Caregiving with Advanced Illness

Caregiver Wisdom: Reaching the “End of the Road” with Peace & Dignity 


Family Caregiver Alliance

Deciding on the right kind of care for your situation

Caregiving and Ambiguous Loss


Caregiving for a loved one can cause stress in many ways. To manage the stress—which we know can be dangerous to a caregiver’s health—we must first know what the problem is. Surprisingly, many caregivers of individuals with memory disorders or dementia report that the main problem is not the illness itself, but the ambiguity and uncertainty it causes.

My Last Gift to Them . . . the Most Excellent People I Know

Almost eight years ago, I was a divorced woman living in the house I had owned since 1989. However, I had become unemployed about 6 months before my husband left me. I was given alimony for eighteen months, was allowed to keep the house, for which we had already fallen behind in paying the mortgage, and my ex was given all of the bills we had. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer, and all debts and obligations were then turned back to me. . . . In the time I was unemployed I was trying to get a business idea going—in upholstery.

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


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.

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, it 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.

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.
  • Investigate various incontinence supplies. There are many kinds of pads and underwear. Each person will have different needs and different products will work best for each one. A pad inside pull up underwear will provide increased absorption. Do not call them adult diapers, but rather protective underwear.

AoA Announces Availability of Approximately $2.25 Million for Lifespan Respite Care Programs

AoA Announces Availability of Approximately $2.25 Million for Lifespan Respite Care Programs

The deadline to apply is June 7, 2010


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

(Aired on: November 14, 2007)


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