5 Things I’ve Learned as a Caregiver

I recently had the great pleasure of returning to Indiana, the state of my birth, to speak at three local AARP Indiana Caregiver Connect forums in Ft. Wayne, Indianapolis and Merrillville. It was a bittersweet experience. My parents were with me on my last visit to Indiana, where they both were born and raised. But now travel would be very difficult for them, so most likely they won’t return to Indiana until they are gone from this earth. As a …

Working Caregivers Need Government and Employers to Do a Better Job

Employers and policy leaders, are you listening? With the onslaught of aging boomers, the need for family-friendly work-leave policies will only increase. And yet, current policies don’t reach enough people and are not meeting the needs of today’s working caregivers. That’s the conclusion of a new report, Keeping Up with the Times: Supporting Family Caregivers with Workplace Leave Policies, issued by the AARP Public Policy Institute. Although the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was enacted 20 years ago, …

Tools on the Horizon for Dementia Caregivers

It’s not just loss of cognition that haunts those with dementia. Accompanying it are disruptive behavioral symptoms that can include depression, agitation, aggression, psychosis, disinhibition, sleep disturbances and apathy. The fall-out is often placing the loved one in a nursing home, not to mention extraordinary stress for family caregivers. It’s no secret that these symptoms are often managed with psychotropic medication like antipsychotics. For one thing, there can be side effects with these drugs, including death. More importantly, there are …

8 Fabulous Resources for Family Caregivers

I write on topics that I think will interest and help family caregivers, but I can’t cover every issue. Really! So this week, I’m giving you valuable (in my book) resources as well as (in everyone’s book) go-to groups, organizations and websites that have great info, forums, learning opportunities (a webinar, a podcast, an article, an upcoming conference, studies) and advice from experts and in-the-trenches-caregivers. All in one place – here! First, I want to give a shout out to …

Power to the People via Family Caregiving Coalitions

When I learned about the concept of family caregiving coalitions, what sprung to mind was the Carole King song “You’ve Got a Friend.” I say that in a good way! The famous lyrics are: “When you’re down and troubled and you need some love and care . . .” America’s 65.7 million family caregivers may be an army, but if you’re one of those troops, you can feel alone in the trenches. There’s the ever-changing situation, unpredictability, loss, exhaustion and, …

5 Things Caregivers Must Know About Diabetes

With a U.S. diabetic population of 26.9% age 65+, or 10.9 million, caregivers must be careful observers. If your parent or spouse has diabetes and is over age 65, read on. Their condition is unique to their age, but it’s not always treated that way. “Geriatric diabetes is not as well understood as it is for the pediatric population. Treating a 40-year-old the same way as an 80-year-old is inappropriate,” says Dr. Medha Munshi, a geriatrician and endocrinologist who runs …