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...

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...

How caregivers cope with stress

Coping with stress is a constant challenge for caregivers. Coping mechanisms that are actually realistic for caregivers is a pretty frequent topic of conversation. Here are some of the suggestions that came up recently. Small treats After the day I had, tonight it was...

Confessions of a backseat caregiver

Like so many children, I'm simultaneously exactly like and nothing like my father. One of the things that's very different about us is that he's very much a caricature of the absent minded professor while I have a life that's planned weeks in advance in a color-coded...

Going home

I've always felt like an outsider. Growing up in the suburbs I always stuck out. I didn't fit in. I didn't belong there. My parents always described me as the black sheep. When I was little, they tried to get me to play nice, wear dresses, do the things little girls...

Home modification tips and tricks

We asked the community if they'd modified their home in order to better accommodate the person they cared for. The most common additions were: Shower bars Grip tape on stairs Bed rails Shower seat Stair lift Elevated toilet seat Video baby monitor Wireless doorbell...

Fly, fly away

There are a hundred reasons why not to holiday abroad with David freezing and lurching as he does. An unwelcome stowaway, Parkinsons finds a way to show up wherever we travel. Guaranteed. So he’s not reported INBBRIATED. Unfit to travel, a constant fear of mine I...

The yellow umbrella

Rain. Not the kind rain kids like to run in and lovers like to walk in, but the unkind rain that kids run from and lovers shun. The hard-driving cold rain no one wants to be out in. They were out in it. A mother and her young daughter, alone, at a bus stop, arms...

When caregiving begins

Caregivers come from all ages and walks of life. So many of our community members have been part-time, full-time, long-distance, and professional caregivers over the years. But as Cathy put it so perfectly: It isn't a competition regarding when we started caregiving,...

When I’m 24

When we said "in sickness and in health" we envisioned supporting each other through old age. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uk2LkW2tm8 Even 64 seems pretty young these days. The world has changed since the Beatles were at the top of the charts. When did we expect...

Exhaustion

Exhaustion.  It can hit out of the blue.  You think you’re doing well and handling everything, and you have a hopeful outlook.  It’s not always physical exhaustion.  It can be mental or emotional exhaustion.  But, mental or emotional exhaustion definitely adds to the...

What’s your type?

Moms of special needs kids come in all shapes, sizes and types. What kind of (super) mom are you? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpFfP_m6X2s&sns=fb Rabbi Rebecca Einstein Schorr blogs at This Messy Life. This former career-driven mother of three became a reluctant...

Sometimes people don’t know what to say

Sometimes people don't know the right thing to say. In fact, they put their foot in their mouths pretty often. But sometimes they say just the right thing and it makes a world of difference. I asked our community: Was there a time someone said the wrong thing? What do...

Where can you find caregiver support?

We asked our community members what the best source of caregiver support they've found is. While we could all use more support, here's what's helpful. Facebook I am the lone wolf taking care of her now. I feel just left to completely be in a silent world.can't get out...

What do I have to complain about?

Moan, moan, moan. YOU’RE NOT ALONE, friends soothe. It doesn’t help, you know — telling me. I know friends mean well offering pop-in help and I am grateful, truly, but fact is David and I are adrift alone in a sea of day to day survival. Try a caregiver’s life for...

Finding my reset button

It has taken me almost 10 years to figure out that I actually have a reset button and that I'm allowed to hit it when needed! My husband has a C4/C5 spinal cord injury and as his primary caregiver for going on 10 years, along with caring physically (alone) for our...

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...