Sept. 15, 2016 Caregiving and Grief News Roundup

As you may know by now, we periodically post “News Roundups”, which you can revisit here and here, where we share interesting and relevant caregiving or grief stories that we have come across in the news. Here is our latest installment of stories that are worth a read.

As this article explains, caregiving is often unpaid and, therefore, uncounted by our economic measurement sticks, like GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

We have previously written about workplace issues and obtaining leave from work for caregiving, but we only dared to imagine flexible work schedules and job protection for unpaid leave. The consulting company Deloitte just made waves in the “paid leave arms race” for offering employees 16 weeks of paid leave for caregiving

The New York Times recently covered caregiver burnout

We love this positive story. A Nebraska woman made her health come first by committing to exercise after recovering from 3 family deaths. 

This NPR story shares the life and work of a poet who recently died of cancer at the young age of 25. 

This Wall Street Journal article talks about sibling loss in a moving story of a brother losing his dear sister in the 9/11 attacks. He suppressed his grief for years, but later learns that he wants to know more about that day, how she died, and face his grief. 

Here’s a short but lovely story about a rabbi being with his friend who was dying. The rabbi says, “A soul getting ready to pass is open and vulnerable and dripping with brave wisdom.”


July 28, 2016 Caregiving and Grief News Roundup

It’s time for another News Roundup! We wanted to share some interesting stories that we have come across recently in the caregiving and grieving worlds. We frequently read caregiving and grieving stories, many of which are well written and informative. Sadly, all too often, many of the grief stories are related to shootings and other violent acts. Here we focus on the stories relevant to young adults in caregiving and grief, which continue to be somewhat rare. These particular discussions, we feel, are worthy of your precious time.

We just came across (and wished we had seen it in 2015)  this PBS special on Frontline, following best selling author, Atul Gawande, as he features the physician-patient relationship nearing the end of life. It is powerful and we highly recommend it. As he states, “We want to seem competent and competent means, ‘I can fix this.’” Yet, when it can’t be fixed, the physician needs to have a different conversation. The special features a neuro-oncologist who sees patients with one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer with a <5% survival rate and who has end of life discussions daily. We are convinced that she deserves a medal for this heroic work! Be forewarned that this is an emotional episode, so you may not want to watch it at work.

A Preview of "Being Mortal" on Frontline. 

This article on Next Avenue made us reflect on the often unrealistic dream of having a grand, “last conversation.” It is not always feasible to have a meaningful final moment, but you can add up enough of your many conversations, cherished moments, and even unspoken love, to make something meaningful. When our sister was dying, we each had moments, exchanges and expressions of love which reassure us that we expressed how much we meant to each other. To us, that is more real and meaningful than any dramatic Hollywood movie ending.

On a similar topic of preparing for death and end-of-life discussions, have you heard about The Conversation Project?

This book just came out: AARP's Meditations for Caregivers

It doesn’t matter if it’s a southern thing, or old-fashioned, as this Guardian article states, we agree that cooking is a specific thing that you can do for a friend who has lost a loved one. Cooking is an expression of love and is an easy way to help. This article will make you laugh, while reminding us that food can bring comfort. As the author states, “People can eat all the carrot sticks and carb-free tortillas they want when they’re feeling happy. Heavy grief, in my opinion, is best fought off with equally heavy cream."

One of our favorite British Royals, Prince Harry, recently commented on how important it is to talk about grief. And if he's talking about grief, then it must be cool, right?

We are enjoying reading a newly published book, It’s Okay to Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too) by Nora McInerny Purmort, offering humor in a memoir about grief and loss. The author lost her father and husband from cancer in 2014, just a few weeks after miscarrying her second baby. As she states in the introduction: “This is for people who have been through some shit - or have watched someone go through it. This is for people who aren’t sure if they’re saying or doing the right thing (you’re not, but nobody is). This is for people who had their life turned upside down and just learned to live that way. For people who laughed at a funeral or cried at a grocery store.” We can certainly relate!

Do you have any news stories in caregiving or grief to share?

May 19, 2016 Caregiving News Roundup

Grab your coffee and get ready to hear the latest in the caregiving world. In the past month, we have come across countless great articles, blog posts, and news. We wanted to share a few of our favorites- articles that we identified with, learned from, or felt would be useful to you. This news round up has a theme targeted to “Caregivers”.

Perhaps It’s Time to Celebrate a Day in Honor of Caregivers. Here’s the argument for starting to celebrate “Caregivers Day” - sounds like a good idea to us! We can already think of a few worthy folks to celebrate.

Do All Caregivers Matter? Feylyn Lewis draws attention to a specific population of young adults, not to say that they are more important, but to point out that they have different needs and demands than older adults have. This article points out why this age group of caregivers is unique, while also stating that all caregivers are worthy of support. 

Health as a Family Affair was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The concept of illness should not focus solely on the patient, but needs to incorporate the whole family. Broadening the scope to include family members will target interventions to support all of the team members, which will also benefit the patient. We, family caregivers, are of no use if we aren’t healthy ourselves and aren’t getting the help that we need.

The 7 Deadly Emotions of Caregiving. Next Avenue provides a list and advice to cope with 7 common feelings that come with caring for another. Guilt being a pesky one: “Caregivers often burden themselves with a long list of self-imposed 'oughts,' 'shoulds' and 'musts.'” We agree, which is why we created our own “To Don’t List.”

Superheroes of Caregiving Need Better Support. Forbes reports on the superheroes of caregiving. Imagine a world where caregivers do not have to summon superhero powers to accomplish all that they do - we love this list! If only it were real... 

A few articles discuss technology in caregiving, an interesting and growing area of tech solutions. Parks Associates Study regarding technology usage among caregivers found, not surprisingly, that young caregivers are more likely to use apps and other connected healthcare solutions, yet still not as many as you might think. Forbes reports on the Winners Named in Shark Tank Style Caregiving Tech Competition sponsored by AARP.

Your elderly parent is home from the hospital. What happens next? Lastly, this article in The Washington Post describes the increasing research about supporting caregivers and their health; in particular, it discusses the studies performed by one of our admired researchers on this topic, Laurel Northouse, a professor emerita at the University of Michigan School of Nursing.

Northouse’s review of studies found that giving education and support to caregivers improves the physical and emotional well-being of cancer patients. It also decreases the emotional distress experienced by caregivers and improves their confidence in giving care. ‘Caregivers’ and patients’ well-being are interdependent,’ she says.