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Caregivers of Older Adults Blog | Stress

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.

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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:

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Caregiver Stress: The Other Side of the Doorknob

By Nina Rios on Thu, Mar 20, 2014 @ 11:36 AM

As you place your hand on the doorknob to enter a room do you ever stop to think about what you might encounter on the other side of that door? What will you find or experience as you step over the threshold? Anytime we are about to walk into a room what waits for us on the other side of the door may be an expected scene or perhaps something so surprising and unanticipated that it may change our life or the life of someone else! As caregivers, regardless of whether we are caring for someone in our home, a nursing home, hospital or hospice, we probably experience these moments of not knowing what to expect each and every time we walk through the door to extend care for our patient or loved one. Learning ways to cope with what often times is unexpected is an important aspect of caregiving.

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Chronicles of Caregiving: Giving up the Big Purse!

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 @ 09:38 AM

Women’s handbags can often make or break an outfit and no matter if the style was a jeweled encrusted tote or the latest trendy clutch; my mom never gave up on her “bigger than a bread basket” satchel. She may have given up on the high heeled shoes years earlier, but it was that massive purse we could always count on as kids when we had an emergency or needed extra bobby pins, our favorite toy, or a snack that we knew exactly where to find it. At 91 – mom has little need for so much stuff in her purse other than her wallet, house keys and a good supply of tissues, but nonetheless, the size of her purse has not diminished. It becomes quite challenging to manage not only her cumbersome purse, but her cane as well as very often holding on to a grocery cart – too many items to keep track of while shopping.

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Hope for Caregivers: Blooming Amidst Dreary Winter Days

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, Jan 30, 2014 @ 10:33 AM

In South Texas we’re pretty accustomed to 100 degree weather in the summer, but winters’ occasional freezes, icy roads and temperatures in the mid-twenties cause all kinds of havoc.  Much to the delight of children and probably teachers, school closings are common, along with a record number of car accidents and that’s without a trace of snow on the ground. But it may also be those dark dreary days of winter that can sometimes cause the elderly and may be even their caregivers to feel depressed or just out of sorts. Perhaps it’s just a matter of becoming resilient to our particular circumstances that helps all of us withstand the test of whatever challenges we deal with on a regular basis. 

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Caregiving: Where do you find the strength?

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Jan 29, 2014 @ 04:04 PM

A mother-daughter relationship can be quite complex.  Beatrice was not the oldest in her family, she wasn’t the closest to her parents nor was she particularly fond of her mother, with whom she had always struggled to find a connection.  But now her mom was widowed, in her late eighties and in need of assistance due to severe health issues.  When her older sister called to let her know their mom could no longer live alone and would need someone to stay with her, and asked her to consider being the caregiver, Beatrice was stunned!  Could she do it?  Would this possibly be an opportunity to finally make things right with her mom?  Was it too late for that relationship she had always wanted?  As these questions all swirled around in her head, she decided with much trepidation to plunge into the role of cargiver feeling this might be her last chance to make up for all the lost years of being estranged from her mother.

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5 Ways mmLearn.org can help YOU: The Caregiver

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Jan 22, 2014 @ 10:44 AM

It’s the beginning of a new year and everyone out there is giving advice, making resolutions and gearing up for whatever 2014 has in store for them.  If you’re a caregiver, whether one who has been in the trenches for many years or perhaps one who is just starting out, there is certainly one very important thing to keep in mind – you cannot do it alone.  You need support in many different ways.  It could be that your support comes from other family members, friends, siblings, neighbors or hired help – however and whoever is providing this support – you will need it before you realize you need it! For many caregivers, accepting or being recruited into this role often comes with lots of commentary, such as, “Oh you can do it, how hard can it be?” or “You’re really the one best prepared to do this” and perhaps, “Mom, really loves you best, so it certainly makes sense that you care for her.”   Unfortunately, what it doesn’t come with is much training or real “hands-on” assistance.

There are certainly many different avenues available to assist the caregiver, due to the surge of baby boomers caring for elderly parents, spouses or needing to be cared for themselves; but it can still be difficult to navigate the multitude of resources.

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Chronicles of Caregiving: The Big Move

By Cyndy Marsh on Thu, Jan 16, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

We all knew the day was coming – it was just a matter of time and that time came when mom no longer felt safe in the home she and dad had shared for over 40 years.  Dad had died very suddenly two weeks after celebrating his 70th birthday, making mom a widow at the age of 65. Even with the support of her neighbors and having me and my siblings close at hand, it became very difficult for mom to live alone. The depression and anxiety that plagued her for the next few years was difficult for us to understand and cope with. A family meeting was called and decisions were made that would mean the beginning of a new life for mom and certainly for me too.

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8 Helpful Resolutions for Caregivers in 2014!

By Cyndy Marsh on Fri, Dec 27, 2013 @ 09:30 AM

We all do it! New Year’s resolutions are always made with great intentions!  We’re going to eat better, lose weight, sleep more, watch less television, smell the roses, and complain less!   These resolutions stack up pretty closely to most Americans since according to the University of Scranton, the top 10 New Year's resolutions are:

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Chronicles of Caregiving: It’s Complicated!

By Cyndy Marsh on Wed, Dec 11, 2013 @ 11:19 AM

And I thought my life was complicated while raising four kids, working, and going to school!  Caring for an aging parent offers a totally different kind of reality especially if the one you are caring for is not accustomed to having someone else do the caring!

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