Caregivers of Older Adults

The Unexpected Rewards of Caregiving

Posted on Mon, Oct 20, 2014 @ 04:15 PM

Some of life's most difficult challenges come with the biggest rewards. Caregiving falls into this category. While much talk on the subject centers around the demands of being a caregiver -- and this responsibility shouldn't be taken lightly; it is a monumental, life-changing decision -- data from researchers, as well as insights from caregivers themselves, reveals some unexpectedly positive outcomes.

Cane_and_handsTime, Time, Time
One of the most common upsides of caregiving is the opportunity to spend time with a cherished family member who needs you. This experience opens up unprecedented bonding opportunities, as well as the chance to share stories, get to know each other better and create new memories. If your relationship has been rocky in the past, this time together can be quite healing.

And it's not just the relationship between the caregiver and care recipient that improves. Family members working together as collaborative family caregivers often grow closer in the process. 
Caregivers also form rewarding bonds with other caregivers they have met in support groups or through caregiving classes.

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Topics: Family Caregivers, Caregiver, Siblings and Aging Parents

Fall: A Time of Reflection

Posted on Thu, Oct 09, 2014 @ 10:16 AM

"Autumn has come in its predictable way; the heat of summer is giving way to cooler breezes in anticipation of winter. Change is in the air. For all of us, the changing of the seasons is a reminder that we, too, must change. In fact, it is an apt metaphor for our need to adapt to the ever-evolving circumstances of our aging lives."  

fall_leafAuthor Patrick Abore, Ph.D. eloquently captures the importance of paying attention to the stirring within each of us as the movements of the seasons call us also to change.

Just as the season changes when the weather starts turning a bit cooler and nights get longer, so do our thoughts change as we begin to reflect on letting go and releasing those things in our lives that may have become burdensome. If you have recently become a caregiver for a parent, a spouse or other family member, there may be many changes in your life; some that may be causing difficulty or anxiety. Perhaps the person you are caring for has always lived an independent life, but now requires help to accomplish even simple tasks. Think about how difficult it must be for them to adjust to these types of transitions in life - going from something old and familiar to something new and unfamiliar. 

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Topics: Caregiver, Siblings and Aging Parents, Caregiver Stress, Prayers for Caregivers

Alzheimer's: The Memories Fade

Posted on Thu, Sep 25, 2014 @ 11:49 AM

Dementia_NovellaIt was so painful to watch; she gently and adoringly held his hand and stroked his withered face as he looked at her with a questioning look unable to recognize his wife of 56 years. The disease seemed to have crept up or perhaps it was there for a long time, yet accepting the reality was just not something anyone in the family was prepared to fully recognize.

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Topics: Elder Care, Caregiver Stress, Alzheimer's Disease

A Difficult Yet True Story of Elder Abuse: "How could they?"

Posted on Mon, Sep 08, 2014 @ 12:07 PM

elderabusemustend2The first words I uttered after listening to the 85 year old woman’s story – “How could they?” It was the first week into my new job as a pastoral associate in my home church when I received a call to visit a woman who was afraid of being in her own home. My first thought was that perhaps she may be suffering from dementia, but just a few minutes into her story – collaborated by her niece who had recently become her caregiver – I knew it was not dementia.  Instead it was a cruel and frightening experience that had left this lovely but fragile woman in a state of panic at every knock on her door.

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Topics: Elder Care, Elder Abuse - Where caregivers go for help!

Posted on Thu, Aug 21, 2014 @ 09:17 PM where caregivers go for helpIt’s exciting to see the amazing growth in the senior living industry and the constantly evolving levels of care available to senior residents. However, about 90 percent of seniors in America still live at home and most of those must receive care from family members for much of their daily needs. As professionals serving seniors first, I think we all want to know that all seniors are getting the best care they can, wherever they are. That compassionate kind of thinking really defines our industry in a special way.

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Topics: Family Caregivers, Caregiver, Siblings and Aging Parents, Senior Health, Caregiver Stress, Spirit of Caring

Caregiving is hard - can help!

Posted on Tue, Aug 19, 2014 @ 05:00 PM

As a young child I have vivid memories of my grandmother who had been paralyzed from a stroke sitting up in her bed and digging in her little coin purse to give us money for the ice cream vendor as he made the rounds in our neighborhood.  My mother was the youngest of five siblings and had taken on the role of caregiver.  My older brothers and me thought it was great especially whenever we were in trouble, her bed was a great hiding place and she forgave all our antics with a kiss and a few pennies for ice cream!  Throughout her life mom not only cared for her mother, but her father-in-law, an uncle and an elderly neighbor; yet she never considered herself a caregiver, that was just what families did for one another. 

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Topics: Elder Care, Family Caregivers, Caregiver, Siblings and Aging Parents, Caregiver Stress, Spirit of Caring

Forgiveness at the End of Life: A Timely Forgiveness

Posted on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

Give ForgivenessA good friend who is a hospice chaplain has shared how difficult it is to be at the bedside of someone who is at the end of their life and to have the family in complete isolation from one another. We’ve all heard the stories of siblings, parents, partners or others bickering and inflicting blame on one another due to past disagreements regarding relationships, finances, property or any number of reasons. What the chaplain finds most disconcerting is the lack of regard for the person approaching death, and the inability to allow for forgiveness especially at a time when there should be a softening of the heart. Unfortunately many times emotions and memories are often choked by the struggles and resentments of the past.

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Topics: Siblings and Aging Parents, Caregiver Stress, Spirit of Caring, Advanced Directives

Caring for the Caregiver!

Posted on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 02:09 PM

be kind to yourselfMy dear friend, Vivian, has been caring for her father for nearly fifteen years now. Recently her father had a tragic fall that left him with severe injuries. Vivian continues alongside her father in what may well be the remaining days of his life. As a good friend and fellow caregiver of my own mother, I want to support her but also feel the grip of fear that I may be in her shoes someday soon.

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Topics: Elder Care, Caregiver, Siblings and Aging Parents, Caregiver Stress

Caregiving: Grokking Your Way to Caring

Posted on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

Grokking editedWe often hear that one way to keep our brains sharp is to learn new skills.  Learning new words and their meaning certainly falls in that category.  The word “Grok” was actually coined by Robert A. Heiniein for his 1961 science-fiction novel, Stranger in a Strange Land.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines to grok as “to understand intuitively or by empathy; to establish rapport with” and “to empathize or communicate sympathetically (with); also, to experience enjoyment”.  Now that undoubtedly sounds like family caregiving!

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Topics: Family Caregivers, Caregiver, Caregiver Stress, Prayers for Caregivers

Behavioral Management in Dementia

Posted on Mon, Jul 07, 2014 @ 11:23 AM

A diagnosis of dementia is difficult enough for families to accept especially when it affects a beloved parent or grandparent. Adding behavioral issues to the mix and a tense situation can become explosive. It’s almost incomprehensible to believe that someone you may have known your entire life to be a kind, mild mannered, gentle person can suddenly become aggressive and combative towards their own family or others trying to help them. Behavioral disturbances in dementia are such that can place the person with the disease or others at risk and additionally can make it extremely difficult for the caregiver.

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Topics: Family Caregivers, Siblings and Aging Parents, Caregiver Stress, Spirit of Caring, Alzheimer's Disease, Dementia