Monthly Archives: November 2013

Pulmonary Fibrosis and My Dad

Do you know what Pulmonary Fibrosis is? Do you have an aging parent or other loved one suffering from it? According to the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation, Pulmonary Fibrosis (PF) is a condition in which “the lung tissue becomes thickened, stiff, and scarred.” This is what happened to my father. The medical term for this scar tissue is fibrosis. Watching Dad’s quality of life change from this horrible disease was a heartbreak like I had not experienced before.

Oxygen is delivered to the entire body through the lungs. When someone like my father has PF, their lung tissue becomes scarred and thickens. There is therefore less healthy lung tissue to transfer oxygen into the blood to carry it throughout the body. As a result, the organs, including the heart and brain do not get the oxygen they need to function properly.  In Dad’s case he developed a debilitating anxiety as a result. And prior to having pulmonary fibrosis, there was nothing anxiety was even a remote part of Dad’s life or way of being.

In some cases, like Dad’s, doctors can determine the cause of the fibrosis (scarring). In his case it was related to asbestos exposure during his years of working in construction and remodeling. Often the cause remains unknown, and that is termed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis or IPF. IPF occurs primarily in older adults. Continue reading

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Long Distance Caregiving

My caregiving for my parents began while I was living in Colorado and they were still in their own home in Indiana. Long distance caregiving for your parents can be stressful and emotionally exhausting. My father became ill and his pulmonary disease progressed over a period of 5 years. Watching him suffer and his quality of life diminish with each passing day lived with me every waking moment. Not living close to care for him and help my parents on a regular basis was one of my life’s greatest challenges. I write more about this and others share their long distance caregiving experiences in my newly published book, FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed.

There is an informative post on Caregiving.com titled 10 Tips for Family Caregivers – Caring for Parents Long Distance written by Thedogmamma (as a lover of dogs and the author a dog book, I love her name!)  She, too was/is in the shoes many of us are in as long distance caregivers and shares some of her valuable pointers. Take a look at her November 3 post on Caregiving.com for long distance caregiving tips.

 

Sibling Conflict Over Aging Parents

As a nurse, I knew that sibling conflict was common when the time came to care for aging and ailing parents. But I didn’t dream it would happen to my sister and me. When it did, and when common ground for communicating was nowhere to be found, I suggested to my sister that we go to counseling to work things out through a third party mediator. What I didn’t know that the AARP blog addressed in a July, 2013 post is that there are actually mediators specifically for siblings bickering over how they are going to handle and share the care for their aging parents. They are called elder mediators.

old couple on beach for bookMany issues can come up between and among siblings regarding their aging parents. Some may include their living arrangements and safety, medical decisions, who  the primary caregiver is, and of course, money. Each sibling’s relationship with their parents may play a role in how involved they do or don’t wish to be, as may the distance they each live from their parents. One sibling may have an expectation of another that is unfortunately not out on the table, or even realistic. Finally, past resentments, conscious or unconscious, may rear their ugly head at this most inopportune time. Continue reading