Call your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents and all your great aunts and uncles too.
Perhaps you're raising kids, possibly managing a home, and working hard to keep your significant relationships afloat. Then suddenly, boom, your parents or your partner's parents fall, get sick, or reveal themselves to be in obvious decline. So what do you do?
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.
Shannon asks: My mother recently passed away. It was a peaceful death in her home, the way she wanted, however after two years of caring for her full-time I am now struggling with how to move forward in my own life.
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?
My grandmother has terminal cancer and her doctor has told us that there are no further medical treatments that can be done for her. He says she will be receiving "palliative care." What does this mean?
My wife was recently discharged from the hospital and she is now on many medications. This is very new to me and I find all this medication confusing and overwhelming. What should I do?
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?
Being a caregiver can be very demanding. Remember that it is not only okay to ask for support, it's necessary. Caregiving is not often something one person can do on their own, and asking for help is a sign of strength. Guilt comes from unrealistic expectations of what we are capable of doing.
To say that Sam's parents are demanding may be an understatement. He says they're the entitlement generation. The lawnmower is out of gas, call Sam; Dad fell and cut his head, call Sam; I mixed up my walker with my friend's walker, call Sam. Where do the demands come from?