As a traveler on the journey through grief, you may have experienced family members and friends who meant well, but actually added to your burden of grief through their comments. They may have assumed they were being sensitive and supportive when they offered thoughts such as: "He's in a better place now. God needed her in heaven. He's no longer suffering. This is better for everyone. Now you can go on with your life. I know how you're feeling; I've been there. You're still young; you have time to re-marry/have more children."READ MORE
You, like many other people, may have just learned that your loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic, serious and/or terminal health condition. As the significance of this situation sinks in, you may have also realized that you are now becoming a caregiver possibly facing a long journey. You may be asking yourself, "Where do I start?"READ MORE
Some times when a loved one dies, relationships among family members will become stronger as family come together to grieve their loss and support each other. Other times, death can be a very divisive element, breaking families apart. Some family members may approach their grief with denial attempting to move on as quickly as possible and may expect other family members to do the same. Some family members may be experiencing longer periods of shock unable to accept the reality of their loss. Other family members may be so weighed down with their loss that they are unable to move forward to begin the healing process. In addition, they may question how others can move on and act like nothing serious has happened. These different reactions can create a lot of stress for everyone. What has to be remembered is that each family member is grieving in his/her own unique way. Attending a support group can be very helpful. However, if relationships are strained, it is best that mourners attend meetings individually so that they feel free to share their deepest feelings without upsetting other family members. If the relationships continue to be strained, family counseling may be beneficial to all.
As people age and grow weaker, it becomes more difficult to perform “simple” tasks such as sitting down, rising up out of a sitting position to stand and even walking. What was once easily done without thought, now becomes a challenge that must be carefully executed to avoid falling. At the same time, these tasks can become a challenge for caregivers who want to assist their loved ones, but can end up harming the care receiver and themselves if they assist inappropriately. Older people and health-compromised individuals who have been hospitalized will often receive occupational therapy following hospitalization to learn how to safely perform simple daily living tasks. Caregivers can ask to be included in the therapy sessions so they can learn how to assist their care receivers appropriately. Caregivers who do not have access to occupational therapists can acquire the information online.READ MORE
The journey through grief is just that – a journey that goes through and not around grief. The feelings that come with loss can be so intense that people prefer to do anything to get past the pain of grief. This means that mourners will suppress their feelings, burying them deep within and pretend that everything is just fine. Actually, this is the worst way to proceed after a loved one has died. There is no way to get around grief as the grief will stay and fester until the mourner does something about it.READ MORE
One of the challenges that many caregivers face is dealing with older loved ones who still want to drive their cars. The good news, according to the latest issue of the AARP Bulletin, is that older drivers (ages 70 and up) today are involved in fewer accidents than their counterparts a generation ago. Yet, as a caregiver, you may wonder if your loved one should continue to drive.READ MORE
Over the past two months, we have looked at several commonly held myths about grieving. One myth that creates a lot of guilt is the idea that a mourner should not ever be angry at the deceased loved one. This myth is truly impractical and unrealistic. It is not unusual or abnormal to be angry. The anger can stem from many things including the loved one’s decision(s) to not take the situation seriously, to not take care of him/herself, to refuse to seek medical assistance, to not follow the doctor’s orders, and to not let the important people in her/his life know what is happening.READ MORE
If you are a caregiver caring for your parent, grandparent or an elderly loved one, you may be concerned with what you can do to help your care receiver remain in his/her home for as long as possible. Most care receivers prefer remaining in their homes as opposed to moving to an assisted living arrangement. However, they may not be healthy enough to continue doing so without support from you and other care providers. One valuable resource for helping elders remain independent is the Area Agency on Aging. This organization features a variety of resources for seniors and caregivers.READ MORE