• When a loved one dies, we often go into cleaning mode. There is an urge to bring order to a world that has been turned upside down. I began cleaning out my mother’s condo the same day that she died. I was […]

  • Hi Annie. Communication challenges can be difficult for loved ones to accept when it comes to dementia. My mother struggled with it when it came to taking care of my father. You are absolutely right in saying that correcting a person with Alzheimer’s or other dementias is not usually helpful. Changing the topic, redirecting when a loved one…[Read more]

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    A new year means a new emphasis on resolutions, life goals, and marking things off that bucket list. As caregivers, we may find ourselves abandoning our own dreams to help an ill relative tackle their own […]

  • A visit to the dentist is sometimes met with dread, but our mouths tell us more about our health than we may realize. I gained insight into the importance of oral health in my years as a caregiver for my […]

  • The most common response I received from well-meaning people was, “Why don’t you move your Mom in with you?” There were many reasons why that would not have been feasible but I certainly did not want to dive into those details with virtual strangers. Even if it is offered up as helpful advice, it can make the caregiver feel guilty. Offer advice to…[Read more]

  • The most common response I received from well-meaning people was “Why don’t you move your Mom in with you?” There were many reasons why that would not have been feasible but I certainly did not want to dive into those details with virtual strangers. Even if it is offered up as helpful advice, it can make the caregiver feel guilty. Offer advice to…[Read more]

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    Making modifications to the home can help your loved ones age in place, a goal of an increasing amount of families. There are plenty of resources online that offer checklists and other pieces of advice that […]

    • My mom, who’s retired and in perfect health, recently bought a house where her bedroom is at the top of a steep flight of stairs and doesn’t have a bathroom on the same level. It’s in a lovely neighborhood, but the neighborhood is surrounded by two highways and a lake, which seems like it’ll be increasingly treacherous to navigate as she gets older. It gives me much angst, although she thinks I’m being silly.

      Meanwhile, my grandmother resisted making any universal design modifications until she was too ill to make decisions on her own. She refused to add a shower to the downstairs bathroom — to the point where she had an outdoor shower set up in the backyard and had the kids use that! Her determination to die at home and her refusal to rearrange the downstairs to make it accessible was a horrible combination and now we’re all suffering for it.

      If you’re looking for a new home, most condos include at least basic universal design principles. My condo came with all the light switches and outlets at the right height for a wheelchair and other little details like that. I’m not a fan of the sliding doors, but they are great for creating flexible spaces and navigating with mobility aides. The bathroom would only require minor modifications and there are fully handicap accessible facilities in the building. Plus, it lacks all the maintenance of a house and a yard. Of course, few people are eager to move in the midst of a crisis, so any changes should be made far in advance of when you’d expect age to become an issue.

  • First of all, my condolences on your recent loss. The fact that you are dealing with two devastating issues at the same time would be tough for anyone to handle.

    I can certainly see why you want to be there for your friend, and yes, you are very astute in that you may be feeling an extra need to help because of the gaping, raw hole in your life…[Read more]

  • This sounds like a tough situation. It does seem like your sister is using control as a means to deal with the situation at hand. That is fairly common, but as you said, you and your siblings of course have a right to spend time with your mother.

    I am no expert, but if there was a neutral third-party who could have a family meeting, where…[Read more]

  • No matter what the outcome of the 2016 presidential election is, caregiver advocates will continue to push for greater support and recognition. A recent report called family caregiving a “critical issue of public […]

  • It is very true Tessa that caregiving can be a lonely, isolating experience. An online community may not replace that in-person connection for everyone, but it’s a good start. I understand what you mean about the mixed emotions in taking care of someone nearing the end of life. I experienced relief, guilt, fear of the unknown future … Looking…[Read more]

  • The last thing you may feel like doing when you are actively caregiving is engaging that creative spark. Heck, if you were creative before caregiving, you may believe that your creative fire has been extinguished […]

  • As I share my experiences of being a caregiver for my parents, I find myself constantly questioning how many personal details I should be revealing about my parents’ medical conditions. While common decency frowns […]

  • I have submitted an idea to help caregivers on the OpenIDEO website as part of their end-of-life challenge. To move my idea to the next phase, I need feedback from caregivers.

    My idea would be to create respite care vouchers so that caregivers could take a much-needed break from caregiving duties. The vouchers would be good at hotels and on…[Read more]

  • Thanks, I will make sure to share this survey opportunity.

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    Finally, I can see the light.

    I’m slowly but steadily climbing my way out of a mountain of debt that I accrued as a caregiver.

    The financial burden of being a caregiver can be devastating, but it is […]

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    Finally, I can see the light.

    I’m slowly but steadily climbing my way out of a mountain of debt that I accrued as a caregiver.

    The financial burden of being a caregiver can be devastating, but it is […]

    • I don’t know….there’s something that doesn’t quite sit right with this story, tragic as it is, though it had a good outcome. The parents seemed to have quite a bit of income and savings, and it was all used up? Is it a case of being too middle-class to get any real help, as the destitute would get? I’m sorry for the caregiver, I always wonder in reading about cases like this – what would happen if the poor caregiver died in the middle of all this – what would happen to the condo? What would they do with the mother? The caregiver killing herself all those months or years, surely there had to be something else she could do. Medicaid? Nursing home? A cancer patient, a dementia patient – keep them in that condo no matter what? It’s a very sad story, though I am relieved there wasn’t a grim ending of being broke and homeless trying to keep the parents afloat…..I do know only the very rich and the very poor make out well in these cases, and I totally agree something should be done about the middle class! God bless you all.

    • Dreadful, simply dreadful! I have no advice, but you have my sympathy. I hope someone reading can offer some kind of advice.

    • I am currently paying $7000 a month for my mother to be in the nursing home. This is for half a room. my father would be so sad that his hard earned life savings is being used for this. he was great at saving money,but took it for granted that medicare and Tricare for life would take care of both of them. So sorry dad.

  • Another example of trying to do the right thing and work within the system, only to be denied a reasonable resolution. We must demand better for those who are most vulnerable.

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