14 11, 2020

Bah Humbug: Caregiving During the Holidays





Reduce Holiday Stress––FREE Virtual Event

I am going to be presenting a FREE live 90-minute holiday event for caregivers on November 18, 2020 at 9:00 a.m PST .  The event is sponsored by WACOG – The Western Arizona Council of Governments. It is free and open to family and professional caregivers. You will laugh more than you cry, and you’ll come away with strategies that will help you:

  • Manage Expectations
  • Set Boundaries
  • Reduce guilt and holiday-related stress

I hope you will join me!

Click on this link to register: Bah Humbug: Caregiving During the Holidays



21 09, 2020

Look at Me––A Poem for Caregivers

An Older Woman’s Poem to Her Caregivers

Recently, I presented a keynote for the virtual  “Compassion Fatigue Symposium” hosted by Educare of Dallas. In the segment in which I talked about “Giving Caregiver Guilt the Boot,” I shared a poem entitled, “Look at Me.”  Many of the conference participants requested a copy. I have been told that the author is unknown and that the poem was found in the room of a nursing home patient after her funeral. I have shared this poem at caregiving conferences more times than I can remember. Even so, it never fails to bring a lump to my throat and a tear to my eyes. I believe it is a powerful reminder that every person who is now old was once a young person who had […]

27 06, 2019

Choosing Courage, Dignity, and Kindness

 A Man with Lewy Body Dementia Chooses to Live with  Courage, Dignity, and Kindness

My husband and I recently attended an all-day dementia conference presented by Teepa Snow. Teepa is a fantastic presenter and educator,and I always come away from her trainings with new ideas and information.

This time, I was inspired by Barney, a man Teepa invited to join her on the stage. About a year ago, Barney got frustrated because he couldn’t find the “Text” key on his computer. He searched and searched and couldn’t find it.

He decided something was wrong with his computer, so he went to his wife’s laptop thinking he might find the “Text” key there. I’m not sure how he discovered or remembered that you can only send […]

15 06, 2019

Find a Caregiving Buddy

Find a Caregiving Buddy to Lighten the Load

Being a Caregiver is Tough

Caregiving can be a lonely journey. Having a caregiving buddy––someone who understands and will laugh and cry with you can make the burden feel a little lighter.

Last fall I met Hannah, a wiry little woman who appeared to be in her late 70’s. She came up to me on a break and said, “I want to tell you my story.”

Hannah’s husband has dementia, and she has been taking care of him and their small farm for over ten years. Earlier in the week, a storm had toppled an enormous pecan tree on their property.

She said, “It blocked the path to my chickens, so I went out to the shop and got […]

27 05, 2019

Giving Blood: A Memorial Day Tradition

Giving BloodGiving Blood: One Way to Honor Veterans on Memorial Day

I got a call from the American Red Cross last week.  The woman said they were in desperate need of platelet donations. My blood type is O Positive so it can go to almost anyone in need.

When I arrived, I said I was surprised that they were working on Memorial Day. The attendant said, “A lot of people like to donate on holidays––especially Memorial Day.” 

Her comment made me think of my dad, a Kansas farmer, to whom Memorial Day was a sacred day of remembrance. Every year, my mother purchased buckets full of bright pink peonies (Dad’s favorite) from a woman in our church. We […]

5 04, 2019

Person-Centered Care

A Nurse’s Kindness

I experienced person-centered care a  few years ago my husband had back surgery. When he came out of recovery he had tubes going into and coming out of every part of his body. He was in tremendous pain, and I was very concerned. Wanting to provide a little comfort, I loaded some of his favorite music onto an iPod.

Wally, the night nurse, popped into the room and exclaimed, “Acoustic guitar! That’s awesome!” and then he asked, “Is that Otmar Leibert?” I nodded, and he said, “I love that guy!” He spent a couple of minutes with us. He asked some personal questions about Alex, and he told us a few things about himself, including the fact that he played the […]

25 03, 2019

Dealing with Caregiver Guilt after a Loved One Dies

Caregiver Guilt After Death

Caregiver Guilt After Death

I received an email from a woman last week whose husband had just died after a long illness with ALS. The disease was relentless in its progression, and in her words, “The last three years were brutal.”

Her husband lost the ability to speak, eat, or move without assistance. During the last year, someone from Hospice came in four days a week and stayed for about an hour.  The rest of the time, she managed his needs on her own. 

Although she had cared for him around the clock for six years, she was racked with guilt and obsessed by her memories of the times she had lost […]

20 01, 2019

Three Steps to Overcoming Caregiver Fear

Overcoming Caregiver Fear

How Awareness, Acceptance & Taking Action Can Help You Overcome Caregiver Fear

Most caregivers fear how bad it’s going to get, how long it’s going to last, and how much it’s going to cost. We worry about what will happen if our care receiver’s condition worsens and we can no longer care for them ourselves. We worry about finding help or having to move out of our homes. We fear what our life will be like when our loved one dies, and sometimes we worry that we will die before they do. These are all legitimate fears, and if thoughts like these are keeping you awake at night, here are three steps that might help you feel more […]

31 10, 2018

Remembering a Loved One

Remembering Aunt JeanRemembering Aunt Jean

My Aunt Jean died two years ago today. (Had she been aware of the date, she would have been tremendously angry and indignant that her life ended on Halloween!)

When I went to tell Jean’s friends at her active retirement community that she had died from complications related to pneumonia, one man who always sat with her at breakfast exclaimed, “Jean was the crankiest old woman I’ve ever known!” Then, his voice thick with emotion,  he added, “But I loved her, and I will miss her!”

Jean had moved from Florida in 2006 to be close to us after her husband died. For ten years, she was an active member of […]

4 09, 2018

Put an End to Caregiver Guilt

How to Stop Feeling Guilty When You Haven’t Done Anything Wrong

I saw a headline in a newspaper recently that stated 54% of senior caregivers feel guilty about taking a break from their caregiving tasks to make time for themselves.*

The dictionary defines guilt as a sense of having done something wrong or having failed in an obligation. I believe guilt is an appropriate response when a person intentionally inflicts physical or emotional pain on another person. However, as a general rule, I think guilt is a cruel and manipulative emotion that is experienced way too often by caregivers. 

It might be helpful to ask yourself if your guilt is self-imposed or if it is being imposed upon you […]