I asked my sister today what she misses about caregiving our mother, who passed away in March 2011. Mixed in with the fun stuff were some of the tedious details. To steal the title of a new novel, Hotel at the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, caregivers often find themselves at the corner of bitter and sweet streets. Mindfulness can make the difference between which direction you choose to go each day (or many times a day).
August 30th, 2011 at 9:00 am
When my sister was taking care of my father and mother, she always came through for them. But after the crisis was over and they were feeling better, her own health suffered. Being a family caregiver can be overwhelming. It is natural to feel angry, frustrated, and drained at times. Literally. But it can go beyond a bad day.
Did you know that stress signals the body to release adrenaline and cortisol, sending signals that may increase your heart rate, blood sugar, blood pressure and shut down your immune system so your body can function at a high alert level? This is why caregiving takes such a toll on the body. The spirit may be willing, but the body is susceptible to all sorts of other signals that conflict with giving optimum care.
August 29th, 2011 at 12:53 pm
Admittedly, we all have our personal habits when it comes to our homes. Some of us are sticklers for keeping things clean and organized. However, this isn’t always the case when it comes to older adults. Changes in an older adult’s ability to keep up and maintain their homes may signal the need for additional observation and, possibly, intervention.
Although these changes could be temporary–for a variety of reasons–it is possible the house isn’t looking like it’s former self because the elder is suffering from depression, experiencing greater physical limitations or is dealing with cognitive difficulties.
August 25th, 2011 at 1:33 pm
It’s bound to happen. When any disease is discussed frequently in the news, people begin to look for signs of it in themselves and others. Alzheimer’s (AD) has been in news headlines nearly every week for months, since huge numbers of aging boomers are increasingly at risk. Alzheimer’s typically strikes individuals over the age of 65. However, Pat Summitt’s public announcement of her early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis–at age 59–has not only left millions of fans stunned, it has younger people peering into their brains, anxious to learn if something sinister is happening to them as well.
August 25th, 2011 at 9:00 am
Books have been written, articles published and columns run in newspapers with statistics that show women are the ones who step up to the plate as caregivers. While the numbers of female caregivers still outrank male caregivers, I would guess that the caregiver gender divide is much less marked when it comes to well spouses.