If you’re feeling a bit discouraged in your role in caring for aging parents, take heart; you’re in good company. Providing care for a loved one is perhaps one of the most complex roles we can hold: highly rewarding on one hand, while simultaneously frustrating and ever-evolving, often leading to feelings of doubt about whether we’re up to the challenge and providing the best possible care.
It’s why so many family caregivers struggle with some or all of these types of feelings:
Guilt: You may feel as though you’re not doing as much as you should to help your loved one, that you’re selfish for wanting time away to yourself, or that you’re inadequate to provide the help your loved one needs.
Helplessness: There are some circumstances when you simply … Read More »
Stress for a family caregiver is inevitable, and actually, not necessarily always a bad thing. After all, as the saying goes, “A diamond is just a piece of charcoal that handled stress exceptionally well.” Yet especially for family caregivers, the level of stress can quickly escalate and become overwhelming, and if not managed effectively, lead to serious health concerns.
Try these tips to minimize stress and achieve a healthier and more relaxed lifestyle – both for yourself and those you love:
Change your self-talk. Throughout the course of your day, you may find yourself entertaining thoughts such as, “I can’t do this!” or “Everything is going wrong!” Pause when negative thinking begins to intrude, and say to yourself instead, “I can handle this, one step at a time,” … Read More »
Times of crises can bring out both the best and the worst in us. Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve heard stories of people hoarding products and selling them to make an outrageous profit, along with stories of heroes who selflessly met the needs of others in spite of their own fears.
The key to weathering the storms that are bound to come up in our lives in a healthy way is resiliency. Mia Bartoletti, clinical psychologist for the Navy SEAL Foundation, works with families of those serving in the military, and offers suggestions that can help build resilience through any time of crisis.
Communicate your reactions. It’s normal to experience a range of responses to a crisis: flashbacks to other difficult situations, dreams and nightmares, avoidance and withdrawal, difficulty sleeping, … Read More »
We’re all familiar with Benjamin Franklin’s sage advice: “Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” This has special significance when it comes to our aging parents, and to finding the answers to a number of important (as well as engaging) questions: from the practical knowledge of what their wishes are for their remaining lifetime, to what their favorite hobbies were as a child – and anything in between.
It’s a good idea to let your parents know that you have some questions you’d like to ask, and then schedule a time that will be uninterrupted, inviting siblings or other family members to attend as appropriate. Then prepare your questions in advance, thinking through ideas such as:
Do you have a power of attorney? … Read More »
Family financial matters are oftentimes a taboo subject, and in addition, the root of many different controversies, heightened emotions, and misunderstandings. And for a number of today’s older adults, who maintain a “Depression era mentality” from many years of saving for a rainy day and learning to “waste not, want not,” it may be hard for them to grant access to finances to adult children, and to acknowledge the necessity to spend some of those personal finances on caregiving needs.
Talking with an aging parent about finances is most efficient when begun before the need arises, appreciating it might take numerous discussions before an understanding can be reached. These conversation starters can certainly help:
“Dad, at some point, we have to make some choices in regards to … Read More »
We all desire the best for our loved ones – it’s only natural. Yet in some cases when families are involved in an older person’s care, feelings about what is best may clash. This can cause family members to fight with each other as opposed to working together. This is when it’s often a good idea to enlist the help of an outside person like a geriatric care manager (GCM), one who realizes what seniors need for long-term care and how to accomplish getting this care.
In Isaac Asimov’s opinion, “The easiest way to solve a problem is to deny it exists.” It’s a standard feeling for many family caregivers when their loved one is faced with a chronic disease diagnosis, such as dementia. Even though this can instill some measure of comfort in thinking that life can carry on like it always has, if only we don’t acknowledge this new reality, the truth is that acknowledgement is extremely important in order to get the necessary support.
It is understandable for a family member to wish to deliver all of the care a senior loved one needs. Nevertheless, frequently in the crux of denial are feelings of guilt, helplessness, and in some cases incompetence in the ability to “fix things.” And you will … Read More »
“How could you think that I have dementia? There’s not a single thing wrong with me!”
If a loved one with dementia expresses feelings like this, you might be thinking that he or she is simply in denial and unwilling to accept such a difficult diagnosis. Yet, there might be another reason: anosognosia, when a person is truly unaware that he or she is impaired by dementia.
Finding the most effective way to respond to a senior who is unfamiliar with his or her own dementia behaviors is a challenge. As the professional providers of the best elderly care Pleasanton and the surrounding area have to offer, we’ve compiled some tips to help family caregivers better manage care for someone with anosognosia:
Understand that the older … Read More »
In some cases, the best lessons in life come about from going through them firsthand; yet the knowledge we are able to glean from those who have walked a similar path before us is priceless. If you are providing care for a senior who has been given a dementia diagnosis, and you’re becoming a bit stressed in this uncharted territory, the recommendations below can help:
A brief break often makes a big difference. Whenever your senior loved one is struggling with challenging feelings, such as fear or anger, it is advisable to stop whatever activity or task she is involved with, and allow time for a breather. Change the situation by moving into a different room or outside if the weather allows, play some favorite music, browse … Read More »
Although an incredible number of older adults are dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, an even greater number of family members are trying to cope with caring for them. Incredibly, nearly 75% of family caregivers are managing their older loved ones’ dementia care needs by themselves, with only 26% seeking professional care services.
Of course, families want to do all they possibly can to satisfy their loved ones’ needs, but dementia caregiving can lead to an extremely high level of both mental and physical stress. This takes a toll on the caregivers’ own overall health over time, particularly once the disease progresses. And some family members think there is an all-or-nothing strategy: either manage their loved one’s needs … Read More »