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Caregiver crisis avoidance series: Recognizing signs and triggers to avoid burnout

By: The Gift of Caring


If you are taking care of an aging parent or family member, it is likely you have experienced the effects of caregiver stress; at the Gift of Caring we approach the care of our aging loved ones from a holistic approach and know that caregiver physical, mental and emotional wellness is paramount to the wellness of those we care for, that’s why today we launch a series of blogs focusing on avoiding being in crisis mode; over the next few weeks we will be sharing topics that can help us design our crisis avoidance plan so we can continue to provide that loving care to our aging loved ones, and enjoy our time with them.  

One of the silent perils of being a family caregiver is stress: it can quietly seep in, without noticing it, in between a doctor’s appointment and setting up our loved one’s meds. It is said that “It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.” We have made the commitment...

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Why therapeutic fibbing is not actually lying to your loved one who has dementia

dementia Feb 18, 2020

By Laura Oldaker, The Gift of Caring

I’m always a sucker for romantic Nicholas Sparks novels, my favorite being, of course, The Notebook.  In the story, (spoiler alert!) The main character reads from his notebook the love story of Noah and Allie, to a fellow female resident of the retirement home he lives in; she, who obviously suffers from dementia, listens intently to this stranger who reads the story to her... later in the narrative, we realize what he is reading is actually their love story, he is Noah and she is Allie.  

Last week in our blog we talked about reminiscence therapy, and the positive effects of using it with our loved ones living with dementia, another technique I recognize being used in this love story is what experts call “therapeutic fibbing” or its actual term, “validation therapy”. 

People who suffer from dementia have their memory affected. The area in the brain where new information is stored is affected and...

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Techniques for better communication with your loved one with Dementia

By Laura Oldaker, The Gift of Caring 


Effectively communication with other human beings is one life’s biggest challenges, and breakdowns in communication lead to divorce and war. It is a difficult 3-part process that includes a sender, a receiver and a message. The key and most often forgotten part of this process is the feedback, which ensures the receiver understood what the sender was trying to convey... What, you may be asking yourself, does this have to do with caring for my loved one with dementia? Well, actually, everything! 


When a person is living with dementia and cognitive impairment, communication becomes more difficult, and sometimes, verbal communication is rendered impossible; so it’s up to us, their family caregiver, to adjust how we communicate to ensure our message is received and understood. Today’s blog goes over some communication techniques that you can start utilizing right away, that can improve communication,...

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Protecting your aging loved one and yourself from the CoronaVirus

By Laura Oldaker, The Gift of Caring

We hear it in the news, it’s all over social media, it comes up in casual conversation, everyone has heard of the new scary virus that came from China: The CoronaVirus;  and it's making its way around the world. The most recent news reports state 27 countries have been affected, including the United States. 

People who have been affected with the virus look and report having flu-like symptoms, ranging from more minor ailments — like a sore throat, fatigue, coughing, and a runny nose — to more serious symptoms like difficulty breathing. About 14,000 people worldwide have been infected, and 305 have died from it. 

While this virus is definitely a health concern, especially for individuals with compromised immune systems such as older adults and those with chronic conditions like COPD and diabetes, before we run out the door to our local pharmacy to buy their whole stock of hand sanitizer and face masks,...

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When to consider senior living for your loved one living with dementia

By Laura Oldaker, The Gift of Caring

Being a family caregiver to someone who is living with dementia is one of the highest forms of loving your aging loved one, as it can be a very difficult task. In my 25 years of experience working with older adults and their family members, I have witnessed many difficult situations that have led family members to feel like “throwing in the towel” or drive themselves to such stress levels that can affect their own physical, emotional and mental well-being. As a family caregiver myself to someone who lives with dementia, I also understand how unique each situation is, from the nuances of family dynamics, the feelings of guilt, balancing your own personal and professional life, and so much more. 


We constantly do our best effort to provide care to our loved ones, whether you are caring in person or providing care at a distance. Some are fortunate to have time and means to be the primary caregiver or to hire outside help,...

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Does your aging Loved One Need More Care? How To Start The Conversation.

Many families don’t prepare or have a discussion with their elderly loved one until it’s too late or until they find themselves in a crisis. Many families hold off because they don’t want to think about their loved one getting older and needing more care. When the topic is brought up, conversations can quickly turn into stressful heated arguments because emotions run high and everyone feels blindsided or under attack. While starting the conversation can be uncomfortable, you can ease the stress level by starting slowly before a crisis happens.

Conversation Starters

With the holidays recently passed, we may have observed changes in our loved one’s condition that may seem a “red flag” during our visits with them. It is never too early to begin having important conversations with your aging loved one and start the conversation with your family, as difficult as they may seem, it is vital these discussions happen as soon as you begin to notice changes....

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Taking Care of our aging loved ones... What does it mean to be a family Caregiver?

Uncategorized Jan 06, 2020

By: Laura Oldaker, The Gift of Caring  


As a culture, we’re always so busy, we tend to fill our plates to the max. It’s a circus act to balance our own personal, professional, spiritual life, let alone manage a whole household, add to that managing a budget, and any curveballs life may throw your way. 

For those of us fortunate enough to still have our parents and grandparents around comes a new challenge: What happens when our loved ones arrive at the point where they need extra assistance? Whether the assistance is financial, spiritual or physical, it may feel like our workload has just been doubled. 

The family caregiver is anyone taking care of an aging parent/grandparent; a child with special needs or spouse who suffers from a disease or chronic condition, among others. It isn't unheard of that many family caregivers end up hospitalized due to self negligence or stress. 

A family caregiver faces an increased risk for depression,...

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Top Five 9-1-1 Calls Made By Elderly & How To Prevent Them

emergency prevention Dec 31, 2019

Top Five 9-1-1 Calls Made By Elderly & How To Prevent Them 

By: The Gift of Caring

An estimated 240 million calls are made to 9-1-1 in the U.S. each year. This is a staggering number and many of these calls are made by our elderly. As family caregivers caring for an elderly loved one, we do our best to prevent emergencies from happening by providing optimal care. Being pro-active is key and knowing the top five reasons why elderly call 9-1-1 is a great way to create prevention strategies to reduce the likelihood of emergencies occurring.

Let’s dive into the top five emergencies that result in a 9-1-1 call and prevention strategies that can be incorporated to help prevent them.

#5: Pressure Ulcers: These are also known as pressure sores or bedsores. Pressure ulcers are injuries to skin and underlying tissues resulting from prolonged pressure on the skin. They can develop quickly and those at risk of bedsores typically have medical conditions that limit...

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7 signs to observe when visiting your aging parents these holidays

health warning signs Nov 27, 2019

The holidays are a special time to visit with our loved ones and spend some quality time with them. In many cases, it’s one of the few times of the year we get to see and visit our aging parents, whether we live a few miles or thousands of miles away.  Many times our loved ones may tell us they “are fine” on their own, but spending this quality time with them can present a good opportunity to ascertain if our aging loved one is actually doing well or if a change of condition has happened.  

During these upcoming holidays, take some time to pay attention to the following seven signs that might indicate that their physical or cognitive condition may have changed and suggestions on what to do about it:


  1. Has your loved one had some weight loss or extreme gain?  Don’t ignore sudden weight gain or loss; both can be a sign of serious medical problems or self neglect. Weight loss can also be an indication of depression, diabetes, or even more...
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