Whether you're caring for an aging parent or a neighbor in your apartment building, or helping a home health aide connect with your ill spouse, look to establish common ground to drive forward a successful caregiving relationship.
The reality of spousal refusal is very different from the politically motivated sound bites decrying multi-millionaires on Medicaid. If, for example, my husband has a stroke and we apply for Medicaid for him, I may decide to declare spousal refusal in order to protect my nest egg of $300,000.
One evening Leeza Gibbons, the celebrated radio and TV personality, was out to dinner with her mother. When they went to her home, which her mother had visited hundreds of times, she said, "This is such a beautiful place. Is there a room for me here?" Her mother had dementia.
My mother may not know my name, but she knows my voice, and it triggers something within. She giggles girlishly. Then, I start a song, one from the old days, and she joins in. We have our own routine, our Alzheimer's Rag.
Food is one of the last few pleasures left when illness leaves one laying in bed in a small room with little else available in terms of sensory gratification. Food is also an important part of caregiving.
When we talk about the burden facing caregivers, most people agree that getting help is necessary for maintaining their health and their sanity. But for some reason, when it comes time to actually take that help, many caregivers resist.
To help reduce your distress the next time your loved one is distressed, try to remain aware that people with dementia live only in the present. That way you can end your suffering as quickly as your loved one does, and then you can both move on to something more pleasant.
When my wife died, I felt survivor's guilt because the two of us shared every good thing and every bad thing that had occurred for a very long time. Now I felt guilty that she no longer had the opportunity to experience the things that are still to come.
Many people refuse to even consider having their loved on put on any psychotropic medication for any reason. And that's understandable. But today's medications, which can be given in doses that don't overly sedate patients, can also be effective and improve a patient's overall quality of life.
The weak, helpless, confused and eventually paralyzed state Celia had been in for four years hurt her 10 times more than it might hurt someone else. She did not abide by someone helping her to do everything, every day (not even her husband of 39 years).
We are all very much still on this journey. We are the parents now in so many ways, the executors and the advocates, the decision makers, accountants and the schedulers. We no longer act like children with our parents. The see saw has tipped.
The next 30 years will be defined by the quality of care we provide for our elders. How will the baby boomers age and die? How are we as their kids going to care for them well and honor their memory and legacy? What kind of lives will we review?
When an older family member needs help, many people struggle to find the time to provide assistance to their relative amidst the many other commitments crowding their lives. Often, it is hard to figure out just how much help is really necessary.