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 …

In Search of My Veteran Dad’s WWII Memories

As my dad’s memories fade due to Alzheimer’s disease, the list of things that still stick with him gets increasingly shorter. My mom’s name is frequently on his lips, even though she passed on a year ago. His service dog, Mr. Jackson, is still his key companion and, even when he can’t remember his name, he looks for “the dog.” And he still knows the 10th Mountain Division, with whom he served in World War II as they drove the Nazis and Mussolini …

New Study Finds $522 Billion Cost of Caregivers’ Sacrificed Time

Family caregivers in the U.S. spend an estimated 30 billion hours per year caring for older family and friends. That’s about $522 billion in care, according to a new Rand Corp. study, as measured by valuing the time caregivers have sacrificed in order to be able to provide care. Replacing that care with unskilled paid care at minimum wage would cost $221 billion, while replacing it with skilled nursing care would cost $642 billion annually. An AARP study found nearly half of …