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From The Editor
An Interview with Linda Dano
The Support Partners
practical help for the millions of
Americans who are diagnosed with
major depressive disorder, and the
people who care about them. When you
are depressed, you can feel isolated and
alone, which is why having a Support
Partner can make a real difference. A
Support Partner can be anyone who
wants to help a friend or loved one who
Canine Companions is the newest
component of the Support Partners
Program. Your dog can have a positive
effect on your overall health and
The program will help you
understand how your dog can help you
cope with depression on a day-to-day
basis. It offers practical tips on
your dog to an existing support network
of family and friends.
Tell me what about the “Support Partners
Canine Companions Program”
In traveling the
country and talking with thousands of people, we all realized the
vitally important role that our dogs and cats and animals in general
play in our lives. They can be more than just the family pet and
actually become a part of your support team in a really valuable,
intense way. For instance, when Frank died and I went down that
terrible road of depression, the one thing aside from my support
team of girlfriends and doctors, were my dogs. These dogs were with
me when I was all alone, and because I had them, I was never
completely isolated. Late at night when I couldn’t sleep, when I
felt no joy and felt hopeless, they were there. I had a reason
to get up and get out of bed, which is a key thing for someone
suffering from depression, as you know. Just any of the little
things we take for granted when we’re feeling good about ourselves
are hard to do; but if you have a pet, you have to tend to them: you
have to feed them, walk them; you get away from yourself for a
minute. You have someone to focus on, and we realized how important
this element of trying to get our lives back is, so we added canine
companions to the Support Partners Program. It’s really working, and
people are looking at their pets in a much different light.
Animals help you focus on something other than how bad things are;
you look in the eyes of an animal and it’s comforting.
Hidden Heroes and Angels Along the Way
by Jeanette Muller
A well-traveled butterfly sun-catcher hangs in my
window. Since college, its bright red and
yellow panels have cheered me. The green
panels have faded badly, but I remember in my mind’s
eye. Change and loss are hard; so we must
remember with love and look forward with hope...continued
The Financial Side of Caregiving
By Sherri Goss
A woman called me for an appointment, saying she
heard I work with caregivers. Many of my clients
are caregivers, and they are amazing people. Most
of them work very long hours, are under incredible
emotional pressure, and have little support. They
want so badly to do the very best for their loved one.
This woman was no exception.. ...continued
Alzheimer's: Dealing with Difficult Behavior
By Jennifer B. Buckley
As if it weren’t enough to deal with forgetfulness and confusion while
caring for your loved-one with Alzheimer’s, but aggressiveness,
wandering and paranoia can really put you over the edge. Managing your
loved-one’s difficult behavior is your true testament of love and
devotion. You know it isn’t their fault, it is their disease that is
making them scream, cry or yell terrible things out at you. Who ever said
patience is a virtue, didn’t care for a loved-one with Alzheimer’s or
dementia. Perhaps a caregiver’s only defense is to understand how to
react to difficult behaviors and be ready for them.
Sharing Wisdom - Caregiver Tips
In London, England
When I was last home, I noticed that my dad's once large
collection of coffee mugs had dwindled to two; so I started
sending him mugs from different places with pictures that
would remind him of when we were young. He had been a
passionate sailor, so I sent one with sailing ships. My
sister took him to a cafe in the harbour from which he used
to sail, and this normally monosyllabic man suddenly spoke
for two hours with passion and excitement about sailing. My
dad taught us how to get scholarships and among the six of
us, we have nine Ivy league degrees. I sent him one from
Oxford and he came alive talking about how the grandchildren
should go to Oxford together. Each cup generates an initial
burst of remembering and continues to bring back memories as
it goes into daily use. To keep them safe, I wrap them in
lots of layers and my siblings report that unwrapping them
is great fun for him, too. The anticipation is as good as
the present itself.
in the southeastern U.S.
One parent has needed my daily care for 30+ years (since
I was a teen). Now I assist both parents with various EDLs
3x a day, yet I work full-time and have my own home nearby.
As an only child, there is no family support (no breaks),
but also no one to disagree or become frustrated with. With
that background, here is my short list of tips: Hard as it
can be to do, rest and take care of YOU. When negative
thoughts enter, try to "change the channel" in your mind.
(Steering clear of negative people, news shows, etc., helps
with this.) Prepare, but don't worry any more than
necessary. Take it one day - one minute - at a time. Try to
keep perspective. You're doing a good thing for your loved
one, who likely didn't ask for the limitations they have,
either. I try to look at my role as a special assignment.
It's been an opportunity in many ways. I understand
responsibility and don't need to have a week-long vacation
somewhere else to have fun or peace. It's a tough road for
all involved, but I view it as a chapter of life. For some
of us, it's a lengthy one and for others a relatively short
one. Hopefully, we'll be better for it and have a clear
conscience that we did what we could to help another. My
best to all.
The best ideas and solutions for taking care of your
loved one often come from other caregivers. Please post your ideas
and insights and we will share them with your fellow caregivers.
Support Group Directory. Click
for information about any caregiver support groups in your area.
need your help.
Please add information about your local support
groups to our
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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