Guilt Feed

DEAR CAROL: My wife has had a stroke that’s left her mostly paralyzed on one side. She can’t speak well... Read more →


Dear 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. Read more →


Family caregiving is more of an art than a science. Most people who take on the challenge of family caregiving do the best that they can under their unique circumstances, yet, they often receive criticism, sadly even from other caregivers. How can family caregivers who are already doing so much for their love one(s) weather criticism from outsiders about how they provide care? Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother has Parkinson’s disease but still lived alone in the family home until she took a bad fall. Now, she needs around the clock care so we’ve moved her to a nearby nursing home. The care is good, so that part is fine, but her home must be sold which means that I, the only adult child nearby, must clean it out. This is a large home with four bedrooms, all of which have somehow filled up with “stuff.” The basement is packed. The decisions about where to start are overwhelming. Sometimes I just want to dump everything, but this is the home where my parents lived and where my brother and I grew up and there are things of value buried beneath the junk. I know that I need to hire help but I also know that I must make many of the decisions myself. Where do I start? – DG Read more →


Over the past several decades, I’ve been a care provider for many people. Most of my care receivers were elderly, including one neighbor, an aunt, an uncle, two in-laws and two parents. Each one needed varying amounts of care across different settings. Through it all, though, I’ve had a hard time accepting the label of caregiver. My experiences growing up in a multi-generational household may be one reason why I struggled with this concept.  Read more →


Every person who becomes a caregiver will have unique personality traits, yet we nearly always share certain feelings and experiences as we travel a road similar to one another. That’s one reason that caregivers often turn to other caregivers for support. It’s a version of the adage that we need to walk in another’s shoes in order to truly understand what they feel. Read more →


I  am the eldest of four children. I am our nearly 85-year-old mother’s healthcare surrogate and have for decades, paid all her living expenses. In the last few years, her memory has steadily declined. Her personality has changed and she has been physically assaultive and verbally abusive to people in public as well as to all of us. She is intelligent and able to “present well” in front of her physician when she sees him for ten minutes. However, at her senior center, she has had to be subdued by the police, taken in an ambulance for “heart” problems that are due to hysterical screaming and behavior. Read more →


Nearly everyone involved in caring for aging loved ones is experiencing grief. Often, however, we're not aware of this grief. We have a parent who used to be strong and capable begin to ask for a little assistance. No big deal, right? We're happy to help. But underneath, often unnoticed, there's a knot in our hearts. We're grieving the loss – the loss of function that made our parent need to ask for help. Weren't they the ones who helped us? Read more →


Can caregivers get so drawn into the world of the care receiver that their mental health is at risk? I received a private email from a reader that made me think more deeply about this possibility. The reader said she’d been caring for her mother in her mother’s home for three years. The mother has middle stage Alzheimer’s and can be quite "creative" about reality. Read more →