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Is this really my mother? She's walking around in circles, yelling and cursing about people "breaking into her house." This exhausted, disheveled woman with fear in her eyes and venom in her voice is a nightmare vision, a grotesquely distorted version of my mom. This is life with an Alzheimer's victim.
What caregivers need are accessible services for the person they are caring for, when they need them. Caregivers have told me they want access to services for themselves and the care recipient, not a pat on the back. This is the true meaning of recognition.
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My wife Evva of 17 years and I live a quiet, beautiful life in Sechelt, British Columbia. We enjoy walking our dog and manage the local women and men's clothing stores. Six years ago, however, our lives changed forever. I was diagnosed with follicular lymphoma, an incurable form of blood cancer.
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Caregiving is an extremely demanding role -- it can drain you physically, mentally, emotionally, and even socially. Of course, due to most circumstances, caregiving is extremely challenging and although each case is unique, there are some key stages in which every caregiver experiences.
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It's a lot to take on, and it's a difficult workload to maintain. Ultimately the caregiver has to make sacrifices in some area of their life, and it's usually their own emotional, physical or mental well-being that suffers the consequences. Sound familiar? Probably.
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I often get asked whether one has to cover sick days for personal caregivers or nannies. I usually have the same response: it depends. What did you agree to when she first started working? This is a difficult topic, but it is important to think about it at the outset of the relationship.
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If you are currently transitioning from a full-time career to a full-time career and caregiving, you know how challenging it can be. Finding the right balance can seem near impossible, which leads to overwhelming levels of stress and concern. Family is priority but what about your career? The number of unpaid caregivers in Canada continues to rise, as more and more family members require care. As a caregiver, you know that your duties are a full-time role in itself.
It's always a good time to honor and recognize the spouses, family members and friends who dedicate countless hours to caring for their loved ones. North America is home to millions of family caregivers. On top of having tremendous fortitude, they're an interesting bunch. Check out our list below for some fascinating facts about caregivers.
You may need personalized care, yet all of the options are far too expensive from what you've heard. It is time to explore your options, maintaining your independence and your bank account. You deserve a comfortable retirement.
I've been reflecting on the fun experiences my family and friends had this summer. My thoughts inevitably also turn to those with new health challenges and disabilities, and their caregivers, the people who are supporting them. I've learned that there are many wonderful opportunities to get out and create lasting happy memories, participate in things that bring joy, and still manage the care.
This week, Kerry asks: My sister was recently diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and she is refusing to accept any help from her family, friends or health care professionals. When I try to talk to her about it, we always end up in an argument. Do you have any advice?
Vicky asks: I've been taking care of my mom who is 74, in poor health and lives on her own. We've never had a very close relationship, and she criticizes everything I do. It doesn't matter if it's house cleaning, taking her to appointments, or getting her groceries -- it's like I can never do anything to her satisfaction.
My four-year-old daughter is having surgery soon, and I'm a nervous wreck. Her doctors have assured me that she will be fine, but I'm worried about her getting put out, and especially worried about helping her recover at home after leaving the hospital...help!
Kay asks: My husband has dementia and the symptoms are getting so bad that I feel like a prisoner in my own home. I am embarrassed to take him to our daughter's house for fear of what he might do or say. I don't want our kids or grandkids to see him act this way. I am not prepared for these changes and I don't know if I can manage for much longer.
My wife Karen was recently diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. We want to help but Karen gets frustrated when any of us try to do things for her, with the kids or around the house. I don't know how to be strong as the best husband, caregiver, and deal with my own fears about what's happening. Can anyone be a 'super caregiver'?
Todd asks: My parents are getting older and recently, mom has become afraid of falling. She often talks about friends who have taken a spill, and whenever they come over she tells me we should have a railing for our front steps. She's even avoiding rooms where our kids' toys are on the floor. Neither one of them have had a fall -- how worried should we be about this?
Rebecca asks: My grandmother is getting older and was recently diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's Disease. She is still very healthy and independently living on her own. We have talked about her desire to remain at home and independent for as long as she can. How can we keep her safe in her home?
My mom's health has been deteriorating greatly over the past year. As an only child, I am her primary caregiver and this last hospital stay has really taken a toll on me. She gets very limited formal help and the rest of her care is left to me. I am so tired and can't concentrate on anything any more.
"How do I care for my dad as his physical health deteriorates? His Parkinson's is advancing and he needs more and more help. I feel unprepared and anxious, but I want to be able to care for him as long as possible."
Ryan asks: At Easter this year I looked around my parent's house and realized that they are not going to be able to live here forever. When do you start talking to your parents about the future and where they going to live as they age?
Coming home from the hospital following an illness or surgery can be overwhelming in an already stressful time and it's important to have a plan based on your needs. Who will help you recuperate at ho...
Over three million Canadians have diabetes and this number is expected to reach 3.7 million by 2020. Caregivers of people with diabetes, especially seniors, need to learn all they can about stepping up foot care -- from maintenance, to shoe selection.
My dad is becoming increasingly forgetful and confused. He often calls me several times a day and forgets why he is calling. I tried talking to him about my concerns but he became quite agitated. I am really frustrated and don't know what to do?
It is a well-known fact that taking on the role of the primary caregiver for a loved one is often so stressful and draining that it can take a toll on your well-being increasing your risk for chronic stress and depression. But studies have found that caregivers do reap real physical and cognitive rewards.
Yes, when I write about how a caregiver should take care of him or herself, I am talking to myself as well as to others. I know how hard it is. For two years, I did not leave my husband. Like so many others, I postponed my own doctor's appointments telling myself I didn't have the time, and turning down invitations from friends. But firm words from two doctor friends helped me decide to take the occasional afternoon for myself.