Resilience: How to Bounce Back from Caregiving's Bad Days

Sarah has had a rough day. Even rougher than yesterday--and she thought a day couldn't get worse than that one.

Her father has been with her for three years. He's living on borrowed time, at 88-years-old he's suffered three strokes and was recently diagnosed with terminal colon cancer.She knows that he won't be with her for much longer and tries to draw strength from that. She can be with him now, she thinks, because this is the last time they will be together.

Five Tips to Promote Quality Care When Your Family Member Lives in a Senior Community

It's a huge hurdle for many families and elders to decide to make a move and find the right senior community. Leaving the family home after many years can be a painful transition.

It's natural to feel a sense of relief now that your family member has moved into a senior community. While one role as the hands-on caregiver for your family member is ending, a new role is emerging as your family members advocate and care coordinator. How will you maximize the value that your family member will receive from her new living situation and make sure that she is getting the best care?

Afghan Sweaters Created With Love

Throughout her life, Mother has been a very hardworking woman, inside and outside the home. She seldom takes time for herself. When I was a child I recall she occasionally traded in the dust rag for her gold crochet hook and beautiful shades of wool. Her rough calloused hands created cozy afghan sweaters that warmed her family on cold winter nights and made us feel loved when wrapped inside.

Keeping Caregiving Safe

What if I'm sick? Who will take care of my care recipient?

What if I need to help my daughter and her new baby? Who will take care of my care recipient?

What if I need to go back to work? Who will take care of my care recipient?

Donna Webb, who one of the family caregivers who blogs on, recently faced the reality of the What if? questions. A pinched nerve recently sidelined her and affected the care she could provide her mom. Now that she's back on her feet, she's looking to create her back-up plan so she's ready just in case she faces a next time.

Guilt Thy Name is Caregiver

Alzheimer's disease was gradually robbing mom of her ability to walk, so more times than not, she used her wheelchair. With encouragement, she would sometimes walk for a short distance, holding both of my hands like a giant toddler.

I wheeled Mom outside into the care community's large secured garden. When the weather wasn't too hot or too cold we would spend time outside.

My Care Recipient Won't Cooperate!

Carolyn and her husband, Frank, are having a normal day, which means that they are both so mad at each other that they've spent the day in silence. Carolyn became so mad at Frank earlier in the day that, as soon as he turned his back, Carolyn stuck her tongue out at her mom.

In the moment, it felt great. She stuck her tongue out for a long time, even wiggling her hips (okay, her backside) to get a little bit of motion behind it, reinforcing exactly what she meant by sticking out her tongue. Yes, in the moment, it felt great.

I'm Finding Having Less Is Definitely More

I knew my heart was guiding me to the right choice. Several months after Mother moved in with my family I stopped working to spend more time with her. I was 50, and my family and friends were concerned I would be unhappy. Adjustments were necessary; it wasn't always smooth sailing. Four adults lived in five rooms with one bathroom, so on a daily basis we were challenged. Together we made it work.

Talking Like a Teen

I'd heard that teenagers find it easier to talk about tough topics when their parent is driving. The article I read encouraged parents to make good use of the time spent chauffeuring their teens between events as a means of connecting with their children. The lack of eye contact makes it easier to talk about sensitive subjects. Of course, since you're in the car, no one can walk off in huff. Little did I suspect that my dad would use the same technique on me even though I haven't been a teenager in quite a while.

Their Past and Our Present

How well do we know our care recipients?

Perhaps as well as they'll let us.

We may know where our parents, or spouses, or other aging relatives lived during the Depression or WWII. But, do we know how they felt about living through a Depression or a World War (or two, for some of our care recipients)? We know our care recipient's personal history through what they tell us, although perhaps it's only what they themselves can bear to tell.