Archive for March 2012

“You’re Looking at Me Like I Live Here and I Don’t” – PBS Airs a Gem about Alzheimer’s

I’m not going to say too much about this PBS episode of Independent Lens, because I want you to draw your own conclusions. I also don’t want to taint your experience. You see, this is the first documentary filmed entirely in an Alzheimer’s care unit and purely from the perspective of a person with Alzheimer’s.... Read more »

Caregiver Stress: Ten Ways Our Thinking Gets the Better of Us

While working on my Ph.D. in psychology, I was consistently drawn to two seemingly different schools of thought – existentialism and cognitive therapy. On the one hand, I identified closely with existentialism’s angst and search for meaning (which finally provided a framework to explain my many nights lying awake as a small child “thinking about... Read more »

Caregiver Stress: Why Caregivers Must Put Their Own Oxygen Masks on First

When I approached ChicagoNow about writing this blog, I emphasized how tumultuous life can be for a caregiver. I described the dichotomous nature of caregiving in blunt terms, writing, “While caregiving can be warm and cozy and rewarding for family members, it can also really suck.” Right? By nature, we are not prepared to take... Read more »
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Can a Pizza Delivery Driver Be Your Mom’s Caregiver?

The video I saw this morning supports this notion. It tells the story of an older woman whose life was saved when some Domino’s Pizza employees noticed that the woman had not ordered her daily pizza for the last three days. Let’s not speculate or judge regarding the daily pizza habit – that’s fodder for... Read more »

When Your Loved One Won’t See a Doctor: Five Strategies for Caregivers

It may be a blessing and a curse that I’m amazed by the pervasiveness of caregiving in our lives. It’s a blessing because it motivates me to write words that matter. It’s a curse because I never feel that I’m doing enough to make a difference. Caregivers number in the millions in this country, but... Read more »

A Caregiver’s Guide to the Brain and Behavior

If the brain were so simple we could understand it, we would be so simple we couldn’t.   – Lyall Watson Yes, pretty pithy for a Monday, but oh so true. In our daily lives, we often don’t connect people’s behavior to their brains. Behavior – and the emotional ramifications that accompany it – is an... Read more »
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How is March Madness like a Caregiver Event? Connect with Chicago Caregivers – Part 3

The whirlwind of March Madness inspired me to draw a connection between the most exciting and pure example of competitive basketball and the third and final topic in our triumvirate of posts about connecting with Chicago caregivers: special events. It might seem like a stretch, but stick with me here. When you watch March Madness... Read more »

Connect with Chicago Caregivers – Part 2: Online Communities

I’m a Chicago girl by heart and birthright. I was born in the northwest suburb of Woodstock and attended my first Cubs game before I could walk. Our radio and television were tuned to WGN as a default. And from the time my grandma attended nursing school at the University of Chicago to the time... Read more »

Connect with Chicago Caregivers – Part 1: Support Groups

Imagine nine people sitting in chairs arranged in a circle in a quiet room of a community center. There are women and men of different cultural backgrounds, ages, educational levels, and socioeconomic statuses. During the next ninety minutes, some speak a great deal, while some observe quietly. Some speak of their spouses; others discuss their... Read more »
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Caregiver Facts and Figures: A Bittersweet Reality

Almost eight years at the Alzheimer’s Association – five at the Utah Chapter and close to three at the National Office right here in Chicago – left equally enduring imprints on my mind and heart. The mental imprint is analytical, bridging science and people in the shape of a fervent belief that a cure is... Read more »