5 Hard Lessons I’ve Learned Hiring Caregivers

For more than five years I’ve been hiring paid caregivers to help care for my parents. They have run the gamut from top-notch to terrible. Along the way, I’ve learned some hard but valuable lessons: It’s time-consuming. While paid caregivers give me the ability to step away and handle other caregiving tasks, go to work and take care of myself, they also require a great deal of my time to coordinate, monitor and train — even when I’ve used an agency. Don’t fear …

Glen Campbell’s Last Film an Inspiration to Caregivers

We’ve known singer, guitar player and actor Glen Campbell as a superstar for almost six decades, but it’s his last film that may be his most precious gift — especially to those of us watching Alzheimer’s steal away our loved ones. In I’ll Be Me, Campbell shares not only his talents but also his struggle with Alzheimer’s as it eats away at his memory, his ability to reason and all the things that make him unique. The film documents Campbell’s last …

Love and Alzheimer’s: It’s Complicated

Valentine’s Day is coming up, but I have to admit, Alzheimer’s complicates loving someone who is struggling to cope with the confusion of an ever-changing world. Dad has always been very affectionate and supportive to me. When I was a child, he was my role model and comforter. When I became an adult, he showed his love by asking about my work or my car. He would even send me Valentine’s Day chocolates every year. Now he often expresses anger and frustration toward …

Losing Myself in Caregiving

After I moved across the country to care for my parents, more than five years ago, I put my heart and soul — to say nothing of my energy and time — into my role as a caregiver. As many of you know, it’s an all-consuming responsibility, one that can soon overwhelm your sense of self. For me, I felt my identity slipping away. I feared I’d lost myself in caregiving. So I thought about who I really am and why …

A Caregiver’s Precious Last Gift From Her Big Sister

She carried me when I was tired. She protected me when other kids were picking on me. She introduced me to new experiences and music, from dancing to the Beatles in 1964 in our West Lafayette, Ind., living room to my first Grateful Dead concert in 1968 — where she lifted me to the stage so I could dance with the band — to the music of Keith Jarrett in 1982. When I entered those tumultuous teenage and young adult years …

5 Holiday Tips From Caregivers for Caregivers

The holidays can be a time of family, fun and joy — but for family caregivers, these special occasions often include added stress as they continue helping their mothers, fathers, husbands, wives and other loved ones. We recently shared some holiday tips for family caregivers on the AARP Advocates Facebook page — and many of our friends chimed in with their own suggestions. Here’s what they had to say: 1. Keep it simple. Kate: “Do not overbook your schedule.” Dianne: …