Family Caregiver Blog

Talking with children about serious illness

Children are like sponges. They soak up whatever is around them. If Grandpa is sick, or Grandma has dementia, they’ll pick up on your emotional responses. If no one has explained the situation, they’ll make up their own ideas about what’s going on. As a result, they may feel unnecessarily scared and alone. Instead of…

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Is twice a night too much?

Many older adults complain of having to get up several times in the night to pee. Some of this is a normal part of aging. Our bladder capacity gets smaller, so we need to void more often. But frequent trips to the toilet can have a serious impact on sleep. Nocturia—the medical name for getting…

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Cooling down to make a decision

Our fight-flight-or-freeze reactions are deeply embedded in our body and brain. In intense situations, they take over. As a family caregiver, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the many decisions that must be made. And the responsibility. This is especially true in times of great stress and uncertainty. We become emotionally flooded and enter a…

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Coronavirus scams

Scammers thrive in crises. The Federal Trade Commission is reporting a surge in fraud complaints. Bad actors are leveraging fear and shortages to bilk consumers out of millions and to harvest information for identity fraud. Help your loved one avoid scammers by following these tips. Research requests for donations. Verify the nonprofit on Guidestar.org, the…

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Removing “junk stimulation”

If you were asked to name the stresses in your life, you might think first about all the tasks and responsibilities you are juggling. Or challenging relationships. Or financial difficulties. Less obvious are the stressors in your environment that can tax your nervous system behind the scenes. “Junk stimulation,” like junk mail, simply overwhelms the…

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Avoiding regret

Family caregivers are often thrust into the role of making decisions for a loved one. Some decisions are relatively small: Purchase a walker with wheels or one without? Others are large and may have life-changing ramifications. Approve that surgery? Initiate a move to assisted living or set up care at home? Rarely is there a…

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When broccoli is bad for you

“Kale smoothie, anyone?” Maybe not…. Good nutrition has always been a mainstay of good health. Indeed, there is growing awareness of the power of food to support healing for a wide variety of conditions. What is less well known is the fact that even very healthy foods can cause health problems when combined with specific…

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Signs of osteoporosis

Does the person you care for seem to have shrunk a bit? Pants are too long? Can’t reach items on their regular shelf? You can see the top of their head? it could be that their bones have become more porous with age. This is called “osteoporosis.” With osteoporosis, bones are less dense and easily…

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Common misconceptions about hospice

Many families caring for a seriously ill loved one struggle alone unnecessarily. They miss out on vital support services because they don’t understand what hospice can provide. Home visits by a nurse to manage pain and other difficult symptoms. Home visits by a nursing assistant to bathe your loved one and shampoo hair. Free prescriptions…

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Harnessing stress

Stress has gained a dirty name during the past decades. It’s something we talk about needing to getting rid of, as if it were wholly bad. While chronic stress can be damaging to our health, recent research demonstrates that stress isn’t always a threat to our well-being. In fact, the very things that bring greatest…

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