Live Q&A on caregivingExperts include health professionals from Experts from Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), along with Dave Balch, author of Cancer for TwoAnticipated topics include:- How to manage financial, emotional, and physical challenges as a caregiver- Support resources available
3rd & 7 37yd
3rd & 7 37yd
Maria - there are a few things you can do to put a smile on your loved one's face. The idea is to find out what their favorite things are, and then get creative. For example, do they have a favorite mug or plate? ALWAYS use it. If there is a picture on it, be sure it's oriented so your loved one can see it properly. You can also put a flower or a card on their tray when you bring them a meal. Also, get creative in your food presentation. If they want an orange, for example, separate the sections and arrange them neatly, or in a design. My wife once asked for watermelon, and I served her a bowl full of watermelon balls... the smile on her face was priceless. This is just a drop in the bucket, but hopefully will get you started in the right direction.
by Dave Balchvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:11:20 PM
Many of my colleagues have parents who should no longer be living alone but are being stubborn about change. What advice do you have?
by Kim Richardson, WebMDvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:11:45 PM
Trying to help your loved one understand that the need for asistance is important and can't be ignored is a problem that so many families face. It is important to keep stating that you are focused on making loving decisions and want to help your loved one maintain their independence and well-being. Don't give up. Be patient and gentle. Ask others to reinforce the message.
by Dr. Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:13:17 PM
Because of the high cost of aides coming to the home what can be done to supplement care in-home. We have had problems with theft to unwanted pests. It is exhausting meeting each new trial coupled with a parent who complains 90% of the time.
by carvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:13:57 PM
Thank you, car, for asking that question. First, it’s important to know what medical needs, bills, debts, income, and properties the person for whom you’re providing care currently has. There are two excellent resources on this topic. First, the Caregiver Action Network website includes links to a check list of key legal and financial documents you'll need, financial planning calculators, glossary of financial terms, and other helpful resources on locating benefits: nfca.typepad.com Second, BenefitsCheckUp is free service that helps consumers find benefits programs that help them pay for prescription drugs, health care, rent, utilities, and other needs: www.benefitscheckup.org Lastly, if you or a loved one is a veteran, then the Veteran’s Administration (VA) provides a number of caregiving support services, support, and tools: www.caregiver.va.gov
by Elizabeth Walker Romero edited by Kim Richardson, WebMD1/20/2015 6:16:34 PM
Look for community resources that provide adult day care or other senior center type programs. United Way, AARP and your area agency on aging may help you find those programs locally.
by Dr. Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:17:03 PM
My husband has progressive MS; it is heartbreaking to watch as he gets more debilitated every day. What makes things worse is his deep depression has impaired him even more, constantly lying in bed, muscles atrophy, and yet he does nothing to counteract any of it. I often see him crying. He says he hasn’t given up, but his actions says otherwise. As his caregiver, the stress of the last 2 1/2 years and my own frustration has led me to suffer a severe depression myself, leaving me feel helpless. It has caused my emotions to be unstable and my tolerance for stress to be intolerable, therefore my employer suggested I take a leave of absence, which my psychiatrist agreed. I need help to deal with this situation, as I have to return to work in a few weeks.
by Trishvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:17:43 PM
Trish – your situation is heartbreaking. It sounds like he is focused on what he has lost, which is A LOT, and he probably isn’t even aware that he is doing this. Perhaps you can try to encourage him to focus on the things he still has, such as a loving wife who cares about him. What else does he have in his life that is positive. When someone is in a situation such as his it’s too easy to feel bad about the bad stuff, and difficult to recognize the good. Does he have siblings? Children? Pets? What makes him smile (or made him smile in better times)?
by Dave Balchvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:19:48 PM
Or, does the local MS Chapter have a support group or a virtual support group that your husband can join and they also have spousal/caregiver support groups as well.
by Elizabeth Walker Romerovia WebMD1/20/2015 6:21:10 PM
My father doesn't want to leave his home, but he has trouble with basic self-care like cooking, cleaning and driving. How do you know when it's time for a different living situation? And what's a good way to start that conversation with an elderly parent?
by KathleenDvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:22:33 PM
Trish, I appreciate that you shared how caring for your husband has affected you, as it is clear you recognize the importance of taking care of yourself too. Hopefully, working with your doctor, you can communicate to your employer what your needs will be when you return to work. Find out what flexibility they can provide you.
by Dr. Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:22:37 PM
My wife has peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, etc. She has some good days and mostly down days. I have a kind of a routine when she's down . . cooking, cleaning, etc. When she is up, it sort of upsets the routine. Now I'd much rather she be "up," but it is impossible to plan for it. And I can't keep house like she used to so that frustrates her, and her frustration frustrates me. I work 2 jobs so it's tough to give enough time to that, her, and the chores. Any advice?
by rhjenkinsvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:23:14 PM
Hi Kathleen - It may be helpful to use a safety framework, saying I want you to be safe and you want to be safe. So when all think safety is at stake.
by Lisa Waddell, MD, MPHvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:23:29 PM
Here's an article covering some signs that may be helpful: www.caring.com
by Lisa Waddell, MD, MPHvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:25:22 PM
Sometimes it helps to have the conversation to see what help parents can admit they need and use that as a starting point. Identify what activities they can feel they still have control over and how they can help with their care. Don't forget to remind him how his safety is your priority, that you don't want him to suffer an event that makes him lose any say in what happends to him. Not a threat - just a careing concern.
by Dr. Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:26:03 PM
Kathleen - there are different levels of "a different living situation." Maybe the easiest thing for him to accept would be an emergency button such as Life Alert or Lifeline. There is also the option of part-time help with cleaning and cooking. If cooking is a major issue, you can actually have prepared meals sent right to his door. It's expensive, but it IS an option and the food is tasty and, more importantly, healthy.
by Dave Balchvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:26:59 PM
Unfortunately, Kathleen, there isn't an easy response and a multiple ways to process this with your father. The best thing may be to start with his doctor and then discussing this with him Dr. Waddell's idea or with your siblings if you have any, discuss the facts of his care needs. It's difficult for parents to go to this phase to having as many people engaged with his care to help you make the case. Good luck and hope he gets the care he needs soon.
by Elizabeth Walker Romerovia WebMD1/20/2015 6:27:03 PM
What are some signs of caregiver burnout that I should be aware of and what can be done?
by ahayesvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:27:47 PM
Deborah - perhaps a daily gratitude list would be helpful. Encourage her to make a list, first thing every day, of the things in her life for which she is grateful. This may get her to focus on the good in her life instead of the bad.
by Dave Balchvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:50:27 PM
Deborah, very sorry to hear about your father-in-law's diagnosis. Contact the local Alzheimer's Association chapter www.alz.org and it sounds like she needs to process this all and might need the help of a counselor or support group to talk with.
by Elizabeth Walker Romerovia WebMD1/20/2015 6:51:23 PM
Deborah, this must be a hard ransitiion for your entire family. Is is possible to get your parents talking together about things they still want to and can do together, no matter how big or small? Encourage them to try together.
by Dr.Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:51:39 PM
My father is on heavy medications and seems to change his mind constantly and/or forget previous conversations. It is very difficult to understand his dying wishes when his answers change daily. What should we do to make sure we make the right decisions when his living will sometimes contradicts what he says he now wants?
by Joevia WebMD1/20/2015 6:52:36 PM
Joe, that sounds like an important conversation to have with your father's primary care or other family doctor. I understand your concern given the heavy medications. If your father named a health care proxy they should be part of the conversation.
by Dr.Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:54:52 PM
That's another good conversation to have with your clinician. Some states encourage older drivers to be assessed by the DMV to be sure they are still able to drive safely. And find out about other transportation resources in your community.
by Dr.Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 6:58:53 PM
AJ, you can also go to www.nhtsa.gov for additional support and guidance.
by Elizabeth Walker Romerovia WebMD1/20/2015 6:59:09 PM
Thanks for raising this question AJ. It's a huge issue nationwide and states are addressing it in innovative ways. For example, the Georgia Older Driver Task Force, works with the Division of Aging Services, Area Agencies on Aging and the Georgia Department of Driver Services aging network, to sustain the mobility and safety of older drivers as well as reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among aging drivers: dph.georgia.gov
by Lisa Waddell, MD, MPHvia WebMD1/20/2015 7:00:46 PM
I salute all of you who are caregivers and those or you who are trying to help people who provide care. The questions you posed touch so many of us. Don't forget to care for yourselves!
by Dr.Jewel Mullenvia WebMD1/20/2015 7:00:56 PM
Looks like we’re out of time. We appreciate you being with us and hope that you found the chat to be helpful. If you’d like to access the transcript of this event, it will be available at this URL.
by Kim Richardson, WebMDvia WebMD1/20/2015 7:01:18 PM