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Your Tips

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Managing Your Caregiving Fears


We all have fears—of heights or spiders or public speaking. The fears in caregiving, though, make those seem like child’s play. The caregiving fears you face can overtake you, disabling your rational thoughts and common sense. These fears– about loss, failure and the future—seem too big until we break them down to break through them. You fear what you’ll lose because of caregiving; specifically, your caree. A disease process or simply old age slowly and ... Read More »

10 Tips for Family Caregivers from Richard


Richard shares his first ten tips for family caregivers as part of our 10 Tips a Day initiative; we’ll share more of his tips throughout the month. You can connect with Richard on his profile: @kreisler. 1) Keep a one-page Medical Information Sheet on you caree, which includes medical and insurance information, allergies, emergency contacts, surgeries, etc. in your car or purse always. 2) Make up a binder with tabs by month (works best for ... Read More »

10 Tips for Family Caregivers of Persons with Low Vision


As  part of our 10 Tips for Family Caregivers initiative, I asked Second Sense, a non-profit organization which inspires individuals to move beyond vision loss and believe in their abilities, to share tips for a family caregiver of an individual with vision loss. Ten Steps to Encourage a Productive Lifestyle Clarify diagnosis and prognosis of the eye condition with a medical eye care professional. Make sure you understand how the eye condition affects the field ... Read More »

Seven Ways to Manage Stress


During one of her appearances on Your Caregiving Journey, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, author of A Happy You, Your Ultimate Prescription for Happiness, explained that, when we reach a level of stress that’s too high, we can’t think straight. Picture rating your stress along a scale of 1 to 10, with a 10 being the highest stress level. When you hit a 7 or higher on the scale, you reach irrational thinking. Think about it. Remember ... Read More »

When You Are Toast, Eight Tips to Heal the Burn


Bonnie is burnt, just like the over-toasted piece of bread that pops up from her toaster. She even looks toasted–frayed around the edges with new wrinkles forming every day. She spends as much time as she can with her father who resides in a skilled nursing facility. As much as she can means lunch (rushing from her job) and dinner (then rushing home to cook for her family). Her evenings include phone call updates to ... Read More »

How Do I Get Rid of the Guilt?


On a regular basis, family caregivers will ask me: How do I deal with all this guilt? Because it can seem like caregiving is a party of three: You, your caree and your guilt. You may feel guilty for what you have that your caree no longer does: Good health, friends who call you, activities you can enjoy. You also may feel guilty for what you can’t do for your caree. You can’t take away ... Read More »

Getting a Break: Ideas to Get a Day of Respite


In my post on Tuesday, I suggested ideas so you can take a break for a few hours. Those few hours can be feel great until you think, “I need more! I need more time away!” So, let’s take a look at how you can arrange to take time away from caregiving for an entire day. Adult day services: While you take a day off, your caree attends an adult day service, which provides activities, ... Read More »

Getting a Break: Ideas to Get a Few Hours of Respite


We regularly talk about taking a break to offset the intensity of caring for a family member. With breaks, you can manage what’s required of you in caregiving. But the work behind making the break happen can feel so overwhelming that you may be tempted to simply skip the break. So let’s break it out down so you can feel like a break is not only possible but doable. Today, I’ll offer ideas on how ... Read More »

Long-Distance Caregiving: Tips for the Check-In Call


You live in New York City; your mom lives in Florida. You talk regularly. But, after each phone conversation, you wonder: How do I really know that all is okay? Sometimes, caring conversations can be about the big issues (money, moving, a change in care needs) and sometimes it’s about the little things, like how the day goes for your caree who lives a distance away. Caring conversations about the little things can help you ... Read More »

Quick Reminder: Demand Hand Washing


The worst place for a sick caree is often the one place where they have to get better–the hospital. So, while the hospital may have the technology and treatments to help your caree, it also contains those dratted super bugs which can make your caree worse. The Centers for Disease Control warns that a deadly drug-resistant strain of bacteria is on the rise in U.S. hospitals. Known as carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE, these germs are ... Read More »

Dementia Care During a Natural Disaster


Yesterday afternoon, Claire Day, our dementia care expert, joined me on Your Caregiving Journey to discuss how to prepare and manage a natural disaster. You can listen to our show via the player below. Claire and I spoke about the importance of creating an emergency preparedness plan, which involves having a kit of supplies to last you, your family and your caree for 72 hours. In addition, we talked about the importance of calling your ... Read More »

The Caregiver’s Dilemma


(Editor’s Note: Once in awhile, we publish articles from guest bloggers that offer an interesting perspective or helpful information. Today, we feature an article written by Dr. Forrest Beck, who shares his thoughts about resolving a caregiving dilemma: How do I care for myself as I care for another?) Let’s face it. One of the greatest challenges a family caregiver confronts is navigating priorities. You are constantly pushed and pulled, tugged and shoved in a ... Read More »

What’s On Your Playlist?


On Sunday evening, we met on Twitter for our every-other-week chat (#carechat). Our discussion focused on caregiving must-haves, those supplies, resources and perspectives you need to make it through your caregiving days. I started our discussion with this question, “On a bad caregiving day, what’s your must-have for comfort?” One of our participants (@tstallone) shared this answer: “I enjoy all kinds of music. However, on a bad day, I have a pre-made playlist on my ... Read More »

How Many Opinions Are Too Many?


(Editor’s Note: Today, we welcome a guest post from Crystal Fornes, a nurse practitioner and patient advocate with more than 10 years of experience.) In my work as a nurse and healthcare navigator, family caregivers tell me they want solid opinions and more concrete explanations from their caree’s doctors. They want to make the best decisions for themselves and their carees, especially after a scary diagnosis. Multiple opinions, however necessary, can be confusing and conflicting. ... Read More »

Tell Us: How Do Keep Your Caree Occupied?


Yesterday, during Table Talk on Your Caregiving Journey, Kristin spoke about her inability to do what she enjoys. She has books to read, words to write, websites to visit… And, yet she can’t. The stress of worrying about Mary and whether Mary is safe becomes her day’s only action. It’s all she can do—think about making sure Mary is okay. The dread of what could happen (Mary wanders off, makes a mess of her ostomy ... Read More »

Home Modifications for Easier Caregiving


(We welcome a guest post today from Michelle Seitzer of Before caregiving, when you shopped for a house, you probably had certain must-have items on your buying check-list, items like granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, shiny wood floors and custom tiling. After caregiving enters a house, you realize how hard a house, with its multiple levels, tight hallways and awkward bathrooms, can make the experience. Now, your wish list for a house probably includes ... Read More »

Your Tips: Your House of Worship and Your Caree


This morning, Claire Day, Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley Chapter, joined me for our monthly discussion about dementia care. We spoke about how to keep your caree’s spirituality alive—in your house worship and at home. You can listen to our show via the player below. Claire and I shared thoughts about the importance of involving your caree in worship services (assuming your caree worships) for as long as possible. ... Read More »

Preventing Delirium in Your Hospitalized Caree


Chances are, during one of your caree’s hospitalizations, you noticed that your caree experienced a significant level of confusion. The sudden change in your caree’s mental status during a hospitalization can be startling, upsetting and scary. Unfortunately, the sudden confusion, known as delirium, among the hospitalized elderly is an awful side effect of an inpatient stay. Your caree is hospitalized for one reason but, because of the hospitalization, becomes worse. On Friday, The New York ... Read More »

What’s Your Best Bathing Tip?


Tammy, one of our Facebook fans, would love your advice. She writes: I simply cannot get my mom to take a bath, or shower, or even a sponge bath. Got any ideas? I think she feels unsteady on the bath bench. Maybe she doesn’t like water dripping down her body or on her face while I try wash her hair, even with waterless shampoo. What suggestions can you offer Tammy? What works for you? Please ... Read More »

Because of Caregiving, Have You Gained Compassion?


I’ve so enjoyed speaking with Kristin, who cares for her family friend, Mary on Your Caregiving Journey. You can listen to our most recent conversation via the player at the bottom of this post. Over three shows, we’ve talked about how Kristin has gained compassion in caring for Mary, a person who is incapable of feeling compassion. Kristin describes compassion as an action and a feeling and believes her ability to feel and act with ... Read More »

Websites You Recommend


In our 2011 Family Caregiver Survey, we asked: Which websites do you recommend to other family caregivers? We’re happy to share the list with you today (and thanks to all who recommend!!). And, please feel free to add other favorites in our comments section, below. Dementia Holly Eburne: Lewy Body Dementia Association: Alzheimer Spouse: Moving Forward with Alzheimer’s: Alzheimer’s Reading Room: The Alzheimer’s Association: Memory People: Frontal ... Read More »

Tips for Communicating with Dementia


On Tuesday morning, I attended a terrific presentation by Dan Kuhn, author of The Art of Dementia Care and Alzheimer’s Early Stages: First Steps for Family, Friends and Caregivers. Dan offered tips to use when communicating with an individual with dementia or Alzheimer’s. He offered a perspective on what it’s like for a caree with dementia: Imagine, Dan said, you are traveling to a foreign country and don’t speak the language. Or, have moved to ... Read More »