Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
By Constance Gustke
AFTER Mark Donham’s wife, Chris, fell under the spell of early-onset Alzheimer’s, he doubled down on his marriage vows. He quit his job as a well-paid sales representative in the printing industry and became his wife’s 24-hour caregiver: dressing her, doing laundry and scheduling social visits with friends. Faith, hope and courage became his new mantra.
Tips for Prioritizing Self-Care as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver
By Lydia Chan
November is National Family Caregivers Month, so this is the perfect time to direct some of your attention towards your own health and wellbeing. Caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s can be very emotionally taxing and overwhelming. Since caring for seniors with Alzheimer’s is one of the more stressful care situations, spouses, adult children, friends, and neighbors can suffer from caregiver burnout if they’re not careful.
For Sibling Battles, Be a Sportscaster, Not a Referee
Parents in my psychotherapy practice often ask how to make sibling conflict stop.
Understandably, they want the bickering, teasing, aggression and cries of “no fair” to end. But one of the best ways to dial up sibling love is not to squash conflicts, but to learn how to use them. Research supports this, and I’ve seen it in action.
Elder Mediation Can Bring Families Back Together
“My son is insisting I move in with him,” complains Sarah. “ He wants to take control of my life and take away my freedom.” “Mom I’m worried that you will fall again and break your hip or hit your head. You should move into an assisted living residence.” Susan, her older daughter adds.
Then Sarah’s younger daughter responds. “ I’ll take my brother to court before I let him take control of mom’s finances. He’s not spending my inheritance!”
Mending Sibling Relationships
You’ve likely seen a movie with this storyline: the cast of characters descend on the family home as the holidays near. Tensions rise over certain relationships – oftentimes, with siblings.
Unfortunately, these scenes are all too familiar in real life. And while maintaining sibling relationships is easy for some – an extension of good times together, it can be a challenge for many of us. No, we can’t pick our family, but there are good reasons to continue to share our lives with our siblings.
Tips for Communicating With Your Teen
The teenage years have a lot in common with the terrible twos. During both stages our kids are doing exciting new things, but they’re also pushing boundaries (and buttons) and throwing tantrums. The major developmental task facing both age groups is also the same: kids must pull away from parents and begin to assert their own independence. No wonder they sometimes act as if they think they’re the center of the universe.
Talking With Teens — Tips for Better Communication
Parents and teens can bridge the communication gap with a little patience and a healthy measure of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Here are 6 tips for parents and 6 for teenagers.
Tip 1. Try to understand the situation from your parents’ point of view. If your goal is to be allowed to stay out later on Saturday night, for example, try to anticipate what they are concerned about, such as your safety and your whereabouts.
9 Tips for Communicating With Your Teenage Son
Have you ever sat down to have a conversation with your teenage son, and after minutes of slouching body posture, endless fidgeting, blank stares, and grunting responses, found yourself frustrated, enraged and eventually screaming? Teens are notoriously uncommunicative with their parents, and men have never championed verbal communication. It is therefore not surprising that trying to talk with a teenage boy can be challenging to say the least. There is, however, both art and science involved in successful communication. Below is a list of communication techniques to try the next time you need to connect and communicate with your teenage son.
When Caregivers Dislike ‘Loved Ones’ They’re Caring For
At times when she talked about her mother, 57-year-old Elaine wore a look of exasperation, even scorn. “She wasn’t there for me and my two younger sisters when we were growing up,” she said during one of our therapy sessions. “She was too busy partying and running around. Our grandmother was our real mother.”
Elaine had dealt with her anger toward her mother for years by keeping an emotional and geographic distance, living over a thousand miles away. But then her mother began having small strokes and, as the oldest child, Elaine felt it was her duty to move back to her hometown to take care of her. Her mother’s behavior during the caregiving years, though, made her angrier than ever. “She orders me around like I owe her something,” she said. “I don’t owe her anything. She didn’t raise me.”
Warring Families Assigned Mediators to Stop Them Fighting Over Power of Attorney
Warring families are to be assigned mediators to stop to stop them fighting over power of attorney for loved ones.
A pilot scheme being run by the Office of the Public Guardian will fund professional help for families embroiled in disputes over issues such as inheritances or control of finances.
In some cases a vulnerable person who had chosen a relative such as a sibling, child or parent to make decisions on their behalf ends up in the control of the local authority or a professional because their family cannot get along.
How to Maintain Sibling Relationships
Siblings are often the only people with whom we have lifelong relationships. For many people that means a built-in best friend for life. But deep, lifetime connections like that can be … messy at times, even in the strongest of bonds.
Navigating those relationships is difficult in a different way than navigating your friendship with, say, your best friend from college. Ninety percent of people in Western families grow up in households with at least one biological, half, step or adoptive sibling, but for many of those people an agreeable relationship between siblings isn’t always a given; it takes work. In a study of 6,630 Dutch adults, European researchers found that people who experienced serious negative life events in the past — divorce, addiction issues, run-ins with the law or financial problems — often had less supportive and more strained sibling ties.
Senior Care Costs: How to Cover Life Transitions
Helping a parent transition from independent living to professionally assisted care can take a toll, not only emotionally but also financially.
Research shows median costs rising across a range of senior living options. Adult children can face tremendous pressure to help pay those costs, especially when their parents’ condition deteriorates quickly. What do you do when Mom or Dad needs help but you’re waiting for their house to sell or their government benefits to be approved?
Fortunately, you may not have to face these short-term difficulties on your own. Adult children have several options for financing senior care, including the transition stage, that can provide some relief.
Researchers Confront an Epidemic of Loneliness
BLACKPOOL, 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.
Parents of Teenagers, Stuck Taking Out the Emotional Trash
Psychologists 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.
The Best Way to Fight With a Teenager
When 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.
Strengthening Troubled Sibling Bonds to Deal With an Aging Parent
ROSIE, 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?”
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
Linda 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.
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.
Old and Older: When Children of Aging Parents are Elders Themselves
The 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.
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.
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.
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?
A sibling’s guide to caring for aging parents
By Bonnie Lawrence from Family Caregiver Alliance
Caring 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.