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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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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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Failing In Place

Posted by on Jul 23, 2016 in Alzheimer's Disease, Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Dementia, Magical Thinking, Planning Dilemmas, Siblings

New arrivals to our caregiver support group confirm what’s being reported in the medical literature. Dementia in the land of aging parents has reached a tipping point and now become the overwhelming concern of 80-90% of our attendees.

The vast majority of these caregivers are daughters of families fraught with denial, escalating conflict and sibling sabotage. Struggling to honor an aging parent’s wish to remain in their own home, these women find themselves caught up in a drama that is unraveling on all fronts, an experience they describe as “failing in place.”

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The Context of Caregivers of Aging Parents

Posted by on Jun 27, 2016 in Caregiver, Caregiver Fatigue, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Driving Dilemmas, End of Life Dilemmas, Housing Dilemmas, Magical Thinking, Planning Dilemmas, Psychology of Adult Children

I was asked to write an article about the context of caregivers of aging parents. What’s the scope and depth of their role? What are the issues they have to navigate every day?

I found it was easier to create an infographic that portrayed the profound complexity of the task. It proved useful with family members who seem to minimize what it takes to fulfill this demanding role or couldn’t understand why reinforcements are necessary.

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10 Questions Before They Move In…

Posted by on Jun 17, 2016 in Boomers, Caregiver, Caregiver Lessons, Caregiver Support, Housing Dilemmas, Magical Thinking, Preserving Stability

In the communal world of pre-WWII, aging parents almost always moved in. It was expected because there was usually a local family network that closed ranks and helped take care of the elders.

In the dispersed world of Boomers and the generations that followed, it became a different story. Minus the familial scaffolding, the challenges proved more daunting despite the desire to do the right thing.

It still may turn out to be the best choice for a family. But before they move in, a few screening questions will help clarify the scope and depth of what this choice involves.

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Boomers: It’s All How You Get There

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Boomer Dilemmas, Boomers, Declining Health & Frailty, Magical Thinking, Middle Age, Planning Dilemmas, Psychology of Adult Children

“The perception is that the baby boomers are very active — they are, you know, climbing up mountains, and they are a very healthy bunch,” says King, a professor in the department of family medicine at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. “We actually see people that are burdened with diabetes, hypertension, obesity, [and] who are taking an awful lot of medication.”

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