Faith Feed

Is Validation Therapy for Dementia Calming or Condescending?

Caregiving4People with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia often live in an altered reality that doesn't mesh with ours; yet their perceptions are as real to them as our perceptions are to us. That's a tough concept for many adult children and spouses of people with dementia to absorb. Validation of our loved one's reality is very often the kindest, most respectful response to their altered world that we can provide. In order to offer that validation without coming across as condescending, we need to understand the reason behind "therapeutic fibbing"—as validation therapy is sometimes called.

Read full article on Agingcare about validation therapy and how it helps people living with dementia:

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What Is Palliative Care and How Is It Different from Hospice?

HospitalPalliativeHospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness.

Read full article on Agingcare about the difference between hospice and palliative care:

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


Major Changes Like Moving Can Set Back Health of Some Elders

MovingDear Carol: My mother’s memory has gotten very poor, her arthritis puts her at risk for falls, and she has severe asthma, so she decided that she’d be better off in assisted living.  My brother and I were in agreement and we went with Mom to look at available facilities. We were thrilled with what we thought was the perfect home. Since the move, though, Mom has lost interest in everything. She won’t do her once cherished crossword puzzles, even when I bring the newest ones published. Her magazines pile up unread. She won’t participate in any of the interesting activities that the facility offers and has to be begged to go to group meals. It’s like she pulling in on herself. We have to sell her house to continue paying for her assisted living, but now my brother and I feel guilty. What if she wants to go back to her old home? She says, no, that’s not what she wants. She likes feeling safe. Yet she shows no interest in life. To be fair, this was coming on long before the move, but it’s worse now. How do we handle the situation? Tim

Read full article on Inforum about how moving can affect someone with Alzheimer's:

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 Some Caregivers Relieve Stress According to Study

Prayer3As a longtime family caregiver who provided, and continues to provide, differing levels of care for loved ones with illnesses, I can attest to the fact that caregiving can be unimaginably stressful. For dementia caregivers, the stress is even more extreme. Only lately have we seen the results of studies that have followed family caregivers. One of the most scientific, in that it uses hard physical evidence, was published last spring. The study, by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging, showed that caregivers may have their life span shortened by four to eight years.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how faith helps many caregivers:

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“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


Recovery from Double Grief May Require Professional Care

CryingWomanDear Carol: My mom passed away a month ago from a major stroke. Since her death, I seem to either be in a fog or collapsing into tears. My sister, Carolyn, had been caring for mom until two years ago, but then Carolyn had a sudden heart attack and died. She was only 43. Mom then came to live with us. Mom had COPD and heart disease. My husband has always been a rock of support and love and my two kids have handled Mom's death well. They are trying to help me even though they, too, are grieving their aunt and their grandma.  I’m the one who is a mess. I miss my mom more than I ever thought possible. My grief seems to be more consuming than that of other caregivers who’ve lost a parent. I’m not sure what to do with my overwhelming feelings.  I’m not even sure what I’m asking for except that I need guidance. SC

Read full column on Inforum about buried grief and fresh grief:

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


Don't Let Ageism Skew Common Sense: Aging Bodies Often House Strong Minds

ElderlyManCaneToo much emphasis on the negative aspects of aging has encouraged society to believe that all older people are on the verge of dementia and a drain on families and the economy rather than a treasured resource of wisdom and experience. Yes, aging brains think differently. Recall slows and those frustrating times when a word escapes the aging brain become more frequent. Aging bodies may become more prone to disease, causing these little cognitive slips to arouse even more suspicion among family members. 

Read full article on HealthCentral about how judging elders by a few external frailties is a big mistake:

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


Recovering from the Guilt of Placing a Loved One in a Home

Comfort3Of course, we don't always make the right call regarding every circumstance. But we do our best. I'd hazard a guess that the most painful decision for most of us to make is whether or not it's in our loved one's best interests to place him or her in a nursing home. If it is also in our best interest, then the guilt looms even larger.

Read more on Agingcare about wondering if placing someone in a home was a mistake:

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 


Alzheimer's: What Is Really in Your Control?

Meditation3When it comes to Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the sad reality is that there is no cure. But a significant number of people have an increased risk due to genetics, and everyone has an increased risk as they age...What do we do, just give up and give in? Or do we look for ways that may give us a better chance to get through our last years without signs and symptoms of this devastating disease? I say let’s fight. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have determined that winning may be possible. Some people will develop the disease no matter what they do but, according to these researchers’ latest study, there are everyday factors that may influence our risk of developing dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s.

Read full article about what you can do that may help prevent or delay Alzheimer's:

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


Restructuring Life After Caregiving Ends

CaregiverGroupDear Carol: I helped my mom take care of dad for years after he’d had a stroke. Dad died last year and Mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his death. Apparently, she had cancer symptoms for some time but was so focused on dad that she didn’t follow up on her own health. Mom died last month under the care of a wonderful hospice organization, but now I am lost. I’m divorced and never had children. Caregiving was my life for over ten years. I have enough money not to have to work so I just sit and watch TV, not even registering what I'm watching. I once thought I’d travel but now I have no desire to do so. I understand that I need to build a new life for myself but I don’t even know where to start. How do people “recover” from caregiving once it’s over? MB

Read more on Inforum about how to help yourself find a new normal after caregiving ends:

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Recognizing Elder’s Life Legacy Strategy to Cope with Loved One’s Decline

TimeDear Carol: The New Year is arriving and I’m trying desperately to make my annual list of things that I’m happy about and the things that I want to improve on. This year I’m struggling. My once healthy mom had a sudden, massive stroke in October and is now in a nursing home. She’s always been vibrant, both physically and mentally, as well as a kind, loving mother and grandmother. Her volunteer work is a local legend. Now, she’s barely able to speak beyond a mumble.  She can’t eat without help. Her mind is muddled and the doctor says that she is unlikely to improve. When I look at her I feel my memories of her, as she was, disappear and I feel sorry for myself.  I feel guilty about my self-pity because I know that this should all be about her, but I can’t help it. All I can see is the horrible present Mom’s past fades away. How do I get anything positive out of this New Year knowing that Mom’s future is so bleak? KW

Read more on Inforum about the importance of recognizing an elder's life legacy:

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