Tag: Dementia

Compassion. Experience. Wisdom.

Humor: The Caregiver’s Best Medicine

Charles Dickens said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.” The problem is there’s nothing even remotely funny about providing care for a loved one with dementia. Most caregivers would agree that all things humorous faded out with their loved one’s memories…or did they? My own experience might…
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Can a Counselor Help?

Nothing, but nothing, takes the place of personally experiencing the emotional trauma of caring for a loved one. Well-seasoned caregivers find they are always on duty, but more often than not, the necessary emotional rest and refill is oddly lacking. The essential replenishment of what caregivers pour out can be achieved in several ways, but…
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Triggering the Dementia Patient’s Memory

In my book Goodnight, Sweet: A Caregiver’s Long Goodbye, I recalled sitting in the hospital with Grandma as she recovered from surgery. Once I’d said “hi” and asked how she felt, her dementia suggested that our conversation was pretty much over; I remember it seemed like the hours of that day were stretched out before…
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Reduce Your Dementia Risk?

One of the most frequently asked questions I hear about dementia is, “How can I protect myself against it?” Everyone wants to know if there’s something they can do to minimize their chances of developing any of the multiple forms the condition can take. The simple answer is “yes, there are things you can do…
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The Truth Will Find You

How familiar does this sound: “He’s not really that bad….” Or, “She just got a little turned around coming back from the grocery store.” How about this one: “I know he repeats things constantly, but that doesn’t mean anything’s wrong.” And here’s a really troubling statement: “Ok, so she left the water running in the…
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Self-Care, Not Selfish

Mother has another eye appointment; Dad has to see his gerontologist. Mom’s dog needs a bath; Dad’s fixed on the notion that the hedges still need trimming even though their lawn service took care of it last week. Mom said it’s time for another grocery run—Dad’s out of chocolate bars. If you were the primary…
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Grief Current: Breaking Ropes, Hearts

“Grief” is defined as “distress over affliction or loss.” In my case, I was somewhat confused because I was only defining “loss” in the context of a loved one’s physical death. But my grandparents with dementia weren’t dead—they were still there, living, breathing. So how could I be grieving? What, exactly, had been lost? As…
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Burned Out Socialite?

I see a number of posts on social media which ask people to be patient with caregivers—and rightly so; the caregiving job is isolating and wearisome. There are many diseases which necessitate the presence of a full-time caregiver, and the role lays claim to the caregiver’s time and energy. Frequently the caregiver’s own needs are…
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Necessary Risk?

Today’s pace of life is moving faster than ever, but as caregivers it’s imperative that we stay current regarding which medical procedures are truly beneficial for our loved ones and which ones aren’t. In my book Goodnight, Sweet: A Caregiver’s Long Goodbye, I detailed my grandmother’s 1997 experience having a P.E.G. tube (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastronomy—a plastic…
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