Mental Health Feed

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. One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others. Read more →


Then we have issues involving the brain. The stigma of any health problem connected to the brain may have improved over the years, but it has yet to disappear. The attitude that there is something particularly bad about diseases that affect the way a person thinks is particularly evident in the older population, yet the older population is where most dementia is found. For this reason, caregivers are often advised to take the loved one who may be having some potential cognitive issues to his or her primary physician as a first step. Read more →


For many of us, the word "home" signifies refuge, safety, caring and warmth –a sanctuary where we belong. It's a place that we know is waiting for us at the end of our daily journey into the sometimes cold and uncaring world.  The actual location of our home may be dynamic rather than static—ever-changing as our personal world changes. Yet the meaning of home remains the same: a place of comfort. Read more →


Whether or not it’s a conscious thought, many of us look at a new year as a time to make changes in our lives. We become energized for a few days. However, most of us are quickly caught up in routine. Whether or not we like the routine, it’s familiar, and the status quo often provides the path of least resistance. Therefore, even if we’re stuck in a life that’s not satisfying, we stay with the familiar. Change seems too hard. This is a glaring truth that most caregivers recognize. Read more →


If ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. Read more →


In the New Year, because your loved one’s situation hasn’t changed, you might think that nothing can improve your own situation. But if you are open to change, you may find that the symbolism of the New Year does offer opportunities to make your life better. Resolve to improve your life through better self-care. Read more →


Dear Carol: This January marks one year since my mother died. My dad adored her, as we all did, but he’s having a harder time adjusting than we kids, which I suppose is to be expected. Mom had cancer but her treatments proved to be ineffective so she eventually went on hospice care. With hospice helping, Mom was coherent during the holidays last year. We got through it though, and dad did admirably well, considering the circumstances. I think he kept up a front for Mom’s sake. Once she died, which was mid-month, he fell apart and had only marginally recovered before this year’s holidays approached. The family struggled through a low key Thanksgiving and Christmas, but with the New Year and mom’s death anniversary coming up, I’m afraid for Dad. Though he made an effort over Christmas for the grandchildren, he’s now become depressed and withdrawn. I know that suicide is an issue for older people. I don't think he's that bad, yet, but I’m scared. – FM Read more →


It’s enough to make a saint swear. Suddenly they are there in the middle of things, acting as if they understand every aspect of your parents’ care, your schedule and how the house should be run. But where were they when you had to find someone to stay with your sick child at the last minute so you could take Dad to the emergency room? Where were they when you desperately needed to take a long weekend off from caregiving? Where were they when your car broke down and Mom needed weekly trips to the doctor for blood testing to ensure her medications were working properly? Read more →


There's an image of holiday perfection that our culture encourages. Starting with Thanksgiving, we are inundated with fantasy images of perfect families happily enjoying each other's company during a holiday meal. Most of us have memories from our childhood that feed this drive toward the Norman Rockwell nostalgia of holidays past. If we lived it, we want to duplicate it. If we didn't, we want to create it.  Read more →


It’s easy to feel grateful when life is going well, and certainly, it’s desirable to acknowledge life at its best with appropriate gratitude. What’s not easy is finding gratitude when life hard. Is it even realistic to try? Yes. Discovering gratitude during difficult times can be a giant step toward peace. Read more →