The Greatest Gifts of All

The way Alzheimer’s disease has ravaged my dad’s capabilities is especially hard to bear during holidays. I wish he could more fully participate in and enjoy our family traditions. So often it seems that he just doesn’t understand, and the meaning is lost for him. Recently, though, he gave me my most unexpected and treasured Christmas gifts … and taught me invaluable lessons at the same time. Dad always used to lead us in Advent services during the weeks leading up to Christmas. …

It’s in Giving That We Receive

It was a few days before Christmas when our family got the news that Mom would be in the hospital for the holidays. Family caregiving can be tough enough, but somehow it is a bit tougher when your loved one is in the hospital. My siblings and I sprang into action to develop a list of people who could visit Mom in the hospital on Christmas. We thought of presents like a new robe and slippers, a hair appointment when …

What the Spending Bill Means for Older Americans

The $1.1 trillion spending bill will do more than keep the federal government open well into next year. Nearly half of the appropriations will go toward non-defense programs, and in some cases, the bill directs more money to programs that benefit the lives of Americans age 50 and up. “This bill not only avoids the deep cuts to scores of critical programs, it provides noteworthy increases for many services critical to older Americans, including health, nutrition and caregiver services, as …

4 Tips for Difficult Family Conversations

It’s that time of year when many families gather for holiday celebrations and check in on loved ones. It can be a tough combo, creating a celebratory mood while also dealing with serious family issues. I get a lot of questions from family caregivers about how to handle difficult conversations that come up around sensitive topics such as driving, personal care, housework and finances. Here are my top tips for setting up a successful conversation. Observe before you act. Before …

All I Want for Christmas Is … a Little Kindness for This Caregiver

I recently had the great pleasure of representing AARP on The Doctors to share some of my top caregiving tips, give away copies of my new book, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and tell everyone about AARP’s Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers contest. (You can watch the segment, below.) It made me think about what I really want for Christmas this year and it’s exactly that: small kindnesses that free my time, nurture my soul and minimize the stress …

Join the Holiday Blog Party for Caregivers

Now, in the thick of the holiday season, many of us who are family caregivers are facing even more stress than usual, with relatives’ visits and extra items on our to-do lists. That makes this a perfect time for us to connect with our fellow caregivers for support and advice. While we can’t all gather in-person, of course, Caregiving.com came up with something much easier: a virtual Holiday Progressive Blog Party, and I’m thrilled to participate. Visit the site to find links to a range of caregiving blogs …