Caregiver's Home Companion Free captioning phone for those with hearing loss.
The Caregiver's  Home Companion
 HOME PAGE  SEARCH Articles Timely Tips In the News Practical Caregiving Monthly Newsletters Go

January 26, 2009
When Mom Wants to Break Up Your Relationship

January 5, 2009
When the Inevitable Moving Day Comes for Mom and Dad

December 15, 2008
Running Ragged in Caregiving Runaround

December 1, 2008
Getting a Handle on Your Own Stress

Read Jean's Previous Articles

Take Our PollThe Caregiver's Marketplace

Shop Now in the
Caregiver's e-Mall

Our Caregiver's e-Mall is filling up with great stores and a growing number of items just in time for the holidays. Whether you browse and find a book or tape to help you with caregiving, or come across a wonderful gift for a friend or family member, the e-Mall can be your source for easy shopping and gift-giving.

So, click on the dark blue Caregiver's e-Mall buttons throughout our site and enter a comfortable, secure shopping experience with major merchants while avoiding the hassle of having to find a parking place or matching your shopping hours with someone else's. Our mall is just a click away and is open 24 hours every day.

Watch for additional stores opening in the e-Mall soon!



Posted: November 17, 2008

Practical Caregiving

Caregiving Lite ? Or Preparing or the Real Thing in Tough Times

Tough times call for tough measures. With the country in some economic disarray, we all need to pull together for the good of our families. The same goes for caregiving, as Betty in Detroit is (hopefully) about to find out.

Here are a couple of good questions (and my answers) from the e-mailbag.


Dear Jean: 

The economy is ruining our lives. My husband was told last week that he probably won’t have a job in a month, and I lost mine. I’m looking for a job, but so many people are being laid off and there aren’t any openings. We have a 7-year-old girl and a 9-year-old boy. We need help fast. Mom came up with a solution, but I don’t think we want to do it. We have agreed to seriously consider your opinion.


Mom said she doesn’t need the big house she lives in. It is the house I grew up in. After we kids moved away, there was just Mom and Dad. She shut the upstairs off unless she had company. After Dad died, she closed a couple rooms downstairs. I have to help her with her shopping and other errands, but she doesn’t need our care yet. I set her medicines out for her every day, and then she lives her life and we live ours.


She wants to do one of two things. Either she will move in with us, or we will move in with her. That sounds horrible. What do you suggest?


Betty M., Detroit, Michigan


Dear Betty:


Try to get your emotions under control and don’t let them affect your decision. These are some of the things you need to consider:


Without an income, what will you and your family do? There is food to buy, utilities to pay and the house payments you need to make. How will you pay for those?


You can share expenses when you are all in one house. If you and your husband are out of a job, she can take care of the kids while you look for a new job. Your children are getting to the age they don’t need a baby sitter. They just need someone around to “encourage” them to go to bed, etc.


On the other side of the coin, your mother is starting to need your help. It will be so much easier if you live together. Living together does no not mean you can’t each live your own lives. It just means you live in the same house. She can continue to do things with her friends, and you can continue to do things with your friends. As she needs your help, it will be easier for both of you.


I moved in with my parents when Mom had breast cancer. Dad and I thought he might need more help, but the doctors got all the cancer and Mom lived many years after that. My children got a good feeling and concern for older people that they would not have had otherwise. Their friends felt uncomfortable around the elderly, but mine actually helped the elderly when they needed it. It can be a good experience for children.


With things the way they are today, a lot of families are moving in together. After the initial period of adjustment, it can work out great. Give it a chance. It’s better than living in a car or a homeless shelter!



Dear Jean:


I’ve been reading how awful some nursing homes are. My grandmother is in one here and I don’t want her in a bad one. How can I know if she is in a good one?


Ashley D., Tallahassee, Florida


Dear Ashley:


I’m so glad you care enough to be want your grandmother well taken care of. She does deserve it, of course.


One of the best ways to check is to visit the nursing home at various times in the day and night. Don’t always call ahead to let them know you are coming. Surprises result in a “natural” setting. Also, eat several meals with her – another good indicator of real life in the home.


When you are there, notice everything you can. How are your grandmother’s clothes, hair, attitude? How do the other people there look to you? Do they sit in wheel chairs in a daze, or are mostly alert? Is there enough staff to take care of everyone? How is the food? Are there any unusual bruises or bed sores? After you have visited her several times, you will know if it is a good nursing home or not. 

Follow these tips, and you’ll be off to a good start.

© 2008 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

Email or share this story Bookmark and Share


Please send me your questions, comments and issues regarding the practical side of caregiving at, and remember to take advantage of our professionals and experts in the Ask an Expert section of our website. You'll find it in the left column on our homepage.

Click here to read past columns

Back to Top


Prescription Card

Free Survival Guide

Subscribe Today!

Privacy Statement Contact Us Site Map Products & Services Our Partners Advertise
© Copyright 2003-2011. Pederson Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.