A study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years. For this study, Ohio State University’s Ronald Glaser, head of OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at OSU, teamed with Nan-ping Weng and his research group from the National Institute on Aging.
Forgiveness nearly always changes lives for the better, even if one of those lives is about to end. Whether we are the forgiver or the person being forgiven, the blessings flow both ways. To me, forgiving one another for being flawed human beings is an important key to a reasonably serene life. However, this mutual understanding is not always easy to come by.
Last year, I reviewed the first edition of "Wishes to Die For" for my newspaper column. The review can be read below. I was later asked to write the foreword for this second edition. It was an honor to do so because I still consider this the best book available for people who want to learn how to take control of living until they die. - Carol
“Code Blue!: A voice cries out in the Emergency Department. “Is there a doctor who can ‘tube’ a patient in Cardiac Cath Lab?”
These beginning lines of “Wishes To Die For: Expanding Upon Doing Less in Advanced Care Directives” by Kevin J. Haselhorst, MD prepare the reader for an adventure in self-examination...
... Hospice has found that many people wish at the end of life that they had allowed themselves to be happier. Happy doesn’t necessarily mean we are happy with every circumstance. It simply means accepting where we are in life and making the best of it.
Our 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. The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care.
...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. Eventually, the move to assisted living or even a nursing home may become necessary for everyone's health and wellbeing. Whatever happens, we remain caregivers. Many of us continue to see our care receiver daily. Most of us continue to be involved as advocates and support throughout the time of need. When our loving attention and care is no longer needed, we can, indeed, feel lost.
Note: I've been alerted to what looks to be an exceptionally helpful tool for Alzheimer's caregivers and those who help these caregivers. The "Leader's Guide for Season's of Caregiving" is a product of UsAgainstAlzhiemer's Clergy Network. For full disclosure, I must say that I am honored to be a co-moderator for UsAgainstAlzheimer's. It is volunteer position. I'm passing on this information because I truly believe that the book has the potential to help many readers. Follow through if you feel that the "Leader's Guide" could help you. - Carol
The "Leader's Guide" includes simple, yet powerful guidance for structuring and leading a support group in a variety of community and faith settings. The guide was written by Dr. Richard Morgan, a distinguished founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer's Clergy Network, which supported publication of this volume. This is an important resource for families who are facing Alzheimer's, and those working to support them.
Who would have thought that my search for an expert to discuss the fact that men change hormonally as they age would elicit such profound silence? This had me worried for a time, since I truly wanted to have a man handle the very masculine topic of andropause. However, eventually one brave man, Dennis Marasco, came to my rescue. With humor and wisdom, Dennis tells us about andropause, explaining in the process why the answer to my general inquiry was so underwhelming.
Most caregivers go into caregiving mode with full hearts and wonderful intentions. They rarely stop to think, "Hmm, this could go on for years. I'd better plan it out. If I move to part-time at work, have more child care and spend mornings caring for my parents' needs, it will be difficult, but possible. If I continue to work full time, I'll have more for retirement, but I can't do it all. I have to plan this out."
Dear Carol: My wife has Parkinson's disease along with mixed dementia. She's still home with me but it's getting to be a challenge. The hardest part is preventing falls. She uses a walker. I settle her into her electric recliner and tell her to let me know when she wants to get up but she'll still try to stand alone. She can work the chair to sit upright and then she pulls herself up by one end of her walker which often tips to the side. She also will get out of bed without waiting for me to help. So far she hasn't hurt herself when she's fallen, but it's only a matter of time. She gets very upset over any type of restraining device. I don't know what to do.—Sam