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Caregiving Reality

Providing hope and encouragement to those facing the reality of caregiving

Support for Caregivers

Rundy Purdy speaking

Rundy Purdy, author of The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving is an experienced caregiver and gifted speaker. With compassion and gentleness, he touches audiences by sharing his journey of hope through hard experiences. In his presentation he leads caregivers and their families through the often emotional and difficult subject of caregiving to bring out a fresh perspective. If you are interested in having him share his experience of caregiving along with a message of encouragement, perseverance, and love, then please go to: http://caregivingreality.com/speaking/

If you would like further updates on Rundy’s writing, speaking, and further caregiving support, sign up for our newsletter. Bonus: Everyone who signs up for the newsletter will receive a pdf of the first three chapters of the book absolutely free!

There is always something new in the caregiving world. This is a good thing. We have much to learn about caregiving and supporting caregivers. Recently a website called Carehood came to my attention. It looks like the name is a play off “neighborhood” except here you can find your “Care-hood.” Get it?

Okay, so they might not win an award for cleverness. But this is their idea:

CareHood is the place where caregivers go to learn what can help the people they love – and where their friends, family and community can pitch in and support them along their path.

As friends and family go through challenging times, whether because of serious health conditions, accidents or disasters, or normal but trying transitions in life, we know that their community will want to step in and help, but may not know how.

CareHood makes the process simple by recommending specific ways to help that are based on extensive research and consultation with medical professionals. Friends and family can build CarePackages that will make a real difference in the life of their loved ones.

In theory this is a great idea. (The general idea of helping is the same behind my own website here.) In practice, time will tell how successful this is in getting off the ground. I hope it is of help to some caregivers, and I hope people keep looking for inventive new ways to help caregivers.


Last week I sent out the January Newsletter. If you weren’t signed up to receive the newsletter at that time you can still read it online here: http://eepurl.com/bNNkuj There is some interesting stuff in there so take a look. (And if you’re not signed up you can consider joining to get the next newsletter!)


From an Atlantic article:

Today, the isolated village of Hogewey lies on the outskirts of Amsterdam in the small town of Wheesp. Dubbed “Dementia Village” by CNN, Hogewey is a cutting-edge elderly-care facility—roughly the size of 10 football fields—where residents are given the chance to live seemingly normal lives. With only 152 inhabitants, it’s run like a more benevolent version of The Truman Show, if The Truman Show were about dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. Like most small villages, it has its own town square, theater, garden, and post office. Unlike typical villages, however, this one has cameras monitoring residents every hour of every day, caretakers posing in street clothes, and only one door in and out of town, all part of a security system designed to keep the community safe. Friends and family are encouraged to visit. Some come every day. Last year, CNN reported that residents at Hogewey require fewer medications, eat better, live longer, and appear more joyful than those in standard elderly-care facilities.

More: http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/11/the-dutch-village-where-everyone-has-dementia/382195/

It is good to see people exploring new ways of helping those who face Alzheimer’s. Anything that tries to give as close to a normal life as possible is a good thing. I would like to see more efforts in this direction.


Just put up a new article aimed right at the struggles of this holiday season. A snippet below:


Photo Credit: Tobias Björkgren

A holiday can be a particular difficult time for a caregiver. All of the normal daily stress is compounded by the expectations of the celebration, company visiting, and disrupted schedules. Sometimes it can feel like everything was going great until a holiday showed up. But as caregivers we don’t need to despair. The taxing season of holidays can be navigated successfully if we keep a few important things in mind.

First, keep expectations reasonable. We all want it to be like the good old days, but if you are caregiving for an ill family member those days are gone, at least for now. You are living in a new reality. And in this new reality you can’t have a party like you used too, when the world was young and everyone was in good health. What you do, and what you participate in, must be scaled back to match your currently available time and energy. Don’t make yourself guilty about what you can’t do, and don’t let anyone else make you guilty.

Read more here: http://caregivingreality.com/articles/handling-the-holidays/


Front Cover for The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving

Special sale!

The holiday season is upon us, and here at Caregiving Reality we are trying something new. We are doing a book sale–of author signed paperback copies! The books are at a discount price, and the more copies you buy the better your discount.

Would you like to get The Sea is Wide: A Memoir of Caregiving at 10%, 20%, 30% or even 40% off? Head on over to the sale page and take a look and what deal will best suit you: http://caregivingreality.com/december-2015-sale/


Section 1 Part-3_FF

Did you know I send out a monthly newsletter? It is an easy and convenient way to keep up to date on what is going on with the website, my writing, and my speaking events. Today I just sent out the November newsletter. If you are not signed up to receive the newsletter, you can still read it here: http://eepurl.com/bH1lE5

And you can sign up to receive the newsletter in your email inbox anytime!


Photo credit: Daniel

Photo credit: Daniel

Note: This article is addressing the issue of driving and a person with dementia. The issue of if (or when) an elderly person should stop driving because of other health issues is important, but is beyond the scope of this article.

For every person suffering with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia there comes a time when they should no longer drive. In an ideal world these people would realize their need to stop driving, and willingly give up the car keys. Unfortunately, we are not living in an ideal world–we are living right here on planet Earth with all of its warts and problems. This means many people suffering with dementia do not agreeably give up their car keys. This can be a huge problem for caregivers. You may currently face this struggle, or you might see it looming in your future.

I have seen this struggle. Everyone’s personal journey with the issue of driving is different, but today I am going to share from my experience and offer my opinion on how we can help address it.

First, we need to be aware–not only as individuals but also as a community and a culture–that addressing this issue of driving should begin long before anyone is sick. For this problem to be address rightly, it should be a part of cultural conversation. How long should people be allowed to drive as they advance into illness? Should there be an age limit? Should there be mandated testing for health impairment beyond a certain age? Past what point in health deterioration should someone no longer be allowed to drive? These are thorny issues which don’t have easy answers for universal social agreement. But the issue needs to be openly addressed as a culture, frankly and without shame. This aids in the formation of a groundwork for discussing the issue of driving frankly and without shame within the family context.

[Continue reading rest of article]


Greene NY Speaking EventAre you in the Western Pennsylvania area, or do you have friends or family in that area? I will be talking about Alzheimer’s, caregiving, and caregiving support at three locations on the 15th and 16th of October. (That’s Thursday and Friday of this week.) All three events are free and open to the public so if you or anyone you know could use some encouragement or education in dealing with Alzheimer’s, take note of these three events:


  • October 15th, 2015. Time: 1:30-3:00PM. Place: Cory Public Library, 117 W Washington St, Corry, PA 16407 (814) 664-7611
  • October 15th, 2015. Time: 6:30-8:00PM. Place: Clarion Free Library, 644 Main St, Clarion, PA 16214 (814) 226-7172
  • October 16th, 2016. Time: 6:00-8:00PM. Place: Grove City Community Library 125 W Main St Grove City, PA 16127 (724) 458-7320


I hope to see you there!


I currently have a Goodreads give away going on. You need to be a Goodreads member to participate. If you are and would like a free copy of The Sea is Wide to read and review, head on over here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/156257-the-sea-is-wide-a-memoir-of-caregiving

Good luck!

Broken Things

Credit: Jenny Hudson

We like to think about happy things, but sometimes as caregivers we must face harder issues. Today I want to talk with you about the things we cannot fix, and why it is important to face those difficult situations.

When we become caregivers we become fixers. If you are caring for children you fix their problems of the day, big and small. Need help with shoes? Fix that. Scrapped your knee? Fix that. Food, comfort, health–as caregivers we seek to fix every problem that comes up, needs we can answer. It is the same if we are caring for an older sick loved one, except now the problems are often more serious–we are often dealing with potentially life threatening illnesses.

The life of a caregiver can be a very difficult, but rewarding. In what we do we fulfill real needs, resolve serious problems, and greatly improve the lives of others. Caregiving is important. Fixing the problems of those in our care is important. As caregivers we become very good at fixing those problems, and we want to fix every problem.

But we cannot fix every problem. There are some broken things we cannot fix, and that is important to remember […]

For the rest of the article go to: http://caregivingreality.com/articles/the-broken-we-cannot-fix/