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Today's Caregiver Newsletter
March 27, 2014  |  Issue #700  
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From the Editor's Pen Gary Barg • Editor-in-Chief • gary@caregiver.com

Gary Barg

The Caregiver Checklist

I stood in the hospital emergency room with my mother, the ER doctor and the social worker. My mother and I had just brought my 91-year-old grandfather in a few hours earlier. The next few words spoken by the social worker jerked me back seven years to the night my father passed away. The same hospital, the same little group—my mom and I with two healthcare professionals—and the very same question, “Does he have a living will?”

I know the implications of these words were not lost on my mother, either. My dad was literally on his deathbed, having battled multiple myeloma cancer for the previous year and a half. He made his wishes about his end-of-life decisions known, but we could never actually face seeing them become real on paper. Somehow, those papers were never signed. However, I had slipped a copy into my back pocket earlier in the day, finally realizing that perhaps we would need to face the inevitable hours before his passing  ...more

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Adult day care centers provide a break (respite) to the caregiver while providing health services, therapeutic services and social activities for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, chronic illnesses, traumatic brain injuries, developmental disabilities and other problems that increase their care needs  ...more

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Karen's Story - I Was Both Patient and Caregiver at the Same Time
By Karen Evans

I think when one becomes a 24/7 caregiver, they mentally move into that space in which only the take-charge dwell. They develop a tunnel vision which enables them to concentrate on the needs of their loved one without allowing the riffraff of everyday life invade that space  ...more

End of Life Tips for Caregivers
By Ryan Mackey

At the end stages of life, do not underestimate the loved one’s need for spiritual growth and care through local clergy or religious communities however insignificant it may seem to you.

Locate and understand all financial and legal papers such as wills, power of attorneys, and bank accounts.

Make the necessary arrangements for a funeral or burial and if this decision has not been made  ...more

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Sharing Wisdom

From Mario in Los Angeles, CA:  
Hello everyone. I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a certified Caregiver Support Group Leader for the Alzheimer's Association and have been working with caregivers for the last 14 years.

When dealing with caregiver burnout, it is important to think about a few items. First, it is important to take care of yourself. How can you be good to others if you cannot be good to yourselves? This means that during the week when you are caring for your loved one 24/7, it is important to schedule time for yourself. Whether it is a few hours of walking time spread throughout the week, a movie, eating at your favorite place, or meeting with a friend once a week. Despite resisting the urge to not do it out of guilt or shame, it is important to your mental health to do it.

From Dorothy in Philadelphia, PA:  
I found, with the help of God, I was more capable of being a caregiver than I ever could have imagined since nursing is at the bottom of my list of career choices. When you are caring for someone you love who appreciates you, the job is a lot easier. I also tried to keep a normal life by working and going to school, to keep up my morale and my sanity. I did not feel guilty asking for help when I needed it, even though I was an only child and knew I had full responsibility for my father's welfare.

 

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.  

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