We all know someone with a family member who has fallen into end of life medical quicksand and suffered an excruciating outcome. In his article ” I Know You Love Me–Now Let Me Die,” Dr. Louis Dr. Profeta, an ER physician, reminds us that there was a time when we treated dying family members with a communal dignity that was not focused exclusively on “death prevention” at all costs. Instead, it offered a sacred transition space to honor the expanse and contributions of a person’s life while we kept them safe and close to us until the end…
Solo caregiving takes a toll on both parties. What starts out as an act of compassion and loyalty can deteriorate into a role the exceeds the best efforts of one person.
Reframing the situation from a new vantage point helps aging parents see how far out of control things have become, a reconsideration of the challenges as well as what could make things better…
Hospital-induced delirium, the sudden disruption of consciousness and cognition marked by vivid hallucinations and an inability to focus, affects 7 million Americans annually. Once triggered, it can persist for months. The good news is the 40% of delirium cases are preventable. The bad news is that the nature of modern hospital care with large doses of anti-anxiety drugs and narcotics combined with a busy, noisy brightly lit environment where sleep is constantly disrupted amid frequent staff change can trigger an episode.
Aging Parents Dance Cards are a deck of the 20 cards designed for anyone involved in the care of an older adult. Each card is an aphorism I created on a topic, issue, or situation common to the caregiving experience. They are my wisdom cards.
Cards on unknown or unappreciated “rules” about home, families, siblings, and driving help decode the underlying agenda of older adults and its profound impact on their perspective, behavior and priorities.
Cards on magical thinking, secrets, and dilemmas make a compelling argument for resetting expectations in line with reality.
Cards on reframing control, open questions and facilitating last stories provide prompts and strategies for establishing and sustaining rapport.
Indeed, why don’t we? This article by Dr. Richard Lindsey discusses how he enlisted help from Virginia’s college and university students to invent an app or product to improve the health of caregivers…This is the kind of intergenerational creativity we need to help ease the burden for everyone…
“We also found that caregivers who are married and caring for a family member with a diagnosis other than cancer, such as Alzheimer’s disease, had higher levels of depression,” says Debra Parker-Oliver, professor of family and community medicine at the University of Missouri School of Medicine.
This excellent article from the University of Missouri documents that the 34 million caregivers of terminally ill loved ones are unacknowledged, anxious, depressed and sadly not being offered treatment that would help them cope with the inordinate stress they must endure.