10 Tips to Successful Caregiving

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

1)  Learn About the Resources Available to You. Consult books, websites, workshops and eldercare professionals. (Hint: You can find leads to many of these, including the latest caregiving information, at our website, www.agingpro.com.)

2)  Educate Yourself About Any Disease Involved. Education can relax your fears and give you clarity and strength.

3)  Take Care of Yourself First. Maintain your own physical and emotional health.  Avoid caregiver burnout – your family needs the caregivers to be healthy!

4) Learn Caregiving Techniques. Learn about topics such as: communication and organizational skills, managing the physical needs of your loved one, safety and emergency preparedness.

5)  Exercise Your Sense of Humor. Smile. You can go through difficult situations laughing or crying. If it’s going to be funny later, it can be funny now.

6)  Communicate with Doctors. Get to know your loved one’s physicians.  Ask questions, express...

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Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

Before your loved one leaves the hospital, make sure you have:

  1. An understanding of your loved one’s condition and diagnosis, results of any tests, and any changes that have happened as a result of treatment during the hospital stay
  2. A written medication list  (including dosage and potential side effects)
  3. A written list of any needed follow-up physicians visits
  4. An understanding of any problems or symptoms that may occur when the patient gets home – what to look for and when to call for help.
  5. A written care plan with next steps
  6. Any special equipment to prepare the home for your loved one’s return (hospital bed, home modification, rental equipment)
  7. Arrangements for home health care or home care aid services- find out what services insurance will and will not cover
  8. Education on any special needs your loved one may have when she arrives home
  9. Transportation home, or wherever your loved one will be going.  Find out if insurance will pay for an...
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How to Survive a Hospital Stay

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020



  1. POWER OF ATTORNEY  – Make sure the hospital has copies of the patient’s healthcare durable power of attorney that states who will make decisions if the patient can no longer do so for themselves.
  2. CONTACT INFORMATION – of family or involved loved ones
  3. MEDICATION LIST – Make sure the hospital has the patient’s current list of all the medications your loved one takes.

If possible, bring a list of surgeries, doctors, previous tests run (and results) and diagnoses.

  1. REMOVE ALL VALUABLES – Do not leave valuables with your loved one at the hospital
  2. PERSONAL ITEMS – Things that are good to have are glasses, hearing aids and dentures, but be careful with them!  If you leave items such as glasses, a cane, a walker, or dentures, make sure they are labeled and also listed in the patient’s chart on the “personal belongings”...
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Welcome to 5 Minutes for Me!

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

I am aware that caregiver health is a major public health issue. Caregivers are more twice as likely to be depressed,  have higher hospitalization rates, higher risk of heart disease, and slower healing rates than non-caregivers. The list goes on.  Physical, mental and emotional health can all be affected. The bottom-line is, it is time for caregivers to start taking better care of themselves. I love the simple yet profound quote by John-Roger: “Take Care of Yourself so You Can Help Take Care of Others.” This is especially true for caregivers.

I am going starting a segment called “5 Minutes for Me!” Since lack of time is often a reason we come up with for not taking better care of ourselves, let’s start with 5 minutes a day! Everyone can find 5 minutes somewhere, even if you have to give up 5 minutes of staring at your computer screen with no direction but generally surfing the net.

Also, as caregivers we are generally much better at taking 5...

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Breathing – for Caregiver Health

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

Hello everyone!  This 5 Minutes for Me! focuses on your breath.

Focusing on your breath is a powerful tool, bringing relaxation, balance and clearing.

Set a timer for 5 minutes.  In the most quiet, peaceful room you can find, sit comfortably in a chair with your feet on the floor and your hands in your lap. Set your intention to focus only on your breath and let go of any other concerns or worries. (It may help to have a pen and piece of paper handy, where you can write down any recurring thoughts that won’t leave you alone).

Bless yourself in whatever way works for you – it may be a prayer, or an invocation of peace.  Now, just focus on the rising and falling of your chest as you breath in and out. When you breathe in, your chest expands and rises.  When you exhale, you chest falls. Feel the tide of your breath. Take nice size breaths, and fill your entire chest with air. Try holding your breath for five seconds before you exhale.

Become aware of...

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Resting – for Caregiver Health

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

Today, I’d like you all to stretch out of your comfort zones for 5 minutes for Me!   Today, I want you to just rest. Yes, rest. This could mean sleeping, or just sitting down and doing nothing.  Rest has a lot of value, including being restorative.

So, after you’re done reading this blog, please, go be somewhere just with you, turn off the lights and the phone and the pagers – put up a sign that says “unavailable for 5 minutes” and just rest.

Notice how you feel before and after your 5 minutes of rest. After resting for 5 minutes, celebrate and congratulate yourself for taking care of yourself and taking time for you! Leave the guilt behind.

If you’re like me, or other caregivers, taking time for yourself just to rest is an underutilized skill.  I remind myself regularly that rest is good and that it is productive – it just looks different than other types of productivity and the results are not always seen on the exterior.


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Taking Care of the Caregiver

Uncategorized Mar 31, 2020

The concept of taking care of yourself first so you can help take care of others continues to intrigue me.  I used to think most people naturally took care of themselves first, and I was “the only one” who needed practice with this.  I have always been good at taking care of others. It came naturally. I am continually amazed to find that not taking care of oneself first seems to be a human condition – most of us do it.  It is easier to give advice to others to take care themselves, and sincerely want them to do it, and even see the value in them doing it. If I take care of myself first, sometimes I feel guilty or selfish.

I’m going to take care of myself now, and go to bed early.

The sliver of moon is beautiful tonight.

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Am I a Caregiver?

Uncategorized Feb 23, 2020

Nobody applies for this job. Most try to deny the possibility they might be called upon to help, or that their loved one might be anything less than independent. Sooner or later, though, something occurs, and it will be looming in front of you.

The term “caregiver” refers to anyone who provides assistance to someone else who needs help. Specifically, we are generally referring to “informal” caregivers – those unpaid individuals providing assistance to someone who is chronically ill or disabled and who can no longer care effectively for himself or herself. This form of care delays or even helps avoid institutional placement or the need for more “formal” or paid caregiving services. Caregivers can be spouses, partners, adult children, relatives or friends. Together, they provide services valued at more than $257 billion a year. Family, or informal caregiving, is the backbone of the long-term care system in the United States.

Many caregivers do...

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Shriver Report Shows Alzheimer’s Impact on Women: Aging Pro’s Challenges and Solutions

Uncategorized Feb 23, 2020

          Shriver Report Shows Alzheimer’s Impact on Women:

Aging: Challenges and Solutions

Dr Cheryl Mathieu

The Shriver Report: A Women’s Nation Take on Alzheimer’s was just released. The Report is a collaboration between Maria Shriver and the Alzheimer’s Association, exposing the epidemic’s effect on women as caregivers, advocates and people with the disease. Maria is getting people talking about Alzhiemer’s disease!

Alzheimer’s is a women’s issue. According to the report, women make up two-thirds of the people with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. and account for 60 percent of the unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s. This means that 10 million women either have Alzheimer’s or are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s. 40 percent of the caregivers interviewed said they felt like they had no choice in assuming the caregiving role. These numbers continue to grow, daily.


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Dr. Cheryl is nominee for Alzheimer’s Association “Visionary Women and Compassionate Caregiver” award

Uncategorized Feb 23, 2020

I was honored to attend the celebratory luncheon for the Alzheimer’s Association (Orange County) “Visionary Women and Compassionate Caregiver” award. I was lucky enough to be nominated this year. The luncheon honors individuals who have served as models of commitment to compassionate care.

I felt so blessed to be there, with (mostly) women who are involved at some level with caring for those with Alzheimer’s. Each person I spoke with had their personal story of how this disease has affected them in some way. Some caregivers were children or spouses, some were professionals in the field. Some of their loved ones have already passed away, others are still living with the disease.

Alzheimer’s was the common thread at this luncheon. We all knew the storyline, quite personal yet familiar. We all knew that we could never really explain to another how this disease impacted us, nor could we convey all the stories we hold in our hearts – the struggles, the...

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