Thank You, Nurses, for ALL You Do

As National Nurses Week concludes, I want to take a moment and thank all nurses — past, present, and future — for all that you do. I know firsthand the importance of nurses not only to patients, but to their families. During the 15 years I cared for my parents, nurses made a huge difference in our lives. There’s no doubt, caregiving takes a team, and so often nurses were a part of my family’s team. I also know that …

When Mom Can Hear and You Can’t

As my mother got older, our roles reversed, as they will when a parent reaches the ninth and even 10th decade. But there was one way in which she grew stronger, while I grew weaker. She could hear, and I couldn’t. In her 80s, my mother’s mind and body succumbed to aging. She developed dementia, she had frequent falls and was often wheelchair bound. She and my father had moved south to a retirement community, so as not to be …

Caregivers, Are You Ready for a Disaster?

Daddy and I were walking across the living room one night recently when the house suddenly went dark. The power was out, but fortunately, I was prepared. Plugged into the outlet in front of us was a power-failure light that comes on automatically. It also serves as an automatic nightlight and a portable flashlight. I have the lights strategically plugged in throughout the house, and they lit our way to safety. I also realized that no electricity meant no air-conditioning, …

Does your state support services for older Americans, family caregivers?

Family caregivers provide an estimated $450 billion in unpaid care annually, helping their older parents, spouses and others to live independently at home—and out of costly institutional care, often paid for by Medicaid. But now, in a number of states as governors and legislatures negotiate their state’s annual budgets, critical assistance on which family caregivers and their loved ones rely on is at risk. Proposed cuts to home care, adult day services, meals-on-wheels and more have real consequences for families. …

Dealing With Dad’s Difficult Alzheimer’s Behaviors

It’s the moodiness that gets to me. And the irritability and all the yelling. Is this really my sweet, kind father? Unfortunately, it is. As a recent study found, many who have Alzheimer’s disease will experience depression, anxiety and other behavioral changes long before memory slips or other cognitive deficits occur. This is a topic I know all too well as my dad battles the disease and I see his happy, sweet disposition erode. In particular, the study found that …

How to Choose a Car to Make Aging Easier

The last time I bought a new car I was 20 years younger and I wanted something that fit me at the time — classy, sexy and fast! Twenty years later, my priorities have taken a U-turn. Now practicality is my top priority. A new car must not only meet my needs as I age but also be suitable for driving around my 91-year-old dad (who lives with me and has Alzheimer’s) and his service dog, Mr. Jackson. Nearly six …