Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, my mom is recovering from cancer surgery, and the prognosis isn’t good. I’m trying my best to be a good caregiver for both of them and stay positive while doing it, but it’s hard. I recognize that we’re fortunate in that my parents are able to hire an agency that supplies a rotation of in-home caregivers. The other side of it is that I have a brother and a sister, both living hundreds of miles away from our parents and me, so they can’t help out much.  Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My mother is in a lovely assisted living facility and I have to say that she’s having a ball. While she’s always had a tendency to play “the Grand Lady,” this arrangement seems to have given her even more of a feeling of entitlement. There’s another woman with a similar personality and they seem to have a turf war going on, even to the point of “recruiting” people for their tables. I’m thrilled that Mom has competition – it’s about time – and I find the whole scenario funny. I don’t see a problem with laughing at some of these situations, but I have a friend who is deadly serious about every aspect of aging and she thinks that I should be taking this seriously 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 →


Dear Carol: I recently had an experience that I'd like to share with your readers. My dad has several serious physical and mental conditions so his medical file is complicated. Recently, a new drug to help with breathing problems was released and his doctor, who is outstanding in all ways, saw no reason for Dad not to try it. We left the clinic in good spirits but had barely gotten Dad home when my phone rang. It was the pharmacy telling me that an information update had alerted them that dad’s newly prescribed drug could seriously interact with one of his other prescriptions. I asked the pharmacist to follow through with 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 79-year-old mom has been widowed for a little over a year. She’d always depended on Dad to help her because her arthritis limited her movement and she uses a walker much of the time. Now, though, there’s been a complete change in attitude, and she insists that she can take care of everything herself, even physical tasks that are clearly a challenge... 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 →