Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness

06loneliness-cover-articlelarge-v2BLACKPOOL, England — The woman on the other end of the phone spoke lightheartedly of spring and of her 81st birthday the previous week. “Who did you celebrate with, Beryl?” asked Alison, whose job was to offer a kind ear. “No one, I…” And with that, Beryl’s cheer turned to despair. Her voice began to quaver as she acknowledged that she had been alone at home not just on her birthday, but for days and days. The telephone conversation was the first time she had spoken in more than a week.

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Parents of Teenagers, Stuck Taking Out the Emotional Trash

trash-teens-motherlode-tmagArticlePsychologists have long observed that teenagers sometimes manage uncomfortable feelings by passing them off to their parents. Remember how your toddler wordlessly handed you her wrappers and empty juice boxes, and you reflexively accepted them, even when both of you stood right next to a wastebasket? In the adolescent equivalent, the trash is emotional, not actual, but the effect is the same: Our teenagers sometimes lighten their loads by passing their problems to us.

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The Best Way to Fight With a Teenager

well_fight-tmagArticleWhen raising teenagers, conflict usually comes with the territory. A growing body of research suggests that this can actually be a good thing. How disagreements are handled at home shapes both adolescent mental health and the overall quality of the parent-teenager relationship. Not only that, the nature of family quarrels can also drive how adolescents manage their relationships with people beyond the home.

In looking at how teenagers approach disputes, experts have identified four distinct styles: attacking, withdrawing, complying and problem solving.

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Strengthening Troubled Sibling Bonds to Deal With an Aging Parent

23retiring-web-master675ROSIE, Therese and Linda McMahan were always close, but after their father died unexpectedly in 2011, they found their relationship strained.

They did not know what to do for their 84-year-old mother, Rose, and their brother, Paul, 53, who has cognitive disabilities and is in a wheelchair. The sisters tried to find an assisted-living home nearby, in the Boston area, but couldn’t. And so after many months, they decided that their mother and brother would move in with Rosie’s family in Amherst, Mass.

“We were all confused and upset about the situation,” said Rosie, 51, who is an educator and a counselor for teenagers. “We had so many questions. How much respite should my sisters offer me? Should Mom’s name stay on the deed of the house? Where will either of them go if I can’t keep taking care of them?”

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Solving Sibling Squabbles Over a Parent’s Care

If advance planning didn’t do the trick, hiring a professional mediator can help settle a family feud.

By Beth Brophy, From Kiplinger’s Retirement Report, August 2015

13861Linda Olson of Littleton, Colo., says that her “nightmare” began in 2009, when her widowed mother was diagnosed with dementia. Her mother relinquished her role overseeing the family trust, and Olson and her two sisters became co-trustees. Their mother, now 80, lives with Olson, but each sister has an equal vote in decisions related to her care.

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Role Reversal: Caregiving for Aging Parents

When an aging parent needs caregiving, the children often need to take responsibility. But what happens when only one of many siblings steps up to the plate?

By Heather Hatfield from WebMD Feature, Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Hannah Kalil is 83 years old, and lives by herself in upstate New York. She has aides who help with her caregiving throughout the day. But the responsibility of managing her finances, health care — both mental and physical — and long-term living situation falls to one person: her daughter — and my mother — Eleanor.

It’s almost a full-time job. Making sure my grandmother is happy and not feeling lonely means daily visits. Her never-ending stream of medical issues means weekly — if not more frequent — trips to the doctors. Paying her rent and her aides while keeping an eye on the bottom line means constant vigilance if she is going to have any financial security in the long term. Finally, my mother must deal with the endless stack of paperwork for Medicaid and health insurance.

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Old and Older: When Children of Aging Parents are Elders Themselves


OldAndOlderThe news is filled with statistics about the growth of the aging population; there are two million individuals aged 90 or older in the U.S., and it is predicted that one million people will reach their 100th birthday in 2050.

What is sometimes lost in these numbers is that the caregivers of the very old are reaching advanced ages themselves. In fact, more than 65% of the very old have children who have reached old age too, and since most of the very old have outlived spouses and friends, their elderly children are likely to become their primary caregivers.

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Caring for Aging Parents Is Labor of Love – With a Cost

By Glenn D. Braunstein, M.D. at The Huffington Post

You can see hints of it in obituaries: A woman, 96, is survived by three children. A man who has lived to nearly 100 is survived by two children. How old, you wonder, are these children? And how much have they given to eldercare during their parents’ last years?

Geriatricians, palliative care and hospice workers see it all the time, patients in their 80s, 90s and beyond being cared for by “children” in their 60s or 70s. I heard of one nonagenarian who went beyond the old saw of not wanting to be a burden to her family. She admitted worrying that her extreme old age was ruining the so-called “golden years” of her 74-year-old daughter.

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35 Questions to Ask Your Aging Parents


Their answers will give you a clearer picture of how your parents are faring and will help you assess their needs.

Their Home
1) Is your home still appropriate for you now that you’re getting older?
2) Can you manage the stairs, or would you do better on one level?
3) Does your home have any safety hazards?
4) Could simple modifications to your home make it more convenient?
5) Should you think about living somewhere else?

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A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents

By Bonnie Lawrence from Family Caregiver Alliance

159955155-1024x682Caring for an aging parent alone is complicated. When your brothers and sisters are also involved, and when care, medical and financial decisions must be arrived at together as a team, caregiving can become even more complex. Your siblings can be enormously helpful and your best support. But in many families, they can also be a source of stress. No two families are ever alike.

In this column, we’ll talk about how to identify the family dynamics that can impact shared caregiving, ways your siblings can help, how to increase your chances of getting that help, and how to deal with emotions that arise.

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