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Welcome to House of Light, a blog produced and managed by the staff of Casa de la Luz Hospice. Casa de la Luz ("house of light" in Spanish) is a locally owned and operated hospice, serving the city and surrounding communities of Tucson, Arizona. Through this blog, we hope to offer education, information, and support about caregiving and hospice care to terminally ill patients and their loved ones. For more information, visit the contact us page.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Five Faces Caregiving Issues

1. There's a lot of information to keep track of, take in, and report when you're a family caregiver. The doctor wants to know how the individual is doing with medications; hired caregivers need instructions; there are multiple medications to manage and dispense. Checklists, maintaining organized files, and other information-tracking tools can help caregivers stay on top of all the information. This checklist for communicating with health care providers from Family Caregivers Online helps you stay on top of medications, symptoms, allergies, and more. It offers a guideline of questions to ask the doctor, and keeps your notes organized in one spot.

2. Are you a single boomer adult, still independent, but starting to plan for the next phase of life? You don't have any kids and you never married, and you're asking yourself, who will care for me if I can no longer care for myself? Who will look out for me to make sure I'm alright? Sally Abrahms wrote about this issue, "No Kids, Who Cares?" in the AARP blog last week. She explores some of the solutions today's independent boomer women are coming up with, including co-housing and pocket neighborhoods.

3. Family caregivers are very often women, and they are very often spouses. The New York Times Well section acknowledged that earlier this week in an article from Jane E. Brody, "Caregiving as a 'Roller-Coaster Ride From Hell.'" The article shared the trials and tribulations of a couple caregiving spouses, and offered a lengthy list of tips to help with caring for a spouse. The main takeaway point is to ask for help when you need it. Caregiving is a heavy burden, and you shouldn't try to carry it all by yourself.

4. I think the New York Times knocked it out of the park with this May 5 article, "When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger." The article and accompanying video, and the story of the French couple, brought tears to my eyes. Michael French suffers from frontotemporal dementia. His wife was his primary caregiver before finally putting him in a nursing home because caring for him was putting both of them at risk. These are the tough battles that millions of family caregivers face every day.

5. A home can become a bit of a battlefield when someone becomes disabled or no longer has a full mental capacity. In order to accommodate changing needs, and making sure the person you're caring for remains safe, this Home Modification Checklist from the National Caregiver's Library can help you go through your home and spot potential safety problems.

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