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

Caregiver Support: How To Care For and Help A Caregiver?

 

 5 ways to care for and help a caregiver

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. 

 

1. Be there for the caregiver

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:

  • Calling and checking in with your caregiving parent regularly
  • Acknowledging the importance of the care they're providing and the value that caregiving has.
  • Validating how hard caregiving can be emotionally and physically.
  • Identifying the meaning caregiving is bringing to you and...
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When Aging Parents Need Help: Family Caregiving Roles & Impacts

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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).

 

, Dr. Qualls discusses:

  • Common role transitions in older families
  • Tips for balancing safety and autonomy
  • Strategies for having tough conversations with aging loved ones while preserving dignity and respect
  • Steps to...
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The 6 Stages of Caregiving Along the Caregiver's Journey

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.

 

6 Stages of Family Caregiving 

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...

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How to Support Elderly Parents Moving to Assisted Living

 

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. 

 

 

1. Expect that this will be emotional. 

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.

 

2. Prepare for "the Talk."

Before you have this conversation, take the time to prepare. Here’s how:

  • 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:

  1. It will help you to clarify exactly what you want to...
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Elderly Parent Calling Multiple Times a Day? 5 Expert Tips

 

 

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. 

Thank you, 

Theresa 

 

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...

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Managing Caregiver Guilt and Shame about Moving Aging Parent to Assisted Living

 

 

 


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. 

 

 

5  strategies for moving through guilt and shame when helping your older loved one adjust to senior living

 

1. Be...

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How to Start a Senior Living Discussion with Aging Parents

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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:

 

  • 6 Strategies for setting yourself up for success with the senior living discussion
  • Examples of how to start the conversation
  • Tips for managing escalation of emotions during this talk
  • How to go about finding senior housing or assisted living communities
  • The importance of taking care of yourself through it all.

 

 

6 Strategies for setting yourself up for success with the senior living discussion

 

1. Don't wait until there is a crisis

Starting these conversations long before your loved one has a medical, mental...

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Expert Tips for Finding Senior Living with a Mental Health Condition

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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...

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Support Veterans thru Loving Conversations. Expert Tips From a Former VA Psychologist

 

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You may be surprised to hear that about half of today’s Veterans are 65 and older.

If you're caring for an aging Veteran, you may have many questions but not know where to start. Once you do get started, you might not know HOW TO ACTUALLY HAVE a conversation with your loved one about their military service.
 
Maybe you're afraid of saying the wrong thing, pushing too hard, or maybe you're afraid that starting this conversation will open pandora's box of memories.
 
I have been working with older Veterans and their families for more than 10 years, so I thought it would be helpful to share these expert tips on talking with aging parents about their military service with you!

 

 

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...

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My 94 Year Old Mom Has Depression. Where Do We Go From Here?

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.

 

What are the rates of depression in older adults?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 1% to 5% of people 65 and older living in the...

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