« January 2012 | Main | March 2012 »

Try not to shut out your distance siblings when you are the primary caregiver

...the adult child living closest to the parents may not be the one who is best suited emotionally, financially or practically, for the job. This person may be a single mother trying desperately to take care of children and provide them with a living by working two low paying jobs. Then she takes on the parents, as they live in the same town. She is, understandably, overwhelmed. Read more →

When short-term caregiving turns into long-term care

It may sound selfish to some, but to caregivers who dove into caregiving with full hearts and no planning, then ended up sustaining this life-altering mode for months and often years, it's a perfectly rational question. People put their lives, as they are living them, on hold in order to care for others. That's good. But when "hold" becomes the new norm, there's a mental adjustment to go through. And sometimes that includes dealing with resentment. Read more →

Adult grandchildren caring for their aging grandparents: how to cope?

Whatever the reason that caregiving begins, I hear from a number of young adults who are trying to care for one or more grandparents. Most of them love their grandparent dearly, but they often come up against obstacles that are quite overwhelming for people so young. Read more →

Dr. Travis Stork of “The Doctors” gives advice on heart health

During a recent telephone interview, Dr. Travis Stork honored February, which is Heart Health Month, by focusing on what we can most easily do to maintain a healthy heart. Dr. Stork is co-host of the award-winning television show "The Doctors." Dr. Stork stressed exercise. He is a strong believer in patient empowerment... Read more →

Deciding whether surgery is a good option for an elder can be tricky

This is a subject close to my heart, as my dad had surgery to relieve pressure from fluid on the brain due to an old World War II injury. A shunt was put into dad's brain to drain excess fluid. This type of surgery is not uncommon and is generally successful. Dad went into surgery a little fuzzy from the fluid, but still very much himself. A day after the surgery, he fell into a hellish dementia from which he never recovered until death took him a decade later. Read more →

When siblings don't agree on parent care

Even in seemingly harmonious families, the person who slowly became a default caregiver can start to feel resentful. The out-of-town siblings can conveniently slide into denial. They aren't around to see how much help is needed. They see Mom and Dad occasionally, talk to them on the phone, and all seems well. The fact that you, the in-town sibling, are the reason everything is going so smoothly doesn't really register with them. Read more →

Getting a handle on caregiver guilt

Guilt has a purpose in life. If we are mean, we should feel guilty. If we owe someone an apology, we should be big enough to do so. But guilt is a complicated emotion. We take on the expectations of our culture, our religion, our family. And then we take on the expectations of our toughest critic – ourselves. That committee that meets in our head tells us we are not doing this caregiving thing well enough. If we were "good" people, we'd just keep answering the phone endlessly until Mom found something else to do. Read more →

New studies reveal knowledge about the path Alzheimer’s disease may follow

Recent news that the path Alzheimer’s disease travels in the brain may finally have been nailed down has created a lot of excitement. Researchers believe this discovery may lead to a new direction in developing a way to prevent or cure the disease. A New York Times article reports on two independent studies, both of which concluded that Alzheimer’s disease seems to spread like a viral or bacterial infection by a “distorted protein known as tau.” These studies were done on mice. Read more →