Story about elder-care family stress…

Did you read this story about scaregiver strain?   If you are approaching middle age or you see your parents dealing with grandparents or other elder loved ones, you are not alone!  Caregiver strain is enormous.

At this story shows, children of elderly parents in need in dire need of caregiving support.  That’s precisely what we are attempting to do at


Growing old without a companion…

Did you read the recent article on growing old without a companion?  As the daughter of someone who lived to 101, Begley’s rather bitter perspective reminded me of my feelings about people in my mother’s latest years.  My mother was loved and admired by many people in her life as artist, mentor, and colleague.  But the older she got, the less people kept her in their lives, and I am – admittedly – bitter about it. 

I sometimes wonder why.  Fear of the future?  Distance in service of denial?  Unsure how to reshape the relationship?  No longer quite so necessary now that the “getting from” is different?   I don’t know, but I too sometimes feel bitter about the whole scenario.

This makes me think of another recent article about the shift from nursing homes to managed care at home.  It is the convergence of these two trends — longer life in some degree of solitude along with the shift to aging in place that begs attention to the implications of home care. 

Is it great to move away from institutional care?  Yes! 

Is it great that people can stay in their own homes?  Yes! 

But how to monitor the quality of that care?  Just your loved one and the caregiver.  Day in day out.  Day after day.  You could, I suppose, mount cameras.  But perhaps a more respectful approach all around – one that presumes the best in people rather than the worst – is a resource that supports both caregiver and person in care. 

If people are not going to grow old with their life-time companions, then at  least we can make sure that the companions who are there can get to know those in their care well enough to anticipate their needs and joys — that is – to really care for them. 

What do you think?  What’s your experience?  Share with us.

Caring for Caregivers

Monday morning can be a downer, but for the dozen women and men in our support group, it’s a highlight of our week. That’s when we gather to speak candidly of what is unspeakable in polite society or even among closest friends and family.

We are the spouses or partners of people with dementia, an umbrella term for several degenerative, fatal brain diseases, of which Alzheimer’s is by far the most common. We are their primary caregivers; their lives depend on us.

Living with someone with dementia, who must be watched every minute, eventually becomes the central focus of a caregiver’s life, as independence and freedom are replaced by stress and exhaustion. The members of our group, mostly in their 80s, are worn out by caring for their mates. Yet so lively are our Monday meetings that it sometimes takes two volunteer social workers to keep order: “Wait! Wait! One person at a time!” …

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