Family Feed

What to Say, and What Not To Say, to People Who Are Grieving

Hands15It's difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about communicating with grieving friends and family:

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!


Tax Expert Tips for Family Caregivers

ChristopherChericoMany family caregivers use a significant amount of their own money to cover the needs of the person for whom they are caring. Often, these expenses are seemingly small, but they can add up. Sometimes, these expenses are enormous, especially for spousal caregivers. Costs can range from simple personal items to charges for adult day services. Either way, caregivers should develop a method of tracking these expenses. One reason is that, for some, the expenses could be taken off of their taxes.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about taxes and parent care:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman  *Great Christmas gift!


Mismanaged Prescription Drugs May Create Dementia-Like Symptoms

Medication8Dear Carol: My mom was drugged into dementia. She started out having a thyroid problem, but she kept developing more illnesses and receiving more prescriptions. The prescriptions ranged from her thyroid medication, which was necessary, to anti-depressants, anti-anxiety pills, and counting until she was eventually put in a psych ward. There, she was prescribed Alzheimer’s medications and then moved to the memory unit of an assisted living facility where she was medicated with antipsychotics. To shorten the story, I have Power Of Attorney so I moved from one coast to the other in order to be with my mother and fight to get her well. I read your work religiously and know that you tell people to watch their elders’ medications. Please keep doing that. My mom is now living with me and takes just three necessary drugs. She’s again going to her art class, seeing friends, and enjoying life. NM

Read full column on Inforum about why we need to be careful with prescriptions drugs, especially with older people:

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!

 


Making Holidays Special for Your Elders No Matter Where They Live

  Christmas10Even though holidays can be fraught with stress because of societal expectations that they should be happy no matter what our circumstances, most of us have happy memories of celebrations when we were young. Our parents were in charge, and kids were the focus. As our parents age and can no longer be in charge of celebrations, the duties tend to fall to adult children. Our heart's desire is to provide a way for our aging parents to enjoy the holidays, but their circumstances can make that challenging. First and foremost, however, remember that it's your presence that is the most important thing. That, and helping your parents to feel included in whatever way they can participate.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how to make Christmas special for your loved ones:

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!


Was Your Thanksgiving Day a Dress Rehearsal?

FatherDaughterThanksgiving is over, and hopefully, most of you who are caregivers were able to enjoy helping your elder celebrate to whatever degree they could. Some of you will have had cheery loved ones, while others just “made it through the day.” Often, with elders who are frail or sick, we really don’t know what a day will bring. When I had multiple elders living in multiple places, each holiday was a challenge. I wanted to give everyone the holidays they were used to, and that, of course, was impossible. Therefore, I was hard on myself.

Read full article on Eldercarelink about how Thanksgiving can affect caregivers:

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!


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!


Sleep Expert Tells How to Tame the Insomnia That Can Come with Age

SleepProblemsAccording to the National Sleep Foundation, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. The foundation states that as people age, they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. Knowing this, and knowing about the common thinking that adults need less sleep as they age, HealthCentral asked Dr. Martha Cortes some questions via email about aging and sleep.

Read more about aging and sleep issues on HealthCentral:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman     *Great Christmas gift!

 


Gratitude can replace resentment with time, patience, and homework

LoneEagleDear Carol: My mother suffered a series of small strokes that contributed to increasing disability. Since I’m divorced with grown kids, I retired early and had mom move in with me. This worked for nearly five years before a massive stroke made it evident that I needed to move her to a nursing home. Mom lived there for less than six months before she died. Sometimes, I’m overwhelmed by guilt over moving her, even though the care that she received was excellent. I tell myself that if I would have stuck with it six more months Mom could have been with me the whole time. Then I swing to resentment. I’m financially strapped from retiring early and constantly worry about money. It seems few of my feelings are positive or even sensible. I know time should help, but I'm tired of spinning my wheels and want to take some kind of action to get back on track. What can I do? CL

Read the full column on Inforum about getting over guilt through finding gratitude:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman     Great 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!