<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=135666127002514&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Caregivers of Older Adults Blog | Stress (2)

Forgiveness at the End of Life: A Timely Forgiveness

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Aug 13, 2014 @ 09:07 AM

A 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.

Read More

Caring for the Caregiver!

By Cyndy Marsh on Tue, Jul 22, 2014 @ 02:09 PM

My 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.

Read More

Caregiving: Grokking Your Way to Caring

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, Jul 17, 2014 @ 04:13 PM

We 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!

Read More

Caregivers: The Hidden Victims?

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, Jun 26, 2014 @ 09:02 AM

There is certainly a new awareness in our communities about caregivers. Recently there was an advertisement on the internet promoting greeting cards to send to caregivers and the front of one card read: “Caregivers are often the casualties, the hidden victims. No one sees the sacrifices they make.” Much like other social issues that have come to light over the last few decades, caregiving of older adults is reaching a higher level of prominence, especially with the growing statistics of boomers needing care. The two words that stood out in the message on the card were “casualties” and “victims” – perhaps because they make caregiving sound like a war zone. Is that what caring for our elderly parents or spouses has become? 

While I must agree, especially since helping care for my 92-year-old mother, caregiving can be a very stressful and oftentimes a thankless job that leads to frustration and anxiety. Nonetheless it is all the more reason for the caregivers to set boundaries and make the time to care for themselves through respite, meditation, or whatever way best meets their needs so as not to become casualties or victims in their caregiving role. This great quote from an anonymous source speaks so well to caregivers, “Don’t forget that you’re human. It’s okay to have a meltdown. Just don’t unpack and live there. Cry it out and then refocus on where you are headed.”

Read More

Caregiving: Mom Needs Tissues!

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, May 29, 2014 @ 02:33 PM

“Dottie, mom needs tissues” – that’s all her brother Jim said, but it was enough to take her over the breaking point!  After calming down, Dottie wondered why this simple phone call from her brother almost brought her to tears. It wasn’t the request from her brother; it wasn’t even the idea that Jim could have very easily requested the box of tissues from the clerk at the nursing home where her mother had been living now for several years. It was the realization that she had now become "the caregiver" - the one that everyone else relied on to make sure her 95-year-old mother was properly cared for. With several other siblings in the picture, nevertheless, it was Dottie who took on the responsibilities of checking on her mom almost daily making sure she was eating, scheduling meetings with the doctors, nurses and social workers.  It was a role that weighed heavily on her.

Read More

Caregiving: The Next Shift

By Cyndy Marsh on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 01:43 PM

After putting in her eight-plus hours at work every weekday, when Sandy heads home at 5:00 her work day is not over, it only begins again when she walks in the door at home. Sandy, like many others, has a second job. Sandy is a caregiver for her aging mom. One thing that Sandy has not done is tell her employer or even many of her co-workers that her second job, caregiving, is often overwhelming! Caregivers are often reluctant to confide in their employers about their added responsibilities because they may be concerned with job security. Perhaps one of the most common reasons caregivers don’t share this information is because they don’t see it as doing something out of the ordinary. They are doing what is expected of them or just giving back to their parents. According to a webinar series provided by the National Alliance for Caregiving (NAC) entitled, Better Work, Better Care: How Employers Can Support Family Caregiving, Sandy is among the 75% of caregivers of the 44 million unpaid caregivers who are also employed. The employee caregivers also may have to make work accommodations due to caregiving duties which could include turning down a promotion, arriving late or leaving early for work or even quitting a job or taking early retirement; all of which have a huge impact on a caregivers’ economic status.

Read More

mmLearn.org: Celebrating 7 years with 7 Top Videos!

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, May 01, 2014 @ 10:15 AM

From the Seven Wonders of the World to seven days of the week – the number seven appears over and over in history and is considered for many reasons to be the number of perfection. So instead of waiting to celebrate the traditional ten or twenty-year anniversary – mmLearn.org is celebrating our seven years of producing top-notch videos with presenters providing the latest and best caregiver resources available.

Read More

When Does Caregiving End?

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 @ 09:30 AM

Growing up right in the middle of an older sister, Janie, and Ruth, her younger sister, Joyce never really gave much thought to what that would mean when her parents got older and the expectations that would be placed on her. Busy with her own life, working alongside her husband, Mark, in their family business, it didn’t take long for her to realize that her ailing fathers’ need for caregiving was more than her mother could handle. Always the one to take the initiative in her family, Joyce made visits to her parents several times a week making sure bills were paid, the house was clean, groceries were stocked and when the time came, made the very difficult decision to place her dad in a nursing facility. While this move did lessen the burden on her mother, it also meant that Joyce was now making those weekly visits to both her father in the nursing home and her mother, who was at this point developing some critical health issues of her own, having been diagnosed with early-onset dementia.

Read More

Senior Elopement - Not a Walk in the Park!

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Apr 16, 2014 @ 03:35 PM

Topics: Stress, Alzheimer's

The headline read “Lost elderly man found disoriented 180 miles from home.” This type of occurrence is becoming all too familiar as our population ages and has more risk factors associated with different types of dementia which causes cognitive decline. Traditionally the very word elopement conjured up romantic images of a couple running off to some far-away place to marry secretly without letting family or friends in on their plans. Unfortunately, in today’s aging society elopement and wandering are often common behaviors exhibited when the disease process impairs judgment; thereby putting their safety and well-being much more at risk.

Read More

Challenges of Caregiving: I’m a Caregiver – Do I Matter?

By Nina Rios on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 @ 10:00 AM

How often do we see someone in a wheelchair or in a hospital or nursing home and not even notice or acknowledge the caregiver close by? On a recent Twitter Chat, the topic of discussion was loneliness among seniors and family caregivers.  The conversation lit up with comments from professional as well as family caregivers and their responses were often times heart breaking:

Read More