Family Ties

Q: How (and when) do I tell a dating partner about my difficult family situation? I haven’t dated in a long time (I’m 59, never married). This is partly due to being a caregiver – first for my dad, who had a stroke, and now my mom, who is recovering from a stroke, and my brother, who has schizophrenia and is in poor physical health. They do live independently, and with some help from community agencies, I don’t have to …

Caregiving Books You Should Care About

Ah, it’s summer. Beach reading time if you’re a lucky caregiver. What I’m going to propose may not be your idea of breezy escape books. But I’ve made a list of top-notch resources for family caregivers. If you can’t get to them now, they’ll be helpful in any season. The books are written by professionals (physicians, nurses, therapists, gerontologists, bioethicists and journalists), many of whom know about caregiving firsthand. With tips, strategies, information and contacts, they focus on sick spouses, …

Anne Samaan: Inspirational Caregiver Blazes the Trail

Not even 5 feet tall, she was tiny but powerful; she filled up a room. She was my second “mommie;” counselor, comforter, friend and inspiration. Dr. Anne Samaan, my best friend Laurette and her sister Jenny’s mom, and my godchild Catalina’s grandmother, died last week; she was 91. The world is dimmer without her sometimes colorful presence. She has influenced me since I was 6 years old, especially because she was a caregiving pioneer. She taught me how to make choices …

Older, Homeless, No Family Caregiver – What Do They Do?

Get ready to see more older homeless men and women on the street. Since most don’t have families or are estranged from them, there’s no family caregiver. Here’s a TED talk that gives perspective on homelessness. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development reports there are 1.6 million homeless people a year on any given day. According to an NPR story, more than half of single homeless adults are age 47+. Younger boomers born between 1955-1965 are driving the aging …

A Promise to Help Caregivers

You know those New Year’s Resolutions we make?  To be kinder, break a bad habit, save money, stress less, travel more, lose weight, exercise, work harder? Is helping a family caregiver ever on your list? The national Lotsa Helping Hands has decided to speed up New Year’s resolutions with a campaign they have launched. Its purpose: have people begin to think about how they can lighten the load for a caregiver (and/or care recipient) in 2013. To keep folks on the …

What Caregivers Don’t Tell Anyone

“Sally Abrahms can take her crown off now!” Ouch. That was one response to my story that recently ran in the AARP Bulletin explaining common emotions (guilt, grief, exhaustion) family caregivers have and strategies for dealing with them. I was writing about my own experience – I’m a long distance caregiver, not someone who lives 24/7 with a sick or chronically needy parent – as well as what I have observed from my work. That reader could have been less strident, …