Love and Alzheimer’s: It’s Complicated

Valentine’s Day is coming up, but I have to admit, Alzheimer’s complicates loving someone who is struggling to cope with the confusion of an ever-changing world. Dad has always been very affectionate and supportive to me. When I was a child, he was my role model and comforter. When I became an adult, he showed his love by asking about my work or my car. He would even send me Valentine’s Day chocolates every year. Now he often expresses anger and frustration toward …

During Black History Month, Experience the Joy of Self-Education

One of my greatest joys over the past couple of years has been engaging in conversations with authors as host of AARP’s Black Community Book Club. From Nikki Giovanni to Terri McMillan to Russell Simmons to Leonard Pitts Jr., it’s been like conversing with living history. In reading these authors’ books and talking with them, it occurs to me how invaluable it is to delve into the knowledge and gifts of people who are enhancing the lives of others. Whether …

The CARE Act: A Commonsense Solution to Help Family Caregivers

Alice from Texas cared for her husband, Cort, after he suffered a severe stroke.  She recently shared her story on I Heart Caregivers, writing, “After a week in intensive care, three weeks in a rehab facility and a month in a nursing home, I brought my husband home to begin his care. He came home with a severe wound on his back. I learned wound care, changing catheters, all the duties of a home healthcare nurse. Since then, he has …

Losing Myself in Caregiving

After I moved across the country to care for my parents, more than five years ago, I put my heart and soul — to say nothing of my energy and time — into my role as a caregiver. As many of you know, it’s an all-consuming responsibility, one that can soon overwhelm your sense of self. For me, I felt my identity slipping away. I feared I’d lost myself in caregiving. So I thought about who I really am and why …

Good Mentoring: The Next Best Thing to Good Parenting

While the fond memories of family and festivities are still fresh enough to make us smile, let’s commit to spending time with family, friends and loved ones beyond the holidays. And, in the year ahead, let’s not forget to specifically spend time with young people. I had some wonderful moments with my kids around Christmas. We took our biennial theater trip to New York City to see Motown the Musical. It was a great show and such a joy hanging out …

4 Tips for Getting Along With New In-Laws

Engagements peak around the holidays, so for some parents — maybe you — 2015 will bring a daughter- or son-in-law. That means other new family members as well; maybe you’ll be meeting them for the first time. These extended family relationships are often complicated even before they start. Yet other parents — for better or worse — will now share the peaks and valleys of your child’s life. And given divorce and remarriage, three or four parents may be involved, …