Faith Feed

Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments. As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond. Dad began lecturing the child about not “falling in.”  Read more →


It's been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories" and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com. When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver "in the trenches" stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival. Read more →


If you haven’t been making yourself a priority over the last year, you’re not alone. Most caregivers face countless mental, financial and logistical hurdles when it comes to participating in self-care. But, the new year is upon us, which is the perfect time for us to take inventory of our lives, pinpoint some changes we want to make and adjust our attitudes to help us see these things through. Changing how you approach your caregiving responsibilities doesn’t mean that you love the person you are caring for any less. To the contrary, changing your mindset can actually be a clear indication of the depth of your love. Read more →


Will the Christmas tree bring Mom happy memories of past Christmas pleasures or will it remind her of the Christmas tree fire in her home when she was a five-year-old child? Will the gathering of loving relatives bring her a feeling of being loved and cared for or will she suffer from horrible anxiety because of all of these people who have become strangers? Read more →


Dear Carol: Last year was a tough one for my family. Dad had never recovered from a massive stroke that he suffered two years ago and Mom, who’d been his caregiver, discovered shortly after his death that she had advanced breast cancer. They were both 79. Mom was peaceful with the fact that the cancer was too advanced for her to fight and said that she was ready to join dad. We realize that since she was beyond treatment when she was diagnosed she was showing a healthy attitude, but my sister and I are still feeling traumatized by the year. Our parents loved Christmas and spent weeks decorating and preparing, which is making this year extra hard. My sister said that the only reason that she’s going to celebrate at all is for her husband and kids. I’m single and have no children. I’m close to my family and have great friends but I’d just like to skip this holiday. Should I make an effort for myself? I’m torn. – HP Read more →


HealthCentral: In reading “The Only Way Out,” I was especially taken with your advice about saying goodbye to your old life and letting go of what was before you can move on. This is a complicated process, and your book takes this on in depth, but could you give us a few brief tips that people can hold on to? Read more →


“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. 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! Read more →


Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. Read more →


Some may have thought Joe should have been nagged into coming into the gathering. I knew him well and also respected his right to make his own decisions. I believe he still had a fun holiday. Earlier in the day – before I was too busy cooking – I would have had my daily visit with Joe, so he wasn’t alone all day. He enjoyed his meal the way he wanted it. He was content. Read more →