Monday, July 30, 2007
our hearts. It's a disease that we are all
terrified of developing.
The fear of losing control of our minds.
And, not knowing it! Becoming someone
Not recognizing our loved ones. Our loved
ones not recognizing us. Of whom we've
For the caregiver of an Alzheimer's patient,
I bow to you. I can think of no more difficult
undertaking in the world.
*** The caregiving can take over 100 hours a week.
*** It's extremely hazardous to the caregiver's heath.
There's an estimated 5 million Americans who are
caregivers to someone with Alzheimer's disease.
What could the global statistics be??
As our population continues to age, the numbers
of people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and the number
of caregivers will explode.
I see more and more people coming into the
library looking for information on Alzheimer's.
This is a handbook I've found online that I feel
will be of help to many of you...
As time permits, I'll be doing more research.
Take care and hang in there,
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
were overwhelmingly the most important
source of interpersonal stress."
----From a study by sociologists J. Jill Suitor
of Louisiana State University and Karl Pillemer
of Cornell University
Okay! These are the times when I'm glad I was
the "only child" my parents had!
But, I talk with caregivers at work who have
siblings. I have watched in wonder as I've
witnessed the dynamics playing out among
Day-to-day life can be stressful enough. Add
the role of caregiver to aging parents and you
may be entering a minefield if it's not dealt
Relationships change and not always for the
better when aging parents need their grown
children to step up to the plate and become
The #1 complaint I hear and see is that no
matter the number of siblings in a family, in
99.9% of cases, it always seems to be ONE
of the siblings who is responsible for most of
the parent's care!
So just who is the happier sibling in these cases?
No surprise that it's certainly not the one with
the added work. (Usually a woman, I may add)
Where's the rallying around? The support? Is
there any wonder the tension will increase to the
point the primary caregiver is drained of the physical
and emotional strength needed to be a caregiver
in the first place?
Added to the caregiver's grief is when unthinking
parents make excuses for the neglectful sibling in
front of the harried one.
Maybe some of you are old enough to recall the
Smother's Brother's comedy show? The favorite
line being as one brother looked at the other,
"Well, Mom always liked you best..."
Not so funny in reality, is it? So now what?
***Dealing With Sibling-related Stress***
- nobody wants to hear it but...Counseling!
- having a family meeting
- turning to friends for comfort and venting
- look at everyone's point of view
- deciding to function without them
- utilize each sibling's strengths
No matter how bad things can get, most will always say that deep down they are glad to have each other. They can't imagine what it would be like to be the "only child". They feel the "only one" is more disadvantaged.
Hmmm....I guess it comes down to what you know. As an "only child", I didn't have wished-for siblings but both Mom and I had a close, loving circle of friends. No matter what, you can't go through this experience "alone"!
If you're in need of advice on being a caregiver to aging parents, these eldercare experts may have just what you're looking for...
Hang in and take care of yourself,
Sunday, July 22, 2007
"I'm not going to a nursing home!" How many
times did my dear mother exclaim that?
She resided with me and that was where she
was staying. Subject was closed as far as she
I lived in constant fear. Especially the last 5 years
of Mom's life. She suffered mini-strokes. If she
had a debilitating stroke, I knew I would have no
choice but to move her into a nursing home.
I also made sure she knew many years ahead of
time that if she developed Alzheimer's, I would
be unable to care for her. Subject closed as far
as I was concerned.
We were lucky. Mom remained with me, had a
major stroke, went into coma and died the next
day in the hospital.
She did it her way. And everyday since her passing
last year, I count our blessings.
For those of you with aging parents who have no
choice but to consider nursing home care, I'm so
sorry. It is the most gut-wrenching decision you'll
make in your lifetime.
There are times the decision is out of your hands.
Your parent enters a hospital and the medical staff
will tell you in no uncertain terms that your aging
parent now requires round the clock nursing care.
But for other caregivers, you watch your loved ones
decline in physical, mental and emotional health and
you are forced to make the decision.
It may be sudden or you see it coming and have time
to prepare and research. Check with your local library.
You'll have better luck there than bookstores. (Not a
sexy mover for bookstores) Also check Amazon.
I've found an eBook you may find helpful. You can read
Friday, July 20, 2007
from eldercare experts and you don't have much
time, you can go right to...
As a caregiver you know how tough your job is.
Providing eldercare and TLC to aging parents can
Since it's a fact that caregivers are at an increased
risk for depression, you have to be on alert.
~~~Signs of Burnout~~~
- self criticism
- apathy over usual activities
- trouble at work
- trouble in relationships
- substance abuse
- feelings of being overwhelmed
~~~Things You Can Do~~~
- check local senior service organizations
- set up "home visitor" program
- get respite care
- join caregiver support groups
- pay special attention to nutrition
- try for 7 hours of sleep a night
- vent to friends
- push yourself to do things you once enjoyed
- look for humor in everyday situations
You must take care of the caregiver!
Thursday, July 19, 2007
taken that little trip at one time or other.
Yes, there are parents who feel it's crucial
to instill a sense of guilt in their children,
whatever age their children happen to be.
You can be 10 or 65, and parents have the
ability to cause us that emotional grief and
Some lay it on sweetly. Others are more
confrontational. Doesn't matter. It can be
a painful experience.
Family dynamics are touchy enough. Adding
guilt to the mix can backfire and cause a
Some parents lay on the trip when they become
older. Maybe because they are scared of what
the future holds.
Other parents have thought it was a necessary
parenting skill. I don't think the "kids" ever
get over it.
When it comes to caring for our elderly parents,
whether at a distance or up close and personal,
as in them residing with you, the issue of guilt
causes tension and is counterproductive.
We don't need to be "guilted" into loving anyone.
It just doesn't work. But, I hear you!
"Tell that to my parents!"
The saddest thing is that even when they are gone,
we still carry the guilt.
For expert advice, it can be found at
From the always guilt-riddled Karen...
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
an "only child" can be totally overwhelming.
The good part...you're not dealing with sibling
pressures. Arguing over decisions, one person
feeling like they are doing more than the other, etc..
The bad part...there is no support. Of any kind.
Yes, you have friends. But in a situation like this,
you will understand the saying, "blood is thicker
From your earliest memories, you come to know
it's YOU who has the exclusive contract of
caring for your aging parents. A contract
you know you'll have to carry out or live with
the shame and guilt.
It reminds me of the lame joke about Eve asking
Adam if he loves her. His reply..."Who else?"
Who else, indeed?
As the "only one", you have to be prepared.
If you live thousands of miles away, what will
you do when the time comes when one or both
parents cannot look after themselves?
Will you give up life as you know it and move
to them? Will you have them relocate close to you?
Have them move in with you?
All these questions are life-altering and gut-wrenching.
They aren't to be taken lightly. Too much depends
on your choices.
***Things to consider***
- your marriage
- your children
- your work
- your lifestyle
- your finances
- your health
- the health of your family
For expert advice...
And the best of luck to you,
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
You know, back when family members all
lived together? Generation after generation?
If you were lucky you heard these history
lessons from grandparents or great-grandparents.
There was the "homestead". Babies were
born there. The midwife may have been a
neighbor or the mother-in-law.
The many children grew up with parents,
grandparents and siblings. The grandparents
died. The children married.
Maybe they built their own home close by
or simply moved their bride or groom into
the "family home". The parents became the
grandparents and the circle of life continued.
So help me Hannah, but things have changed!
The biggest difference is life expectancy.
The circle of life has beaten a new path to our door.
In the "old days" there were always family to
take care of each other. Now, family members
may be scattered across the planet.
Words our great-grandparents never heard of
are elder care, assisted living, nursing homes,
long term health care and baby boomers!
Whether we live across the street or in another
country, our parents are aging. They may not like
it but they will need our help.
They may even fight us. And, we may get a
kick out of saying, "But it's for your own good!"
Elder care isn't to be taken lightly. This is serious stuff,
folks. Life and death. You should be prepared for all
Waiting until you get the call in the middle of the
night which sends you racing to the nearest hospital
or the nearest airport will be adding more anxiety
to an already over-the-top stressful life event.
Do your research on elder care. Talk with your
parents. Whether they are in their own homes,
in an assisted living facility or facing nursing home
care, there are things that can be done to make this
transition for your parents as dignified as possible.
Remember, chances are you will be needing the same
tender, loving care someday...
To learn from experts...Click Here!
Monday, July 16, 2007
The subject nobody wants to think about.
Not the baby boomers. Especially not the
Our parents were once vital, energetic,
hard working people. They nurtured us,
protected us and loved us.
Then, in what seems like a blink of an eye,
they became old.
It's no fun for them either! They remember
when they were 30 years old. Now they seem
to be held hostage by an aging body that
seems alien to them.
Over time, the effects took hold. The
strength they had is now gone. Hearing and
eyesight are on the decline. Balance is off.
And, these are just the normal, everyday
When you add the age-related illnesses that
they may succumb to, it breaks our hearts.
They can't manage home maintenance. You don't
want to see them behind the wheel. You notice
their memory is not what it should be.
You're a member of The Aging Parents Club.
You may live next door, across the country or in
another country altogether. But when the time
comes when we have to admit our parents are in
need of assistance, we are the ones they look to.
In so doing, they are made to feel helpless. It's
up to us to make their transition as smooth as
You're in transition, too. From the daughter or
son to caregiver. To parenting your parents.
And with it comes an avalanche of questions.
When do we have "the talk" with them?
Do they need a nursing home? Assisted living?
What is they have dementia? What are their
health problems? If you live close by, it's
easier to assess the situation. But what if you
live thousands of miles away? What do you do?
The first thing is to take a real hard look at
the situation. See it for what it is. And,
remember to be firm. Because, their pride
has been attacked. Their bodies betrayed
You'll also hope you do it well. Because if you
have children, they'll be watching. How you treat
your aging parents will be a lens on how you
will be treated by your children.
Let's show love and respect for our elderly.
This will also happen to us!
The most important thing to remember is to
start your research now. When you make
decisions in a crisis, chances are, they will not
be the best ones for you or your parents.
To get advice from experts in elder care...
People are living longer. While we celebrate
the news, we must remember the downside.
We will age. And with that comes all the age-
related maladies. Just at the time we baby
boomers are noticing new aches and pains,
helping kids through university, looking forward
to retirement...we are faced with another
of life's milestones that many in the past didn't
have to deal with.
Our aging parents. In the "old days", even
extended families lived within visual distance
of one another. Help was as close as an arms
Today, a son may be in Thailand, a daughter
in Europe and the parents in Iowa. But, they
are still our parents and we want to be there
In a perfect world, we are armed with the
information beforehand. But, no doubt as we
go about our busy lives, we are blindsided by
an event that reinforces the reality. Our
parents are now old. And, they need us.
How and when did this happen?
If you want to be prepared, take a look at
expert advice all in one place at...
Be ready when the time comes...