Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:
Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT
Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Cancer Caregiver Support: Caregiving & Bereavement Support with Ronni Levine, LMFT
If you have an aging parent who is a primary caregiver it can be hard to know what to say and do. Caregivers, especially spouses, may be hesitant to ask for help or a break. They may think that this is part of the vow that they made, thru sickness and health. These 5 tips will give you some ideas of how to be helpful.
Simply being present and showing up for your caregiving parent can provide them with comfort and security in knowing that they're not alone. Caregiving can be challenging and rewarding.Hold space for both experiences. Some ways to be there and be present include:
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When older adults begin to experience physical or mental health changes, like with dementia disorders, it can be difficult to know the steps to take to be helpful.
It can be particularly difficult for family caregivers to know how to balance independence with concerns for safety.
And, to top it off, you may worry that insisting that your loved one see a doctor may rupture your relationship with them, push them away, or undermine their rights and dignity.
In situations like these, it's essential that we have experts to guide us, people like, Dr. Sara Qualls, Clinical Geropsychologist and Kraemer Family Professor of Aging Studies at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS).
In this podcast episode, Dr. Qualls discusses:
Understanding the stages of caregiving will help you to identify where you’re at in your own caregiver’s journey and the common struggles and goals in each stage.
Knowing that you’re not alone and having tools to manage challenges that may arise helps will help you along the caregiver's journey and reduce stress and feelings of guilt and overwhelm.
There is no timeline for these stages along the caregiver’s journey. Some families receive a diagnosis of a terminal medical condition and move through these stages at lightning speed, and other families and illnesses (e.g., dementia disorders) can experience a drawing out of these stages.
The following 6 stages of family caregiving are inspired by Denise Brown's 6 Stages of Caregiving and based upon Caregiver Family Therapy by Dr. Sara Qualls and my near 20 years of providing family therapy to older families and as lead of a family couples...
Helping aging parents move into a senior living or assisted living environment can be overwhelming, and emotions can easily escalate. Here are 12 tips for managing those emotions during difficult conversations with elderly parents.
Expect that this is going to be emotional. Know that it is reasonable that this is emotional and that there will be some fallout. Everyone is entitled to their feelings about this transition. Starting this discussion with the understanding that this will indeed be an emotional conversation will help you get through it.
Do a Dress Rehearsal
It can help to talk this conversation through with someone you trust before you bring it up with your loved one (like a dress rehearsal).
This has a couple of benefits:
Dear Dr. Koepp,
My 85 year old dad is calling me multiple times a day. It’s interrupting my time at work. Sometimes he needs something. Sometimes, he just wants to check in. He has someone assisting him, but he’s always calling me. Can you address how to handle an elderly parent who is calling me all day long.
Here are five strategies to try If your older loved one or your aging parent is calling you multiple times a day
1. Take the time to understand what's driving this behavior.
It's important to understand what may be prompting this behavior. Is there a new medical illness that's been diagnosed? Is there a worsening of an already established medical condition? Is there a progression of dementia disorder, or fear and anxiety around an existing condition? Are they going through any big changes or anticipating big changes? Like the loss of a loved one or of their home? Have they...
Have you helped your loved one move to a senior living or assisted living community only to find that in the midst of experiencing relief that your loved one is being cared for and is safe, you also have intense feelings of guilt and shame?
You're not alone. Many caregivers struggle with guilt and shame after moving older loved ones into a senior living community. Perhaps you feel that you've let your older loved one down, like you're not being a dutiful spouse, daughter, or son. This can lead to emotional distress and discontent.
To help you navigate the emotionally turbulent waters of caregiver guilt and shame, I've prepared 5 strategies for helping you to move through guilt and shame when helping your older loved one adjust to senior living.
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There may come a time when you're faced with the conversation of talking with your aging parents about moving into a senior living or assisted living community. Many people dread this conversation.
Even simply starting the conversation can bring up all sorts of worry and feelings of guilt and shame.
If you're facing this situation, it can help to prepare. In today's episode, I share:
Starting these conversations long before your loved one has a medical, mental...
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When he was in his late 80s, Candy Cohn's father unintentionally stopped taking medication for a long-standing bipolar disorder and experienced a significant mental health crisis requiring hospitalization and intensive treatment. It was following this episode that Candy knew that she needed to help her older parents find a senior living community that would provide more continuity and medication management and offer opportunities for a better quality of life than they were getting at home. But, where to start?
I have witnessed many older adults living with significant mental health conditions, like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, at times struggle to find senior living communities.
There are some mental health conditions that are expected in assisted living environments, like depression and anxiety, which often occur with dementia and medical conditions. In fact, one in three residents takes a medication for a...
You may be surprised to hear that about half of today’s Veterans are 65 and older.
Chances are, if you're caring for an aging parent (65 or older) who served in the military, their service was influenced by WW-II, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.
Offering the opportunity for your aging parents...
I recently received a letter from a listener of my podcast: "Dear Dr. Koepp, My mom has recently become depressed. She's 94 and lives alone. My family and I aren't sure what we should be doing (if anything). Where should we go from here?"
I have tremendous respect for this listener for reaching out to learn more about depression in older adulthood.
Let me start by saying that depression is NOT a normal part of aging, but depression IS the most prevalent mental health condition among older adults. Unfortunately, depression in late life often goes undetected and untreated largely due to the false belief that with age comes depression.
This is why it is so important to learn about depression and have tools and resources to help older adults to get treated for depression if and when they need it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1% to 5% of people 65 and older living in the...