Caregiving

After Caregiving, Comfort in Having Helped

Courtesy of Karen Gurney Karen Gurney cared for her mother, Jeannette Gurney, on the left, until her death. Caregiving is so all-consuming, it can seem impossible to imagine life after, when all of those responsibilities are suddenly gone. It is then that many people become aware that they were on autopilot, with their deepest emotions(…)

Read More

After the Caregiving Ends

Courtesy of Sharon Vander Waal Sharon Vander Waal, who cared for her husband, Wayne, said she felt extreme fatigue, mixed with guilt, after his death. In January, the 93-year-old mother of my oldest friend died in a Chicago suburb. Suzy was exceptionally close to her mother, and had long dreaded saying a final goodbye. But(…)

Read More

For Traumatized Caregivers, Therapy Helps

I recently wrote about caregivers who experienced symptoms of traumatic-like stress, and readers responded with heart-rending stories. Many described being haunted by distress long after a relative died. Especially painful, readers said, was witnessing a loved one’s suffering and feeling helpless to do anything about it. The therapists I spoke with said they often encountered(…)

Read More

The Reluctant Caregiver

Now and then, I refer to the people that caregivers tend to as “loved ones.” And whenever I do, a woman in Southern California tells me, I set her teeth on edge. She visits her mother-in-law, runs errands, helps with the paperwork — all tasks she has shouldered with a grim sense of duty.  She(…)

Read More

Caregiving, Laced With Humor

“My grandmother, she’s not a normal person. She’s like a character when she speaks. Every day she’s playing like she’s an actress.” These are words of love, and they come from Sacha Goldberger, a French photographer who has turned his grandmother, 93-year-old Frederika Goldberger, into a minor European celebrity. In the photos, you can see(…)

Read More

For Some Caregivers, the Trauma Lingers

Courtesy of Dr. Judy Stone Dr. Judy Stone’s mother, Maggie, and her daughter, Heather. Recently, I spoke at length to a physician who seems to have suffered a form of post-traumatic stress after her mother’s final illness. There is little research on this topic, which suggests that it is overlooked or discounted. But several experts(…)

Read More

Taking a Zen Approach to Caregiving

Nathaniel Brooks for The New York Times You try to help your elderly father. Irritated and defensive, he snaps at you instead of going along with your suggestion. And you think “this is so unfair” and feel a rising tide of anger. How to handle situations like this, which arise often and create so much(…)

Read More

Help for Planning End-of-Life Care

If your 2013 resolution is to get your family to embark, finally, on advance care planning, you will find a valuable guide in a new Web site called Prepare. Dr. Rebecca Sudore, a geriatrician at the University of California, San Francisco, has spent several years developing Prepare, and in that time, “the tide in advance(…)

Read More

Murray Span, 1922-2012

Suzanne DeChillo/The New York Times Paula Span with her father, Murray Span, in 2011. One consequence of our elders’ extended lifespans is that we half expect them to keep chugging along forever. My father, a busy yoga practitioner and blackjack player, celebrated his 90th birthday in September in reasonably good health. So when I had(…)

Read More

Training Needed for Home Care Is Lacking

Niko J. Kallianiotis for The New York Times Most people don’t possess the nursing skills to care for a sick, elderly relative at home. Elaine James, 76, who has dementia, was assisted by her daughter, Wendy James, 37, at a nursing home in New Rochelle in August. “H” from Chicago, I heard you when you(…)

Read More