ElderCarelink Blog

Tips for caregivers: how to talk to doctors

by Dorian Martin
November 14th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Early in my caregiving role for Mom, I really didn’t know what to ask health care personnel about her condition. Often when I’d accompany her to doctor’s appointments, the physician would come in, take some readings (blood pressure, heart rate), check her lungs, say a sentence or two to us, and then leave. One particular pulmonologist rarely stayed more than three minutes with Mom.

Read more »

The process of dying: when to say “enough”

by Judy Kirkwood
September 23rd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

When my dad was hanging on for years, a friend in the eldercare profession would often ask why we were prolonging his life and, by implication, his misery. He was legally blind, although because of his dementia he didn’t know it so he never complained about it. He forgot he couldn’t read or walk without assistance.

My mother managed dad’s diabetes so well that my ex-husband, a physician, used to refer to dad as “the oldest living male diabetic.” He was amazingly stable, even if he was having a number of mini-crises related to blood sugar. He had Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes didn’t recognize us and–on rare occasions–became so confused he was combative. But most of the time he was a gentleman, even if in his mind we were strangers. Read more »

A sentimental day: birthdays without mom

by Judy Kirkwood
September 2nd, 2011 at 9:34 am

September is the perfect time for new beginnings because with Labor Day comes my birthday, always a time to look ahead. But this year I’m looking back. This year Mom is not here.

Read more »

5 tips for dealing with caregiver stress

by Judy Kirkwood
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.

Read more »

Is an elder struggling to keep a clean house?

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP
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.

Read more »