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Observations and commentary on aging, caregiving, and the complex journey through the second half of life.

How To Talk To Aging Parents About Where To Live

Posted by on May 2, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Housing Dilemmas, Magical Thinking, Planning Dilemmas

I was recently interviewed for an article entitled “Conversation vs. Confrontation: Guidelines for Effective Communication with Your Aging Parents.”

In it I discuss how often the insistence by older adults to “stay put” in their home despite deteriorating circumstances prevents them from considering more optimal living arrangements. While the refusal to move affirms their right to choose, it sadly ignores other options that may offer a longer run of independence and infinitely better quality of life.

I go on to outline a three part “how to say it” script for adult children to use in these delicate and emotionally charged conversations. The goal is to acknowledge control but expand its application for maximum impact in last phase of life. This is information you will want to share with family, friends and colleagues who are facing the same vexing issue with their aging parents.

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Why Would An Aging Parent Say That?

Posted by on Apr 4, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Preserving Stability

A reoccurring theme in caregiver support groups is disparaging and derogatory comments made by aging parents to their adult children who are struggling to do the right thing. Voicing anger and bitterness about how their life has turned out, these personal attacks deeply wound the very person who is struggling to protect and care for them. “Why would they say that?” these caregivers ask over and over again. Indeed, why would they?

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Death Is Not The Biggest Problem

Posted by on Mar 26, 2017 in Aging Alone, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Declining Health & Frailty, Dementia, End of Life Dilemmas, Miscellaneous

In her article Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death Than Make Life Worth Living Emily Dreyfuss takes Silicon Valley to task over their collective crusade to “cure death.” Not that curing death is a bad thing, but as Dreyfuss points out, it’s not the biggest thing that haunts our society. She asks:

What would it mean to design against despair or isolation or loneliness?

Indeed. Longevity in the hollow of despair and isolation seems a bitter gift. Our society is awash with large cohorts who feel untethered from any nurturing connections. This is especially true among its oldest members. While apps and games can’t restore this cultural breech, the brain power of Silicon Valley is capable of providing technological onramps for anchoring those in need of human contact.

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Spousal Care

Posted by on Mar 14, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Magical Thinking

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…

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The Delirium Epidemic in Hospitalized Older Adults

Posted by on Mar 3, 2017 in Caregiver, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty

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.

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Higher Levels of Depression in Married Caregivers

Posted by on Feb 18, 2017 in Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Declining Health & Frailty, Dementia, End of Life Dilemmas

“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.

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