Hoarding, part 2

My last post recounted my sister’s and my experience in clearing out our mother’s house––a daunting enterprise. I concluded with a caution: You’re unlikely to get a head start on this chore. The hard labor rarely begins until after your loved one has passed. You can, however, give your own decedents (usually grown children) a […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Hoarding, part 1

We found a bag of blackened onions underneath Mom’s sink. That’s when we knew that clearing out her house would bring some unexpected shocks. Gael and I stayed for several days following her funeral, intent on not putting off a worrisome chore. This was our final caregiving stage, and we were eager to put it […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Old pictures

Open any newspaper to the obituary pages, and you’ll spot at least one photo of the deceased that is obviously decades old––probably of the person as he or she was at around age 20. But once, not long ago, a Letter To the Editor termed this practice “absurd.” People, the writer huffed, should accept who they […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Marie saves the day

After two years of driving over to check on Mom, my brother Kevin decided that his stepdaughter Marie should become a full-time caregiver. Marie was all for it. She’d had no luck in finding a job that suited her, so this would be an ideal oasis. She moved into my former upstairs bedroom, bringing along […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
Frustration

Letting go, finally

As caregiver for my wife, Susan since her 1980 diagnosis with MS–and particularly over the past 20 years–I became extremely frustrated by a single attitude Sue holds to this day: She believes strongly that there is nothing that either the Western medical establishment or holistic approaches to healing can do to help her. My belief […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

You made my bed

During our many trips to Cleveland, my sister and I performed the one task we knew Mom would appreciate most––we put her life in order. Gael mowed the grass, pruned the shrubs, and weeded the flowerbeds. I scoured the bathrooms, dusted the furniture, vacuumed the rugs, washed the dishes, and mopped the floors. Since we […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Keep listening

If your loved one can still reminisce with clarity, then you have a potential treat in store. Encourage him/her to recount childhood, adolescent, and young adult memories. Of course you’ll need to be patient with any frustrating struggles to recall details. Bear with them. The bonus will not only be hearing about someone else’s formative […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }
StressSurvey

Assess and address your stress

To be sure, if you’re a family caregiver more than occasionally over a long period of time, you’re stressed unless you’re not human. This is especially so if you’re pulling most of the caregiving load yourself or health care bills are draining your family resources. Home Instead Senior Care, a nationwide provider of in-home care […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Getting to know you

Gone nearly ten years, he still comes up often in our conversations. My siblings and I are still gathering puzzle-piece clues about who our father was. Strange. At one time, we could have just asked him. Or…maybe not. So many people nowadays can’t seem to stop talking about themselves. Our parents (and theirs before them) […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Just the two of us

Of course, over time, the situation with Mom gradually grew more demanding, more stressful. Kevin was growing weary of his weekly visits. Mom needed his check-ins more often, not less, but he was skipping some beats. We knew this because Marie told us. Marie was Kevin’s stepdaughter who had moved in with him after her […]

Read full story Comments { 0 }