Family Caregiver Blog

Early signs of heart failure

Too often, older adults assume that fatigue and trouble breathing are just a natural part of aging or being out of shape. They aren’t. In fact, these can be early signs of heart failure. Heart failure means the heart is having difficulty pumping effectively. As a result, fluids build up, especially in the lungs and…

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Caring for your marriage, also

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, it’s a good time to consider strategies to prevent your partner from getting overlooked because of your caregiving. Caring for an aging relative definitely affects your ability to nurture your significant other. A poll at caregiving.com revealed that 81% of family caregivers say caregiving tested their marriage in ways…

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When is your loved one “too isolated”?

When caregiving draws us closer to a family member’s routines, we’re sometimes surprised by what we find. Perhaps you’ve noticed that Dad only leaves the house once or twice a week. Social isolation has been shown to be a risk factor for many conditions. Depression. Heart disease. Obesity. Dementia. Should you be concerned? Not necessarily….

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Immediately after a death

Upon a loved one’s last breath, you may find yourself a little disoriented. Respect that otherworldliness. Families often just sit in silence for a while. Or share chuckles and sweet memories, tears and hugs. There is no need to rush to call the funeral director. A body can safely remain at home—or in a facility’s…

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What is a “CCRC?”

A CCRC, or continuing care retirement community, answers the desire to “move just once.” Rather than relocate several times over the course of aging, your loved one can stay on one campus. Even as care needs change. Typically, residents start by moving in to an independent living unit with no support services. When help is…

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Adding meaning to your life

Each new year’s dawning seems like a nudge to check one’s personal compass. Are you headed in the direction you want to be going? Has life seemed just a frenzied dash through the to-do list? Or maybe your past year was dominated by feelings of frustration or futility. Perhaps you yearn for a sense of…

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What is a speech therapist?

For many of us, the words “speech therapy” make us think of a classmate in grade school who had trouble because of stuttering. In fact, speech therapists help with many problems that crop up later in life. Consider stroke, Parkinson’s, dementia, and brain injury. All these disorders can affect a person’s ability to find and…

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Dad lost weight!

A holiday visit sometimes reveals surprising changes, such as little food in the cupboard, a loved one’s loss of appetite, or his or her unexpected weight loss. Talk with the doctor first. A weight loss of 5% over 6–12 months is considered worthy of medical attention. (For a 130-pound woman, that would be seven pounds….

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Overcoming sadness

Whether you are caring for a loved one with dementia or helping a relative with cancer, sometimes the sadness of it all feels overwhelming. Especially at the holidays. The sadness is natural, of course. But you don’t want to get paralyzed by it. Pivoting from the sadness As family caregivers, we need to learn how…

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Visiting in the digital age

Today, there are many ways to stay in touch with the elders we love. That’s a good thing because research suggests that older adults who are socially engaged enjoy greater happiness and a sense of purpose. Those who are isolated and lonely are at a higher risk of depression, heart disease, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. But…

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