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When Should Families Start Thinking About Long-term Care?

(This is excerpted from an interview with Chris Spence, President and CEO of Wesleyan Homes, Inc. in Georgetown, Texas. A thirty-five year veteran of the long-term care industry, his experience includes independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing, rehab, memory care…

How Can I Tell How My Aging Parents Are Doing?

  If you don’t live close to your parents, nothing takes the place of a visit – even for a few days – to let you know if your folks are holding their own. Use your five senses and common…

Showing Up

Woody Allen said, “80 percent of life is showing up.” Whether you write and direct a movie every year or spend your time caring for a loved one, showing up is the most important thing a person can do. If…

A Caregiver’s Gratitude List

As I flew back to California after my first 11 days as a caregiver, I was feeling sorry for myself. I could only think of all the things that had changed forever and how I would have to change with…

Choose Kindness

For the first half of my mother’s two decade battle with Alzheimer’s, her long term memory amazed me. She remembered certain facts with crystal clarity. For instance, she never forgot that I was infamous for running out of gas. Every…

Laughter is a Blessing

  Much to my relief, as her Alzheimer’s progressed, Mother still retained her sense of humor. Her memory was fragile, but her wit was sharp. One day I walked into her room with scuffed up shoes. She took one look…

Go Into Her World

When I moved back to Texas in 1996 to care for my parents, my steepest learning curve was dealing with Mother’s Alzheimer’s. My father had covered for her when I came home from California on short visits, but suddenly I…

What Are We Going to Do About Mama and Daddy?

While most of us enjoyed Mother’s Day, I’m sure there were millions of adult children in their fifties and sixties who took a long hard look at their moms and dads and thought to themselves: she just told me the…

Welcoming the Elephant in the Room

For five years I flew into Dallas each Christmas determined to have “The Conversation” with my father. Mother had started showing signs of early Alzheimer’s and I wanted to talk candidly with Dad about her condition and how he was…

It’s Never Too Late to be a “Cover Guy”

I was pleased when the editor of Texas Co-Op Power – a magazine that goes to 1.3 million families that get their power from electric co-ops – asked me to write about  the urgent need to plan for caregiving before…