Tell Us About Your Acts of Kindness for Caregivers

When you’re a caregiver, a small act of kindness — from a helping hand to a sympathetic ear — can mean so much. I remember standing in the checkout line at the grocery store, my eyes swollen from crying and feeling exhausted. My beloved sister, Karen, had passed away a couple of weeks earlier — a loss I was struggling with while also working and caring for Dad, who has Alzheimer’s. I was running on empty. My emotions must have shown …

Feeling Alone as a Caregiver? Build a Backup Team

One of the most common questions I get from overwhelmed caregivers is, “How can I get my family members to help me more with caregiving?” My advice: We can make ourselves crazy trying to change other people. We need to accept what they will and will not do, and think more broadly about who else can fill the gaps. As a primary caregiver for my parents and other family members, I’ve found that I need different kinds of assistance. Some …

10 Must-Have Gadgets for Caregivers

En español | I’ve been a family caregiver for more than 30 years, and I’ve found that there are some gadgets that not only make my life much easier but also make the lives of those I’m caring for much safer and happier. Some of these handy items are simple, and others are high-tech. Prices can vary widely but most of the gadgets are relatively inexpensive, and one of my favorites is even homemade. You can find all of these products …

‘Caring for Mom and Dad’ — a Documentary Hits Home

Watching the new PBS documentary Caring for Mom and Dad was like looking in a mirror. The gut-wrenching heartaches, stress, fatigue, fears — but most of all, the love — these families experience reflect my own caregiving journey. The film (check local listings or watch online at pbs.org/caringformomanddad) is narrated by actress Meryl Streep and highlights several adult children’s experiences as they work and care for parents who are dealing with strokes, dementia and other health challenges as they age. It …

What’s Different About Family Caregiving Today?

This is a pivotal time. Converging sociodemographic trends and more complex care needs are contributing to historically unprecedented challenges in family care of older people in the U.S. For most of human history, requiring help in old age was uncommon. As Atul Gawande writes in Being Mortal, “The natural course was to die before old age.” Only 41 percent of people born in 1900 survived to age 65. In sharp contrast, an estimated 84 percent of people born in 2010 …

Living Father’s Day

I don’t usually leave Daddy for long. But this time a series of work commitments – and a high school reunion – means I’ll stay away from home for 19 days. Although my sister Linda is going to be with Daddy for most of that time, it’s still very hard to leave knowing he may change a great deal while I’m away, and that he will probably feel less safe and secure without my presence. He doesn’t always know I am …