Simple Hearing Device Makes Big Difference for Dad

When Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I knew he would need all of his senses to help interpret the world around him and balance his changing cognitive abilities. But he has hearing impairment and limited vision (glaucoma plus visual-processing problems associated with Alzheimer’s). Even though there is only so much I can do about the visual issues, I assumed hearing aids would solve his auditory problems. I was wrong. The good news is that  we eventually discovered a surprisingly simple …

4 Tips for Long-Distance Caregivers

I have been both a live-in caregiver and a long-distance caregiver. In fact, currently, I’m really both. My dad lives with me (as do my sister and her two sons at the moment), and I also travel for work, about a week every month. I’ve learned to manage my loved ones’ care no matter where I am. Here are some of my tips for other long-distance caregivers. 1) Include local people on your caregiving team. My paternal grandparents lived in …

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. …

All I Want for Christmas Is … a Little Kindness for This Caregiver

I recently had the great pleasure of representing AARP on The Doctors to share some of my top caregiving tips, give away copies of my new book, Juggling Life, Work and Caregiving and tell everyone about AARP’s Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers contest. (You can watch the segment, below.) It made me think about what I really want for Christmas this year and it’s exactly that: small kindnesses that free my time, nurture my soul and minimize the stress …

Make Priceless Family Memories on Thanksgiving, StoryCorps-Style

Thanksgiving is approaching and families across the nation will be gathering to eat, maybe watch TV and, I hope, enjoy time together. But one of the most common questions I get this time of year is, “How can I get the generations in our family to interact more?” This year I have a great answer: Participate in StoryCorps’ Great Thanksgiving Listen using its new free app. You may have heard StoryCorps on NPR’s Morning Edition on Fridays—a series of moving …

Everyone Needs a Break Sometimes—Especially Family Caregivers

Respite is one of the most pressing needs of families and friends who take on a caregiving role. The need for caregiver supportive services — including respite care — is only going to rise as the U.S. population ages. Respite care provides temporary relief from the daily stress of caregiving, such as living with and caring for a grandfather with advanced Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of respite care is to give the family caregiver time away — to get a …