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Why a Crystal Clear Healthcare Directive is Essential

There are few conversations more difficult to begin than discussing advance directives. These directives reflect a loved one’s desires for medical treatment when they are unable to decide for themselves.

No one can force anyone to have an advance directive completed. There are no state laws that requires anyone to have one. It is a completely optional document.

However, when a directive is not available and a physician feels the patient is unable or cannot make decision, the decision must be made by the patient’s immediate family, friends, guardian or caregiver. In some cases, legal surrogates, trustees or other physicians are appointed to make an authoritative decision.

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Family Caregiving in the Car

One of the things I dreaded was traveling. Even the short distance to the grocery store was fraught with possible catastrophe when accompanied by someone with dementia. I had to be aware of what my mother was doing and feeling at all times so I could anticipate her needs and forestall tantrums and tears.

New family caregivers need to understand that their charges may be uncomfortable because they’re not in a familiar place or situation. They may not be able to express this insecurity but it can lead to acting out or being glum. Over time, I learned what things to bring or to do to make a drive, long or short, more manageable for me and less stressful for my mother.

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Memory Books Make Caregiving Easier

What’s a memory book? It’s a collection of photos or letters gathered together in an album, brag book or some kind of binder. It doesn’t have to be fancy or colorful. It does need to have content that has positive meaning for your loved one.

How can it help you as a family caregiver?

  • Flipping through a book can offer comfort if your loved one is troubled.
  • It can be a useful distraction if your loved one is restless or bored.
  • Photos can help your loved one connect to friends and strangers alike.
  • It can remind you of past, better times when you feel frustrated or annoyed.

Index Cards: The Family Caregiver’s Best Helper

A set of index cards can be a first time family caregiver’s best friend. Yes, a simple stack of four or five index cards. This short stack has saved me time, lost brain cells and prevented anxiety attacks.

Here’s what you will need: Five or six index cards. A pen. Yes, a simple, ubiquitous index 3×5 index card. It was good enough for World War II code breakers, it’s good enough for me.

bletchley park info cards