Building Your Caregiving Team

As a caregiver, I have had many “aha!” moments. The following excerpt from my upcoming book, AARP’s Juggling Work and Caregiving (available November 2013) describes one of those moments when I realized I needed to build up my caregiving team: Eight months after I’d relocated to Phoenix to help my parents, I found myself frozen, unable to drag myself out of bed and face my to-do list. I was emotionally exhausted and utterly overwhelmed. I leaned out of bed far enough to …

5 Tips for Caregivers: Take a Break!

A colleague recently cautioned me about using the term “respite” because she thought people wouldn’t know its meaning. I found this ironic, because I actually believe it’s more likely that most of us don’t know how it feels rather than what it means in terms of getting a break from caring for family and friends. We rarely get to experience time completely away from the responsibility and stress of caregiving. That’s why I feel so lucky to have recently returned …

Helping Older Loved Ones Cope With Disaster

In a recent conversation with the AARP Oklahoma state director, Sean Voskuhl, about the tornadoes in Moore, Okla., and throughout the state, I related my concerns about the older adults and their caregivers affected by the disasters. “In a matter of minutes, thousands of lives were changed forever as a result of the tornadoes that hit Oklahoma in May. The path of destruction and loss of life left by these storms has been heartbreaking,” he told me. “We remember the lost, pray for the …

Have You Had “The Talk”? New York Times Tackles a Thorny Issue

I was recently interviewed for a New York Times article, The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You, about handling parents’ financial and legal affairs after they die. The article is an important one – both for adult children who may be dealing with these issues, and for parents who may be reluctant to share personal and financial information with their kids. My message is pretty simple: To anyone who may have to deal with estate matters after …

My Interview With NPR About Alzheimer’s and My Dad

I recently spoke about my Dad with NPR’s Jacki Lyden for their Weekend All Things Considered story on Alzheimer’s disease. I told her it was a bittersweet experience for me. I started listening to the show as a young child with Dad, and there I was, 40 years later, at the NPR studio, talking about him and the ways that Alzheimer’s disease  is slowly robbing his brain. The first few notes of the show’s theme song immediately summon warm, secure “all …

Caregivers: 3 Easy Tips to Remember Your Health Checkups

I finally did it. After more than two years with two painful teeth, I finally got my dental checkup and teeth cleaning! Unfortunately, my delay has caused the need for two new crowns. I’ve always done this regularly, but since I started intensive caregiving that has gone down the drain (as have my other regular checkups). I feel like I should be at a support group meeting saying, “My name is Amy, and I’m a caregiver who has neglected my own …