Grief Feed

Caregivers May Have to Work Hard to Recover Positive Memories

OldermanTHinkStock Dear Carol: My husband and I were teenage sweethearts and married right out of college. While we experienced bumps along the road, I’d say our marriage of over 40 years was exceptional – or was until my husband developed Lewy body dementia. The dramatic personality change that this disease caused was devastating for us both. The worst part for him was that, at least in the beginning, he would realize that he had become verbally abusive and hated himself for it. For me, it was because this wonderful man that I married began to scream that me he never loved me and that I should go away. My husband died a year ago, and I’m still having trouble remembering the good times before LBD. I’m seeing a counselor and though I still struggle that is helping. I just wanted to write to let other people know that they aren’t alone if they are burdened with this same issue. – Gin

Read full column on Inforum about how difficult it can be to claw back through years of pain to recover positive memories:

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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


Living While Dying: A Short Film Featuring Role Models for Dying Well

CathyZheutlinCreditEdisJurcys2Death. For some, it signals the beginning of a more perfect life. For others, it is the end. Ultimately, for everyone, death is part of the life cycle and no amount of medical intervention will change that. Filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin became fascinated by the way that different cultures and religions view the death experience, and in the process, she has made a remarkable film titled Living While Dying, which features people who are going through that process and their varying emotions.

Read full article and view powerful short video on HealthCentral about living while dying:

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 

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Families Can Take the Brunt of Elder Rage

AgressionIt's not really news that people tend to be their worst with the people they love. Generally, this is thought to be the case because people feel safe enough with family to just "let it all hang out." Their anger at their circumstances, which may or may not have to do with these family members, is the real cause. Other times, the behavior is because the person has an abusive personality with deeper problems lurking. Whatever the reason, it's not good. We owe the people we love our best selves. Not our "dressed for company" selves, but our compassionate, honest selves. However, most humans are imperfect creatures. They will take out their frustrations on people they feel won't desert them.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how some elders can abuse their caregivers:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


5 Positive Effects of Providing Long-term Care

MomDaughter ...Compassion: While I like to think that I’ve always been a compassionate person, and I believe that maturity adds increased compassion to most of us simply because we’ve seem more suffering,caregiving can take compassion even farther. When we witness the suffering that many of our loved ones go through for weeks, months or even years before they die, we can’t help but have compassion for them and for others who suffer.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving can affect people in a positive manner:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


When a Loved One With Dementia Thinks You're Stealing

AngryWomanAccused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem?

View the slideshow on HealthCentral about when a loved one thinks that you are stealing:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


When One Parent Dies the Survivor's Need for Assistance Often Becomes More Apparent

ManGrandfatherLong-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 article on Agingcare about how to help the surviving parent continue on:

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10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning

NightskyMany people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior:

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to better handle sundowning in people living with Alzheimer's:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Joining In Loved One's Dementia World Makes Life Better for All

Alzheimers_elder_caregiver6Dear Carol:  My father has Lewy body dementia and he hallucinates, which I understand is part of the disease. I was raised to not lie. Your writing, as well as articles on the Alzheimer’s Association website and that of many medical people, seems to advocate lying to your parents or spouse once they have dementia. When my dad tells me that he sees people in the garden who aren’t there and wants to know what he should do, I get frustrated. I tell him that no one is there and that he’s imagining it. Then he gets upset and insists that two people are out there. Next, I get mad because he won’t believe that no one is out there. I don’t want to lie. What should I do? Lana

Read more on Inforum about how joining our loved ones in their world can help everyone connect:

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


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

Comfort15It’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 slideshow on HealthCentral about how to comfort others who are grieving:

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


Pain Medication for Older Patients Must be Carefully Chosen and Closely Monitored

Medical_tablets_03_hd_pictures_168380Dear Carol: My dad has Alzheimer’s. Recently, he had a bad fall and needed to be hospitalized. Dad was given Dilaudid for pain, but the drug affected his dementia so badly that I begged them to take him off of it. The hospitalist agreed, and they found something else for the pain, but he still hasn’t improved. It’s been two weeks and Dad's dementia is off the charts. The staff said that he may still improve, but that we must remember that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease so he may simply be getting worse because of the disease. This change was so sudden that I can’t buy this thinking. Is there anything that I can do? – FT

Read full article on Inforum about how drugs can affect elders, especially during hospitalization:

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