A Caregiver’s Tough Lessons Learned

A friend recently told me she didn’t understand how I survived 2012. It was a rough year, to say the least, for our family. In retrospect, I know that I do what each of the other 42 million caregivers across this nation do – we just keep going – what else are we to do? The good news is that along with the challenges, there are also many triumphs, blessings and lessons learned. As I look back at the past …

A Prayer from my Dad: Hope, Inspiration and Alzheimer’s

Recently, when he was told it was Sunday, Dad asked if we were going to have a “service or a blessing.” Although he leads us in grace for every meal, he has never asked about this before. I put together a short service for us around the kitchen table with a reading and a prayer. I asked what hymn he would like to sing, and he began to sing The Lord’s Prayer. Although we sing throughout every day, I don’t …

Home for the Holidays: Check on Older Loved Ones

Whether you’re heading over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, or flying in on a jet plane, there’s no place like home for the holidays. As you visit older relatives you may not see very often, most importantly, enjoy each other’s company when you get together. But also take advantage of family time to observe your older loved ones’ home, safety, health, finances and support system. Here are some tips about what to ask about and look for: Home …

3 Things Siblings Can Do to Care for a Parent

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post by Barry J. Jacobs, Psy.D., who specializes in helping families cope with serious and chronic medical illness. The brothers and sisters who file into my office have tight-lipped, apprehensive looks. They’ve voluntarily chosen to meet with me for a caregiving consultation in order to find a way to better coordinate their efforts to help an aging parent. But they’re afraid of what might happen once we begin talking: Will old rivalries and resentments rear their …

Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefits Can Help, But Process Difficult

When I first started investigating the Veterans Administration’s Aid and Attendance and Housebound Benefits program for my Dad, a decorated WWII Veteran who earned the Bronze Star while serving in Italy with the 10th Mountain Division, I was excited to learn that he might qualify for some financial assistance to help with the cost of his care. Aid and Attendance is an enhanced or special monthly pension program for certain veterans who require care. Dad has developed Alzheimer’s disease and …

Parking Lot Sob-fest: Cleansed by Tears and Renewed by Chocolate

I pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot, slammed the shift into park and began to sob. The cries came from deep in my belly and slowly worked their way up to my tear-strewn face, emerging messily in a volcanic eruption of tears and snot. Yuck. No tissues in the car, of course. I tried to stop, but it wasn’t happening. And I got loud. I noticed a few people looking at me but I didn’t give a whip. Ahh … …