Cromwell, Bujold, and Longtime Love

He’s played memorable supporting roles in more than 160 movies-and was even nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar after costarring with a pig in Babe. Now, in the drama Still Mine, James Cromwell is getting raves, including my review, for his first-ever lead role and he is savoring every moment. “This is my first try at it,”  Cromwell, 71, tells me on this week’s Movies for Grownups radio show. “I don’t know that I’ll ever get another one because …

Older, Homeless, No Family Caregiver – What Do They Do?

Get ready to see more older homeless men and women on the street. Since most don’t have families or are estranged from them, there’s no family caregiver. Here’s a TED talk that gives perspective on homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports there are 1.6 million homeless people a year on any given day. According to an NPR story, more than half of single homeless adults are age 47+. Younger boomers born between 1955-1965 are driving the aging …

Caregiving and Learning to Breathe

One goes through so many emotions as a caregiver- fear, sadness, anger, joy, surprise, just to name a few- but the one emotion I probably felt most often was simply, overwhelmed. That single feeling of being out of control and always on my guard amplified whatever other emotion I might have been experiencing at any given time. It wasn’t really until Dad already had spent six months or so in his nearby nursing home that I finally learned how to …

When the Caregiver Doesn’t Take Care of Herself

It’s a subtle thing. It happens bit by bit…it creeps up and then one time too many of lifting the wheelchair into the trunk and-BAM! -it smacks me flat, usually at the most inopportune time.That’s what happened to me last week when my back screamed, “Stop!”  I have a history of back problems, but my back hasn’t flared up this badly in about 10 years. The timing couldn’t be worse.  We are packing up my parents’ senior living apartment and …

Dangerous Caregivers: Few Agencies Screen Workers

The person you hire from an agency to take care of your ailing, aging family member — shouldn’t that caregiver have passed a federal background check? Or drug testing? Or be screened for skills and training? Unfortunately, the chances are the agency did none of those things. A troubling new national study finds that nearly half of the agencies that send caregivers to help vulnerable seniors do a poor job of recruiting, screening, testing and training the caregivers they hire. …

4 Tough Decisions I’ve Made as a Caregiver

As a caregiver, I make a hundred decisions on my parents’ behalf every week. Whenever possible, I make decisions with my parents – but many times I am forced to make decisions for them. Some are easier than others. Sometimes I take it in stride…other days the stress piles up and an implosion is inevitable. Some decisions are made quickly in the spur of the moment – like deciding whether to take time to stop and take a walk with Dad and Jackson, …