Caregiving with Advanced Illness

He Disguised it Well . . . But I Knew

My husband disguised it well, but I knew. I had known for the last seven or eight years. He was sixty-five and I was forty-seven. We had been married for sixteen years. The eighteen years between us never made a difference. His sense of humor, wit, intelligence, and gift of gab were incomparable, his laughter contagious. He was a knight in shining armor for me and for his family. He had always surpassed me mentally and physically. Until 1991 when my husband was demoted, without notice or explanation, from his new position as president of a furniture company that spans three states.

Downsizing a Home: A Checklist for Caregivers

Introduction

Moving is a high-stress life event, the experts tell us, and they're right. Whether it's cross-town or cross-country, whether to a small apartment or a large suburban home, tackling the organizing, packing, discarding, cleaning, paperwork and the myriad other tasks is a major challenge.

When you're older and moving from the family home to a new smaller residence, possibly in a new community or your adult child's home, sorting through decades of family history and possessions can feel overwhelming—even paralyzing.

Personal Care Agreements

How to Compensate a Family Member for Providing Care: Introduction

Many families reach a point when they recognize that an ill or older relative needs help. There are usually warning signs: difficulty with daily activities; memory problems; trouble with banking and finances; multiple falls; problems with driving; forgetting medications. Sometimes an elderly or ill loved one needs more than occasional assistance — they need full-time care.

Incontinence (for dementia)

Talk to the physician to see if medication, enlarged prostate or a urinary tract infection might be causing the problem, especially if there is a sudden onset of incontinence.
 

Dressing and Grooming (for dementia)

  • Simplify clothing choices by putting out an outfit for the care receiver to wear, or give an option of two outfits. Do not ask open-ended questions like, "What do you want to wear?"—this kind of question can overwhelm someone with dementia.
     

Dental Care (for dementia)

  • Dental hygiene is important for overall health. Poor dental hygiene may lead to heart disease, gingivitis, stroke, osteoporosis, and respiratory disease. In addition to causing bad breath, inadequate dental hygiene can also affect one's ability to eat, chew, and talk. Certain medications can cause "dry mouth." Dry mouth makes it more difficult to eat and swallow, produce saliva, and causes tongue irritation.
     

Here But Not Here—Finding Hope When a Loved One Has Memory Loss

(Aired: November 14, 2007)

Practical Skills Training for Family Caregivers

An overview of the day-to-day, hands-on strategies and skills caregivers need to maintain a frail older or chronically ill individual at home.

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Grandma doesn't remember me

How does having a family member with dementia affect children? The answer: It depends on the age of the child, the severity of the memory loss and the child’s relationship to the person with dementia. The better you understand how the disease affects your loved one, and how you handle your own process of loss and adapting to change, the better you can help your child.

Grief and Loss Along the Way

Someone once said that aging is a narcissistic wound, meaning that the changes and losses that come with aging—our own or someone’s we love—affect us deeply in ways that are sometimes hard to deal with. This doesn’t mean that there are not positive parts to aging, but when we experience these losses, we sometimes need to stop and reflect on them. Many losses are subtle or ambiguous.

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