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Signature Strength: Wisdom

Each of us has strengths . . . and, well, areas that could use improvement. As a family caregiver, you may often feel inadequate. Or guilty. Or think that you aren’t doing enough. Such negative self-assessments are common. A more balanced assessment would...

Does Mom have a drinking problem?

Alcohol use is on the rise among older adults. And it’s not easy to spot. Many of the signs resemble common problems of aging. And who wants to think that when Mom stumbles, for instance, it might be because of drink?! There’s a lot of shame associated...

Balance exercises to prevent falls

If remaining independent is a goal for your older relative, bringing some balance to his or her life is essential—balance exercise, that is. All it takes is short but consistent focus for Mom or Dad to significantly reduce the chance of a fall. In one study, two...

Reducing the risk of falling

Has your mother fallen recently? She’s not alone! One out of four adults 65 and over experiences a fall each year. That makes falls the leading cause of injury for older adults. Falls are serious business A few statistics: In the U.S. an older adult dies once...

“I don’t need help” – Part 3

It’s not easy to lose abilities and admit you need help. The reluctant elder in your life is more likely to ease into acceptance if you provide good listening, compassion, and a commitment to working together. In this third installment of our series, we look at...

When you need an energy boost

When caregiver fatigue strikes, many of us reach for caffeine. Whether it’s coffee, cola, chocolate, or an “energy shot” drink, the effects are immediate. Like a reliable friend, caffeine seems to help us keep going.   Pros and cons Studies have...

Safe traveling for older adults

If Mom or Dad has summer vacation plans, be aware that older bodies are more vulnerable to the stresses of travel. Begin with a pretrip appointment with the doctor Suggest a meeting with the physician 4–8 weeks ahead of the vacation. Ask the doctor to assess overall...

Thrifty or hoarding?

We all accumulate belongings over the years. But when is it too much? According to Michael Tompkins, PhD, author of Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding and Compulsive Acquiring, your family member may be in the early stages of hoarding if he...

Opioid addiction and serious illness

Morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl . . . with the opioid crisis in our country, it can be scary to hear that a frail or seriously ill relative needs this type of medicine. What are the risks of addiction? Fortunately, addiction is rarely an issue for individuals dealing...

“I don’t need help” – Part 2

When a loved one obviously needs help at home but refuses to allow it, it’s frustrating! Below are two common concerns, with suggestions for ways to problem solve together.   Cost is a very practical barrier Many older adults feel particularly vulnerable...