Family Caregiver Blog

Working with doctors long-distance

It can be challenging to stay on top of a relative’s medical needs when he or she lives far away. Success depends on three factors: information, cooperation, and communication. Information is essential. Learn the basics about each disease affecting your family member. This way you can understand the doctor and ask good questions. Know the symptoms…

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What Medicare does NOT cover

Medicare is health insurance for those over age 65. A surprising number of things that might seem obvious as health needs of elders are not included as benefits. This can get costly! For example, in the normal process of aging, many older adults need glasses, hearing aids, and sometimes dentures. Foot problems are also common….

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Whose idea was this, anyway?

If the role of “chief caregiver” for Mom or Dad was not one you chose, you are not alone. According to a study by the American Association of Retired Persons and the National Alliance for Caregiving, 49% of family caregivers feel they really did not have a choice in the matter. There are several factors:…

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Is your relative dehydrated?

If a person doesn’t drink much water, is it a big deal? In a word, yes! Our bodies are 50%-60% water. The brain is more than 66% water. But we lose 2-3 quarts of fluid daily through normal body processes. We need to replace that by drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water or nonsugar, noncaffeine,…

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Making the transition to rehab

It’s good news if your loved one is sent to a rehab facility after a hospital stay. It means the doctor expects that, with therapy, your relative might resume usual activities or learn to adapt to new challenges following an injury or illness. The rehab experience frequently lasts several weeks and can be intense. It…

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If the cancer returns

A doctor almost never tells a cancer patient, “You are cured.” This is because many cancers have a pattern of remission (no obvious symptoms) and then recurrence. Nevertheless, one always hopes. So hearing that a loved one’s cancer has come back or has spread (metastasized) can be heartbreaking for everyone. Having gone through the war…

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Father’s Day without Dad

This Father’s Day you may be among the millions of Americans who face the bittersweet reality of celebrating a father who has passed away. Holidays of this sort are especially poignant the first year after a death. Whether your father was a protector, a fun buddy, or a stern judge, his passing has great symbolic…

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Changes in vision

Most people experience normal changes in vision starting at middle age. Focusing on close work, such as reading, becomes more difficult. Driving at night is challenging. Some changes in vision, however, are signs of a more serious condition. The most common eye diseases of aging include cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. There are also vision…

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Easing the disruption of travel

There is one thing for certain in the life of a long-distance family caregiver: You are going to travel. And often unexpectedly! You can ease the disruption by acknowledging that you have this “second life,” the one when you are periodically away. By treating it as a given, you can put systems in place to…

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Considering a remodel?

Do you want to ensure that Mom and Dad can live safely and comfortably in their home over the years to come? Many seniors want to “age in place.” Remodeling can remove safety hazards and prevent common accidents. It also can be less expensive than paying for assisted living. Plus, making the home “senior friendly”…

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