Author Archives: jmesler

How does one cope when one is the full time caregiver of a spouse with a chronic illness?

I asked a friend, Nancy, to respond to this question and also to describe some of her daily challenges:

The “uneventful everyday” is a mixed blessing when caring for a person with a chronic illness, in my case caring for a person with Parkinson ’s disease (PD). One person described living with PD was like trying to drive with the brakes on.
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What are the early signs of Alzheimers Disease?

Dear Karen,
How do I know if my mom has Alzheimer’s disease? What are some of the early signs of this disease? -Betty

Dear Betty:
Good question, Betty. Many people, including myself, want to know what signs to look for. For wisdom on this subject I went to wonderful resource, Coach Broyles’ Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers. Frank Broyles, is Athletic Director Emeritus for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks. His wife, Barbara, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Frank says, “I had many questions and spent a lot of time looking for answers. What I learned is contained in my book, Playbook for Alzheimer’s Caregivers.”

One of the first topics which Coach Broyles deals with in his book is what signs to look for.
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How can one make the Advent season and Christmas a joy-filled meaningful celebration when one is alone and lonely?

I like the answer which Barbara Baumgardner, gives us in her story, “The Aroma of Christmas.”

The first Christmas after my husband died was filled with forced laughter, fake smiles and trying desperately to have a good time.

Twelve months later healing was evidenced by the excitement welling up with me as I prepared for a grand and glorious holiday. The kids and grandchildren were coming to spend Christmas at my home. Continue reading

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How do we handle the holidays when a loved one has dementia?

Holidays are memory days. But not for people with dementia.“Do you remember the year the tree fell over…when the cousins stayed for all eight days…when Santa forgot to eat the cookies and the kids cried…”Holidays, especially the Christmas holiday are a tapestry woven with memories. So what happens when your mom or dad or loved one has lost those memories and you want to spend time with them. Continue reading

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How can we offer hope to someone who is suffering?

If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of it all. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Providing hope to someone whose days are dark with worry or who is suffering with a serious illness is also giving them courage and the vitality to keep moving. What are some things we can do to bring that touch of hope? Continue reading

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How to pray? One way: The ACTS prayer

Praying is having a conversation with God—just as if God was sitting across the counter from you. But sometimes my mind wanders. . .sometimes it seems that I just say the same things over and over. A prayer model which I really like to pray is the ACTS prayer: The acronym stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. Continue reading

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How can we Involve our Teenagers in Caregiving?

Dear Karen,

I’d like caregiving to become a natural part of what my family does together. How can we involve our children in caregiving? How can we especially involve teenagers? – Sue

I have been discussing this questions with various individuals and following are some of my conclusions from those conversations: Continue reading

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How can we care for a person with cancer?

How can we care for a person with cancer? Ask Important Questions! Ask, “How are you, today?” and also ask, “What’s going to be the hard part for you?” Be sincere and show them that what they are going through is important to you. Tell them you’re coming over …. Then visit them. Be creative with special treats and conversations that will brighten their days. Even if they say they don’t need anything, that’s when they will most appreciate that you are there. Continue reading

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This is What Forgiveness Looks Like

Jeri Mulder says the following story is what forgiveness looks like: On May 20, 2012, 18 year-old Takunda Mavima was driving home drunk from a party when he lost control and crashed his car into an off-ramp near Grand Rapids, Michigan. … Continue reading

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How To Affirm Your Children?

Affirm your children. Expressing praise may or may not come naturally to you, but it’s important. Affirmation from Dad plays a big role in shaping a child’s self-confidence and attitude. So here is a checklist which gives you 7 ways to affirm your child. Continue reading

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