Empathy for Seniors Feed

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


9 Tips for Visiting Elders At Home or In a Facility

VisitingwomanLoneliness can be a plague for the elderly and ill. Yet visiting with someone who doesn’t feel well, and may have limited cognition, can be tricky. Some nervousness or reluctance is natural, but a few considerations can help to make the visit go smoothly.

View slide show on HealthCentral about visiting:

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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


Managing Diabetes Helps Prevent Cognitive Decline

BlueberriesHugeAn article on the UCSF website reports on a 9-year long study by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the San Francisco VA Medical Center. The Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study enrolled 3,069 adults over 70 at two community clinics in Memphis, TN and Pittsburgh, PA beginning in 1997. All the patients provided periodic blood samples and took regular cognitive tests over time. 

Continue reading about how managing diabetes helps reduce cognitive decline:

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Loneliness May Increase Dementia Risk, Heart Attacks and Stroke

LonetreeA study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry has found that people who feel lonely are significantly more at risk for developing dementia. The study, headed by Tjalling Jan Holwerda of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found that participants who reported feeling lonely, no matter how many friends and family surrounded them, were more likely to experience dementia than those who didn’t feel lonely. 

Read more on HealthCentral about loneliness and dementia risk:

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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.

Read more on Inforum about chronic complainers:

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


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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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


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


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?

Read more on HealthCentral about choosing a good care facility:

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


8 Summer Excursions for Elders and Their Caregivers

PaintingParkSummer is a time when it’s generally easier for elders to be out and about than when snow and ice are an issue. Even if our loved ones have dementia, severe arthritislung issues or a combination of ailments, there are things we, their caregivers, can do to relieve a sense of being left out of life that can affect people in their situation.

Continue reading on HealthCentral about summer outings for our elders:

Find local resources for walk-in tubs:

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