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We should increasingly ask how much time and stress is expended by caregivers negotiating with medical and social care systems.
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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.
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A breakthrough in negotiations has Premier Kathleen Wynne sounding optimistic about an eventual deal with doctors. Yet doctors in Ontario remain thoughtful and wary after a hard-fought battle for Binding Arbitration. Look around. The health-care system is broken.
The study of the positive aspects of caregiving has received little attention. What has become apparent, is that being able to find and focus on the positive aspects of caregiving has important outcomes including reducing caregiving stress, improving emotional status, and possibly reducing the likelihood of institutionalization.
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Jim's is not that uncommon a story. Each day I work, I see the reality people face: patients and family caregivers breaking under the pressure of waitlists. Ontario's "world-class" health-care system is failing the very people who paid a lifetime of taxes to prop it up.
The main reason we want to put chores, roles or tasks back into the world of those living with dementia is that each person needs to enjoy a life filled with meaning and purpose, regardless of physical and mental health. My favourite expression, which speaks to this, is "The purpose of life, is a life with purpose."
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Soaking up some sun and fresh air can help us feel good, and is a relaxing way to cope with caregiver stress or treatment for serious illness. Just remember that heat and dehydration, especially for children and seniors, can be potentially dangerous. Here's what caregivers need to know to enjoy the sun safely this summer.
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This National Nursing Week is a time to acknowledge the caregivers who are dedicated to keeping Canadians healthy, happy and active all the way into their later years. Just like nurses, there are many other people out there who act as the primary caregivers for the seniors in their lives.
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Torge, then in her 40s, was fed up with the way she saw facilities for seniors organized. To her they were dreary, patronizing, dull. While she wasn't nearly old enough to live in one herself, she wanted change before she got there. For her, the only solution was to get radical.
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Chances are most of us have acted as informal, unpaid caregivers at some point for a parent, child or spouse. When we serve in this role, we provide critical support to our loved ones and the health system at large. However, this support often comes at a personal cost.
When it comes to the smaller financial activities, such as the purchase of a birthday gift, some may feel that if the one with dementia cannot remember the occasion then it is no longer necessary to give a gift. After all, what they don't know won't hurt them -- right?
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Everyday infections such as the common cold, a stomach bug, upper respiratory infection or urinary tract infection have been shown to hasten cognitive decline among people with dementia. You don't want to pass along a bug to your loved one, to bring on these afflictions.
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Caring for seniors with diabetes comes with unique challenges. While many seniors may have been managing their diabetes on their own for quite some time, they often require more help as they age. And while managing diabetes can be tough, it's definitely not impossible. If you do your homework, take the time to understand the disease, and remain diligent, you can help your loved ones stay happy and healthy with or without diabetes. Here are some tips to get you started.
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While the heat shouldn't prevent you from taking your loved one out for some exercise or fun, it is worth noting that many factors make seniors more prone to heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke can be deadly, and dehydration can worsen dementia symptoms such as confusion, irritability and dizziness.
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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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In my years of nursing and supporting caregivers, time and again I've seen the high expectations we have for ourselves. Caring for someone who has health challenges or is facing a tough diagnosis can cause so much pressure on a daily basis. Worries, decisions, coordinating care and conflicting responsibilities can make caregivers feel overwhelmed.
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When Carol and Theresa's mom was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's and their dad's vision started failing, the news was met with some denial -- and their parents' groaning aversion to leaving their home of over forty years. The sisters, one of whom is my mother-in-law, came to realize that they are now parenting their own parents. In coming to terms with this they also realized that they each need support too. The result is an inspiring and positive arrangement. They've become "co-caregivers."
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You may be inclined to ignore your finances while dealing with your diagnosis of Alzheimer's, but it is important to begin assessing any financial vulnerabilities you may have. This is not the time to disengage from the management of your financial and legal affairs.
One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and those who care most about you is the selection of individuals who are capable of carrying out your wishes. This requires taking the time to fully inform these people about your wishes.
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There will come a time when your decision making will be increasingly restricted. You can prepare for these changes through planning and communications with trusted people in your life and this can help ensure your autonomy is supported and respected.
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Daniel Roebuck's tenderly nuanced performance as his wife' primary caregiver is such a perfectly balanced blend of heartache and hopeful longing, weariness and worry, unconditional love and utter loneliness that his character comes across so authentically, you forget you're watching a movie rather than visiting with a fellow family member impacted by Alzheimer's or dementia.
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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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One third of those caregivers say they are too stressed out to do it any longer.
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The day has come, mom needs some assistance in order to stay in the comfort of her home. What do you do? Although many take on the responsibility of caring for aging loved ones, this simply isn't an option for everyone. With your own family, career, and financial responsibilities, it may not be practical.
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In the families I've dealt with, there was a sense that after their loved one moved into a care community, the gradual erosion of the relationship with their loved one would suddenly be accelerated to the point that any hope of further connection would forever be lost.
The big "A." The elephant in the room. The dreaded disease you've been forced to think about thanks to Dear Alice and Glen Campbell and so many others whose stories have raised awareness and brought Alzheimer's right into your living room -- and now, maybe right into your life.
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But from the moment my mother and grandmother shared with me my grandfather's diagnosis, everything changed. Though my role as national director of sales and marketing memory care for one of the country's largest providers of assisted living was still the same, my motivation was completely different.
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Driving is an activity of daily living (ADL) just like getting washed, dressed or cooking. It is an activity that we learn to do once the skills needed to drive have matured. In order to drive safely, we rely on the fine-tuned integration of the necessary physical, visual, cognitive-perceptual, and behavioural skills.
Alzheimer's caregivers are amazingly successful at juggling all of the things necessary to meet the needs of their loved one, but each day they're simultaneously learning how to juggle the many emotions they experience. Anger, guilt, fear and frustration are just a few of the complex emotional balls they are trying so hard to keep in the air.
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It is not always easy to recognize elder abuse, particularly if you are the victim. Yet elder abuse is, unfortunately, prevalent in our society. The good news is that there is increased awareness with respect to the existence of elder abuse and its many forms, and numerous resources available to help.
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As we became a young adult, our relationship to our parents became different. We still turned to our parents, but more for guidance and support. Never did we imagine or expect that one day we would be the parent to our parent. When did it happen? When was the shift? Now we are the ones in the "worry seat."
There are some things we can do from a distance to increase our full understanding of their situation, to improve the communication we have with them, and to manage the risks inherent in long distance (and close distance) caregiving. All of these suggestions can be done via the internet and phone.