May 302013
 
Taking Care of You – Dealing with Caregiver Guilt

Caregiving can be extremely rewarding, but all caregivers will eventually feel some degree of frustration, anger and guilt. These are all normal emotional responses to an incredibly emotional journey. As a caregiver, you may feel frustrated and angry at your chaotic life, or your lack of control over the disease’s progression. Anger often evolves into guilt. You may feel like there isn’t a light at the end of the tunnel, and have the guilty thought, “how much [...]

May 172013
 
Grieving My Mom Twice

This past holiday season, I had the pleasure of appearing as Mrs. Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol” at The Goodman Theatre. On several occasions I thought how much my mother would have loved to see me in it. Before I met my husband, my mother was my biggest fan. When I say my mother would have loved to see the show, I mean the mother who raised me and was always there for me in [...]

Mar 082013
 
Caregiving Conversation Between Your Heart and Your Head

I recently attended a salon event hosted by The Judy Fund, an Alzheimer’s Association donor sponsored effort created by Marshall Gelfand and his family now lead by daughter Elizabeth Gelfand-Stearns who lost both her grandmother and her mother, Judy (the fund’s namesake), to Alzheimer’s disease.  Elizabeth’s heartfelt passion is finding a cure for the disease that took her loved ones. To date, the family has raised almost $5 million to fund research and advocacy efforts [...]

Feb 132013
 
Music as Therapy: A 5-Note Plan for Caregiver Calm

Celebrating the Grammy Awards earlier this week brought to mind the power of music to heal us.  Numerous studies have shown the therapeutic effects of music for those with everything from Alzheimer’s disease to autism. Anecdotally, Kim Campbell, who is now caregiver to her husband, country music icon Glen Campbell (who was diagnosed last year with Alzheimer’s), has said in several interviews that music has helped her 75-year-old husband continue to do what he loves [...]

Jan 092013
 
The Caregiver Solution to New Year’s Resolutions

One of the things I hate about New Year’s Resolutions is they seem to be about taking away something rather than giving yourself something.  I suppose one could argue if you lose weight with more exercise and eating more nutritiously you are giving yourself a longer, healthier life.  But when our brains think of resolutions as punishment rather than pleasure, it’s hard to maintain them. For caregivers, resolutions are even harder since you are typically [...]

Dec 032012
 
Embracing the Caregiver Role

In the summer of 2011, my sister Gina and I held the distinction of having two parents in the hospital at the same time. On top of that, they were in different hospitals; one hour apart. I was drawn to our mother, and my sister was pulled to our Dad. We didn’t pressure each other. Our natural abilities paired with what each parent needed at the time. Gina is a doctor in teacher’s clothing. She can read [...]

Nov 062012
 
The First Lady Caregivers

This blog is dedicated to three of our First Ladies who have led the crusade for caregivers: Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan and Rosalynn Carter.  All three are passionate advocates for our nation’s 65 million caregivers because they have taken the caregiving journey themselves. Hillary Clinton – The Congressional Caregiving Champion It was a poignant moment when I read last November 1 that Hillary Clinton had lost her 92-year-old mother, Dorothy Rodham.  Poignant for two reasons: [...]

Oct 192012
 
Choosing to Accept the Changes Dementia Brings

Choice is a luxury and usually a gift.  As a caregiver to a loved one, the absence of choice is a difficult concept to grasp when you are accustomed to the illusion of choice and control in your life. It is earth- shaking to have circumstance thrust upon you, pushing you towards decisions that may go against your grain. – Tania Richard My mother was diagnosed with dementia in the summer of 2011.  At the [...]

Oct 152012
 
How Caregivers Can Use Pet Therapy to Care for Their Loved One

My favorite cartoonist, the late Charles Schulz of Peanuts fame, wrote that, “Happiness is a warm puppy.” I wonder if he knew that happiness is just the start when it comes to enhancing the lives of older loved ones in nursing homes or assisted living, terminal patients such as those suffering from AIDS, children with special needs and even caregivers looking to improve their own health. Known as Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), there is a growing [...]

Oct 012012
 
Caregivers Who Are Changing the Game

Girls on the Gridiron – Taking the Fight Against Alzheimer’s to the Field People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society. – Vince Lombardi   It is officially fall and fall means football season – fans, cheerleaders, Friday night lights, afternoon tailgaters, Monday Night Football.  When we think of football – we think of the gladiators of the gridiron.  However, one of the best football [...]

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