Unnecessary trouble

How do you care for someone who refuses to let you help them? My mother refuses to have outside help. It needs to be me, her daughter, who helps her. But she really wants a servant. She raised me to be a woman who's practical. Who thinks about what people might need...

What we’re overthinking

As caregivers, we find ourselves simultaneously impossibly busy and spending lots of time waiting around. We're exhausted, but then we're up all night staring at the ceiling. What's keeping you up these days? All the work that needs to be done to the house. I'm in...

“Did You Have a Good Summer?”

Maybe it’s a Midwestern custom, but friends keep asking me if I had a good summer. Every time I’m asked this question I want to groan. I’m my disabled husband’s primary caregiver and, for us, summer is like any other season of the year. There are no changes from our...

How has caregiving changed you?

How do you know you're a caregiver? It's tricky to decide -- how many hours? What sorts of tasks? What about the relationship? My answer is that you're a caregiver when it's changed you forever. So, how has caregiving changed who you are and how you view the world? I...

I see you

A few weeks ago, I was at the beach and I saw a young woman walking with her two little boys and her husband.  Her husband was disabled, walking with a cane and appearing to have lost some muscle function in his arms and legs.  I keep thinking about the woman and what...

What do caregivers need to know?

Family caregivers find themselves needing to know everything from the finer details of drug interactions to how to empty storage units. Here's what our members wish they'd gotten training and information about: What are the rights of patients and caregivers? I would...

My loved one isn’t a burden

The most common term for discussing the difficulties that come with supporting a loved one through a health crisis, long-term illness, or disability is "caregiver burden." While it's a succinct way to sum up the challenges of caregiving, of which there are many, it...

Caregiver’s Lament: Rescue Me

Rescue me, for an afternoon or an hour, or a few minutes. I no longer want someone to come into my life and take over all my problems and become my hero and the owner of my life. I don't want that. I just need someone to rescue me for a few minutes so that I remember...

What’s your best caregiving trick?

Caregivers are an incredibly innovative bunch. We come up with all sorts of unique solutions to problems. A few members of our community shared their favorite tips and tricks to make caregiving easier. Have one to add? Put it in the comments below. Give them choices...

Medication management for seniors

If you help care for an aging loved one, or are advancing in age yourself, you are probably aware of the importance of medication management. As people age, they can develop multiple chronic conditions, which may require several long term prescriptions. In fact,...

When betrayal is freedom

For fifteen years I cared for him. His accident was days after our engagement. My mother pulled me aside and said I could still walk away if I wanted. I knew it would be a hard road of nursing him back to health. No one knew if he'd recover or what recovery would...

Alzheimers, Loss, and What You Can Do to Help

Impacting roughly 5 million senior Americans, Alzheimer's has made a name for itself in the elderly community. Little is understood about the cause of the disease and even less is known about the solution. What we do know is that it's effects are heart-breaking....

Mourning the Imagined

I can see my father in vibrant colors. He’s got snow white hair, earthy brown skin, and a speck of light reflecting off one of the lenses of his eyeglasses. Behind it is a tiny sparkle in his eye. Except that it's an artificial sparkle. Years ago, in his 40s, his...

What makes caregiving meaningful?

We know that an easy life doesn't necessarily make for a good life. People who feel that their life has meaning tend to be more fulfilled overall, even if their life is incredibly challenging. Different people are driven by different things. Here's a quick quiz you...

Don’t Let Me Be, Forgotten

The Art of losing isn’t hard to master, so many things seem filled with the intent to be lost that their loss is no disaster. Lose something every day. Accept the fluster of lost door keys, an hour badly spent. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. Then practice...

Create a Medications Management Checklist

My mother was getting forgetful and I was worried sick about her. On the phone, my mother’s conversation was confused and fragmented. Finally, I flew to Florida to assess her physical and mental health. One morning my mother said she wasn’t feeling well. She walked...

What does caregiving feel like?

When people talk about overcoming disease or disability to live an incredible life, so often the caregivers are left out of the story. Many caregivers don't identify as caregivers -- we're so absorbed in the needs of whoever we're caring for, we forget what it's like...

Creativity and Dementia

I recently visited my husband at the long term care facility where he now resides and I was impressed by his latest creative work of art. This time he had all of the things out of his bathroom cupboard, his mouthwash, hair brush, plastic glass, soap and toothbrush...

Is there a better term for caregiver burden?

You've heard the term "caregiver burden", right? It's the stress and strain that comes with caring for someone who is ill, elderly, or disabled. Lots of people don't really like it, since it can easily seem like the person you're caring for is a burden. I was thinking...

What does it feel like to be me?

What does it feel like to be me? The first word to come to mind is "full". Frustrated is a close second. My 91yr. old mother has lived with me for six years. Her dementia has stolen her reasoning, memory, logic and ability to track what I'm saying. Some have told me...

Terminal Determination

The saga began Wednesday morning in March 9. Hours of screaming. Calling for the ambulance. Emergency room admission. Morphine drip for the pain. CT scan. Calls to calm his hysterical mother. Five-hour surgery I’d been told would just be a couple of hours. Surgical...

How did we become family caregivers?

A few weeks ago we were talking about how we became caregivers on the Facebook page. I was surprised by how many professional caregivers said they didn't have a choice in the matter, it just happened. I was also surprised by how many parents and spouses said they...

Caregiving and resentment

Resentment seems to be a regular companion for caregivers.  It comes in flash points when we feel presumed upon, undervalued, and unappreciated. That resentment, however, cripples us as caregivers far more than it negatively affects others. A pianist for even longer...

Second guessing family ties

When my boyfriend came out to his family, his father attacked him. That was nearly 20 years ago now. For a long time he'd make attempts to get in contact with his siblings or his mother every couple years. They never went well. They were only willing to welcome him...

Is becoming a caregiver a choice?

Becoming a caregiver just happened I was 23, had a five year old and a 2 month old. My mother was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer, and her "husband" decided he didn't want to clean up crap, and I was already an "expert". Sadly, she passed away 2 months later, and...

This advice on ALZ changed my life

There's a lot of advice on how to care for someone with Alzheimer's without, well, losing your mind. Not a lot of it works. I was a very earnest child. My poor parents had to deal with me taking things very literally. I still want to correct every mistake and...

How to Efficiently Make Over Your Closet

Let’s face it. We are regular people who do not live the lives featured in glossy magazines. We aspire to be neater, but to achieve this optic we would need to subsist on six interchangeable outfits of monochromatic khaki and white. What about winter clothes? What...

Not the future I imagined

My parents are too young to be facing old age. They've reached that point of enjoying an empty nest. My brother and I are standing on our own feet, settled into lives of our own. Rather than have to parent (active verb) they can just be parents. My mom and I go...