Spouse Feed

Broken Heart Syndrome Hastens Death of Some Spouses

HeartDear Carol: I read one of your articles which said that you had lost both your parents in quick succession so I identify with you. I live in the UK. In early March, I lost my father, aged 92.  He didn't want anyone with him when he passed away. Then, exactly two months later, my mother, aged 88, passed away at home. She waited until I was holding her hand, then she squeezed my hand, slightly opened her eyes to look at me, and peacefully passed on. Mum and I had talked about the future and I told her I would always live near her, or with her, if she preferred. She had seemed fine, but shortly after Daddy's death, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Mum passed away within three days of leaving the hospital. I was able to tell her how much I loved her, but then I had to let her go. I just wondered how quickly your Mum passed away after your father, and if you believe that your mum didn't want to go on without her husband. Thank you for reading this. – Meghan

Read full column on Inforum about broken heart syndrome:

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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


Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the controversy when it comes to funding Alzheimer's:

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Caregiving Rewards Often Outlast Challenges

Caregiving6Many people are providing intensive care for adult children, others for parents or spouses. I feel it’s safe to say that all of us, with our diverse caregiving responsibilities, have had times when we wonder if we can go on. Conversely, nearly all of us have also had moments when we’ve looked at the people we are caring for and realized that being a caregiver is not just a responsibility, but an honor.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving rewards can affect our lives forever:

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Is Alzheimer's As Hard on the Caregiver As the Person with the Disease?

AnxietyIt seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who’ve never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and the toll it takes on the caregiver:

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

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


Lewy Body Dementia Caregivers Share Their Personal Experiences

FatherDaughter8...As with most types of dementia, family members are the primary caregivers by default, at least at the beginning of the disease. They are usually the people who notice that something is not right with their spouse or parent. Again, like Alzheimer’s and most other types of dementia, care needs escalate with time. This ongoing care can be physically arduous and emotionally demanding. 

Jeanne Gibbs, whose husband had LBD, illustrates her husband’s state of mind with the scenario below, which she handled like a pro:

Sometimes (but certainly not always!) the cause confusion in dementia can be determined and dealt with.

I worked at home to support us. One day my husband, Coy, was waiting for a rain-delayed baseball playoff game, and he came into my office...

Read full article on HealthCentral about some of the challenges that lewy-body caregivers face:

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

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

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


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


12 Tips that May Help Spousal Caregivers Have a Better Life

CommunicatingWhile family members who provide care for loved ones share many issues, there’s a different emotional dynamic between caregiver and care receiver when the care partners are spouses than when they are an adult child caring for a parent. Here, we offer some tips for spouses.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how spousal caregiving is different for adult child caregiving:

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


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:

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Alzheimer’s Risk Higher for Women: Why?

Caregiver6It’s been known for years that women are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than men.  Now, there’s even more evidence of gender differences. A new study has found that among those who've been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), women show a much faster rate of memory loss than men. The 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference took place recently in Washington, D.C. While many topics were covered, including some drugs that are showing promise, this study about women has attracted its share of attention. Earlier studies showing that more women developed Alzheimer’s than men concluded that this statistic simply reflected the fact that women live longer than men. Since age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it would stand to reason that more women would develop the disease. #WomensHealth

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's rate as it applies to women:

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


6 Potentially Reversible Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia

Comfort9When dementia symptoms appear it’s natural to fear that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than reacting with panic, however, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Many forms of dementia are incurable, of course, but other conditions can present symptoms that resemble those of dementia but are in fact reversible.

View slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about the potentially reversible conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's or other types of dementia:

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