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


Excerpt from FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed, Part 2

Continued from 10/25/13 post

final-years-sm…After all, I was in the healing profession. I had become a nurse practitioner and Dad turned to me when he couldn’t find assistance through his own doctors to help him find even a small degree of comfort in his day-to-day life. I tried everything I knew in both Western and alternative medicine, but not knowing his diagnosis it was almost to no avail. As a result, I went down many blind alleys and unfortunately took him with me. Had I known his diagnosis, we could have gotten him into hospice much sooner than we did and perhaps provided some of the comfort he desperately sought.

Some of us are more sensitive than others. Those of us who are more sensitive may more easily step into the shoes of the person in agony and feel their pain more than those of us who are less sensitive. That can overwhelm us. For me, it’s not that I felt my dad’s physical ailments, but he so readily shared his anguish with me that I was beside myself at times. My heart broke for him. Others are better at keeping emotional distance from Continue reading


Excerpt from FINAL YEARS Stories of Parent Care, Loss and Lives Changed

Dad and me“How did you keep all this inside these past five days?” my husband Tom asked me as we drove my mom’s Subaru from Indiana back to Colorado after her memorial. I had just shared the traumatic events of my mother’s last day in the neurological Intensive Care Unit at St. Anthony’s hospital in Crown Point, Indiana. I was still in a state of shock, grateful to be talking about these dreadful, unexpected moments with my husband.

I am a nurse. I had sat at the bedside of dying patients and their families many times. Yet that could not prepare me for my own parents’ decline, or for sitting at their deathbeds. Countless times in my life I had heard people say, Continue reading