Entries categorized "Grief and Death" Feed

Now you are thrust into the valley of despair, an unknown yet fertile place of psychic deconstruction. It is here where your shadow lives, Read more →


His head drifted to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy? Yes, I did. Read more →


While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother, who has advanced dementia, went into a nursing home six months ago. She’s received excellent care but is now declining quickly so that she no longer swallows any type of food. Her doctor has determined that she is ready for hospice and that makes sense to me. Hospice took her off of medications that didn’t seem to be helping and then prescribed some occasional Ativan for agitation and low-dose morphine for pain. Her response has been satisfying to watch since she’s more alert and far more peaceful than she has been. Here’s the problem. I’ve gone to a support group for several years and there are a couple of people in the group that completely anti-drug for Alzheimer’s so they are adamantly against the use of both Ativan and morphine for my mom. I don’t get it. Mom is dying. She was jerking around in pain and crying and now she’s responsive and comfortable. How do I get through to them that when people are dying everything changes? – HY Read more →


...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 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 →


Aging can bring unique joys, but for many it also brings the loss of physical and, for some, cognitive abilities that they feel once defined them. These losses can usually be absorbed if the elders stay connected to the greater community in some way and/or they enjoy engrossing hobbies. But many become isolated, either because they don’t feel like making the effort to stay connected or they lack the opportunity. Those who do become socially isolated will often succumb to disease or early death. Read more →


For some, it signals the beginning of a more perfect life. For others, it is the end. Ultimately, for everyone, death is part of the life cycle and no amount of medical intervention will change that. Filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin became fascinated by the way that different cultures and religions view the death experience, and in the processs, she has made a remarkable film titled Living While Dying, which features people who are going through that process and their varying emotions. Read more →


Every 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. Read more →