Category Archives: Caregiving and hospice

Communication is Key to Being a Good Caregiver

 If you are the primary caregiver for your loved one, you might not be thinking about how communicating effectively might benefit your loved one or your ability to care for them well. However, as primary caregiver, you are the focal point for which all communications are channeled. Some of those conversations will need to be relayed to others involved in your loved one’s care such as a physician, a spiritual counselor, the hospice team and maybe family and friends who are also providing support. How effectively you communicate can make a difference in the quality of care your loved one receives. Even if you have a close relationship with the person you are caring for, these discussions can be difficult and emotionally charged. Try a few of these suggestions and see if they help:   – Calm yourself before beginning a discussion. Breathe deeply and settle yourself into a peaceful

Care for Caregivers, Know Your Limits

As with any difficult period you go through in life, caring for a seriously ill loved one is a job you might gladly accept, but the impact on your physical and mental health and your relationship with your family, can be severe. The National Alliance of Caregivers has done extensive research on the subject: “Nearly three quarters (72%) of family caregivers report not going to the doctor as often as they should and 55% say they skip doctor appointments for themselves. 63% of caregivers report having poor eating habits than non-caregivers and 58% indicate worse exercise habits than before caregiving responsibilities. 20% of employed female caregivers over 50 years old report symptoms of depression compared to 8% of their non-caregiving peers.” By making you aware of these statistics, we hope you will take a few moments to reflect on just how important taking care of yourself is to the process

How to Shoot a Photo to Remember

Editor’s Note: Here is a great post we’d like to share by Susan Seliger via The New York Times. Sometimes the realization comes almost too late — you sense that your parents or other loved ones may soon be gone, and it dawns on you that you don’t have any recent photos to remember them by. Sure, you might have a few photos of them in their youth, before you even knew them. But what about a photo of them now, so you can remember the person you have come to know so intimately over these years of caring for them? Those photos are harder to come by. As readers of this blog know, those of our parents’ generation did not grow up with a camera in their pockets to record every moment with friends on Facebook. A lot of people who are now elderly “only have a high school

As Children Become Caregivers

Human nature dictates that we often experience child-parent struggles. The blurring of identities as our parents advance in age and we become their caregivers frequently intensifies these struggles. This can create tremendous strain on our ability to manage the day-to-day stresses of these new roles. But there are some relatively simple ways to handle the changes in your relationship and make the transition easier on you both. Simply stopping and counting to 10 before responding to your parent will afford you precious seconds to calm yourself and potentially avoid an unnecessary argument. Those moments of deep breathing and hesitation can also give you an opportunity to more fully understand your reactions to stresses in your relationship. This, in turn, will help you transform your fight-or-flight instincts into more positive responses that can ultimately strengthen and deepen your bond with your parent. If your parent has a tendency to use verbal

Caring Stories: Celia Thompson Taupin

Bring comfort and care when it’s needed most As Celia Thompson Taupin discovered in caring for her former husband, Jean, relieving pain is essential to living life in comfort and with dignity. Hospice of Santa Cruz County was there to help when help was needed most. Celia shares her story. In his 91st year, my former husband Jean became progressively ill due to various health issues. In one six-month period, we took Jean to his internist, a pain doctor, a dentist, an optician, an audiologist, and a psychiatrist. We also made several long visits to the emergency room. Jean’s biggest complaint was of severe back and leg pain. The doctors attributed the pain to degenerative arthritis and couldn’t offer anything that might help lessen his discomfort. We found his doctors impatient and dismissive and when they did refer Jean to a pain specialist, that doctor could not see him for