Spouse Feed

Some Seniors Caring for Ailing Spouse As Well As Aged Parent

BeachDear Carol:  My husband and I are both 71 years old and have been married 48 years.  I’ve got a few health problems, including high blood pressure, however my husband has had heart by-pass surgery and is diabetic as well. His health is a big worry. My mother, now 95, has lived with us for nine years. She’s physically healthy except for severe arthritis, but she has dementia that is rapidly worsening. Her needs are increasing but so are my husband’s. He’s been a saint all of these years with Mom and he still insists he doesn’t want to “push her out,” as he puts it. However, I want to take care of my husband and I can only do so much. 

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The Rally Before Death In Preparation for the Final Journey

ColorSky...One story that stands out in my memory was told to me while interviewing people for “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories.” The woman’s whole family had gathered by her father’s bedside. It had been days for some, hours for others, but they had all arrived. Their father had been withdrawing into himself, and they knew that his time to leave would soon come. Then, he rallied. He was able to sit up and even talk a bit. There was a spark in his eye. He told his family to go and get something to eat. During the time it took the family to grab some fast food at a nearby restaurant, the father died.

Read the full article about the rally before death on Agingcare:

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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


12 Tips for Spousal Caregivers

Spouses2While 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. 

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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

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Dementia-like Symptoms Can Have Other Causes

WildWaterDear Carol: My 75-year-old husband has been reasonably healthy but lately I’ve found he either doesn’t  understand what I’ve told him or doesn’t remember what I said. For example, I mentioned that we needed to have a minor plumbing leak fixed eventually and he said fine. I made an appointment for the plumber and when I told my husband about it, my husband got mad saying that I should have checked with him first. I nicely reminded him of our conversation but he said he thought I was just talking in generalities. This type of thing happens quite often which makes me afraid that he is developing dementia. Should I worry? Gail

Read more on Inforum about dementia-like symptoms that may not be dementia:

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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

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3 Triggers for Alcohol Abuse in Elderly

FallWindowAlcohol abuse can occur at any age, but in the past most doctors looked for the signs in younger people. There’s also a bias in society at large, including some doctors, that people who abuse alcohol will be of a certain type. It can be hard for a doctor to look at a sweet, grandmotherly woman and think that perhaps the “occasional” glass of wine she admits to drinking may actually be a good portion of a bottle on nightly basis.

Read more on HealthCentral about alcohol abuse triggers for elders:

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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


Long-Married Couples Often Die Close Together

BirdPairMy first exposure to this phenomenon happened when my parents were in a nursing home. I visited daily and knew the staff and many of the residents. One elderly man on their floor had later stage Alzheimer's disease. His wife of many decades visited him at least once a day until she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Even during the worst of her treatment, she visited as often as she could. Then, she died.

Read more on Agingcare about how long-married couples often die close together:

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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


Alzheimer’s Diagnosis Brings Unwelcome Remarks from Acquaintances

TreereflectionDear Carol: My husband is 57 and he has been diagnosed with younger onset Alzheimer’s disease. We are both devastated but are trying to make the best of something that can’t be made pretty. One thing we are facing is how to respond to people’s remarks when we tell them the news. Their reactions range from “I’m so sorry” or “that’s terrible” which we find kind of comforting, to a pep talk about how people can still live great lives for years to come before the symptoms become bad. I know that in general people don’t know what to say so they opt for being positive, but this diagnosis is a real blow and we aren’t ready for positive thinking yet. How do we respond to people who act like it’s no big deal? SB

Continue reading on Inforum about the response to an Alzheimer's diagnosis:

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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


Was Placing Your Parent in a Nursing Home a Mistake?

Stress_man_hand_238162...Caregiver guilt is human, and for most caregivers, the guilt is largely unearned. Of course, we don't always make the right call regarding every circumstance. But we do our best. I'd hazard a guess that the most painful decision for most of us to make is whether or not it's in our loved one's best interests to place him or her in a nursing home. If it is also in our best interest, then the guilt looms even larger.

Read more on Agingcare on the topic of regretting placing you loved one in a nursing home:

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How To Practice Self-Care While Grieving

StormcloudMany caregivers watch their loved ones suffer a long, slow decline that will eventually end in death. During this time, we are grieving every loss that our loved ones endure. At the same time, we struggle with mixed emotions about the release from suffering that their death will bring. You may wonder why you secretly want your elderly parent to die, while knowing how deeply you will miss their presence in your life once they are gone.

Read more on Agingcare about how to practice self-care while grieving:

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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


Regaining Your Life After the Death of Your Care Receiver

HangingPlantsmallWhen my mother died in a local nursing home, my "career" of visiting this exceptional facility nearly every day for close to 15 years ended. Mom's death prompted a nurse to whom I'd become quite close, to say to me, "We'll still be seeing you up here. You won't be able to quit."

Read more on Agingcare about the road to recovering our own lives after our loved one dies:

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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