Grief Support Network’s Gift of Grief

DSC00558I recently learned of the Grief Support Network in Boulder, Colorado. “Grief Support Network (GSN) is a non-profit, community–based organization that offers a new and positive perspective on the process of healing from grief and loss…a network of wellness providers who share the belief that all people have the power to transform themselves through their grief when they are given enough support, guidance and time to do so.”  Their goal is to connect individuals and families with “services and programs that will support them to heal and move forward in their lives.”

GSN was founded in 2012 by Wendy Black Stern after the loss of her first born child, Noah, at nine months of age. The following poem about grief was written by Wendy and I want to share it with you because anyone coping with the loss of a loved one whether it be a child, parent, grandparent, sibling, spouse, dog, cat or friend can relate to Wendy’s heartfelt poem. Please share these beautiful words with all who may find comfort in them. Continue reading

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TRU Community Care for Serious Disease, End-of-Life Care, Grief

4275We have an amazing resource in our community that I want you all to know about. It is called TRU Community Care. Their mission is “to work to ensure that everyone in our community can live with advanced illness as comfortably, confidently, and fully as possible.”

Last March Hospice Care of  Boulder and Broomfield Counties changed its’ name to TRU Community Care because they felt Hospice Care of  Boulder and Broomfield Counties no longer fully described their organization. The name TRU is an acronym for Trusted, Responsive, Unparalleled, adjectives often used to describe them. Through the years they responded to changes in community needs and have responded with programs that extend beyond hospice. In addition, their services now reach outside Boulder and Broomfield Counties.They do continue to provide hospice care and offer grief support to anyone who has suffered a loss.

For example, if you or a loved one are living with an advanced illness but are not ready for hospice care, Continue reading

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CaregivingCafe Offers Tips and Resources for Caregiver Journey

Are you taking care of a disabled, aged or chronically ill loved one, either in your own town or long-distance?  Being a caregiver can be a stressful time in life. I remember it well with both of my parents, especially for my father whose pulmonary fibrosis left him chronically ill for several years.

CaregivingCafe Logo

I certainly was far from alone.  During the time her father was ill, the founder of Caregiving Cafe spent hours searching for services for her parents including housecleaning, transportation, medical home care, and meal services; and then emailing these lists to her family. I remember those ongoing searches well, and wish I had one place to go with a directory Continue reading

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Daughter of an Alzheimer’s Patient Offers Advice

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.”

A friend of mine has a mother with Alzheimer’s disease living in England.  She shared her emotional difficulty with me regarding the loss she experienced even though her mother is still alive.  Coping with a parent with Alzheimer’s is Continue reading

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SEE Every Elderly Person Through THESE Eyes

This amazing, anonymous poem shared by elderhelpers.org, titled Cranky Old Man really touched me. I feel compelled to share it with you in its’ truth and simplistic beauty:

“When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.
Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Continue reading

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Book for Caregivers to Aging or Ill Parents

Final Years cover on AmazonYou may wonder how I went from writing about my soul mate dog in MAGGIE The Dog Who Changed My Life to writing about parent care and loss. Although they are two different topics, both of my books bring to light difficult feelings and experiences that many find hard to talk about and listen to. Both MAGGIE and my parents touched my deeply and changed my life.

Are you a caregiver to aging or ill parents? Have you lost your parents? Many baby boomers are part of the sandwich generation caring for both their children and elderly parents. In my new book, FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed, ten people shared stories of tough decisions, family dynamics, grief, and healing as their parents’ health diminished and they eventually passed. I weave my own account through each of their chapters. Continue reading

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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.

 

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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

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