Reflections Feed

...A double whammy here is that chronic stress is a problem for most caregivers and stress can be a trigger for many people who live with chronic migraines. It is for me. The fact is that whether caregivers have migraines, severe arthritis, asthma, or any other ailment if they are still functioning better than the person or people for whom they care, they carry on. It’s what we do. Read more →


As a family caregiver of multiple elders, I needed a facility where more than one of my elders could live while I cared for others in various locations. My family was fortunate to find an excellent nursing home just a few blocks from my home. During the 15 years that my loved ones (different people at different times) lived in this facility, I learned a great deal about what makes a good nursing home tick. I interviewed a licensed nursing home administrator for her tips on selecting a nursing home not long ago, but as a family member, I’d like to add a few more ideas. Read more →


Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays have traditionally been celebrated with balloons, gifts, cards, parties, and food. Sadly, when dementia enters into the picture, such general mayhem may overwhelm a person already confused by his or her surroundings. Even attempting to celebrate love can become a challenge. The choice about whether or not to mark special days is often fraught with pain for the caregiver. Since I’m a dementia caregiver with my own history... Read more →


Caregivers are often isolated by the nature of their responsibilities. Some can’t leave home without arranging for someone to come and care for their loved one. Others are simply taxed to expend energy on friends no matter how lonely they may feel. So, how can you be a friend to an isolated caregiver? Read more →


...For my parents, flowers and cards were always essential, especially on Valentine’s Day and their wedding anniversary. Sadly, after a failed brain surgery left my father with dementia, it was obvious that Dad could no longer actively participate in these celebrations. As my mom aged, she began experiencing some memory loss as well. I knew that, if he could make the decision, Dad would want to give Mom flowers and a card to show her how loved she was. I also knew Mom would want to do the same in return.  Read more →


Dear Carol: How could you know that your offer to pick up some groceries for Joe after his wife’s funeral would lead to five years of daily visits? How could you know that you would become his primary caregiver: taking him to the Telephone Pioneers of America dinners, riding with him in the ambulance after you found him with a dislocated shoulder, taking him, along with your kids, on multiple 150-mile jaunts to visit his 90-year-old sister;  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 →


Many dementia caregivers feel as though they are treading water just to avoid sinking under the often exhausting pressures associated with dementia care. But consciously changing your attitude can, with practice, significantly change how your days, and those of your loved one, unfold. Here are some tips to get started. Read more →


It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. We don’t want them taking risks that could result in an injury. That’s love, after all, and parents appreciate being loved. It’s a mistake, however, to make yourself director of your parents’ lives simply because they are piling on years. Read more →


Loneliness can be a plague for the elderly and ill. Yet visiting with someone who doesn’t feel well, and may have limited cognition, can be tricky. Some nervousness or reluctance is natural, but a few considerations can help to make things go smoothly. Read more →