Empathy for Seniors Feed

Minding our Elders: Accepting Reality Precedes Feeling Gratitude

OlderManDEAR CAROL: My wife has had a stroke that’s left her mostly paralyzed on one side. She can’t speak well and she cries often. We’re in our 70s and have spent our lives as active church people. In fact, we’ve done our share of visiting hospitals and nursing homes representing the church. We’ve told people that what they are facing is their reality and that we will pray for them. We’ve told them to be grateful for what they have. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m having a difficult time feeling grateful for anything at all. Instead, I feel angry, exhausted, frustrated and frightened. How could I have been such a hypocrite all of these years? – Roger

Read full article on Inforum about accepting reality to find your way to gratitude: 

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


Family Conversations: Where Do Your Parents Want to Live Their Last Years?

FamilyconversationTalking 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 full article on HealthCentral about talking with your parents about their wishes:

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


When One Parent Dies the Other Often Needs a Caregiver

Depression9Long-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gaps is gone, and those gaps can suddenly look like chasms.

Read full column on Agingcare about helping the survivor get back to life:

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


Communicating with Elders Who Cannot Speak

OlderCouple3Many elders who have suffered strokes or have dementia are not capable verbal communication. If they are confined to a nursing home, often people are reluctant to visit, as the visitor doesn't know what to say or do. People stay away out of fear. Here are some tips to communicate with those who can't speak.

There are ways to communicate with an elder who can't speak. If you are visiting someone who you don't know intimately, it's good to ask family members or those who care for the person what that person likes.

Read full article on Eldercarelink about communicating with loved ones who cannot speak:

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


Touchy Sibling Communication About Alzheimer’s May Benefit from Professional Input

WetdryDear Carol: My mom is in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s so she needs gentle reminders to accomplish things, as well as compassion when her view of reality is off track. I’ve learned a lot from the Alzheimer’s Association, as well as from reading your work and that of others, about how we should interact with people like Mom. She lives in a nursing home and the staff is excellent with her, so I learn from them, too. When my siblings visit, they boss mom around and contradict her all the time, yet they won’t listen to me when I try to explain how to interact with her. It’s depressing for me to watch them do this, and distressing enough for Mom that she deteriorates when they are here. They do love her and say that they’ll try to do better, but as soon as they come back it starts all over. How do I get through to them that they are hurting her? RT

Read full column on Inforum about communicating with siblings when they don't understand:

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


A Day to Honor All Veterans Past and Present

VeteransDayMichelleMalkinCreditOn this day I think of all veterans who've served our country, but of course I feel the closest to my loved ones: My dad (U.S. Army); my two uncles (one in the U.S. Army Air Corps which became the U.S. Air Force, one in the U.S. Army - he survived being a WWII POW); my brother (U.S. Army); my nephew (U.S. Army); and my partner and love (U.S. Navy). While these veterans' political views cover a wide spectrum, they are all patriots who served with honor and pride. Thank you to all veterans, and extra love to my personal heroes on this day - your day. 

Photo credit: Michelle Malkin

 


Questions to Ask an In-Home Care Agency

InhomeCaregiverChoosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about tips on choosing an in-home care agency:

“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

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


Lewy Body Dementia: Caregivers Share Their Personal Experiences

FatherDaughter9...As with most types of dementia, family members are the primary caregivers by default, at least at the beginning of the disease. They are usually the people who notice that something is not right with their spouse or parent. Again, like Alzheimer’s and most other types of dementia, care needs escalate with time. This ongoing care can be physically arduous and emotionally demanding.

Jeanne Gibbs, whose husband had LBD, illustrates her husband’s state of mind with the scenario below, which she handled like a pro:

Sometimes (but certainly not always!) the cause confusion in dementia can be determined and dealt with.

I worked at home to support us. One day my husband, Coy, was waiting for a rain-delayed baseball playoff game, and he came into my office. Coy: Do we have umbrellas for both of us? Me: Umm… for what purpose?

Read full article on HealthCentral about caregivers and their partners who live with LBD:

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


Tips to Reduce Loneliness in Elders around the Holidays

Christmas17It's human to feel that holidays should be happy times, with generations of traditions coming to the forefront. After all, we say we celebrate holidays. Doesn't that mean happiness? The reality, however, is that many people can feel isolated and lonely during this sometimes forced "season of goodwill."  
Elders can have an especially hard time with the holiday season. While aging and maturity can bring the wisdom of years for many people, there are inevitable losses that come to even the most healthy individuals. Many of these losses are emotional and social in nature. Spouses become ill or die. Other aging relatives and friends become seriously ill or die. Neighborhoods change, often leaving even those well enough to remain in their own homes feeling friendless and isolated. The holidays can bring this isolation and a feeling of loneliness to a head.

Read the full article on Agingcare about what you can do to reduce loneliness in elders during the holidays:

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


Capgras Syndrome: Coping with a Loved One's Delusions

Grief1Capgras is a type of delusional misidentification syndrome (DMS) that may present due to any number of neurological diseases or psychiatric disorders. Although the exact prevalence of this disorder is unknown, a 1999 study estimates that it is present in between two and 30 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease. This disorder can seriously complicate a dementia patient’s quality of life and their caregivers’ efforts, so it is crucial to spread awareness of this little-known condition.

Read more on Agingcare about how delusions can be a part of Alzheimer's:

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