Caregiving Feed

Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad is having around-the-clock home care, which was his choice early on when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He’s in the later stages now, but he keeps telling his caregivers, including me when I take a shift, that he wants to go home. I read an article that you wrote where you said that asking to go home didn't necessarily mean any particular home, but your comments were directed toward the idea of someone living in a nursing home. Since Dad is in the home where he lived for nearly 40 years, you'd think he'd feel some comfort from that. In fact, that's one reason we've continued to stretch the finances to keep all of this care in his home. What could he possibly want that we aren't delivering? – Sad and Bewildered Read more →


...The internet can be useful for starting these searches and there are a couple of quite different ways to go about it. The Medicare site Nursing Home Compare is probably the logical first choice though, in my opinion, it should simply be one tool because, like all current tools, it is imperfect. Certain categories are self-rated by the nursing homes involved, which sets up questionable results. Also, since states vary in how they do inspections, standards that may seem high in one location may not rate so well in another, so even those categories are not unbiased. Still, Nursing Home Compare is a tool, so I’d suggest that you use it as a launching pad. Just keep an open mind. Read more →


Most of us who have cared for someone living with dementia have tried our best to determine how best to provide that care. We research. We try putting ourselves in their place. We do our best to be patient because we understand that they can’t help their having the disease. Still, we are human and we make mistakes. While we shouldn’t wallow in guilt when we do make mistakes as a care partner, there are situations that we should try extra hard to avoid. Here are nine of them. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is 76, healthy, and enjoying life. She lives in the same small home where I grew up. Mom still drives though she’s smart about when and where and in cases where she’s not comfortable she rides with younger friends or I drive her.  She loves to garden but again is smart and hires the heavy work done. She’s agreed to wear a personal alarm so that I can be alerted if she has an emergency. We see each other nearly once a week and chat or email daily. So why am I writing? I have two coworkers who have parents with Alzheimer’s. They are laying guilt on me because I’m not “making” my mother move to a “safe environment.” Why would I want to insist that Mom do anything different? Mom says to ignore them, and I try, but I hate the guilt trips. I love my mother and will do what I can to help. Am I a neglectful caregiver? – JE Read more →


When the average person thinks of dementia, generally Alzheimer’s disease comes to mind. At the same time, the person will likely think of memory loss. Both of these conclusions are understandable since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and memory issues are often, though not always, the first symptom of that disease. Surprising then, to many people, is the fact that there may be earlier indicators of potential Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia than frequent memory lapses. Read more →


“I hope we don’t have another funeral this Christmas,” my young son said after we wrapped up Halloween. Hearing my child voice that fear nearly broke my heart, but our family had endured the deaths of two elders during the last two Christmas seasons so why wouldn't he wonder if this year would be the same? Thankfully, that particular year we didn’t have a funeral during the season, though we did have another death at that time the following year. Read more →


For years, the push to do something about Alzheimer’s disease focused almost entirely on drug development. Find a cure. Develop a vaccine to prevent the disease. Develop a drug to “manage” people who live with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. What many people weren’t noticing, however, was that in tandem with this effort was a quiet revolution doggedly moving forward.  Long championed by Dr. Bill Thomas of Changing Aging among others, the thinking behind this movement has always been to recognize that people living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia were first and foremost people. Read more →


Start with body language: The factor that allowed us to finally understand that my dad was ready for hospice care was when he’d prop himself up on one arm and repeatedly slam his fist into the opposing palm, with a grimace on his face as if he was trying to pound out the pain. Body language is a powerful means of expression – and often the only means for expression – for those who cannot express feelings. Read more →


Dear Carol: My 96-year-old mother has moderate signs of dementia and lives in an assisted living facility (ALF). Mom can feed herself but she needs assistance with most other activities including transferring from her bed to her lift-chair or wheelchair, but she won’t use her call-light to get help. Last evening, Mom had tried to move from the lift chair to the wheelchair and an aide found her on the floor. Mom wasn’t injured this time but what about the next time? The facility says they cannot use any alarms to alert staff that she is trying to get out of her bed or chair because these alarms are considered illegal restraints. Do you have any suggestions? Read more →


A report by the Mental Health Foundation (UK) is calling for dementia to be treated as a disability. They said, correctly, that dementia is seen as a disease like many others in that it should be curable. Tragically, only when dementia is caused by medications, infections or some rare, operable situation is it curable. Instead, it is a relentlessly progressive, destructive disease with which the affected must live until they eventually die. The Foundation says that it is also crucial that people with dementia have their rights respected and upheld.  Read more →