Driven to Desperation: Caring for Someone With Alzheimer’s

I recently read a disturbing news report about a 69-year-old man in Florida who apparently killed his 89-year-old mother and then committed suicide. Police reported that he left a note stating that his mother, who lived with him, had advanced Alzheimer’s disease and that he was having extreme difficulty caring for her. The story absolutely breaks my heart. While I have certainly never felt that low, as a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer’s, I do have some insight into the feelings of …

My Top Tips for Caregivers, as Seen on ‘Today’ Show

Recently, I appeared on the Today show with Kathie Lee and Hoda to share some of my best tips for caregivers. The segments go by in a flash, so I thought I’d share a bit more about each of the tips I discussed on the show (see the video below). If you suddenly find yourself in the position of caregiver for a parent, spouse/partner, grandparent, sibling, adult child, friend or neighbor, here are some things to do immediately: If a loved one is unexpectedly hospitalized, …

Tell Us About Your Acts of Kindness for Caregivers

When you’re a caregiver, a small act of kindness — from a helping hand to a sympathetic ear — can mean so much. I remember standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, my eyes swollen from crying and feeling exhausted. My beloved sister, Karen, had passed away a couple of weeks earlier — a loss I was struggling with while also working and caring for Dad, who has Alzheimer’s. I was running on empty. My emotions must have shown …

New Book Helps Caregivers Care for Themselves

Like so many other family caregivers, I often place my own care on the back burner because I’m focused on the immediate needs of those I’m caring for. But that self-neglect eventually catches up with me — sometimes dramatically. I share one eye-opening experience in my new book, Juggling Life, Work, and Caregiving. An excerpt: I lay there wide awake in the roll-away bed, springs from the mattress poking me between the ribs. My chest felt tight, my heart was pounding and I struggled to breathe. I …

Caring for Our Spouses

BREAKING UPDATE 5/15: Oklahoma becomes the first state in the nation to enact the CARE Act!  SB 1536, also known as the CARE Act, has been signed by Governor Mary Fallin and will take effect November 1, 2014. The bill will help the 600,000 family caregivers in Oklahoma when their loved ones go into the hospital and as they transition home.     Meet the Mitchems and the Shapards: two Oklahoma families who would benefit greatly from the Caregiver Advise, Record, …

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 …