The Family Caregiver’s Job Description: Add Nursing Care to the List

Daily activities completed by family caregivers has been often grouped by task – a job description of sorts. Tasks such as bathing and dressing, helping with eating, moving around or toileting are called Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs for short. Shopping, cooking, managing finances or providing transportation are referred to as assisting with Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs.) Now we know that almost half of family caregivers are doing all of these things and more.  They are doing things that …

Help! Who Will Care for Baby Boomers When They Need It?

Many hands may not really make light work, but at least they help. The abundance of baby boomers means many can care for their aging parents. But a sobering report released today by the AARP Public Policy Institute shows that within the next 20 years, when boomers are in their 80s and need help of their own, there won’t be enough hands to go around. Consider these findings: In 2010, there were 7.2 potential caregivers (ages 45-64 or the average …

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 …