Eldercare Finally Recognized by Feds

Wahoo, eldercare has arrived! The latest federal survey, which tracks how much time people spent per day working, performing household tasks, engaging in leisure activities, and taking care of children in 2011, has a new category: Eldercare. This entry into the annual American Time Use Survey (ATUS), put out by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, reflects the deepening responsibilities Americans age 15+ have for providing unpaid care to someone over age 65–perhaps a parent, spouse, relative or friend. And just …

Where Dad Comes From

He is from Indiana corn fields and blinking fireflies on cool-moist summer nights. He is from generations of adventurers, farmers and teachers. He is from Clarence Vespacian a.k.a. C.V. or Mike, and Genevieve Mae a.k.a. G.G. or Genny. He is from  a passel of cousins with nicknames and games. He is from 100 years of family reunions with the sweetest of tea and juiciest cherry pie, and croquet wickets with balls whizzing by and uncles fiercely competing, with peals of …

Caregiver Respite: 5 Ways to Make It Last

The magic number for the trip was “5.” Five days of the sound of ocean. Five days of reading magazines. Five days of eating scrumptious seafood in lovely beachside restaurants. Five days of chatting non-stop with my dear friend of 45 years, Laurette. It took me five days of this nirvana to finally wake up in the morning without a panicky feeling, “What didn’t I do before I left? What do I need to get done today? What have I …

A Caregiver’s Hospital Survival Kit: 20 Must-Have Items

In the past year, I’ve spent close to 40 overnights in the hospital with my parents, plus roughly 10 emergency room visits with them. I dislike going to hospitals … a lot. I think I’ve developed some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder around hospital visits. I find that I am great in the moment and deal with crises easily, but afterwards I am exhausted and when the time comes to venture off to the hospital again I tense up, feel a sense of …

A Caregiver ‘Can Do’ Attitude

Dressed in his pajamas and clean white T-shirt, he walks into the room, intensely focused and looking around for something. I’m lying on the sofa-bed in his study/guest room, reading a book before going to sleep. I’m not sure if he sees me, his vision so compromised by Glaucoma, or if he is just so focused on the object he is in search of that he doesn’t zero in on me. “What are you looking for, Daddy?” I ask. A …

4 Tough Decisions I’ve Made as a Caregiver

As a caregiver, I make a hundred decisions on my parents’ behalf every week. Whenever possible, I make decisions with my parents – but many times I am forced to make decisions for them. Some are easier than others. Sometimes I take it in stride…other days the stress piles up and an implosion is inevitable. Some decisions are made quickly in the spur of the moment – like deciding whether to take time to stop and take a walk with Dad and Jackson, …