Help for Family Caregivers

While traveling to Erie, Pa., for a town meeting on family caregiving, I was reflecting on my family roots. A little more than 100 years ago, my Lithuanian grandparents immigrated to America and made Shenandoah, Pa., their first hometown. My grandfather worked in the coal mines and my grandmother, fluent in six languages, worked various jobs while raising five children – one of whom was my mom. My grandparents taught me about hard work and perseverance, and my parents taught …

Sometimes Family Caregivers Need a Break

Every day for eight years, my Pop provided hands-on care for my mom, who faced a number of physical challenges.  At age 90, Pop was still helping Mom out of bed into her wheelchair, bathing and dressing her, making the meals, and doing the dishes, laundry and anything else that needed to be done. A few times a week, Pop would get out of the house for a trip to the grocery store and a few staples like bread, milk …

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 …