Saturday, October 30, 2010

Alzheimer's Care: Family Challenges "It is not time yet"

I know several articles have been written and read about this, yet every time we come across a new incident, it has a new twist to it each time.

One of the biggest challenges for Alzheimer's is to convince the caregiver to take help. Nature of the disease is such that the situation is progressively worsening.  progressive and hence you do not observe any visible change on a day to day basis or hour to hour basis. You hear this often " it is not time yet". As the caregivers are living with the loved ones affected by the disease, they often fail to read the situation correctly. In their mind, it is not yet the time to take help.

Driven by a sense of responsibility towards the loved ones and coupled by fact that you are driven from one job to the next without a stop, one fails to see the big picture. The big question is "what should be done?" To start with we have to honor the commitment of the caregivers. They are the true heroes, putting everything else in front of them and putting their own health and interest the last.

Now let us get practical. Does it do anyone any good for the caregiver's health to be affected in the process? Who will take care of the affected one, if something were to happen to the caregiver? Who will take care of the caregiver themselves if their health was affected? Now you have two problems to take care of not just one?

However, try telling all these to the caregiver and you would often hear them reply "true, but I don't think I am there yet".  Well are you sure? Will your physician agree with your assessment? I have dealt with a lot of family members where they are in this no win situation trying to convince their parents to bring in help. Here are some useful suggestions.

Talk to Caregiver's Physicians

Given the wonderful world of HIPPA, the physician may not be able to tell you anything. However, you can be a reporter to the physician. You can tell them what is going on with your dad or mom. The more you can tell them the better. Very often your parents are more likely to listen to their physician than you. Your report to the physician would help them give better advise to your parents. Many times they are not informed fully of the situation.

Change the Game

Do not use the word "help". Given the generation they come from they are very allergic to that term, when it comes to helping themselves. They are very often the first to jump to help someone, yet they would put all excuses and resistance when it comes to taking help. Rather than using the term "help", take the loved ones and subscribe them for day care centers or programs. Arrange ride for them to be taken to the program and back. Make sure the family care giver does not tag along. This is the time the caregiver gets a break.

Create social events. invite friends of your loved ones for lunch and once again arrange for ride to the place and back. The ride actually should be caregiver from a responsible agency. The caregiver from the agency can come pick up your loved ones for the program and bring them back. Similarly get creative to take the loved one away from the family care giver as much as possible. This gives them the opportunity to get much needed rest and recharge their batteries.

Support Groups

Send your family caregiver to as many support group session as possible. Hearing from similar families are much different from hearing from you.

These are just few of the suggestions. You have to be creative and keep trying.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

For Elderly, Giving Up Driving Can Be Tough in Pasadena

For Elderly, Giving Up Driving Can Be Tough
By Jenifer Goodwin, HealthDay Reporter

It's a wrenching decision that doesn't necessarily depend on age, experts say

For many Americans, driving equals independence -- the ability to run errands, go to church or visit family and friends as you please. So the decision to hand over the car keys for good can be a difficult one.

To help doctors, seniors and their family members spot the signs of someone who is too old and too frail to drive, the American Medical Association this week released the Physician's Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers. It includes screening tests, information about medical conditions and medications that may impact driving, and ways of talking to seniors about what can be an emotional issue.

Though largely directed at doctors, the guide is full of information that can help seniors and their families in determining if it's time to park the car in the garage for good, experts say.

...continue reading from

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

When Siblings Step Up in Pasadena CA

When Siblings Step Up

Sisters and brothers are finding new ways to circumvent old conflicts as they take on one of the toughest roles in their lives: caregiver.

When Rene Talavera's father, Jesus Talavera, 69, was hospitalized for kidney and heart failure last fall, the 45-year-old Chicago resident and his four siblings were catapulted into an uncomfortable new phase of life: caregiving.

But even as the Talavera siblings absorbed the shock of their father's illness, they set aside old conflicts and concerns to work together. "The common thread is that you all love your parent," says Rene Talavera. "It's not about you or an argument you had 20 years ago. It's about Dad and what you can do for him."

Family cohesiveness is a tall order at any time of life. But as parents grow frail, brothers and sisters often encounter new obstacles to togetherness—at precisely the time they most need to rely on one another.

Sibling rivalry can emerge or intensify as adult children vie, one last time, for a parent's love or financial support. And even as parents grow dependent on children, the desire to cling to old, familiar roles can create a dysfunctional mess.

...continue reading from

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Employer Support For Care Giving Employees in Pasadena CA

Employer Support for Care Giving Employees

“There are only four kinds of people in this world. Those who have been caregivers, those who are caregivers, those who will be caregivers, and those who will need caregivers.” Rosalynn Carter, Former First Lady

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that in the year 2010, 54% of workforce employees will provide eldercare for a parent or parents and that nearly two-thirds of caregivers will experience conflict between demands at home and demands from employers.

Today’s employed Baby Boomers are the caregiver generation for their parents. They are finding themselves juggling care responsibilities around their employment obligations. Sometimes employees find they have no option but to take leave from work or use sick time to meet their caregiving demands.

Employers also feel the toll it is taking on their employees. A report by the AARP describes the cost to employers:

“Companies are also seeing the emotional and physical toll that caregiving takes on their workers. In one study, 75% of employees caring for adults reported negative health consequences, including depression, stress, panic attacks, headaches, loss of energy and sleep, weight loss, and physical pain.

Businesses suffer, too, by having to pay high health insurance costs and in lost productivity. That doesn’t count the promotions or assignments workers turn down that require travel or relocation away from aging relatives."

Businesses that don’t offer benefits or address eldercare wind up paying for them. A recent study by the MetLife Market Mature Institute and the National Alliance for Caregiving states that U.S. companies pay between $17.1 billion and $33.6 billion annually, depending on the level of caregiving involved, on lost productivity. That equals $2,110 for every full-time worker who cares for an adult.

The AARP states eldercare cost businesses:

  • $6.6 billion to replace employees (9% left work either to take early retirement or quit)

  • Nearly $7 billion in workday interruptions (coming in late, leaving early, taking time off during the day, or spending work time on eldercare matters)

  • $4.3 billion in absenteeism

Typically, human resource departments work with employees on many issues that may affect their work productivity.  There are programs for drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence, illness, absenteeism and child care; but, help with eldercare issues is not normally provided.

...continue reading from

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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Words for Seniors Facing Loss in Pasadena CA

Words for Seniors Facing Loss


My father is a relentlessly upbeat guy. “Up and around!” he reports when I call. “Keeping busy!” He tells me about his volunteer work, his card game winnings, the (seated) yoga class he enrolled in at the library. His favorite refrain is, “I can’t complain.” (And yes, yes, yes, my sister and I do know how lucky we are.)

He does tell me about the funerals, though. At 87, watching his peers struggle with the physical and psychological trials of old age, he goes to a lot of them. He keeps losing people he’s known for years — onetime co-workers, senior members of his synagogue, neighbors in his tightly knit apartment building.

His friend Molly, too frail in her 90s to remain alone in her house, recently moved to the Midwest to live with her son; they’ll probably never see each other again. The weekly card game now involves an entirely different group of guys than when he started years ago, and it sometimes stalls for several weeks as the players have health crises or move or die.

Replacement players are growing harder to find.

“These things keep happening when you’re over 80,” he told me. He goes to funerals because, he said: “It’s just the right thing to do. It shows that you feel bad, that you’ve lost a friend.”

What do you say to this litany? You want to offer something reassuring, something to lighten the sense of loss, but you can’t evade the reality: He’s outliving his friends and family members. His cohort is thinning.

..continue reading from newoldage

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