The Greatest Gifts of All

The way Alzheimer’s disease has ravaged my dad’s capabilities is especially hard to bear during holidays. I wish he could more fully participate in and enjoy our family traditions. So often it seems that he just doesn’t understand, and the meaning is lost for him. Recently, though, he gave me my most unexpected and treasured Christmas gifts … and taught me invaluable lessons at the same time. Dad always used to lead us in Advent services during the weeks leading up to Christmas. …

4 Tips for Difficult Family Conversations

It’s that time of year when many families gather for holiday celebrations and check in on loved ones. It can be a tough combo, creating a celebratory mood while also dealing with serious family issues. I get a lot of questions from family caregivers about how to handle difficult conversations that come up around sensitive topics such as driving, personal care, housework and finances. Here are my top tips for setting up a successful conversation. Observe before you act. Before …

Join the Holiday Blog Party for Caregivers

Now, in the thick of the holiday season, many of us who are family caregivers are facing even more stress than usual, with relatives’ visits and extra items on our to-do lists. That makes this a perfect time for us to connect with our fellow caregivers for support and advice. While we can’t all gather in-person, of course, Caregiving.com came up with something much easier: a virtual Holiday Progressive Blog Party, and I’m thrilled to participate. Visit the site to find links to a range of caregiving blogs …

5 Tips for Charity Donations That Count, Not Con

With Americans donating at least $358 billion to charities last year, we certainly give with our hearts, but unfortunately, not so much with our heads, according to the latest AARP research. A survey of 800 adults by our Fraud Watch Network reveals that despite having the best intentions, the majority of wallet-opening donors continue to make key mistakes that add to their risk of being taken in a charity scam, along with other holiday hoaxes. Among the findings: 70 percent …

How to Make the Holidays More Hearing-Friendly

I love the five weeks that begin with Thanksgiving and end with New Year’s, but a part of me also thinks, “Bah, humbug.” That’s the part that knows I’ll struggle to follow conversations at family dinners, holiday parties, concerts and pageants. It’s also the part of me that will want to leave early, or maybe even just stay home. If you feel the same way, here are a few tips and strategies for making the holidays more hearing-friendly. Some of them …

Look Like a Star for the Holidays

Here’s a ratio that prevails at far too many holiday parties: 99 percent vanity, 1 percent fun. Well, what did I expect? ’Tis the season for obsessing about extra pounds, flab, wrinkles, brown spots, dingy teeth and thinning hair — not only mine but those of the people I hold dear (or simply happen to be near). My voyeuristic proclivities, fanned by 30-plus years as a beauty editor, turn every kiss and hug into a chance to surreptitiously look and …