Palliative care Feed

The Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice Can be Confusing

DeathComfortMany people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about the differences between palliative care and hospice: 

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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

 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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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:

caregiver smile summit


Dementia Death: Conflicting Emotions Are Normal for Caregivers After a Loved One Dies

Funeral“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head drifted to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy? Yes, I did.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how conflicting emotions can affect us after our loved one dies:

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

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards

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


Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer's Advances

Medications6While Alzheimer's specific drugs may help slow symptoms for some people, they also may increase the risk of hip fractures, fainting, urinary problems and other health issues. Most researchers now think that a time comes when many medications for the elderly are no longer beneficial and may be harmful. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester looked at 5,406 nursing home residents who had late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia with more than half of them being older than 85. The scientists found that 2,911 of the patients - nearly 54 percent - were taking at least one medication of questionable benefit.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how medications can become negative as people age:

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

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Caregiving: Have You Ever Wished it Could All Be Over?

StressedCaregiverOccasionally, someone in support groups will say that they secretly wish the parent for whom they are caring would die. The parent is sick, miserable and hard to care for. The caregiver wants her or his life back. Of course, those who admit they have had this thought wonder if that makes them a terrible person. Most of these people are decent folks who love their parents. What has happened is they have taken on the role of caregiver, as so most of us do, out of love. Our elders need us, so we hop in without a thought. We have no idea that this role could last for years or even decades.

Read full article on Agingcare about how to handle thoughts of guilt when you wish someone you love could let go and die:

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

caregiver smile summit


How to Communicate When Your Elderly Parent Can No Longer Speak

Hands13A video I recently stumbled upon remains vivid in my mind. An elderly couple who had spent a lifetime devoted to one another was coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. At this point, the wife was in a nursing home. She was unhappy, aggressive and even combative with the staff. No one knew what to do with her. On instinct, the husband decided he would do what he'd always done. He climbed into her bed with her and held her. He cuddled with her. He stroked her face and told her he loved her. He spent hours just snuggling and holding her. Slowly, the wife responded. This once angry, difficult woman became easy for the staff to handle. She was, once again, friendly, cooperative and generally happy.

Read full article on Agingcare about how to communicate with your parent who can no longer speak:

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

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


Hospice Care: Help During End Stages of Life

ComfortNo one needs to die in pain. That is what the social worker told me as I signed the papers that would put my father on hospice care. That is the mantra of hospice, and it became my mantra as well. I had no choice but to believe it since my dad had suffered so much. For weeks, each time I walked into Dad's room in the nursing home, he would be rigid in bed, up on one elbow and slamming his fist against his hand. Pow! Pow! Pow! Over and over, he pounded fist against hand. I would try to get him to relax; to lie back. He couldn't comprehend. Pow! Pow! Pow! He was trying to knock out the pain.

Read full article on AgingCare about how hospice can help your loved one through the death process:

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


Hospice Care about Re-Focusing Priorities, Not Giving Up

Hands17Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how hospice is an active choice:

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

Ebook on sale this week for $2.99 in honor of "the longest day" and Alzheimer's Authors


8 Tips for Recognizing Pain in a Person with Dementia

DementiaManPeople with dementia, especially advanced dementia, often have a difficult time articulating pain. Sometimes they may not be cognitively aware that pain is the source of their distress. Therefore, it’s our responsibility, as those who provide for their care, to watch for signs of distress that may arise from pain.

View complete slideshow about how to recognize pain in someone living with dementia:

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


Your Elder's Loss of Appetite May be Complicated

Food...They may have pain issues that keep them from enjoying food, or dentures that make chewing uncomfortable. Depression can be a factor for some people, as can medication side effects. Loneliness, especially for people who have lost a spouse to a nursing home or death, can make eating seem unimportant or unattractive.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how loss of appetite can be a problem with elders:

Image: Thinkstock           

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