Caregiver Newsletter

Produced by Caregiver Media Group, publishers of  Today's Caregiver magazine and

Thursday April 16, 2009 - Issue #428

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From The Editor

Gary Barg - Editor-in-chief 

Go Answer Alice

Last week I wrote about the challenges of elder abuse.  

This week I wanted to address the other side of the issue that many of us can relate to all too well –caregiver abuse. As it so often happens, an email crossed my computer which details the subject from one caregiver’s point of view representing the issue in no uncertain terms:

Hi Gary,

Thank you for your article on Elder Abuse (Good Medicine For All). I am my mother’s caregiver and legal guardian.  I basically do mostly everything for her. Manage medications, bring her to the doctors, shopping (groceries, personal items), balance her checkbook and pay all her bills. I also live with her in her home and cook/clean for her.

My challenge is that she has a dependency of narcotic pain meds. I have had her de-toxed and psych evaluated and the doctor in the ward explained to me that he has not ever come across anyone like my mom, being a 70-year-old woman with chronic pain and a past history of alcohol and narcotic abuse. For example (my father used to buy pills for her off the streets in addition to her normal regimen of prescribed meds) this went on for most of my teenage years. I am now 31 and still dealing with the behavior of a mother with an addictive personality among other physical issues (osteoporosis, arthritis, bursitis, abdominal aneurysm, colitis)....

It makes it extremely difficult for myself when she complains of pain and the fact that her medicines are not helping her. I know that no one should be in lots of pain and my concern is that at times I may not be fulfilling her medical needs when she needs more attention for pain management.

She just came back from the ER and the doctor says the medication she takes is not strong enough to help her pain. So here I go again with the concern of putting her back up on higher doses of narcotics and the behavior issues that come along with the addictive logic in her brain chemistry.

It is very challenging and frustrating. Last night she threatened, grabbed and shook me till I gave her another Vicodin. I then called 911 and had the hospital deal with it.

Sometimes I feel like I can't do the job. I don't like to see her in pain, I want her to be safe and I follow what the doctor says for her safety. Not everyone is always on the same page and they don't always want to hear everything I have to say.

My point is that sometimes I feel that I am the one who is abused.
Do you have any helpful information regarding this situation?

Alice, you came to the right place.

Your suggestions for Alice.


Take care

Gary Barg

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Feature Article

Why PERS Makes Sense

By  Sandra Fuson, Staff Writer

Constance reached out for help to a local community service organization when she fell from her bed. Weighing a little over 200 pounds, Constance was unable to get up on her own and needed someone to help her get up. Firemen had been to her home earlier in the week, and would help her once again on this particular day. ......Continued

Additional Article
A Loss Greater Than Death

By  Annie Burgamy

Pa Pa’s sun-burnt, smiling face disguises well the loss he is already experiencing; only his voice betrays him, “Joan who is playing today?” Pa Pa asks over and over again. Mom repeatedly answers in a voice that becomes noticeably less patient as her own fears become secretly more intense....Continued

Guest Column
Caring for Someone with Bipolar Disorder
By  Julie Totten 

Soon after Missy had her daughter, she stopped sleeping, going from eight hours a night down to only two or three. Her thoughts were racing, and she was going a million miles an hour. ...Continued

(Do you have a story? Tell us.)



Attacking Accidental Overdoses
By Gary Barg, Editor-in-Chief

A growing concern for family caregivers is the possibility of a loved one’s accidental overdose. This is an issue I hear about with alarming frequency as we travel the country on our Fearless Caregiver Conference tour. If nothing else, the statistics bear out the potential for danger to our loved ones.  ...Continued



My husband has had mini stokes and lost his short-term memory. He also takes a great deal of medication that may be affecting him (the doctor doesn't think so). Some of the things he does irritate me even though I know he cannot help what he is/isn't doing. His driving judgment is poor and fortunately, lets me do most of the driving. I can't get him to read or do puzzles to sharpen his mind. He acts helpless most of the time and I keep feeling he should be able to do more. His contribution to household chores is washing the dishes and occasionally cooking simple meals. What can I do to get him more active and improve his memory?

As much as I love him (married 22 years), I find it difficult at times to control my anger. I lose my temper, but walk away, bite my tongue and cool down after a while. But he knows I'm angry and that depresses him more.

I have a few local friends, but it is difficult for them to really understand the situation. I do activities (knitting, gardening) to keep me occupied. It's my increasing short temper that bothers me.

Any suggestions?

Answer This Week's CareNote Support Group Directory. Click here for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.

Caregivers need your help. Please add information about your local support groups to our Support Group Directory. Include the name of the group, where and when it meets, city and state and support group leader contact information.

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Inside This Issue:

Go Answer Alice
Why PERS Makes Sense
Guest Column
Caring for Someone with Bipolar Disorder


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Let's Talk - April 2009
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