Caregiver Articles by Elaine K Sanchez

Elaine is a frequent contributor to caregiving magazines and home care blogs. The links below will take you to some of her most popular full-length articles. Click on the titles that are of greatest interest to you:

elder law attorneys to the rescueLast month four of our eight children found themselves in the midst of a caregiving crisis. Three kids were dealing with aging parents (not us, thank goodness) and my son Robert was suddenly thrown into the role of caregiver when his wife of almost two years was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Our daughter-in-law Mare found herself in a tailspin when her father’s girlfriend of many years refused to take him home after he’d been released from the hospital. She had reached her limit, and she told the VA, “You take care of him. I’m done!”

To find out how a good elder law attorney helped get the care Mare’s father needed and protect her from making some very serious mistakes, and manage a situation that was rapidly spinning out of control, please click on this link to the article I wrote for CaringTimes, Griswold Home Care’s blog.

Please click on this link to read the article:  How to Help Your Kids When They Become Caregivers

http://www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/how-to-help-your-kids-when-they-become-caregivers/

caring-for-spouseI recently reconnected with a dear friend. Unfortunately, her life has taken a very difficult turn since I knew her many years ago. She got married about five years ago to a man who was  healthy, physically active, and employed in a high-paying position. About a year ago, he lost his job, got hooked on Internet gambling and lost all of their savings. He was recently diagnosed with diabetes and congestive heart failure, and he is now displaying some disturbing cognitive changes.  We talked a long time about her options, and she came to the conclusion that she just needs to “live well within her current circumstances.”

I admire her strength, her faith, and her ability to accept what has happened. To see how she has come to a place where she can deal with all of these losses, please click on this link to read my article,  Caring for a Spouse: Living Well Under Difficult Circumstances

Madelyn-DrawingDo you ever wonder why some people always seem to find the positive—even in the face of extraordinarily difficult circumstances while others seem to wallow in misery, even when their lives appear to be nearly perfect?

I have come to the conclusion that the way we perceive the world and our place in it may be a  matter of choice.

I wrote about this in an article for Griswold Home Care. If you would like to know more about how it is possible to experience mental and spiritual growth, even in the worst end-of-life circumstances, please click on the link below to read my article:

Is It Possible to Maintain a Positive Attitude as a Caregiver? 

planning a funeralThere isn’t anything fun about planning for incapacity and death. That’s one of the reasons why a lot of people put off making plans.

Deciding how you want your belongings and money distributed after your death can be unsettling, and making decisions about life-support and tube feeding can be very upsetting emotionally.

Those are just a few of the reasons I was surprised when my old 89-year-old Aunt Jean asked me to make an appointment with a funeral home so she could prepay her funeral expenses. I have to admit, I never thought there was anything funny about planning a funeral until I took Aunt Jean to plan hers.

I’d like to invite you to click on this link to read about my surprisingly funny experience with Aunt Jean:

What’s Funny About Planning a Funeral?

end-of-life careWe all know we are going to die, but how do you know when it’s time to stop life-extending treatments? Should you wait for the doctor to suggest Hospice, or is it up to you and your family to decide when it’s time?

These decisions are not simple, but the more you know about the services Hospice provides and the potential benefits to the family and the patient, the easier it becomes to know if and when it is a right choice for you.

Please click on the link below to read my article in its entirety.

Making Choices about End-of-Life Care: Go It Alone Or Get Hospice Care?

 

keeping-marriage-together

 

How do you find the time to maintain a relationship while you are raising kids, working fulltime, and caring for an elderly parent or grandparent?

Nothing will make it easy, but there are five things you can do to reduce your stress on your relationship:

  1. Acknowledge the crisis
  2. Express your fears
  3. Ask for help
  4. Ask for forgiveness and be willing to grant it
  5. Establish a plan for some pleasure after the crisis

Please click on the link below to read my article in it’s entirety.

Keeping a Marriage Together While Caring for Family Elders

elaine and william NYLast summer my husband and I took our 18 and 20 year-old grandsons to Washington DC and New York City.

William, who is a senior in high school, thought he might like to have a totaly different experience from growing up in Oregon and attend a college on the East Coast. We decided it would be a good idea for him to experience it before making such a monumentous decision.

On our last morning in New York, William and I got up early and went for a walk so we could see the city come awake. I asked him if the trip had changed him in any way, and I was fascinated and delighted with his response.

Although William and I are at very different states of our lives, we are both aware that we are responsible for our choices, our attitude, and for accepting and adapting to a multitude of challenges, disappointments, and situations that might not turn out quite the way we had hoped for or planned.

Please click on this link to read my article, Acceptance: The Greatest Emotional Struggle of Caregiving? 

husband-reflection-caregiving

My friend Stan cared for his wife Julie for six years as she went through treatments for cancer and a horrible disease called Amyloidosis.
He shared his reflections and insights into what it was like to lose the closeness and spontaneity he and Julie had enjoyed throughout more than four decades of marriage. He talked about how, in hindsight, he might have done some things differently, and he described adapting to his new “fake” life after Julie’s death.

I think Stan’s reflections about moving through grief and adapting to life  after caregiving can be helpful to anyone who is in the process of caring for someone with a terminal illness, as well as to anyone who has lost someone they love. I hope you’ll click on the link below to read Stan’s story, and please share it with anyone you know you may be in a similar situation.

A Husband’s Reflection on Six Years of Caregiving

loneliness-isolation-loneliness-depression-elderly-200x300In past generations, young couples fell in love, got married and had children. The grandparents helped raise the children, and then, when they grew old or got sick, the roles reversed and the kids took care of the parents. For a number of reasons, that tradition may may not carry forward into the future.

A lot of people are choosing not to have children, and even if you do, there’s no guarantee that they will be able or willing to help when you need it. So, that raises the question:  Who will take care of you when you’re old?

This question was on my mind after reading an article in the Daily Mail about Juan Qi, a lonely 75-year-old man who ran a newspaper ad seeking an adoptive family .  He was willing to exchange his pension for the companionship of a caring family.

I believe it’s important for each of us to make provisions for our own care, and I think there are a number of things we can do while we are physically and mentally independent to assure that we won’t need to run ads in search of someone to care for us.

To read my article on this topic, please click on this link:  Who Will Care for You When You’re Old?

Portrait of a thoughtful seniorWhen a person receives a diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease, it is frightening for the individual as well as for their loved ones. You want to know how the disease will progress, what treatments are available, how bad it’s going to get, and how long it is going to last.

These are all valid questions, but no one can predict the direction the disease will take. One person’s symptoms may advance slowly over a long period of time, another person may become disabled in a very short period of time.

Parkinson’s is a progressive disease and there are multiple symptoms that create hardships for the people who have it as well as their care partners.

Three of the most challenging situations for couples may be the effect Parkinson’s has on a person’s:

  • Communication skills
  • Cognitive abilities
  • Behavior

Communication:  PD weakens a person’s voice to the point that it’s difficult for them to be heard.  “Facial Masking” is also a problem, because the caregiver can no longer gauge their care receiver’s mood or meaning by reading the expressions on his/her face.

Cognitive abilities:  Since a person with Parkinson’s can only concentrate on one thing at a time, multi-tasking becomes nearly impossible.

Behavior: Depression, anxiety, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, and psychosis are not uncommon. Compulsive behavior, including gambling, shopping and pornography can sometimes develop as a result of taking Dopamine, the medication prescribed to manage other symptoms of Parkinson’s.

If you’d like more information on the symptoms of Parkinson’s and strategies for coping with the challenges of caring for a loved one who has the disease, click here to read my article:

Maintaining Emotional Balance: The Elderly, Parkinson’s Disease & Home Care

sexuality-and-dementiaRecently Henry Rayhons, 78-year-old Iowa man, was tried for third-degree sex abuse after nursing home staffers told him his wife’s Alzheimer’s had advanced to the point that she was no longer capable of consenting to sex.

Mr. Rayhons and his wife, Donna Lou, were married in 2008. They had both been widowed.  At some point in the last seven years, Donna Lou started exhibiting behavior consistent with Alzheimer’s. In March 2014, she was moved into a nursing home in Garner, Iowa. Shortly after she moved in, the nursing home staff told Mr. Rayhons that she was no longer mentally capable of legally consenting to sex.

A few months later, when Mr. Rayhons visited his wife in the nursing home and drew the curtain around her bed, her roommate heard noises that sounded like the couple was having sex. She reported what she thought had happened to the administration.

One of Donna’s adult daughters went to court and won temporary guardianship, and shortly after Mrs. Rayhon’s death in August, Mr. Rayhons was charged with third-degree sex abuse.

I followed the trial, and the things that I found most surprising and disappointing about the entire situation was the lack of conversation about dementia and sexuality.  The jury was asked to render a judgment based on whether Mrs. Rayhons was legally competent to consent to sex, and if in fact, they actually did have sex on that particular night.  I didn’t read anything about whether she was capable of still enjoying a good meal, music, group activities or the companionship of people who loved her.

To read the entire article, please click on this link:  Who Has the Right to Decide When a Person With Dementia Can No Longer Have Sex? 

You might also want to watch my TEDx Talk:  Having the Sex Talk with Dad

caregiver griefMaking decisions about how older parents’ finances and end-of-life healthcare should be managed often leads to disagreements and sibling rivalry among adult children. If you want to avoid these unpleasant conflicts, you might want to start with accepting the validity of the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

I was the executor for my parents’ estate. A few months after my mother’s death, my friend Anna exclaimed, “Forget the money. Demand a DNA test! You cannot be related to these people!”

I am sad to admit that the disagreements some of my brothers and I had during the final stages of my parents’ lives were just a warm up to the battles that ensued after Mom and Dad died.

There were several things that went wrong in my family that could have been prevented if my parents had taken more care with their planning process.

The most significant action that can be taken to keep peace in any family is to make plans for incapacity and death long before a crisis occurs. If you’d like to avoid going to war with your siblings, you will need to gather your courage and be prepared to have some uncomfortable conversations with your parents.

It’s important to understand that facing one’s own mortality can be scary. People don’t like to think about it or talk about it, so you will want to approach conversations about end-of-life planning with sensitivity and respect.

If you’d like to know more about how to start these difficult conversations and how to help them get the must-have end-of-life documents in place, click here to read my article:

Caring for Older Parents When DNA is the Only Thing You Share With Siblings

The old woman spies isolated on white backgroundMost of us are comfortable with images of romantic encounters among people who have young, healthy, beautiful bodies. But how do you suppose all the starry-eyed young lovers out there would react if they knew that their parents and grandparents were still interested in love, passion, and sexual pleasure? (My guess is that most of them would be totally grossed out!)

When I first started sharing my parents’ story about the “Avis Affair”, I thought the message was about finding humor in absurd situations. At that time I didn’t know that my dad had stroke-related dementia, and that surprising, uninhibited and inappropriate sexual behavior isn’t unusual in stroke survivors, people who have Alzheimer’s and individuals who take Dopamine to control the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.

To read about the “Avis Affair”, and two other touching (and somewhat surprising) love stories about people with dementia, click on this link to read my article:

A Different Kind of Valentines – Sexuality and Dementia

Old and Young HandsIn mid-December of 2001, my mother suffered a small stroke. After being discharged from the hospital, she was sent to a skilled nursing facility for observation and short-term rehab. In addition to this new problem in her brain, her doctor said that due to her congestive heart failure, her heart was only functioning at 20% of capacity. When I asked a cardiologist friend what that meant, he said, “It means she’s not going to live long.”

It was the week before Christmas, and I was expecting a houseful of guests, but I got on a plane and went back to Kansas.

A few years earlier I had suffered a lot of grief because I didn’t give our dog one final treat before she died. To read how my dog’s death influenced how I said goodbye to my mother, click here to read my article:

The Gift of Saying Goodbye to a Loved One

Tired old manA few months after my dad suffered a debilitating stroke, he told my mother that he was concerned about how caring for him would impact her. She comforted him by saying, “For 51 years you’ve been a wonderful husband. Your care is prepaid with me.”

Four years later, in exasperation one morning as she was helping him get dressed, she said, “Do you remember when I told you that your healthcare was prepaid with me? Well, guess what, pal?! You just overdrew your account. And if you don’t start doing some things to help yourself, you are going to be bankrupt very, very soon!”

I don’t think it matters how capable, committed and self-sacrificing you are, if you are caring for a loved one 24/7, over an extended period of time, the stress of caregiving will wear you down physically, mentally and emotionally and make you vulnerable to caregiver burnout.

If you’d like to get a sense of where you rank on the caregiver burnout scale, you can take this quick self-assessment test that I included in an article I wrote for Griswold Home Care’s “CaringTimes” Blog. Don’t over-think your answers. If the statements resonate with you, check the box.

If you take the test and check 4 or more statements, you may be already be suffering with caregiver burnout. To find out what you can do to avoid physical and emotional collapse, click on this link to my article:

Caregiver Burnout: How to Recognize, Regroup & Recoup

senior woman serious pointingDr. Joseph M. Casciani is a geropsychologist who understands the psychological impact of aging and illness. He is the owner and president of Concept Healthcare, and he talks about the “more so” factor of aging. He points out that people’s personalities usually don’t change as they age. Whoever we are in our youth and middle years is pretty much who we’re going to be in our later years – just more so.

So, if your mother was controlling, cranky and manipulative when you were young, she will most likely continue to use anger and guilt to control you as she ages. She may even become more skilled at getting what she wants by making you feel sorry for her and/or bad about yourself. If it’s worked for her for the past several decades, you can pretty much count on the fact that the “more so” factor will only help her hone her skills and perfect her technique.

My mother used to weep from sadness and guilt when she stood in front of greeting card racks and tried to buy a Mother’s Day card. She cried because she thought there must be something terribly wrong with her for not having loving feelings toward her mother.

A lot of us buy into the “Hallmark” fantasy of happy families. We think if we don’t feel the kind of love and affection for our parents that’s expressed in those lovely holiday cards, that there’s something wrong with us.
The truth is that not every woman turns into a sweet little old lady, and not every man becomes a charming elderly gentleman.

If you are tired of feeling guilty for the way you feel toward difficult older parents, and you’d like to learn some techniques for responding to an their manipulative behavior, click here to read my article:

How to Care for a Cranky, Controlling, Manipulative Mom

meditationWhen a loved one dies, we not only have to adjust to their death, we also have to adjust to the changes in our own life. If you have been caring for someone over an extended period of time, moving on can be difficult, because you may feel like you have lost your purpose and identity.

Caregiver grief is complicated, and it’s important to understand that each person’s journey through it is unique. No two people will ever have exactly the same experience.

However, there are a few things that are true for every single person who loses someone they love:
There is no Richter Scale for grief. When you lose someone you love, you will hurt as much as it is humanly possible to hurt. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child, or a friend. There is no way to measure that pain.

You will not start at Point A and end up at Point B in a certain number of years, months or days. Grief doesn’t pay attention to a calendar.

It is possible to recover and to create a new life after a loved one dies. It is not selfish, disloyal, or inappropriate to laugh, to love, and to once again live fully.

If you have lost someone you love, and you need a little help coping with the changes in your life, please click here to read my article:

Beyond Caregiving, Moving Through Grief to Gratitude

Old lady fell asleep whilst reading magazineRegardless of how dedicated and committed you are to providing care to a loved one, if you are doing this over an extended period of time, you will likely suffer from caregiver fatigue. Exhaustion from caring for a loved one can take its toll on a caregiver physically, mentally and emotionally.

Nothing is funny about becoming so exhausted that you start to fantasize about doing something radical in order to get a little rest. However, sometimes a little humor can help us cope with difficult circumstances.
When I spoke at a caregiving conference in Wisconsin a few years ago, I met Claudia, a very dear, elderly woman who had devised a whacky plan to get a little rest.

Claudia’s plan always generates belly laughs when I share it at caregiving conferences, but in reality, when you’re caring for someone who is aging, chronically ill, disabled, or demented, you will have moments when you actually consider doing something desperate in order to get a little rest.

It can be difficult to fit self-care into your routine. However, caring for someone who can no longer care for him/herself is one of the most difficult and generous acts of love any of us will ever perform on behalf of another. If you want to maintain the physical and emotional strength you will need to continue caring for your loved one, you must find a way to set aside some time for rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

If you’re in need of a good laugh today, and you’d like some tips on combating caregiver fatigue, click here to read my article:

What’s Funny About Caregiver Fatigue?

caregivers-thanksgivingLast spring, if I had been asked to list the things for which I was grateful, I would have said I was thankful for my marriage, our children, grandchildren, friends, home, work, etc.

That was before a vertebrae slipped in my husband’s back and he experienced sudden, excruciating and debilitating pain. In the months it took to get a diagnosis, have surgery and go through the most intense part of his recovery, I learned how incredibly grateful I could be on a micro level.

Before Alex’s pain became the focus of our daily life, it hadn’t occurred to me to be thankful that he could get into or out of bed by himself. I had never given thanks for his ability to wash his own body or dress himself.
It had never occurred to me to be thankful for conversations that weren’t focused on pain levels or bowel functions. I had never thought about how nice it was that he could walk out the front door, bend over and pick up the morning newspaper.

As Thanksgiving approaches, this year planning to do things differently. After nearly 30 years of striving to host Norman Rockwell-type Thanksgiving get-togethers, I have finally given up on the idea that our children, grandchildren and other family members will gather peacefully around our table and engage in intelligent conversations while expressing thanks for our many blessings.

I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’ve usually felt the most grateful when it was all over and everyone finally went home. This year I learned about gratitude on micro level. I’ve let go of the idea of hosting the perfect holiday event.

Click here to read my article about running away from home on Thanksgiving:

A Caregiver’s Thanksgiving

Senior man looking after sick wifeI generally write about managing the emotional stress of caregiving, but recently I got some insight into the challenges that come with being a care receiver.

My friend Linda cared for five elderly relatives through the end of their lives. The last one finally died a few months ago. She said that although the years she cared for them were incredibly difficult, she always felt grateful that she was the caregiver rather than the care receiver. She also said that if she ever became a care receiver, she would try to strive to be gracious, patient and grateful. (Not all of her five relatives were successful in those areas.)

I mentioned this conversation to my husband, who is still in the process of recovering from major back surgery, and he said, “It’s hard to be cheerful and to feel grateful when you’re in pain.” He went on to say that needing so much help made him mad. He was mad at his body. He was mad at the pain, and he was mad that he couldn’t do the most basic things for himself. He said he felt vulnerable and needy – emotions that are totally foreign to him.

It’s also been frustrating for him to not be able to do things the way he likes to have them done. Alex is very particular. Fortunately, we cut each other a lot of slack and we both have a good sense of humor. I also have a lot of patience, which came in handy when I was helping him shower and he was giving me explicit, detailed instructions on how he liked the spaces between his toes washed.

The Chinese Philosopher, Lao Tzu said, “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.”

Nothing will ever make the job of caregiving easy, but if you’d like a little perspective on what it’s like to be the one in need of care, click here to read my article:

The Other Side of Caregiving: What It’s Like to Receive Care

Coffee TimeThere are 65.7 million caregivers in the U.S., which means that nearly one-third of all adults in this country are caring for someone who is ill, disabled or aged.

Every time I speak at a caregiving conference, I talk to as many caregivers as possible to find out how they are coping. I always ask what’s working for them and what kind of support they need to continue caring for those who can no longer care for themselves.

I have discovered that if you ask a caregiver what she needs, she is likely to say, “I can’t think of anything. We’re getting along okay.”

The truth is, most caregivers need physical help and emotional support, but they are reluctant to ask for it.
If you are a friend or a relative of a caregiver, instead of asking generically if there is something you can do, you could offer to:

  • Pick up a prescription
  • Shop for groceries
  • Mow the lawn
  • Deliver a meal
  • Stay with the care receiver so the caregiver could run errands, take a walk, or do something else for herself
  • Drive the care receiver to a doctor’s appointment Contribute financially to help pay for a housekeeper, adult day care, respite care, or other expenses

Several years ago I bought a greeting card that featured a quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay. On the front it said, “It’s Not True That Life is One Damn Thing After Another.” On the inside it says, “It’s Actually One Damn Thing Over and Over Again.”

Most caregivers would agree that the physical stress of caring for someone with a degenerative and progressive disease can be dreary, demanding and sometimes downright disgusting. But that stress pales in comparison to the emotional stress of caregiving.

There are four emotions that they have to deal with over and over again. They are: Anger, Guilt, Depression and Grief.

If you’d like more information on caregiver support programs click here to read my article:

Caregiver Support: How to Ask For It. How to Give It. Where to Find It.

Senior couple in sports carIf you ran a help wanted ad for a caregiver with the following criteria, how many people do you think would apply?

“Caregiver wanted. Must work 7 days a week, 24 hours
a day, 52 weeks a year. No pay. No breaks. No vacation. No benefits. Apply in person and be prepared to stay indefinitely.”

We are all aware that no one would agree to work 24 hours a day, regardless of how much money you offered. So, why, as family caregivers, do we think we’re being selfish when we take a little time for ourselves?

Here’s the bottom line: If you want to avoid caregiver burnout and maintain the mental, physical and emotional strength you’ll need to care for a loved one over an extended period of time, you must make your own care as high a priority as your care receiver’s care.

Self-care is important because when caregivers reach the point of burnout, they can lose their ability to feel compassion and empathy for their care receiver. They experience extreme fatigue, anxiety and depression along with physical symptoms such as:

  • Headaches, backaches and digestive disorders
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Withdrawal from friends, family and other loved ones
  • Feelings of irritability and apathy
  • Desire to hurt oneself or inflict harm on the care receiver

Getting respite care is not selfish. It the key to caregiver survival. To find out how to arrange for various types of respite care, click here to read my article:

Respite Care: The Key to Caregiver Survival?

lfm-book-smllI have often joked that I don’t know whether my mother inspires me or haunts me. During the six-and-half years she cared for my dad following his debilitating stroke, she wrote letters to me in which she expressed everything she was experiencing and exactly how she felt about it.

Mom was hard of hearing and short on money. Long distance calls were expensive at that time, and letter writing gave her a private and safe manner in which to express her feelings and release her emotional stress. It also helped her combat feelings of isolation and loneliness. She told me she liked to write because she could “talk” as long as she wanted without having to witness anyone’s eyes glazing over from boredom.

About five years into her caregiving experience, she wrote and said, “I wish I had been keeping a journal all of these years. I think it would be interesting to see how I have grown and changed mentally and spiritually. I also think my experiences could benefit others who are in a similar situation.”

A few years after Mom died, that paragraph gave me the permission I needed to edit her letters into the book, “Letters from Madelyn, Chronicles of a Caregiver.”

When I started sharing her stories with small caregiver support groups, people would often comment on how they loved Mom’s unflinching honesty. They would often say , “Madelyn gives me permission to be human.”

A friend recently asked, “Did you ever dream that box of letters would develop into such a big a business?”

Of course not! Starting and growing a caregiver support business was never the goal. There was just so much to say about caregiver anger, guilt, depression and grief, and there were so many people who needed to know the importance of self-care that I just haven’t been able to stop!

After Dad died Mom said, “I would have never dreamed at the beginning that I would have the mental, physical or emotional strength to care for Quentin for more than six years. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But I’m so glad I did it, because if I hadn’t, I would have never had the opportunity to grow and learn so much.”

If you’d like to know more about my mother’s experience and how she has inspired me to develop different ways to provide caregiver inspiration to people just like her, click here to read my article:
Caregiver Inspiration:

How One Woman’s Letters Tell a Remarkable Story of Strength, Courage & Humor

Elderly woman sufferingCaregiver guilt is a complicated emotion, and more often than not, it is a feeling that is not appropriate to the situation.

The only time guilt is an appropriate response is when you have intentionally inflicted physical or emotional pain on another person. Anyone who has ever raised a child understands the rage behind child abuse. Anyone who has ever cared for an aged, disabled, or demented person understands the rage behind elder abuse. Nothing ever makes either type of abuse okay, but it doesn’t make you a bad person to experience feelings of resentment and rage toward your care receiver.

If you’re like a lot of other caregivers, you may have unrealistic expectations of yourself. You want to do the right thing, which means you often put you care receiver’s needs before your own, and then you berate yourself when you aren’t as loving, patient, and kind as you would like to be or think you should be.

The problem with that is the fact that it becomes difficult, if not impossible, to meet the needs of those who cannot take care of themselves when your own needs aren’t being met. It is important to remember guilt is a cruel and controlling emotion that often leads to resentment and depression.

Whether guilt is self-imposed or whether it imposed on us by others, it is negative and destructive, and it doesn’t end up serving anyone well.

If you are tired of being manipulated by guilt, and if you’d like to break the pattern of doing things you don’t want to do in order to keep the peace, I hope you will click here to watch the caregiver guilt videos on our Caregiver Help website:

Caregiver Support for Coping with Caregiver Guilt

I hope you’ll also read an article I wrote for Griswold Home Care’s “CaringTimes” Blog:

Understanding and Coping with Caregiver Guilt

Worried nurseCaring for a stroke survivor can test your limits physically and emotionally. When someone we love suffers a stroke, it isn’t unusual for them to experience significant physical and cognitive losses. As a caregiver, your heart can break a thousand different ways every day, and caring for them can become a very long journey.

My dad was as healthy and robust as any 75-year-old man on the planet until the morning he suffered a debilitating stroke. The following day he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Over the course of the next six-and-a-half years, my mother said there were times when she would catch a glimpse of the man he had been before the stroke, but quite often she felt like she had already lost him. She often said that she had all of the disadvantages of being married, and all of the disadvantages of being single, but she didn’t feel like she had the advantages of either.

Caring for a stroke survivor requires constant adjustments to ongoing changes and losses. My mother desperately missed the man my father had been before his stroke. She grieved the relationship they once had and would never have again. She grieved the life she had expected to be sharing with him at that point in their marriage, and throughout the entire process, she grieved the losses she knew were still ahead.

If you’d like some tips on caring for a stroke survivor at home, please click on this link to an article I wrote for Griswold Home Care’s, “CaringTimes” blog:

Caring for Stroke Patients as Home