Reflections Feed

Dear Carol: Because of repeated strokes my mother couldn't live alone so I moved her in with me. As years went by I struggled to transfer her from her wheelchair to her bed or commode so I tried in-home help. That didn’t work so I had to place her in a nursing home. The facility was excellent and I was deeply involved yet I still feel guilty for not being able to keep Mom in my home until her death. Intellectually, I know that I wasn’t capable of providing what she needed, but when I read about abuse and neglect of elders in nursing homes I feel like I’m being directly criticized. Do people ever get over the guilt from nursing home placement? – HE Read more →


...Realty check: Wrong. Most caregivers will, at least occasionally, have these feelings. You are not alone and you are not a bad person. You are a human being who’d like some control over your own life. You didn’t ask to be put in a situation where you have little chance to work on fulfilling even the simplest of your own dreams. Yet, the situation presented itself and you stepped up to the plate. Read more →


You know where I'm going with this, right? The care receiver is then anxious and worried, but can't explain why. The caregiver isn't aware that his or her anxiety over a job issue has been passed on in a general form to their loved one. Knowing that they are leaving an anxious elder at home alone increases the anxiety of the caregiver as he or she heads out to work. And on it goes. Read more →


Dear Carol: I’ve been reading a lot about when if/when it’s time to force a parent into some kind of care. Your position seems to be that it’s the older adult’s decision unless there is dementia present. I can see that at 70, but my mom is 90. She’s mentally sharp and still likes her home and her garden but she refuses much help except for hiring lawn care, snow removal, and grocery delivery. She gave up driving on her own but she is adamant about not wanting to move to assisted living. At what age do adult children finally say enough and use our Power of Attorney to force a move? BT Read more →


It’s something many of us have done. Our parents are in their middle years and have come home from visiting someone in a nursing home. The hospital-like structure of the older nursing home was disturbing to them. While relating their experience to you they say that they’d hate to end up in a place like that. You jump in and say with feeling and genuine belief, "I’d never put you in a nursing home." Read more →


...Think about it. Barring dementia – and as much as we hear about dementia, not everyone over 65 has become unable to make decisions – our elders should be able to exercise their rights as adults. Aging should increase dignity, not take it away. Maturing should earn us respect for what we’ve been through, not derision for being a bit weathered physically and somewhat different in how we may process information.  If you carefully read the first paragraph of this article you’ll see that much of what I describe sounds like raising children. Ouch! Read more →


Many of us start our caregiving career by assisting an elder in his or her home, or we have a spouse who declines and we become the default caregiver in our own home. This care expands to a point where we need some type of respite, often in the form of in-home care agency help. Read more →


Much like an adult who realizes that he or she has a "wounded child" living inside – a child who suffers from unearned self-blame or low self-esteem because of life events – many adult caregivers carry the guilt from their "infant" caregiving years to their grave. They spend precious time thinking about how they should have understood someone's needs better, could have been more patient, would have done any number of things better, if only they knew then what they know now. Read more →


The issue of elders who were once reasonably clean adults refusing to take showers and wear fresh clothes is one that is far more common than most people think. To remedy this often-malodorous situation, it is crucial to first understand why a loved one is not bathing and/or changing their clothes regularly. There are many possible culprits and often several of them combine to form the perfect unhygienic storm. Getting to the root of their avoidance is the best way to devise a successful strategy for cleaning up their act. Read more →