Reflections Feed

Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

CaregiverStressEvery 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. A positive attitude and a flexible approach can go a long way as we feel our way along the sometimes uncertain path a caregiver must follow. But even the most laid back person is going to feel stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving from time to time. That’s normal and to be expected. With some care, people generally bounce back. What caregivers need to watch for is burnout.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the line between caregiver stress and burnout:

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


Communicating With a Person Who Has Dementia Takes Skill, Heart

CaregiverWheelchairCommunicating with someone who has dementia can be an ever-changing challenge. But some things never change. One of those constants is that caregivers and friends must fully understand and accept that the person with dementia is not a child any sense of the word. Dementia may have robbed our friends or loved ones of their ability to understand their own environment, follow a sequence of directions or even understand how to use the toilet. These issues do not in any way make these people less than adults and they should never be treated as such. Treating our elders with respect and dignity means understanding that lost cognitive ability doesn’t take away their adulthood. Elders have lived a lifetime and have left a legacy - some more admirable than others. However, nothing they have done or not done during their lives turns them into overgrown children.

Read full article on HealthCentral about what it takes to be a dementia caregiver:

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


Male Caregivers' Visibility Increasing as Society Changes

MotherSon3...What needs to be done to give men the visibility and support they deserve? Society must catch up with reality. Since men have always been providing care to some degree and will continue to do so in increasing numbers, the fact that a large percentage of family caregivers are men should become recognized as the norm. Strong men are making this happen by overcoming a perceived threat to their manhood and allowing themselves to become visible in public and online. Dedicated women are also spreading the word.

Read full article on Enlivant about how male caregivers are rising in numbers and visibility:

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


Loving Daughter Views Disease Through a Different Lens Than Nursing Home Staff

CaregiverComfort

Dear Carol: I’m watching my mom decline from Parkinson’s disease complicated by Lewy body dementia (LBD). She has good medical care and lives in a nursing home that has been a blessing to us all. I try to imitate the way that the staff works with her because they seem well trained. The problem is Mom is not just another patient to me. She is my mother. I want to fight what this disease is doing, and sometimes that makes me forget how I should work with Mom’s disease, especially when it comes to her LBD. I just can’t accept what’s happening. I know that my feelings are irrational because her disease can’t be cured. Am I strange for feeling happy with her care on days when she seems okay, but mad at other times? What’s wrong with me that I can’t be like these people and just accept that Mom can’t be cured and learn to help her so that I can let go of my anger? Marianne

Read full column on Inforum about how families must struggle more for acceptance of disease symptoms:

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


Elders and Heat-waves Can Be a Dangerous Combination

FanHeatsmallerThe heat-wave we’ve been having in most parts of the country has made many people a bit crabby. Even those who like heat tend to wilt when there is no break. However, for many elders, extreme heat can be much more than uncomfortable. Extreme heat can kill. One of the many clues that my mother-in-law was ready to move across the avenue from her condominium to a wonderful nursing home was her response one hot summer to an intense heat wave we had here in the Dakotas (yes it gets hot on the prairie). She would have every window shut tight and her fan and air conditioner turned off. No circulation. No cool air. Nothing but dead heat.

Read full article about elders and heat on HealthCentral:

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


Different Types of Memory: Life Experience Could Offset Cognitive Decline Due to Aging

FathersDayCould life experience make up for some of the effects of age on the brain? According to researchers from the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, it can and does. The research group measured a person’s decision-making ability over their entire lifespan. Using two difference types of intelligence - fluid and crystallized - they found that experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime of decision-making often offset the declining ability to learn new information. Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn and process new information. Crystallized intelligence is experience and accumulated knowledge. 

Read full article on HealthCentral about aging and the different types of memory:

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


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


Dad Needs Help Taking Care of Mom But He Won’t Allow It

Caregiving7Dear Carol:  I’m a certified nursing assistant (CNA). My dad has been caring for my mom, who has severe lung disease as well as dementia, and he's worn out. We agreed that it would be a good idea for me to move in with my parents to help with Mom's care. Dad agreed to this arrangement because he knows that he needs help, but now that I’m here he won’t let me do anything for mom. I just want him to get some rest before he collapses, but he can’t seem to let go. He’s still up all night because Mom doesn’t sleep much, and he insists on providing nearly all of Mom’s daily care. I feel like he doesn’t trust me. What’s the solution? Terry

Read full column on Inforum about helping care for mom:

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


9 Tips to Manage Stress for Better Health

Technology1Increasingly, stress is considered a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Stress is also a risk factor for stroke and heart attack as well as a trigger for many diseases from arthritis to psoriasis. Obviously, limiting stress in our lives is a good idea. But how? Simply living what we call modern life seems to make stress the norm.

View entire slideshow on HealthCentral about controlling stress for better health:

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


10 Tips for Caring for an Older Person's Hair

HairSalon...The whole procedure became so stressful that we made a mutual decision for me to care for her hair in her own home. I'll tell you upfront that I'm not good with hair. For the most part, I'm a minimalist. Alice had perms, but her hair still needed washing and a daily curling to arrange it nicely. Over time, and with lots of humor thrown in, I did learn a few things over the years.

Read full article on Agingcare about hair care for our elders:

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