Monday, November 29, 2010

How To Take Care Of Aging Parents and Not Kill Your Siblings

Christmas is a time of stress. Good stress and bad stress.
Doesn't matter. Our bodies just know it's stress and acts

This also happens to be the prime time for siblings to
bicker. Especially if there are aging parents involved
who are needing more assistance from their grown

"Reports by caregivers indicated that siblings were
overwhelmingly the most important source of interpersonal

---from a study by sociologists J. Jill Suitor of
Louisiana State University and Karl Pillemer of Cornell

Family dynamics undergo a major change when siblings
are called upon to be caregivers to aging parents.
And that can play havoc on the family unit.

One of the major sources of contention is when there isn't
a fair assignment of responsibilities. It's reported that in
99.9 % of cases studied, one of the siblings takes on most
of the work.

What's up with that? Actually, I'm not surprised. I've seen
it happen over and over with families. It always seems to
fall to one of the siblings.

Would it surprise you to know that the primary caregiver
is a woman? Why wouldn't negative feelings crop up among

They may have been best friends before. Now they are
adversaries. Why wouldn't they be? For some reason, the
ones who do less are the most favored ones! Of course you
feel like throwing in the towel and walking away from your
whole family!

For those old enough to reminds me of an old
comedy show called the Smother's Brother's. One brother
would always look at the other with a look of resigned acceptance
and say, "Well, Mom always liked you better!"

So what can you do to survive with your sanity intact?
If it makes you feel better, siblings report that deep down
they are glad they have each other. They look at the "only child"
as being at a tremendous disadvantage.

Things To Do To Keep Siblings From Homicide

***keep everyone informed

***listen to all points of view

***have family conferences

***get counseling when needed

***vent to friends who have walked the talk

***seek help from local caregiving agencies

***learn to function alone if necessary

***benefit from each other's strengths

For siblings who live close to the aging parents,
this is the most helpful. Find each other's niche.
Do the chores based on your likes.
And please love one another. This is truly a case of
"blood being thicker than water".

And best wishes for a stress-free holiday season!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Black Friday Deals All Weekend On Adaptive Clothing

When a company has been around for 80 years, you know
they are doing something right.

Silvert's have been helping make people's lives easier.
That may sound simple but if you have a medical condition
that affects mobility, it means the world.

If you are in a wheelchair, they make your day. Whatever
your physical problem, Silvert's has the solution to
make your life so much more comfortable. Which in turn
makes the life of the caregiver easier as well!

They are simply the best when it comes to adaptive clothing
for all needs.

Click on the link above to visit Silvert's today!

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caregiver Burnout: When You've Lost That Loving Feeling

At this time of year we all seem to be burning the candle at both ends. Life is so busy! And now there's Thanksgiving and Christmas to get ready for! If you are also a caregiver to an aging parent, you're probably feeling more than the usual state of anxiety.

But, please oh please...slow down and take a deep breath. I mean that. You have to. For yourself, okay?

What is a "caregiver"? Someone who is involved in helping someone else manage to carry out the tasks of living. It sounds so simple, doesn't it? For the caregiver, it is anything but easy or simple.

Let's be honest. Being a caregiver is a tough job. Being a caregiver to aging parents is even tougher. Not that we don't love our parents. Of course we do, or trust me, we would not undertake the caregiver role.

It's stressful because of a lifetime of family dynamics. The emotions and memories, happy or sad, have a way of coming to the surface when least expected.

Who knew that providing TLC to loved ones could be this stressful? How stressful is it? Well, caregivers are at an increased risk of depression and burnout.

Symptoms of both tend to mimic each other. One contributes to the other. Sort of the age-old puzzle..."Which comes first? The chicken or the egg?"

~~~Signs of Caregiver Burnout~~~

self criticism
trouble at work
trouble in relationships
substance abuse
feeling overwhelmed
apathy for usual activities

~~~Things To Do For You~~~

always talk with your doctor
vent to support network
speak with therapist
call local senior service organizations
utilize programs to assist caregivers
join support groups
arrange "home care" visitors
get respite care
do not neglect nutrition
try to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night
take time to do something you enjoy
you must find humor in everyday events

Of course, each caregiver's situation is unique. Some may be handling the responsibilities from thousands of miles away. Coordinating and managing elder care over the phone and making visits. Some live near enough to try to run two households.

And, others have one or both aging parents residing with them. Whichever caregiver role you are in charge of, you have to take care of yourself. And I know it's way easier for someone to offer well-meaning advice than it is to carry out.

But you have to try. Depression and burnout are serious conditions. How sad and unfair to have this happen to you when you are trying to make the last years of an aging parent as pleasant as possible.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Aging Parents: When You Are The "Only Child"

Remember this old joke? It takes place in the Garden of Eden.

Eve looks at Adam and asks, "Do you love me, Adam?"

Adam raises his eyebrows and replies, "Who else?"

Who else, indeed? So is the reality for the "only child". From our earliest memories, we were aware of having the "exclusive contract". The one that states that we are "it". The only one to take care of our aging parents.

What a role to be cast in. Of course, we want our parents to live a long time. Then again, we can't kid ourselves. With aging comes physical decline. Sometimes cognitive impairment. And emotional problems.

For the "only child", there is good news. We don't have to deal with sibling pressures. No arguing about choices or who's right and who's wrong.

If you've ever witnessed the bickering and pettiness that can go on in a family to aging parents, you may be glad to be the only one! Nobody's messing with you!

The bad news is there is absolutely no support. You're going it alone. No emotional support. No financial support. Nobody to take turns.

If you've moved your aging parent into your home, there's no sister or brother to show up so you can get away for rest and rejuvenation.

The "only child" is more likely to be sent on a "guilt trip". This can start at an early age. Depending on when your parents grew up will also determine the extent of the guilt trip.

For aging parents who saw no need for women to "have their own life", daughters can pay a huge price in these family dynamics.

The only child thinks twice about moving far away and having their own life. There are no siblings living near the parents to offer support and companionship. This can be a cause for an undercurrent of resentment. Turned inward, the "only child" suffers depression.

If you are married, you can only hope your spouse is supportive. You may be part of the "sandwich generation". Feeling needed by your kids on one side of you and your aging parents on the other side.

Say you are divorced with no kids, like moi, you are not squeezed into sandwich fixins' by others. But, then again, you are truly alone. And you'd better thrive on independence!

For the only child who is the sole caregiver to aging parents, you must reach out to the social support systems available. If not, you will burn out and be no good to yourself or your loved ones.

Find out about home-care workers in your area. These people are a god-send. Not just for the only child but also to the parent who gets more valuable social contact.

Who else? There are others ready to help. You just have to reach out to them...

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aging Parents: The Guilt Will Do You In!

My beautiful Mom died in 2006. I'll never get over it.
She lived with me for many years. And I would not have
had it any other way. We were fortunate that she was able
to be with me.

It was right at the end when we knew she would have to
consider a nursing home. I was devastated. She was devastated.
But we were able to be side-by-side up until her last breath.
I'll cherish these memories for the rest of my life!

I'm guilty. I keep thinking of things I could have done that
would have made her life even easier. Guilt is a terrible
thing. It keeps you awake at night. But I did do my best.

Usually it takes so little to make a big difference. Little
things can mean so much. One of the things that brought a
a smile to Mom's face was her reading table. Her laptop
reading table was a godsend!

She used it when she couldn't get out of bed. She used it
when she was up and sitting in her favorite chair. Mom used
her reading/eating tray for everything!!!

I miss my Mom so much but I'm happy for the memories of
watching her enjoy her tray every day of her life!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Looking After Your Aging Parent Over The Holidays

Christmas is coming. For many it's a joy-filled time.
For many others, it's a painful time.

For our elderly parents, it can go either way. If they are
spending their first Christmas alone, it can be torture.

Maybe this is their first holiday without a beloved
spouse. Maybe they've changed residences. On the
stress scale, these two life events blow right off the

I was lucky because I was able to have my Mom live
with me right up until her passing. It was a win-win
for both of us.

Maybe you live thousands of miles away from your
loved ones. Now that can be tough.

Remember what is important to your aged parents.
It's not the gifts or decorations. It's all about the emotions
of the holiday.

Visiting with their family is ALL they want, trust me.
Take time and put yourself in their shoes. It's so easy
for these weeks leading up to Christmas to be busy and

Try to quiet yourselves. Do something special for your
Mom or Dad. Take them somewhere that means a lot
to them.

Before you know it, they too, will be gone...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Snapfon "ez ONE" Cell Phone: Perfect Christmas Gift For Your Elderly Parent

There's nothing more frustrating for someone with
low vision than trying to place a phone call. There
are enough things to complicate our loved one's lives.

For them to have a phone they can use with ease is a
blessing. Easy to carry around. Easy-to-see numbers.
Making life easier for our parents.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Elder Care: The Perfect Christmas Gift For Your Parent

I always tried to find the perfect gift for my Mom.
I never knew what would bring a smile to her face.
The year I found the tray, was the year I saw the
biggest smile.

She used it for everything. When she couldn't
get to the table, it was like a slumber party watching
her enjoy eating in her chair or bed.

Being an avid reader, she enjoyed being able to
have her book perched on her tray.

She used her tray for everything! It made my
day to see how much she enjoyed it. For
the perfect gift for you loved one, check out
the gift at Amazon!

Just click on the graphic...

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas Gifts For Cold Feet

Maybe getting slippers for Christmas sounds cliche but
tell that to any of us who have cold feet. As my mother
used to say, "When my feet are cold, I'm cold all over!"

So if your parent wants to feel toasty all over during
the winter months, consider the Dearfoams Women's

I love how they are high enough to surround the ankles
in warmth.