Mental Health and Depression Feed

...However, as my elders became more dependent I began to hear myself, at least in medical settings, referred to as “the caretaker.” Somehow, that word made me grind my teeth. My loved ones were not a patch of land. They were not a house. They were not an object. Yet the term “caretaker” brought such images to mind.  Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad’s in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been rough on both my mom and me in many ways, but right now I can say that the worst is my dad’s verbal abuse. He was always a gentle, wonderful man, so this uncharacteristic behavior is extra baffling and hurtful. He calls us ugly names and swears at us because he thinks that we’re stealing from him or even poisoning him. Mom is so ashamed that this is happening that she can’t tell anyone about it, but I need an outlet, which is why I’m writing. How do we handle living with Dad’s verbal abuse without breaking down or acting ugly ourselves? – KC 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 →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My parents were always open about their long-term plans for retirement, saying that they’ve worked hard and retirement was going to be the payoff. Travel was huge on the horizon. Now, my dad has been diagnosed with mixed dementia, which, in his case, means Alzheimer’s and possibly Lewy body dementia, so their dreams are pretty much canceled. Mom is, for the most part, a good caregiver, but she’s resentful about what happened, and why wouldn’t she be? Read more →


Sadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren't any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. The fact remains that whether the disease affects the brain occurs at a younger age in the form of depression or bipolar disease or an older age in the form of Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, people with brain illnesses are often reluctant to acknowledge their illness for fear of being treated differently than others. 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 →


Dear Candid Caregiver: I’m the only adult child who lives in our parents’ community, therefore by default I am the family caregiver, and yes, I resent it. It’s not the parent care that I resent, but the fact that I have three siblings and they won’t even recognize what I do, let alone really try to help, is endlessly grating on me. I didn’t mind at first when I was just stopping in to see our parents a couple of times a week after work to make sure things were okay, but now, I feel like I have a second job as a caregiver. Read more →


Increasingly, stress is considered a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Stress is also a risk factor for stroke and heart attack as well as a trigger for many diseases from arthritis to psoriasis. Obviously, limiting stress in our lives is a good idea. But how? Simply living what we call modern life seems to make stress the norm. Read more →


As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, sometimes worry becomes inevitable. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives, but you may genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash? Read more →


A decade ago it was difficult for a caregiver to find relatable books to sustain them as they struggled to make sense of their new role in life. Thankfully, that’s changed. Caregivers can now choose from hundreds of memoirs and informational tomes. One of the best of the former category is Ann Campanella’s “Motherhood Lost and Found: A Memoir.” What makes this book stand out, aside from fine writing, is that the author was enduring not only the agony of losing her mother to Alzheimer’s but also a series of miscarriages. Read more →