Reflections Feed

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 loved one(s) weather criticism from outsiders about how they provide care? Read more →


An article in the Daily Mail speaks to this issue in a delightful manner, stressing that people have differing views about addressing our elders at any time but particularly when they are in need of care. One view is that pet names such as Sweetie are demeaning. This attitude comes from a woman whose family wasn’t used to terms of endearment. The opposing view is from a woman completely comfortable with these terms and finds that they encourage bonding. My own view? It depends. Read more →


The people we love and care for often reach a point where we can no longer be sole care providers and we need to look at options. This is painful, because up to this point we’ve likely been partners in their care but haven’t had to make forceful decisions. Now, things have changed. Because so many people have a negative view of nursing homes, the idea of going to a care facility terrifies many older people and being the person to make this decision can be agony. Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My mom passed two years ago and my dad hasn’t done well since. Recently he had a stroke. My sister, who lives 1,000 miles away, came out for mom’s funeral, and she also visited for a few days after dad’s stroke, but she has a job and a family and couldn’t stay long. Now, dad’s been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Realistically, I’m the sole caregiver. I have two teenaged children, a husband who is, so far, supportive, and a job.  Read more →


Dr. Barry J. Jacobs is a clinical psychologist and family therapist in Pennsylvania, who specializes in helping family caregivers. When he was in high school, Dr. Jacobs’ family struggled with his father’s illness and ultimate death from brain cancer. This experience spurred him to become a psychologist specializing in helping family caregivers...years later his mom developed dementia.  Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My parents are both in their late 70s and doing quite well but I see that the need for making decisions about their futures, or at least gathering information, is closing in. We live in the same community, so my husband and I have been helping with some minor things around their home, but they are very independent and hire out the most difficult jobs. However, with time, I know that more help from us will be necessary. When do I consider myself their caregiver? How do I begin? What do I need to know? – Potential Newbie Read more →


"The Candid Caregiver (TCC) is a safe place for all caregivers, of any condition area or caregiving level, to go for candid yet professional guidance. Questions will be answered, tough topics will be discussed, and the caregivers will ultimately have a place where they, themselves, feel cared for. No topics are off the table. Ask your questions and share your stories on social media using the hashtag #TheCandidCaregiver." Read more →


"Where's my college ring?" This had become Dad's mantra during some months of his early demented years. I knew he hadn't gotten a ring when he graduated from college. His college career was interrupted by World War II, then work and a family. He went back to school during his work career. I, at age fourteen, attended his college graduation. I suppose, with a family to support, he didn't think a college ring was important. He didn't order one. He never owned one. But no way would he believe that now, as a man in his late seventies with heavy-duty dementia Read more →


Hospice organizations are keenly aware of the soothing power of music. Sometimes the music may be used casually, by the facility or the family, knowing that this is a type of music that the person who is in the dying process had always enjoyed. Increasingly, though, employing trained music therapists has been favored. This type of therapy seems especially helpful with those who are dying from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Perhaps this is because in the final stage of dementia, people have usually moved beyond the point where conversation is possible. Read more →


Residents and their families would gather on the patio, or find chairs under the trees out on the lawn. The able-bodied served those with more limited abilities. For years, the grill chef was the husband of one resident. He was aided by other spouses, children and grandchildren of residents, as well as staff. Read more →