Moments

I want to do this. I don’t want to do this. I love doing this. I hate doing this. I can do this. I can’t do this anymore. The Caregiver. By choice. Or no choice. You will be frightened. You will be alone. You will have doubt And you will want out. But only you will...

A stolen childhood

I know I'm not supposed to feel guilty, but I do. When we were told that the baby I'm carrying would have severe disabilities, we knew abortion was an option but didn't seriously consider it. This was our baby, no matter what. But that choice won't just affect my...

When is enough, enough?

I walked in the door at 7:30 tonight after being out since 8:15 this morning. My day consisted of working with kindergarteners for 7 hours, picking my daughter up from track practice, driving 40 minutes to her voice lesson and 40 minutes home, and a stop for Chinese...

Caregiver frustration

No matter how rewarding caregiving can be or how much we love the person we're caring for, caregiving is frustrating. Frustration just comes with the package. We're human and caregiving inevitably involves situations and tasks that are inherently frustrating. So many...

Filial piety and the rural/urban divide

Caring for the older generation Qi Jianguang feeds his father Qi Wenjiang at the farmhouse he rented near the construction site where he works.Du Huaju / Xinhua Son honored for looking after his partially paralyzed father For many young Chinese living in the country's...

Loneliness

I believe that one of life's greatest tragedies, now, and perhaps from the beginning of time is, loneliness. I doubt that there are many people that can say they haven't been lonely at some point in their life. Sometimes we're simply victims of circumstance,...

Up, up, and away…

Up. Up and away… not in a balloon, though that would be fun, but in a chair lift scaling a precipitous mountain in the French Alps. Lake Benit lay hidden in a crater out of reach to David and me. We’d called ahead to find out if the chair lift would take somebody so...

Can I get paid to be a family caregiver?

It’s a question I’m asked all the time by family caregivers: Can I get paid to be a family caregiver? It’s usually accompanied by qualifiers: I’m not trying to be greedy, but I had to quit my job to take care of my mom. My husband isn’t comfortable having a stranger...

Don’t underestimate the power of caregivers

The first session at the Aging in America conference that I attended last week was titled, "Is family caregiving the next public health crisis?" I'm sure all of you can guess what the answer was: a resounding yes. After attending this year's conference in Chicago, I...

How Can Young Caregivers Self-Advocate?

In the United States, there are an estimated 1.4 million caregiving youth (children under the age of 18), and nearly 10 million Millennial caregivers (aged 18-34 years old). Of the millions of young caregivers, I believe every single one is an advocate. Advocacy means...

It’s Normal for Things to be Shitty

Once upon a time I thought that tragedy only happened to people on TV. I think many of us millennials were taught to think that nothing bad could happen to us. We were normal, we all won awards, we were protected from the world. It was all butterflies and rainbows. I...

Mother’s Day activities for active seniors

Some of us care for a mom who isn't able to participate in a big celebration, but other seniors are able to get out and active with some accommodations and planning. Family caregivers looking after their moms can make Mother’s Day extra special. After all, these women...

How I keep going

Resilience. Tenacity. Strength. Toughness. Whatever you want to call it, caregivers need it. It's that thing about your personality where shit is exploding all around you and you just roll with it. Roll up your sleeves and get to it, every day, no matter what. Inner...

Getting help: Is it really possible?

So many caregiving guides make it sound like there's plenty of help to be had, if only caregivers would ask. We know that's not quite how it works. Yes, some caregivers don't ask for help and your chances of success improve if you ask the right way, but it's a fact...

Elder Financial Abuse Hurts Caregivers, Too

The emotional and monetary consequences of elder financial abuse take a toll on caregivers as well as seniors directly victimized, Allianz Life said Monday in releasing findings of a new study. A vast majority of both active and prospective caregivers reported that...

Hello? Hello! Anyone home?

Anybody home? It’s lonely here outside your world. I trace your profile with my gaze, the familiar silhouette on the pillow beside me for more than thirty years. One room, two chairs we sit together of an evening in the rumble of television’s tunnel journeying ever...

How do we cope with anger as a caregiver?

We all recognize that caregiving is a complex task. It can bring a new closeness with the person you are caring for. It can inevitably bring a flood of emotions including compassion, nostalgia, gratitude, devotion, frustration, grief, sadness, love, guilt, and anger....

About to burn out? Try this.

When we first become caregivers or when there's a new emergency, we go into super hero mode. You know what I mean: you do it all, without stopping, at the same time. Nothing can stop you, until you can't keep it up. It's unsustainable. You can only suck it up and...

My Life: Mimi L

What's keeping me up at night? Worry about finding a good fit for my son in the community. Somewhere where he will be accepted, appreciated, and feel good about working for. It's a hard struggle. Worrying about my dad. When he gets the hiccups at night. His really...

Hey, doc, what will that cost me?

No matter how great your physician is, there is one question he or she is unlikely to answer: "How much will that cost?" It is not really doctors' fault. Medical schools and residency training programs have traditionally shied away from teaching costs. For the most...

ALZ isn’t just a disease for the elderly

Rebecca Doig's Alzheimer's reached the point of needing constant care when she was only 31. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbtLUChdUlc Amy Norton was diagnosed at only 43. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lb5Z4LBl7II At the age of just 39, Laura Borrell is one of the...

One question that changes everything

The other day I was in an ER far from home. The woman in charge of triage was refusing to move forward with triage because we didn't have insurance they'd accept. The fact that we had insurance and had even gotten pre-approval to go to the ER wasn't enough -- she...

Why do we accept this behavior?

This isn't going to be a popular opinion. I'm not here to get you angry. If you don't want to read about carees who are emotionally abusive, skip this post. Why is it somehow acceptable for people who need caregivers to be emotionally abusive? Some care recipients...

My Life: Colleen R

What's your life really like? Really, day to day, nothing to write home about. I am blessed that my husband requires only a small amount of care during the day and my job is close by. So I can run home at lunch and feed/toilet him if necessary. Then back to work,...

Lessons in caregiving

Evelyn Corsini and her family allowed photographer Francine Orr to document the final months of her life, to observe caregiving. Orr's interest was journalistic but also personal: As the caregiver for her father, she had been living the story herself for more than a...

When does the glad start?

How many times i risked leaving mom alone ...she was still capable of walking and her dementia was still not that bad... To get an hour away at the local coffee house located in Silicon Valley's Mountain View. I remember being in coffee houses trying to strike up a...

My Life: Jerry S

What keeps me going, and it is the hardest task I have ever had, is knowing that true love is rare. Deb and I met in 1984 when she was 28 and I was 33. We married a few months later. We had both had prior marriages and were blending families of 2 kids each. We knew it...