End-Of-Life Decisions For Families

End-of-Life Decisions .. this is a hard subject at times.  Have you had the conversation with your parents yet about how they envision their life as they get closer to the end of it?  Most of us haven’t.  But it is time that we do.

It is important for us to think about how we want our life to be at the end, because the medical professionals around us during that time certainly aren’t going to guess what we want.  And given the tendency to overdiagnose, overtreat, and overmedicate, you may get subjected to more interventions than you ever anticipated.  The time to be considering what you or your parents might want and not want, and what you want your life to look like, is before you are in the midst of a crisis and needing to make quick decisions. Continue reading

Dignity of Risk and Caring for an Elder

Growing old should not mean that you lose control of your daily life and all the decisions that go along with it. Yet too often that is exactly what happens. If you are a caregiver, have you heard yourself saying “you NEED to use your walker, you might fall”, “you need to drink that water”, “let me carry that for you, you might drop it”, “don’t do that, you might fall”?

the dignity of risk

Even though the person has lived with and managed their risks all their adult life, suddenly everyone else is telling them what they can and can’t do. And based on what? Safety? For what end, hanging around waiting to die?

There is a wonderful concept called “The Dignity of Risk”, which acknowledges that life experiences come with risk and that we must respect a person’s self-determination and autonomy and allow them to make their own choices about which experiences are worth a risk. Continue reading

Holidays Are a Time To Notice Care Needs

Family gatherings during the holidays are times when you may notice changes and declines in your older relatives.  You haven’t seen them for a while or you haven’t seen them having to interact with lots of other people where they need to keep up with the conversation.  Some families only get together during the holidays and often they begin to notice subtle changes in an older relative that weren’t there the previous year. Continue reading

When Caring For The Dementia Patient Is Hard On The Caregiver

When you are caring for someone with dementia, you need support.  It isn’t something you can do alone without getting burned out quickly.  There are other caregivers out there in similar situations who can share tips and ideas with you to make your days more manageable. There are local support groups as well as online blogs and forums.  In fact, there are so many online options you can get lost in them and never get away from the computer screen.  Pick a few that seem to work for you and stick with them.  When I have a question about a specific problem, I usually go to the Alzheimer’s Association.  For example, I get asked frequently how to deal with the constant questions from a person living with dementia?  Here’s an entry from a site full of ideas, The Alzheimer’s Reading Room.

Alzheimer's Reading Room


The author who shared her suggestions for dealing with those constant questions has her own blog about living with dementia, Dementia By Day.  She is the coordinator of a memory care home and shares her stories and successes and observations.  Her blog is great for caregivers or family members who are new to the world of dementia.  One of her reminders to all of us caring for someone with dementia, which is my favorite, is “It’s never about the outcome when someone has dementia—it’s all about the process.”


Caregivers’ Help With Incontinence Supplies

I stumbled across this website that reviews adult diaper brands and other incontinence supplies.  Talk about a niche market!  But it’s helpful if you are taking care of a senior with incontinence.  And the best way to deal with incontinence is with dependable supplies.

Take a look at this site Best Adult Diaper Brands for detailed information about specific brands, choosing the correct size, absorbent bed pad reviews, and general tips on living with incontinence.  It’s hard to tell how objective his reviews are, but he does give very detailed descriptions of each product which is useful  information.  Even if his reviews aren’t terribly objective, it’s great to have so much information in one spot.  Adult diapers and briefs are expensive and finding the best brand for your situation not only helps the budget but makes daily life so much easier for the person with incontinence and those caring for them