Family Caregiver Blog

Interrupt the stress cycle with deep breathing

Interrupt the stress cycle with deep breathingWe're breathing all the time. But when it comes to stress relief, not all breathing is equal. The body's stress cycle Our bodies are built to handle periodic crises. When we sense danger, our bodies release "stress hormones" that enable us to respond powerfully and fast. When the crisis is over, those hormones are no...

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Poetry and dementia

Poetry and dementiaIf the person you care for has dementia, you may have noticed their withdrawal from conversations, movies, even from reading books or the newspaper. Anything with an involved plot line is now too difficult for them to follow. Poetry, on the other hand, involves rhythm and images, which can stimulate memories of experiences, emotions, smells,...

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Organ donation

Organ donationThose who donate organs, eyes, or tissue leave a tremendous legacy, often the gift of life itself: Allowing someone a steady heartbeat. Or the vision to see a grandchild. Or healthy skin to cover a burn or cancer site. National Healthcare Decisions Day (April 16) is when everyone is encouraged to create or update their...

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Should Dad move in?

Should Dad move in?Combining households has many benefits: Less hassle running back and forth between two residences, less worry about Dad eating well and remembering his meds, more family social time for him, cost savings on rent and utilities, etc. But if things do not work out, disentangling could cause hurt feelings and damage your relationship. Consider these...

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The journey of late life

The journey of late lifeFamilies spend three to five years caring for an aging relative. At first it may be light chores or small errands now and then. But over time, health challenges emerge and needs grow. In his book, My Mother, Your Mother, geriatrician Dennis McCullough outlines eight "stations" in the journey of late life. For each one,...

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“Chemobrain”

"Chemobrain"People who go through chemotherapy for cancer often complain about "chemobrain." If your loved one is under treatment and is having trouble with memory, thinking, and concentration, it is likely from the chemo drugs. The fuzzy thinking may not go away right when chemo stops. But it usually recedes over time. Encourage your loved one...

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Caregiving apps

Caregiving appsJuggling multiple schedules, keeping other relatives informed, ensuring prescriptions are filled … these are but some of the many duties you may face as a family caregiver. In some instances, a simple spreadsheet can do the trick. But an app makes it easier to coordinate with others. Admittedly, every app has a learning curve and...

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Psychological first aid

Psychological first aidAnxiety and stress commonly accompany family caregiving. The ongoing pandemic and its stream of variants are only adding to that. Perhaps you could use a little "psychological first aid." These are skills or techniques first responders are trained to teach or apply to distressed persons after urgent physical issues have been addressed. The goal of...

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When your relative has money questions

When your relative has money questionsIs Dad asking if he should sell the house now that Mom is gone? Or perhaps Aunt Mary is anxious about her stock investments. Even if you are good at managing your own money, helping a relative make financial decisions can bring a lot of pressure. Consider hiring a professional to advise you. A financial...

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Reducing the nausea of chemo

Reducing the nausea of chemoIf a loved one in your life is undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, very likely they are dealing with the common side effects of nausea and vomiting. Not fun. Encourage them to follow these tips. To reduce nausea/vomiting Avoid strong odors: Reduce exposure to cooking, perfume, and smoke. Keep the house well ventilated. Spend time outside....

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