Previous month:
January 2019
Next month:
March 2019

February 2019

Who wouldn't like advice from a savvy geriatrician when it comes to how best to help their older parents? I know that I would have when my parents were alive and I still value every bit of information that I can get now, which is why I'm a major fan of Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH. Read more →


As a longtime family caregiver who provided, and continues to provide, differing levels of care for loved ones with illnesses, I can attest to the fact that caregiving can be unimaginably stressful. For dementia caregivers, the stress is even more extreme. Only lately have we seen the results of studies that have followed family caregivers. One of the most scientific, in that it uses hard physical evidence, was published last spring. The study, by Ohio State University.. Read more →


Thankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone. Read more →


Home care can be helpful in supporting individuals of all ages to safely live at home for as long as possible and/or to recover from an unexpected health crisis. Additionally, home care can be a welcome source of support when family members can no longer provide care alone. These care providers are available for anything from simple household chores and companionship to complex care. But what exactly is meant by the terms “home care” and “in-home care," and what will your insurance cover? Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is doing great cognitively but she relies heavily on a walker. Even though she’s pretty steady, walkers can catch or get off balance. She’s grudgingly agreed to let me get rid of her throw rugs and I’ve had grab handles installed in her bathroom, by her bed, and in the hallway where we get her ready to go out. The biggest problem during these last months has been the ice and snow. I’ll have to get Mom from the car into the clinic for another appointment soon and I’m already starting to sweat how to do it safely, especially if we have a cycle of melting and refreezing. – VH Read more →


Often, we don’t even notice that we’ve slipped into a routine of combined stress and numbness until a friend or family member takes a moment to ask what is new in our lives. If our first thought is that nothing much has changed since we are just caregivers doing what we do, then it’s time to take a look at how we can refresh our attitude toward our lives, and in the process, perhaps refresh the life of the person for whom we are responsible. Read more →


Life changing, yes! And perhaps a moment of divine intervention. An elderly man with COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) was rushed to the cardiac cath lab after being diagnosed with an acute myocardial infarction (MI). He was struggling to breathe, yet pleaded with me to not insert the breathing tube and to let him die. The cardiologist was scared to do it. With a voice coming from above saying, “Let My People Go!” I honored the man’s wishes. I tremble every time I read this passage. Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: As far back as I can remember my grandmother has had a dog. For the last 10 years, this dog has been Tippy, a small, male, mixed-breed that has been an ideal companion. The problem is that Grandma is getting less able to care for herself — let alone Tippy — and she is going to need to move to an assisted living facility (ALF). I’ve checked around, and while some local ALFs will let people bring their cats, none locally will allow them to keep a dog because dogs need to be let outside, among other excuses. I’d take Tippy... Read more →


...A double whammy here is that chronic stress is a problem for most caregivers and stress can be a trigger for many people who live with chronic migraines. It is for me. The fact is that whether caregivers have migraines, severe arthritis, asthma, or any other ailment if they are still functioning better than the person or people for whom they care, they carry on. It’s what we do. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom lives with emphysema and has been on oxygen for more than two years. She needs several medications to manage this awful disease, which I understand. It’s her other medications that make me wonder. I’ve asked her current doctor to consider lowering doses or taking her off some of them, and he’s made it plain that her life-expectancy is quite limited no matter what so he doesn’t want to “rock the boat” by making changes. Meanwhile, Mom is becoming foggier in her thinking, and her memory and balance are bad. Maybe this is just age and poor health, but I do wonder if she still needs some of these older prescriptions that haven’t been changed for decades. How does anyone figure out what drugs an older person needs and what is actually causing more harm than good? – RG Read more →