s care.  These tips can help build relationships with the staff who now are responsible for the day-to-day care. 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 →


Whether or not it’s a conscious thought, many of us look at a new year as a time to make changes in our lives. We become energized for a few days. However, most of us are quickly caught up in routine. Whether or not we like the routine, it’s familiar, and the status quo often provides the path of least resistance. Therefore, even if we’re stuck in a life that’s not satisfying, we stay with the familiar. Change seems too hard. This is a glaring truth that most caregivers recognize. Read more →


It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. Read more →


Dear Carol: This January marks one year since my mother died. My dad adored her, as we all did, but he’s having a harder time adjusting than we kids, which I suppose is to be expected. Mom had cancer but her treatments proved to be ineffective so she eventually went on hospice care. With hospice helping, Mom was coherent during the holidays last year. We got through it though, and dad did admirably well, considering the circumstances. I think he kept up a front for Mom’s sake. Once she died, which was mid-month, he fell apart and had only marginally recovered before this year’s holidays approached. The family struggled through a low key Thanksgiving and Christmas, but with the New Year and mom’s death anniversary coming up, I’m afraid for Dad. Though he made an effort over Christmas for the grandchildren, he’s now become depressed and withdrawn. I know that suicide is an issue for older people. I don't think he's that bad, yet, but I’m scared. – FM Read more →


Adult children are right to be aware of their parents’ physical and mental changes since there’s no way to stop the aging process. However, as a columnist on caregiving and a forum moderator, I’m seeing something very scary happening far too often. Ageism is overtaking common sense and respect. The fact that someone is over 65, and perhaps has arthritis and controlled high blood pressure, does not make this person cognitively unstable. Dementia doesn’t necessarily step in even after – gasp! – age 70. 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 →


Talking with our elderly loved ones about how and where they would choose to live their remaining years can be more than awkward. It can be frightening. For many, it’s not as much the fear of the elders’ reactions to our words as it is an effort to preserve our own denial. If we don’t voice the fact that our parents are aging and may eventually need assistance, and then, yes, die — it won’t happen. This is a version of covering our eyes when we were small and saying “you can’t see me.” Read more →