Blog

Learning to forgive yourself

According to psychologist Rick Hanson, PhD, we all have an inner critic and an inner protector. Together they help us maintain a balanced perspective. But too often as family caregivers, we have an overload of guilt, shame, and remorse, always feeling our performance is subpar, that we haven’t done enough. This is not healthy. The... Read More

The healing power of music

Can listening to calming music actually ease pain? Can singing silly songs make you happier? Researchers say this isn’t just a folktale—it represents some of the measurable effects of music on the mind and body. Although it’s not yet clear exactly how music works its magic, studies show that it is strong medicine, both in... Read More

Dealing with criticism

Receiving criticism is never a pleasant experience, especially from family members. Whether it is a sibling griping about how you care for a relative or complaints from the person you are caring for, you may feel suddenly flooded with difficult emotions. Perhaps anger, shame, or confusion. We can’t stop others from giving criticism. But we... Read More

What is a Medicaid spend down?

There are two forms of government health insurance: Medicare. Basically, age-based insurance for older adults (age 65+), regardless of income and assets. (Assets include money and belongings, such as a house or car.) Medicaid. Income-based insurance funded with federal and state dollars. (The state where your relative lives may have a name different than “Medicaid.”)... Read More

Bladder issues

If making it to the bathroom in time is a frequent concern for your relative, they may have an overactive bladder. More than 33 million Americans contend with this condition, in which misfiring nerves cause the bladder muscles to contract involuntarily. Your loved one may be too embarrassed to bring it up with the doctor,... Read More

What’s involved in giving care?

Perhaps you call regularly to offer emotional support. Maybe you handle finances. Perhaps you visit weekly. Or you may live with your loved one 24/7. Caring takes many forms. You may feel this is simply what a loving daughter/son/partner would do. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t time and energy from your day. Or night,... Read More

Explaining your needs to others

Are you worried that asking for help sounds like whining? You may believe you “should” be able to do it all without assistance. Or think you are “just” doing what any good or loving daughter (or son, or spouse) would do. Like many caregivers focused on family harmony, you may have become used to minimizing... Read More

Medical management without dialysis

Dialysis typically buys a person some time. But it rules their life—and possibly yours. It requires strict adherence to the schedule. Also, severe food restrictions. Your relative’s energy level will fluctuate. That makes planning for other activities difficult. There is an increased chance of infection because of the access port for dialysis. And there are... Read More

Giving “awesome” new meaning

Can you recall taking in a majestic view or the miracle of dewdrops on a spiderweb? That sense of awe—the magnificence of it all. In the presence of amazement and wonder, we feel connected with something much greater than ourselves. Our problems seem to shrink. It turns out that these moments of awe have measurable... Read More

Signs of financial abuse

Older adults are frequently targeted for financial abuse. They typically have more funds than their younger counterparts do. They tend to be generous and naïve, not understanding all the ways they can be scammed. Some have memory and thinking problems. And even if they do realize they’ve been “taken,” they may be too ashamed or... Read More