Grief and Death Feed

Emergency-room doctor Kevin Hasselhorst had an epiphany while he tried valiantly to save an elderly man who’d been through one too many traumas. His book, “Wishes To Die For: A Caregiver’s Guide to Advance Care Directives” was the first step toward a new advocacy. Dr. Hasselhorst continues to work toward helping people understand the importance of healthcare directives and the ability to make their own decisions about end-of-life care. Read more →


Dear Carol: Nine months ago my 63-year-old husband was happy and active and we were both looking forward to his retirement. Then he had a massive stroke and our lives were permanently changed. I’m very grateful to have him at all so I don’t want to be misunderstood. It’s just that I’m struggling. We’ve had to hire help for his care because therapy hasn’t been that effective and this expense is draining our savings. Our children want to help but they don’t live that close to us, so their ongoing help is impractical. Our faith tells us to be grateful for life, which of course, I am. I’m also grateful, and somewhat humiliated, to find that my husband is doing better emotionally than I am, but the holidays are approaching and I’m still angry and, worse, bitter. We aren’t and won’t be homeless, we have plenty to eat, and we don’t owe money, so I feel guilty that I can’t find more gratitude. How do I get beyond this bitterness and find gratitude? - NM Read more →


DEAR CAROL: My wife has had a stroke that’s left her mostly paralyzed on one side. She can’t speak well and she cries often. We’re in our 70s and have spent our lives as active church people. In fact, we’ve done our share of visiting hospitals and nursing homes representing the church. We’ve told people that what they are facing is their reality and that we will pray for them. We’ve told them to be grateful for what they have. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m having a difficult time feeling grateful for anything at all. Instead, I feel angry, exhausted, frustrated and frightened. How could I have been such a hypocrite all of these years? – Roger 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 →


Stress has long been considered a major risk for developing Alzheimer’s, but there hasn’t been any real understanding as to why this is so. Now, researchers at the Center for Translational Research in Neurodegenerative Disease at the University of Florida think that they’ve come closer to discovering the connection. Dr. Todd Golde, director of the Center, and his team have found how a hormone released by the brain in response to the body’s stress increases production of a protein associated with Alzheimer's development. Read more →


Forgiveness, or the lack thereof, can loom large in the life of a caregiver. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. That is rule number one for people to remember when they are working toward crafting better relationships with family members and others whom they care about. Forgiveness can have enormous benefits for the health of the person who does the forgiving. Considering that negative thinking can be disastrous to your own health, you may want to work toward the positive habit of forgiveness. Here are some people that you may need to forgive along with reasons why you should. Read more →


The Candid Caregiver and Laura Mansfield met through our daily meander out in the Twitterverse. I was intrigued by the handle @geezerstories, thinking that this must be a couple of older gentlemen poking a little fun at themselves and their generation. By the time I found out this Twitter handle belongs to Laura, a caregiver who tweets about caregiving issues, I was already hooked.  Read more →


It seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who've never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time in their lives. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom is currently in a short-term swing-bed facility and will soon be moving to a nursing home. Dad is in assisted living where we already moved some favorite furnishings from home. Their house must be sold, so my brother and I are going through what's left. We’re stumped by jewelry and assorted items from their lives together. There are a lot of old pictures as well as Dad’s military medals which he says he doesn't care about. We’re not sure what to do with these things because they are items that have sentimental value. Mom had a stroke that has taken most of her memory and Dad says he doesn’t care what we do with the "stuff." My brother and I are both saddened by how their lives have played out and it seems somehow that discarding these items is discarding them, so we're struggling. What do we do with all these keepsakes Mom and Dad don't want or can't use? – LD Read more →


How can faith help both caregivers and people with dementia get through something that makes no sense even to those who believe in a loving God - or maybe especially to those who believe in a loving God? Many people have asked me this question. My own spiritual beliefs have been vital to my caregiving life, but I wanted to give people more depth than I could provide on my own. With that in mind, I asked Dr. Benjamin Mast, a licensed clinical psychologist... Read more →