joan lunden's new book

joan lunden's new book

“Of all the lessons I’ve learned through my years of caregiving, the most important thing all of us can do is to keep the love going. Just tell them that you love them again and again. You will never say it too much, ever.” – Joan Lunden

Former host of Good Morning America, Joan Lunden, is among the 65 million Americans who make up the “sandwich generation,” those who are both raising a child and caring for an aging parent. Joan is not only a mother of seven children; she’s also the longtime caretaker of her mother who has dementia. Despite the emotional toll of caregiving, a bittersweet labor of love for many, Joan’s experience inspired her to become an advocate for seniors and caregivers across America.

As a journalist, Joan feels a responsibility to educate people. This year she launched the first-ever television show for family caregivers, Talking Care with Joan Lunden. She partnered with A Place for Mom to spread the word about our free senior care and senior housing referral service, and she also recently published a book for family caregivers: Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers: 101 Stories of Love, Sacrifice, and Bonding.

Joan begins her bestselling book by sharing her own poignant story, “I am a caregiver for my mom Gladyce who is 93 years old, so caregiving is a subject that is very close to my heart, one that I live every day.” It quickly becomes apparent that, despite being a TV personality, her life as a caregiver is just like those of millions of Americans. Following Joan’s moving and personal introduction are 101 wide-ranging stories, featuring tips and practical advice from experts and real-life experiences from caregivers. The book features a diverse mix of contributors, but Joan’s inspirational voice resonates throughout. She introduces many of the chapters, and her years as a journalist shine through during the interviews.

Enter for the chance to win a free copy of Joan’s new best-selling book today!

Contest Entry Rules
  1. Like our Facebook page.
  2. Write a message on your Facebook wall with a link to Caregivers.com, OR link to us from your blog and let us know you did so by posting on our Facebook wall.
  3. Comment below, on this post, sharing your best caregiver wisdom by April 9th.
  4. Leave a way to reach you once you’ve accomplished each of these tasks by reaching out to us either on Twitter, Facebook or email.
  5. We’ll hold a random drawing and announce three winners on Facebook the week of April 16th.

Watch Joan’s interview on Good Morning America to learn more about her book!

80 Comments

  1. Katee Francies

    I just attended a workshop with Teepa Snow–best advice I’ve had yet about being a compassionate caregiver–when you want to scream…back away and get control of yourself so you can be loving

  2. Ann McCord

    Just a year ago I became my husbands caregiver when he was released from the hospital after 3 surgeries. We are doing much better now and have learned a lot durin this year.

  3. DanaLarsen

    Being a caregiver is a challenging role. Listening to your own wants and needs is crucial for maintaining your sanity and staying healthy. Read this blog post for some helpful tips: http://www.caregivers.com/caregiver-wellness/caregivers-guilt-coping-strategies/. Anne, you’re right — Being a caregiver is very educational and provides you with a completely different perspective on life.

  4. charlene bucksell

    I’ve been the caregiver seven years for my 97 yr.old mother.She evacuated with me qand my 2 daughters during Katrina,and has been going downhill since.She walks with a walker (very slow)and has a hearing problem.Itry to be patient with her and call on the Lord many times.At times Icould scream but Iwouldn”t want her to hear.Iknow the Lord will help me but there are times when you think nobody hears.

  5. Joanne

    My dads rapidly progressive dementia has been something none of us could have imagined his golden age turning into. This s a man who went from being extremely active to totally immobile and non verbal in less than two years. Although being his primary caretaker has been challenging at times, I’ve been blessed with wonderful aides for him that allow me to still be his daughter. One thing I learned is learning to take a step back, surround yourself with those who understand and can give you that moral support. Learn all you can and share what you experience. Realty is, there are many of us who share the same story and find comfort when you can say “I know exactly what you are going through”

  6. sandra smith

    I have been a caregiver for twelve years to my husband ,who is 86 . and I am 64 . We have children from both our other marrages ,but we have no children at the same time . Had to put my husband in a nursing home because i cannt lift him any longer . I still do so much for him that the aids there like seeing me come because it lets them free to do other things. And this is making me get farther down in my on back. These nursing home need to be investigated more. We pay for his housing there and one day its all going to be gone and i will be like so many others at their mercy. i have had no time for myself for along time , and my husband is so depentant on me ,that it makes me feel guilty when i dont go everyday to see him.His kids are the same age as i am ,and they think that i can bring him back home and take care of him by myself. Really think they wouldnt care if i died taking care of him. I love my husband more today than ever ,just need a brak. Dont know if this is what you want to hear but this is my feels this morning

    • Sharon Blue

      Hi Sandra,your letter hits closer than any of the others as to how I feel. MY husband is 79, I’m 72. He is my second husband a vrteran so he gets some benefits, and is in an assisted living home. I, love him more than myown life. I come home each time so worried that I will lose him. Can you understand me saying that I need him as much or more than he needs me? I have a very close knit family, but its not the same for them. I am even getting my driver’s license so I can spend more time with him. I have my own health issues, but they take a backseat for mnow.

      • Debbie Baker

        Oh How I can relate… My life has not been the same since 10-19-05. My husband went 10 min. without oxygen and has brain damage. I took care of him at home for 6 years. My daughters were a big help for some of the time but they moved on. (Their step-fateher) I was married for 1 year to The GREATEST MAN in the World. Our savings ran out I had to put him a nursing home in order to get back to work. I cry driving 25 miles to go see him and 25 miles back. He is always in need of a shower, diaper change and clean sheets. I lost all respect or nurses aides, they are useless and are only there for a paycheck. He rarely remembers me when I get there and sleeps or is mesmorized by the tv. I can’t go back and I can’t go forward. He has 2 children who don’t even call since he can’t send them money any longer. If there was a pill to end it all I would buy 2. I can’t stand seeing him like this. My Thoughts and Prayers to ALL Caregivers

  7. Cathy Bossi

    My husband had a massive stroke almost 10 years ago. It is difficult because it is just him and I and I have no help finacially or emotionally. After trying to care for my husband, work and care for our home and finacial needs, I am burned out. My husband is my love and soulmate but I am at the point of exhaustion and despair. I certainly need this book to help me continue with being the best caregiver I can be.

  8. sande sawyers

    I was caregiver to my parents, mostly my mom and I would not have traded that experience with anyone. I loved that last couple of years with my parents. It was hard, indeed… but sooo very worth it. I would do it over again if I was able to. Now my cousin faces this task. I am hoping to help her with any advice I can give her. If this book helps her, then I am alllll for it!! Then also there is this site, https://webmail.aplaceformom.com/owa/redir.aspx?C=b93538aa17784f3994d38b75b48ff431&URL=http%3a%2f%2fcaregivers.com that she could go to for ideas.. God Bless

  9. Barbara Jo

    I an a caregiver for my Dad he is 93 some days are so hard but he is the love of my life I an just happy I still have him here with me My Dad just sits in his room with his T.V. likes to watch tv land all the old showes he watched long ago
    He does most of his personal care himself thats a big help for me He does have a job every night after dinner he folds the tablecloth and puts it away He wishes he could do more for me but I tell hin its my job to take care of him like he did me I just get a big hugs and kiss every night so the days that are hard I know I will always get my kisses good night
    Ian blessed
    Barbara Jo

  10. Phyllis Winsor

    Be sure to take care of your own self, too———-if for no other reason than if you get down, who will take care of the other person.

  11. Rebecca J

    My mom had a mild stroke on 3-18-2012.She lives Memphis,Tn I live in Calif. Iam here in Memphis in her home we have started.P T and I am worried about what will happen when i have to go home. We have family here but noone who can stay and make sure she is ok at night. I love my mom and I can not move here I have a job in Ca. I am so torn between staying and going home. My dad died last June 2011. my mom is in her 80,s. She is trying to get back to her old self. It is a lot of work. She is scared she will not be ok by herself. She used to drive and take care of herself.

  12. Bridget R. Ignarro

    I take care of my husband with cronic C.O.P.D. and my ex-husband has no family and he has dememcha and not enough money to live in a Assisted Living quarters, what do his children do when his money runs out? He needs care and help in many ways.
    I am not very healthy myself and would like to have help in the matters I discused
    above. Thank you for your help in advance.

  13. Anton

    HELP—been taking care of my 93 y/o Mom since 8/20/99
    last three years at a nursing home which I call LCCOPP
    which to me stands for Life Care Center Old People Prison.
    It’s a crying shame the way the greatest generation is not
    treated so great. Truly I wish something could be done for
    not only my Mom but all the residents who have to suffer the
    shameful treatment.

    • DanaLarsen

      Hi Anton,

      That doesn’t sound like a good situation at all! We’re so sorry to hear that. We have Senior Living Advisors across the country to provide helpful resources and referrals. You can call them at (877) 666-3239. All the best to you and your mom.

      Best,
      Dana
      Caregivers.com

  14. Kim Barrett

    I was a caregiver for my mother for 6 years. As difficult as it was my only regret is that I didn’t join a support group or was better educated as a care giver. I’m still feeling the effects of those 6 years today. My heart broke as I slowly watched my mother slipping away from me, and I could never make her better. So much is still needed to support those who are caregivers for loved ones. K.
    Thanks for the giveaway. I posted on my facebook wall.

  15. Debbie Chaney

    You can’t adequately care for someone else unless you occasionally take time out for yourself. I posted to my fb wall.

  16. LoRetta Archuleta

    We are in the business of helping CareGivers and their loved ones. It is one of the most gratifying jobs I have had in my career. As a Breat Cancer Survivor, Caregiver of a Heart Patient, I have learned many lessons as well. One thing never changes….the need for prayer and faith. Prayer helps when one feels hopeless. There is an answer and it may not be what we expected, but it is one of the skills I have learned as a patient and CareGiver. Bless you all for all you do.

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks for sharing, LoRetta. You are a strong lady! Thanks for your support and advice. All the best to you!

  17. Carol Linton

    Being my Dad’s primary caregiver has been one of the most rewarding, satisfying, frustrating, comical experiences I have ever had. His dementia has now reached the level that he is totally ADL dependant, incontinent, lacks insight or motivation and he is behaviorally aggressive at times. I love Dad more than I can describe in words. I am honored and I cherish the time that I have left with him here in my home. He was and remains my best friend. He still knows me and had brief and remarkable moments of clarity that I hope to remember. Perhaps, I should start a journal; in my “spare” time.
    My frustrations have been with getting and keeping quality care for him. When a caregiver requires that the most basic of care for their loved one be performed, it is difficult to find and retain quality assistance.
    Dad and I are so blessed to have “Diane”. No one could be more dedicated, loyal, honest, reliable, caring and just overall wonderful than she is. We are so blessed!!

    Carol (Charlie’s daughter)

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks for sharing, Carol. We are so glad you found a wonderful person to help you as a caregiver (that helps in so many ways!). Your dad is lucky to have you!

      All the best,
      Dana with Caregivers

  18. Lindley Fox

    My mother has Alzheimers and I often need something to occupy her. I keep a basket of socks that somehow lose their mate on top of my dryer, and pull this out for her to sort through and try amd find the matches. She comes up with interesting choices, but it makes her feel like she is helping, and keeps her busy!

    • DanaLarsen

      This is great advice! Thanks for sharing, Lindley!

      • carmen xerri

        that is a great idea lindley i look after my husband who has dementia for the last 7 years

  19. RICHARD DINAN

    I HAVE FOUR LADIES I AM THE CAREGIVER FOR, UNFORTUNATELY SOME OF THESE SENIORS IF THEY DON’T HAVE SOMEONE TO HELP THEM. THEY REALLY HAVE A DIFFICULT TIME. I AM SEMI-RETIRED AT SEVENTY-0NE AND ENJOY HELPING THESE LADIES OUT.

    RICHARD

  20. Barry Duggan

    Raising a demented parent is no fun, especially when she is in decline and ready for the place with the locked doors sad to say. ( we do have 2 caregivers,, and soon 3, thank God)

  21. Kitty

    Have been caring for my grandma in my home for the past 10 years. Her dementia is getting worse, and it is getting harder and harder to take care of her. I love my grandmother even though we buck heads from time to time. We are both very stubborn. I am a nurse, but find that my nursing skills go right out the window when it comes to my grandma. I keep trying to reason with her, which is silly, because you cant. It is difficult because sometimes she seems really lucid and we have good conversations, then the next minute she is totally out of it. She has scratched all of her hair out on the top of her head, sometimes she gets into such a scratching frenzy thinking something is on the top of her head, which is her scalp,and asks us to get the rough spot off of her. Such a little thing, but it drives me crazy, especially when I have just washed, rolled and fixed her hair. I am in a support group at work called Daughter’s of Aging Relatives. It is helpful to know we are not alone. Definitely need to have a good support system when caring for our loved ones. Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  22. Martha

    My mom was a very strong woman, hard working individual and dedicated grandma with her grandchildren. At first it was hard to see my mom mental health deteriorate and slowly fade away. I’m a daughter of 5 siblings and my frustration has been that all other siblings have opted to leave me all the weight on taking care of my mom. My mom has been in a Nursing home now for the last 5 years and just to keep on top of this facility to do their task has been a full time job for me; Mom has had great caregivers and some that really should find something else to do as caregiving is not their call. I visit my mom every day after work to check up on her on several occasions I have found my mom extremely wet w/urine. What should I do or can I do anything, other than to be upset at the caregiver that has my mom on that given day?

    Thank you by the way for your website, it’s extremely helpfull for me to read everyone elses comments. I will learn to face this challenge to be a good daugher and a caregiver for my mom.

    Martha

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks for sharing, Martha. Being a caregiver can be so challenging.

      If you think that a particular caregiver is not doing his/her job, go with your instinct. There are definitely signs that your mom may not be getting proper care and frequently being soaked by urine is not a good thing. If this were to happen once, even twice, it could just be a matter of a bad day or that it just happened. But if this is happening repeatedly, definitely confront the caregiver. You’re right — some caregivers have found their calling, others may not be idea. But finding the one/s that work for your family is what’s important.

      We are so happy that you find our website useful. All the best to you and your family!

  23. Nancy

    I read all the coments by care givers.I am still able to take care of myself in my own home but, my time is coming. I know that my children care about me But I don`t want them to have care for me.Good luck to all of you& GOD BLESS>

  24. ROBIN

    II COME FROM A FAMILY THAT GREW UP IN EAST TENNESSEE WHERE TAKING CARING OF OTHERS IS JUST LIKE GOING TO BED & GOING TO SLEEP, IT’S JUST SECOND NATURE! FROM THE AGE OF 33 YRS OLD, I WAS CAREGIVER TO MY GRANDFATHER AFTER A HORRIFIC FALL (14 FT. OFF A 16 FT. LADDER). HE HAD DIED 3 TIMES BETWEEN THE ACCIDENT SITE TO THE HOSPITAL TO THE OPERATING ROOM, TO HIS ROOM. HE WAS PUT ON LIFE SUPPORT, LOST 1/2 OF ONE LUNG, SPLEEN, 3/4 OF THE OTHER LUNG, BROKE 7 RIBS (THIS IS WHY HE LOST SO MUCH OF HIS LUNGS), HAD TO HAVE A FEEDING TUBE & SO MUCH MEDICATION, HE ALWAYS CALLED EACH DOSE “TIME TO FEED THE CHICKENS”! I HAD DONE EVERYTHING I COULD FOR HIM BUT THE GOOD LORD CALLED HIM HOME ON OCT. 31, 1995. THAT WAS THE DAY BLAME SET IN (I WASN’T @ HOME @ THE TIME) & MY WHOLE WORLD FELL APART (WE WERE EXTREMELY CLOSE). IT TOOK ME 6 YEARS TO REALIZE EVEN THOUGH I HAD @ ONE TIME BEEN AN EMT & @ THAT TIME WAS A NURSE, THERE WAS NOTHING THAT I COULD DO & IT WAS NOT MY FAULT. BUT, THAT WAS THE DAY MY GRANDMOTHERS DEMENTIA WENT INTO FULL BLOWN STAGE 3 ALZHEIMER’S! WHO WOULD HAVE EVER KNOWN HOW HARD IT WAS GOING TO BE TO TAKE CARE OF A RELATIVE WITH ALZHEIMER’S. BUT I DID. FOR 8 YEARS, I TOOK CARE OF MY ‘GRANNY’ HER HOUSE, GROCERIES, BILLS, LAUNDRY, DR. APPTS. ETC. EVEN AFTER MY MOM & AUNT DECIDED TO PUT HER IN A LONG TERM CARE FACILITY (BIGGEST MISTAKE OF THEIR LIFE) BUT I MADE THE TRIP THERE EVERY DAY TO CONTINUE THE TOP NOTCH CARE SHE SO RIGHTLY DESERVED (MY GOD, AFTER ALL, SHE DID RAISE ME)!!!! THEN CAME MY MOM. 1ST THERE WAS A DOUBLE BYPASS, THEN THERE WAS NOT 1 BUT 2 TOTAL KNEE REPLACEMENTS (BOTH RIGHT & LEFT), THE THE ABSOLUTE WORST OF ALL—STAGE 4 COLON CANCER!!!! THERE WENT THE REST OF MY WORLD. GONE! BUT, FOR THE NEXT9 1/2 MONTHS, WE MADE IT THE BEST WE COULD. THE VERY THING SHE DID FOR ME WAS TO TAKE TAKE ME BIRTHDAY SHOPPING WHICH WAS TRADITIONAL (JAN. 2007) THEN FEB. 12,2007 SHE WAS HOSPITALIZED IN CRITICAL CONDITION. THE DREADED CALL CAME THE MORNING OF FEB. 13,2007 TO INFORM ME & THE REST OF THE FAMILY SHE WS SLOWLY SLIPPING AWAY & WE NEEDED TO GET TO HER ASAP. I ALWAYS GOT TO HER ASAP WHAT WERE THEY TALKING ABOUT? WHO WERE THEY TO TELL ME WHAT TO DO? I’M THE ONE THAT HAD BEEN TAKING CARE OF HER TIL MY DAD GOT HOME FROM WORK, I’M THE ONE THAT HAD SHOPPED FOR HER, PICKED UP MEDICATION, WIPED THE FLUID OFF HER LEGS THAT HAD NO OTHER PLACE TO GO, ETC. WHO WERE THEY TO TELL ME WHAT I NEEDED TO DO OR NOT DO? A VERY CARING HOSPITAL FULL OF NURSES THAT CARED VERY MUCH FOR MY MOTHER & JUST WANTED ME TO HURRY & GET THERE SO I COULD SAY GOOD-BYE & TRY TO GET SOME CLOSURE. THAT’S THE HARDEST PART OF CAREGIVNG FOR A FAMILY MEMBER IS THE LAST GOOD-BYE, THE CLOSURE, & THE REGRETS BECAUSE YOU REALIZE YOU FORGOT TO SAY “I LOVE YOU”. THIS ISN’T HAPPENING THIS TIME. NOW I’M IN THE POSITION TO CARE FOR MY DAD (STAGE 4-5 RENAL FAILURE). I’VE KEPT HIM GOING FOR 3 YEARS NOW WHEN EVERYBODY ELSE HAS WRITTEN HIM OFF FOR DEAD, LITERALLY!! THE VA THREW HIM UNDER THE BUS, GAVE HIM 3 MOS. DISCHARGED HIM FROM THEIR CARE. THAT WAS ALMOST 2 YEARS AGO. HE’S STILL HERE. OTHER DOCTORS HAVE DONE THE SAME THING, HE’S STILL HERE. IT IS OUR DUTY AS THE YOUNGER GENERATION, DAUGHTER, SON, NIECE, NEPHEW, GRANDCHILD, WIFE, HUSBAND, NO MATTER THE RELATION. IF YOU DON’T CARE FOR THEM & TAKE CARE OF THE OLDER GENERATION (I DON’T CARE IF THEY’RE ONLY 1 DAY OLDER) WHO ON GOD’S GREEN EARTH IS GOING TO. THE ELDERLY DESERVE IT. IF IT WEREN’T FOR THEM, DO YOU HONESTLY THINK YOU WOULD BE HERE? I THINK NOT, I KNOW NOT.

    THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR TIME AND LETTING ME VENT.

    ROBIN

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks so much for sharing, Robin. It sounds like you’ve been a caregiver for many and they are truly blessed to have you. Being a caregiver is both challenging and rewarding and definitely gives you a different perspective on life. Make sure to take care of yourself and get support from a caregiving community. Thanks for enhancing our caregiving community with your story. Feel free to vent any time (it’s only health!). :)

      All the best,
      Dana with Caregivers and A Place for Mom

  25. Stan Janzick

    Would love to read Joan’s book as my mom was recently diagnosed with dementia.

  26. Woody

    We read and hear a lot form caregivers of elderly parents. My wife and I are 78 and until recently cared for our 54 year old disabled and mentally limited daughter at home for 10 years. In 2010 she agreed to enter a care facility that is one of the nicest and best we found in a 3 state area. The staff convinced us that Independent Living would work out – it didn’t. After moving her to Assisted Living, it is becoming clear that she really needs round the clock nursing care. The quandary is that she is so young and still has the social needs that are typically not available in skilled care facilities. She has spent time in nursing care after several extended hospital stays and hated every minute of it. Even though our heads say she needs nursing care our hearts are searching for ways to avoid it. We are receiving professional advice to place her in nursing care anyway. It is so hard to make a decision.

  27. Dora Rodriguez

    My family has personally been helped by a Place for Mom. The representative we worked with was a Blessing to me and my niece who were literally walking the yellow pages trying to find the right place for my elderly Aunt and mentally ill older nephew, and coming up empty. She was caring,compassionate,clearly understood what we needed, took the information and did the searching for us. Because both my niece and I work full time and travel with our jobs, this had become a real hardach for us. She found the perfect place for my Nephew and unfortunately my Aunt passed away before we had a chance to move her to a place closer to our homes. I cannot say enough about how wonderful this program is.

  28. Phyllis J. Freedle

    It seems that everybody these days think everybody is on facebook so only those on facebook are entitled to take part in things. I TRIED Facebook twice, didn’t like it either time. I went off of it permanently. I am sure the book is good and hope someone gets it that is very deserving of it and it helps them. I am a 3-time cancer survivor…first time 2001, came home from the hospital after first sugery. After a couple of days, I got to go next door to see my mother. The next morning she was put into the hopital. By the end of the next week, I was at the hopital making arrangements to put her into a nursing home as I was facing chemo. When I finished chemo, I brought her to my home for her last six months…slept everynight on a couch beside her hospital bed. No regrets. Loved that “Good Night, I love you” and seeing that smile the next morning. Almost 93 at death and her mind was good. That was so great. So thankful I was able to be there for her.

  29. Linda DeYoung

    When you’ve reached your limit, exhale, then step back, take a breath and remember why you care. I took care of my mother and now my older sister. It’s not easy and it’s not fun, but we have to remember we’re where we’re supposed to be, for all the right reasons.

  30. Rebecca Gerard

    My father passed away 8 years ago and my mom had beginning Alzheimer’s Disease/Dementia when he died. We moved my mom from Florida to our house hoping that I would be able to take care of her at home. After 3 months of living with her in our house we realized that the Dementia was a lot worse than we thought. She put soap detergent in the dryer vent, left a pot on the stove and burnt it, and then had the horrible Sundown Syndrome where she turned into a violent, foul-mouthed dangerous person. My children did not know how to react to this and were frightened of her. I was scared and reached out to a lot of agencies, Elder Care recommended your website and I found it very helpful to me. My mom now, is in a nursing home 10 minutes away, as we all work full-time and could not keep her at home. She is in end-stage Dementia/Alzheimer’s now and I have Hospice coming in along with the nursing home staff. After viewing Joan Lunden’s segment on “The Today Show” I realize that I need to bring in her photo album’s to the nursing home and show her old photos to help her. Thank you for sharing this segment and for being there for Caretakers.

  31. Cheryl

    My Mom is 86 years old and I have been caring for her now for close to 10 years. She has reached the point now where she needs 24 hour care. At 4th stage Dementia she is unable to follow through with her cares nor ADL’s. I kicked myself for so long thinking I was doing something wrong until I had to realize mom just wasn’t getting on in age she has completely changed. It had nothing to do with me and I know now she has to be where she is for her own protection. I look foward to reading your book Joan…Cheryl

  32. Laura

    I was my mom’s caregiver in our home for the last year of her life in 2010. She had dementia with Lewey bodies and I wrote about our journey on my blog hungryforlifeblog.com

    This was a challenging but precious year. I would tuck her every night the same as she did with me as a child, I’d leave a night light on and say, Goodnight mom I love you. Many times she would parrot the words back to me but it wasn’t her, or simply not respond, but one night after a particularly good day she said with such joy and emotion, Oh, I love you more every day. What a gift.

    I wish all caretakers and their loved ones joy and bright blessings, it is a challenging journey but one that will give you wings as well.

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks so much for sharing, Laura! You speak such truth. Being a caregiver has its challenges and rewards and definitely gives one a different perspective on life.

      We would love to have you as a guest blogger on Caregivers, if you’re interested.

      Let us know.

      All the best,
      Dana with A Place for Mom

  33. Cindy Black

    I take care of my mom who is in the later stages of Alzheimer’s. Mom was living by us in Texas from 2007 until we all re-located back to our hometown of South Bend, Indiana last June in order for her to be more familiar with her surroundings, be closer to many more family members, and to be able to reach way back into her memory log to the “good ole days” which she recalls much more than present time. It’s been a tough road but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I will continue to take care of my mom as long as I possibly can. Would love to add Joan’s book to my library of reference books for my new job. My email is [email protected].

  34. Eva Mandel

    I would love to read this book as my father is the main caregiver for my mom .

  35. LydiaThorburn

    I was the caregiver to both my Mom and Dad for about five years. Dad passes away last April. He had dementia and it was really hard to watch him slowly get worse. He always started each day with “It is a beautiful day and I love my family.” Mom has mobility problems along with depression and anxiety. She is a wonderful lady, but communicating with her sometimes is a challenge. I just recently joined a caregiver support group and it is great to know that I am not alone.

  36. paula van de Berg

    I am the care giver for my husband of 57 years of marige. He was diagnosed with ALH 7 years ago an I am the sole care giver sins my two childeren live in other states I know if we where closer I would have help ,but it is to late now to move that could do more damage than good. He is a wander full sweet man and I do not want to take any chanse to make things wors that they are. He still takes care of him self with my help (supervice)I love him dearly.
    And yes it is very frustraiting at times ,but for those of you that do not belong to a support group ,I advice you to find one they are a tremendus help and I Know I would not be as well now with out there support
    So please do your self a great fafore find a support group.
    I wich someone would do a program about how your close friend slowly but surly leave you behind that hearts a lot

  37. patrice mandlowitz

    i take care of my 89 year old mother in law. my husband has had two heart tfansplants and is a very ill man. life is very hard and i sure need some good advise. im looking forward to reading this book.

  38. Diane

    My two brothers and my sister and my sister-in-law and I have been taking care of my 88 year old Mother for about 3 years now.She has Dementia.It is good that we all help out and have our days to help her out.Just always go to her house in a good mood and listen to everything she has to say.Mostly about the past.A lot of times I take my granddaughter with me because I also have to babysit her.I think she is good for my mother.She hugs her a lot.

  39. Kathy W.

    Being a caregiver is very hard and demanding especially for a loved one but that is the only way you can be sure they are getting the kind of care you want them to recieve is to do it at home yourself. Number one rule is to take care of yourself first so you are able to take care of your loved one. I know this because I took care of 3 husbands who passed away, 2 had cancer and 1 had multiple injuries.

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks so much for sharing, Kathy. Being a caregiver is both challenging and rewarding and definitely gives you a different perspective on life. Thanks for enhancing our caregiving community with your story.

      All the best,
      Dana with Caregivers and A Place for Mom

  40. DanaLarsen

    Thanks for sharing, everyone! Your stories are powerful and definitely give perspective. All the best to everyone! Thanks for your cargiver’s community support.

  41. Kim P.

    My mother was in a nursing home for 10 long years with Dementia and Parkinson’s Disease. I was the only one in the family that took responsibility for her care. Six months after she died, my husband (57 years old) suffered a debilitating stroke. Two years later, he is somewhat better, but he has left side paralysis. He cannot use his left arm and has limited use of his left leg. It is so sad to see what he has become. I had to move us (with no help) to an independent living condo for him to have a handicap-accessible dwelling. I love him dearly, but it is like being a single parent. My one piece of advice to caregivers is to make time each day to do something nice for yourself. It really is true that you have to take care of yourself to be able to care for others. It is not easy, but well worth every minute to take care of your family. God Bless the caregiver!

  42. Sandra

    I have been taking care of my Mother for a year and a half now. She has Alzheimer’s disease. Then seven months ago my Dad had to have his toes amputated. He had all ready had one leg amputated. So began the task of taking care of both. I had to move my mother into an Alzheimer’s unit, but still go in once every day to help feed her. My dad needs help being driven to doctor appointments and to Dialysis. It is a time of great emotional stress mixed with love and tender moments! I am glad I can do it. I remember how sweet my Mother was to me and how the disease has affected her and now I am trying to return that sweetness and love to her.

    • DanaLarsen

      Thanks for sharing, Sandra. Your parents are lucky to have such a caring daughter to help them in their time of need!

  43. Bridget

    I took care of my mother for 3 blessed long stressed out years. I left my 20 plus year corporate job to do so and have no regrets. Those three years were the most hard and most blessed years. I would give anything to change the decision I made to put mom in a facility for respite care and they killed her..!! They placed her in her bed incorrectly and found her hours later and “tried” to cover it up. To me that was GOD’S message to change directions and become and a Senior Patient Advocate. I AM that family member who has gone through this journey with little help of resources because I did not know they were there. I am in Home Health Care and we do a lot of business with A Place for Mom as well. It takes teamwork to manage Elder care. My best advice to the caregiver is TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF FIRST..!! I have the PTSD certificate to prove I did not. You MUST take time out DAILY for yourself. Blessing to all who are in the middle of caregiving, cherish it as much as you can.

  44. Melissa Hardin

    I admire anyone who is living the same life I am today. I never dreamed that at the age of 45 I would be caring for not one but three adults. I quit my job in 2010 to care for my mother, father and sister whom has downs. I have given up everything including friendships, health insurance and my own space in life. It is a daily challenge because each day brings its own issues. I find it comforting when I can find articles to read about problems I face and other people in the same situation.
    Thank You, Melissa

    • Tiffany Preston

      My Dear Melissa, I understand exactly what you are experiencing, I too seem to have no life of my own after being the sole caretaker of my 85 year old mother with dementia. I moved her into an apartment next door for ten years but was forced to move her into my two bedroom apartment last summer when I discovered she was not taking her medication, cooking for herself, etc. It is very difficult to think of yourself with all the tasks at hand especially while you have a much larger load than most. If it is any comfort at all, you have helped me realize things can always be worse when you focus on your individual situation. I seem to have no life of my own however I am able to work when needed in film/print shoots although they are sometimes very few and far between it does allow me to work in the creative insustry with old friends I have known most of my life. It is like entering another world to be so active, see great results from long hard days of work and feel a bit of freedom for myself. I also try to take a nap when home in the caregiver role. The nap seems to be a little escape that helps get back into the routine. Nevertheless I have no life of my own, no health insurance (I survived breast cancer without any help from anyone!) and very little money now that I am not able to work full time in the industry. I do find personality helps wheather at my mother’s doctor appointments, hospital stays, running errands or whatever because I am able to talk to people of all walks of life with great interest in their experiences, it is amazing what you can learn from perfect strangers once you are initiate a conversation, have interest in them and are open to listening while not focusing on your own situation. I have also found so many dear friends in similar or even worse situations than my own with their parents/family members, this is a great support group of people you have known for a lifetime or new friends with a personality similar to your own. We find laughter a great relief, it is amazing how laughing rather than becoming overwhelmed helps lift you out of your situation, discover another angle to view things and not take everything so seriously. This is what life really is, after all, we Baby Boomers have a great deal of company in this situation, it is worthwhile to seek them and let your humorous imagination go free – believe me, they all understand!

      I wish you the very best of luck, will continue to think of you and hope you are able to find relief as I am seeking as well. Keep the view of your situation in perspective, think of the things that made you laugh the most during your childhood, your adult life, those times that just happened without a plan.

      Best,

      Tiffany

  45. Pam Marino

    I am caregiver for my husband who has been diagnosed with dementia. We have moved closer to family for support. I realize we are not alone. I appreciate all the support and advice that has been given to us. I am looking forward to this challenging new journey in my life.

    My best advise is to give reassurance and be loving at all times. Not easy, but so necessary for a feeling of comfort and security in your loved one.

    For a change of environment and enjoying the outdoors my husband loves a taking short walk or a short ride in the car.

    Remember we are not alone. I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Phil 4:13) Keep the faith!

  46. Kathy Browne

    Don’t worry about what others think. Do your best under whatever circumstances you encounter. In your heart you will know you did all you could. No one is ever in your shoes or knows what you did and why so don’t ever feel guilty. Know your limitations. You can’t care for anyone if you don’t care for yourself first.

  47. Karen

    My mother started showing signs of dementia, but we were all in denial. It got bad enough that we finally took her to a doctor to confirm out suspicions. She was put on acricept and namenda,worked like a charm and she was back in reality within two weeks. That lasted for about a year when my father was hospitalized for cancer. During his surgery and rehab she got worse, and when he passed away, she had a nervous breakdown and went into a different space. After a hospital stay and rehab, I got her a place in a wonderful assited living facility. For about a year she was enjoying her life there, occasionally missing my father, waiting for him to bring lunch but seemed to be as happy as possible. Then the decline began. She told the doctor the year was 1986 and she was in New York ( she was in Florida). She thought my daugther was me. I went to see her about 4 times a week and each time she was excited to see me as if it had been so long since she saw me last. This disease does not only effect the person, but takes a big toll on the loved ones. To watch this is heartbreaking. When I cried to my daugther about it, she put everything in prespective. She said I was thinking about myself. This was not about me, it was about her. My daughter said that when my mother saw me, even if I had just been with her 10 minutes ago, she was excited. She was always happy when we were together. To her, every time was new and exciting. I was the one who knew I had just been there yesterday. I was the one that was upset. By adjusting my thoughts and emotions to my mothers happiness instead of my sadness I was able to cope, enjoy my time with her, and accept her passing to the best of my ability. As a caregiver, remember, IT IS NOT ONLY ABOUT YOU. Give as much love as you can. The rewards are great. ( and if you are caring at home, get outside help)

  48. Debra

    I have been caring for my mom now for a little over a year since she was diagnosed with dementia/alzheimers. She is on medication for it and has good days and bad. I love listening to her talk about the past and plan to get it on a recording when we go to my brothers in May. My brother lives in Houston and he helps with mom’s finances so I don’t have to and can spend more time with caring for her. I take her shopping and we spend time doing things together that we like. She is getting a little bit worse but not so much that she needs to be put in a nursing home as of yet. She lives just a few blocks from me and I spend my days taking care of her and then go home and take care of my family in the evenings. Listening to Joan talk about talking to your parent about end of life issues , I know how hard it is to discuss this with them because my mom has never really wanted to face this fact. She had to though in 2008 when my dad passed away. He had been ill for sometime with MS, Trigeminal Neuralgia, and other health issues. So she was his caregiver and also for a while in the 80′ and 90’s was caregiver to her mom and step dad. I always knew that it would be my turn to be a caregiver because that is what the women in our family did. So here I am taking my turn at it. It is not easy being a caregiver to your parent but I also know that this is what God wants us to do. After all our parents took care of us and in turn we are to care for them.

  49. Charlotte

    I thank you all for your dedication to your parents.
    Recently my younger sister who rarely speaks with me but has become my mothers power of attorney and has moved my mother to the west .She has nursing care during the day for her but has had to requestthat since she uses the living room for her sleeping that her house with her 2 children ( nofather living there,though) has become crowed only after 3 months with mom.

    She offered to rent a seperate apartment and pay all of my bills, except i’d have no job, have to forego my social security earnings and 401k and would literally live with mother 24 hours a day.

    My mom began with dementia,alzheimers and schizoprhenia in 2007. me and my sister were only able to visit once a month each taking the alternate month.
    It was very difficult for me as i have been close to mother since 1975 when for 30 years no one else except maybe my sister would vist her twice a year when her obcessive compulsive disorder literlly drove her out of her own house due to overcrowding and plumbing and electricity and heat problems constantly.

    But where was the support,where was the money ? i never had either fromanyone. my own fund went depleted gradually and then this with my mothers mind for the last 4 years.everything me and my mom would talk about would alwasy turn into the syndrome of mom saying to me ” your a liar.”
    and her screaming fits and throwning things and hallucinations of people steling and sneaking around her apartment.

    I told my sister that mentally I cannot withstand the effects of my mothers mental illness , it causes me to literally feel like my own brain is spinning around in my head.I almost was in 3 car accidents simply because i was thinking of my decline to accept my sisters offer to live with mother.

    it worries me alot becaues in my moms younger days she was very opinated and always wanted things done just her way or the highway and stop talking and wipe that expression off your face or the cops wil take you away. here was everyone when I was going through all of this ? Now my sister thinks I can handle this gain with no job and full time caring, eventhough i work as a cregiver when it comes to my mother I just don’t be able to handle this very well at all.

    and the only thing that will happen like it has before is mom and I will end of disagreeing and mom will start arguing non-stop beause of the obcessive- compulsive where her anger turns in on herself and then out towards me.
    i’m sorry but i can’t spend my days like that. I’m 59 yrs old myself and have alwsy wroker part time with the exception of my caretaker job so my own socil security benefits and medicare are very low. i’ll probably end up when and if i turn crazed myself onthe streets or in a shelter somewhere.

    hence through all of this i do feel terrible, but because of the mental effect and my own late economic situation due to my age related benefits at a low status i mentioned A Place for mOM TO MY SISTER 5 TIMES. BUT SHE STILL REFUSES TO EVEN CALL ME UP TO LET ME KNOW WHAT OR IF SHE IS DOING ANYTHING ABOUT IT.

    god bless you all, jesus will take care of his own.
    I think a place for mom is fabulous from what i’ve read.and i will purchase Joans book!

  50. Rita Scranton

    The hardest part for my 85 year old father was to allow his daughters to do ‘personal’ personal care. After over a year as his primary caregiver, it is routine now. Not having children of my own, it is unique to me to be caring for another person. It is both rewarding and exasperating at times. The hardest part for me is his dementia. There are times he won’t trust me. He wants to go home and won’t believe that we are already at home. He rarely goes anywhere, but has very vivid dreams and sometimes it takes him awhile to make his way back to reality. It is also stressful because I am Deaf and he does not know sign language. It is very difficult to speech read when someone is saying something ‘off-the-wall’ or way out in left field. I have taken off running around the block a few times to keep from crying or losing patience with him. It is all worth it though. I love him and thank the Lord every day that he is still with us. Now if I can only help him understand why we won’t let him drive!

  51. They Call Me Chuck: A Story From Joan Lunden's "Family Caregivers" Book

    […] Joan Lunden’s “Family Caregivers” Book Giveaway (caregivers.com) […]

  52. Jean Walter

    I am a mom of 8, married to my best-friend for almost 15 years and the full-time care giver for my 83 year old Mother. She was diagnosed with Breast Cancer 3 years ago and Primary Progressive Aphasia. She opted to have a mastectomy and moved in with me and my family. I stayed by her side and helped her get through that scary time. Although it was a lot to handle at the time, we got through the surgery and she has been cancer-free. On the other hand the diagnosis of the PPA was harder to accept but seemed manageable for about a year. My mom was always so involved in so many things through out her whole life. Raising 6 children, a career and a marriage of 44 years, she was someone who was loved and respected by all. The Aphasia progressed rapidly and she began to withdraw from her groups and friends. At first it was just a little memory loss, then her speech started to become effected. The doctor suggested she bring out her artistic side and boy did she. I bought her a coloring book and crayons and she would pass the day away coloring every page. She loved her old time movies and would always ask me to watch them with her. She seemed content and life went on. I could see subtle changes every now and then but especially her thoughts seemed more confused and she had this shuffle when she would walk. Later that year she had a fall and broke her back. She was in a Re-Hab Nursing Home for 6 weeks. It was then that we saw the first signs of “sun-downers” and things took a turn for the worse. She was evaluated by a neurologist and they diagnosed Dementia/Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease. She started hallucinating and her anxiety and depression sky-rocketed. I was overwhelmed with how fast things were changing. I poured myself in to books and research on this new diagnosis and found out that Aphasia is usually a symptom of the onset of Dementia/Alzheimers. Why didn’t they doctors tell me that then? Maybe I could have prepared myself better for what was happening to my mother. She was already on meds for depression and anxiety. She had fought this her whole life. So the doctors made some adjustments and added new meds for Dementia/Alzheimers and Parkinsons. I thought she would get better but to my amazement things have just continued to progressively get worse. It just seems like one day my mom was there and the next she was gone. I wish I would have asked more questions. I wish that I would have read more books and educated myself better. I wish I knew what will happen next but I don’t. All I can do is hold my mom’s hand. Be by her side and reassure her that she is going to be ok. Those moments when she is “all there” and we can laugh and make “small talk” are moments that I will always cherish.
    My life has changed also and I am now at a crossroad. My mom cannot move like she use to and it gets harder and harder for me to get her up and moving. She constantly calls my name all day long. She is scared and does not like to be left alone. This is taking a toll on me and my family. I still have 14 year old twins at home that I am trying to raise. I know they see what I go through day in and out and a lot of the time they do not understand what a debilitating disease my mother has. I am fortunate that my husband is understanding and has been very helpful though out these past 3 years but I am feeling drained. Is it time for my mom to go in to a nursing home/assisted living with Alzheimers care? I am struggling with this decision and have been doing a lot of research. I came across “A Place for Mom” on the internet and everyone has been so helpful and informative. I have a few appointments set up to check out some facilities but I know I will be doing this with a heavy heart. The best advice I can give to anyone going through this is to gather as much information that you can and ask tons of questions. Have a strong support group and get as much help as you possibly can, otherwise you will just end up burnt-out. Take time for yourself and always say I Love You! Cherish the time that you have left with your loved one and pray for a cure for AZ!!
    Thanks for this opportunity to share a little of my story. God Bless all the care givers out there and may they continue to receive His strength.
    jean walter ([email protected])

    • Ann Napoletan

      Bless your heart, Jean. You have so much on your plate, but it sounds like you’re maintaining a wonderful attitude and level head. I lost my mom to ALZ on Dec 15, and you are right about cherishing every moment you have with her. Each one is so precious… no matter how small.

      Best of luck in your search for a facility; you are doing the best thing for everyone involved – you have been there from the beginning and are the only one who knows when the time is right. Do your homework and you’ll find wonderful care. I’m not sure where you’re located, but I would definitely check out smaller 6-12 resident facilities. They are common on the West Coast, but are popping up across the country. We are in Ohio, and my mom spent her last two years living with 4 other ladies in a beautiful home, lovely yard, fantastic caregivers that became like family to us. Under such undeniably miserable circumstances, Eason House was definitely a bright spot for us. It gave her the best quality of life she could possibly have right up until the end.

      Be sure and explore the Caregivers site for tips on finding the right place. Sending you prayers. ~Ann

    • Ann Napoletan

      Jean – You may have already come across this. It also includes links to several other related resources/articles. http://www.caregivers.com/assisted-living/long-term-care-search/

      • Jean Walter

        Ann~ We live in Maryland. The county that I live in only has 3 “Alzheimer Care” Facilities that I know of right now. Everyday I struggle with this decision but I just don’t think I can give her the care that she seems to need anymore. From the time I wake up in the morning till the time I tuck her in at night she is constantly calling my name. Most of the time she doesn’t even remember what she wants or why she is calling out. This is not only frustrating and exhausting but if I ignore her, one of these times it is going to be serious. I wonder if this behavior continues in a facility, will they come to her every time she yells? I am concerned for her safety because if I am in the shower and she starts yelling for me and I can’t get to her right away, she will get up and come looking for me. I am so fearful of another fall because she has become so fragile, this will definitely do her in. “”big sigh””…….
        Thank you for all the kind words and the information.

        • Ann Napoletan

          Oh Jean, I’m so sorry you’re going through all of this. I can imagine what a difficult decision you’re facing … I pray you will find the right situation for your mother and for you. It sounds like she would benefit from one of the smaller facilities with more 1:1 care, it’s just a matter of finding one nearby. (((Hugs))) and blessings to you…

    • Ehab Heikal

      Senior citizens have a potential just see Grannyd and what she did. Alas not everyone is lucky to have good health in old age and compassion is good.

  53. Gina Bechtel Hicks

    I have been the caregiver for my grandmother since July 2010. Twenty fours hours a day …. seven days a week. Prayer and FB have been a huge help for me. Not having any income makes hiring someone impossible. Alzheimers has taken her but, I am here with her to the end.

  54. Marge

    The hardest thing about this stage of life is how easily or smoothly one’s aging parent transitions between their truth and reality….it often can lead to arguments when you “miss the cue” and are defending your truth as opposed to their skewed truth….specially when it is about YOUR history! At these moments excusing myself to the bathroom seems the easiest way to ease out of the “discussion” coming back after 5-10 minutes with a totally different subject matter…or question! Like “would you like a snack?”…..or…..”I saw one of your rosé bushes blooming lets go pick a few”. They may try to stick to script but don’t slip back…move forward and onward!!

    • Ann Napoletan

      Excellent advice. It took me awhile, but once I realized that arguing served absolutely no purpose, life got much easier. ~Ann

  55. Dana Larsen

    This is great advice, Katee. And it’s so true. :) Thanks for sharing!

  56. Shirley

    My mother and I have been together forever. The baby of the family that didn’t leave the state like the other sibling. She and my two kids and myself lived together and even moved to another state together. My mother past away at 96 from an acute stroke. I understand all about caregiving and my thoughts go out to all the caregivers and those you are taking care for. Even though I am no longer a caregiver. I would still purchase the book to read about others journey. It would give me a connection. What I am going through is life after caregiving. You miss the person you took care of for so many years. And you lose your purpose. I would sit at the kitchen table and ask myself what do I do now? Maybe someone here could point me to a good website or book. I would appreciate it a lot.

  57. Richard Trask

    As has been said before Joan Lunden observations are on point. The one thing I learned when I was taking care of my mother before her passing, was as a person with Alzheimer, when I was talking to her, I was in her world, she was not in mind. That made our conversations so much easier. This experience also helped me to decide to develop a crowdfunding resource Fundcaregiving, (http://tinyurl.com/lnru3am) which is dedicated to help other caregivers who might have be in need of money.

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