Surviving Caregiver Stress: Key Thoughts and Advice From an Expert

My “Key Thoughts” list goes back several years.
It can help reduce caregiver stress.
The thoughts are appropriate for many situations.

Many are proactive. Incorporating them now into our efforts to help parents age well makes sense; because the older we are, the more we feel stress from things that didn’t bother us in our younger years. When we do it right in the beginning (#1 on the list) doesn’t it up the odds that we avoid some future problems?


• The Right Start Saves Many Problems
• Will Actions Empower or Diminish?
• Get All Possible Information Before (Be Proactive)
• Does the Quick Fix Harm Later Goals?
• Is it Better for Me or for My Parents?
• Are Life and Limb Threatened?
• If the monkey wants a banana, give him/her a banana
• People Change, Not Much
• Think Airplane Advice–Secure Your Mask First, Then Help Others

Regardless of the illness involved or who’s doing the caregiving, the last key thought keeps us balanced and healthy and–thus–less stressed. So it stands to reason we’re better able to handle whatever comes our way. Everyone seems to be in agreement on this point. Meet Dr. Linda Ercoli, a clinical psychologist, and Director of Geriatric Psychology at UCLA. Her webinar offers help for surviving caregiver stress.

In UCLA’a webinar, “Surviving Caregiver Stress,” Dr, Ercoli–like a good teacher–gives a well-organized presentation that holds our interest with excellent information and practical tips. Indeed she “gets it.”

Watching a webinar when we’re under stress and on over-load may feel like wasting important time.  Not this webinar.  Hitting the “pause” symbol is an option for those with time constraints. It’s not necessary to listen to the whole presentation at one time.

Note that the tweeted questions and Dr. Ercoli’s answers at the end are helpful. Don’t we often learn from other’s questions. If really pressed for time, fast forward to the last 10-15 minutes.

Whether we end up as caregivers through love and caring or because there was little or no choice, we get through the experience reasonably well–or less well. More–or less–stressed. The more we can learn and better we understand the “tricks of the trade,” the more efficient and effective we become.

When our stress level is high and we feel we can’t add another thing to our life, this webinar’s information can guide us. We not only help our parents age as well as possible in spite of the stuff that’s been dealt them, but if we can make it better for them, we no doubt make it better for ourselves. In short, it’s a win-win.

If you’re like me, you learn a lot of practical stuff from the Q&A at the end of a    presentation. Another UCLA webinar, Caregiver Stress and Depression , is presented by Dr. Helen Lavretsky, geriatric psychologist at UCLA. She  pays particular attention to dementia, while addressing the larger caregiver stress issue.

Whether new to caregiving or an “old hand,” Dr. L reminds us that dementia caregiving can go on many, many years.  Even if we’re youngish and healthy now, caregiving gets harder as we age and caregivers die at a greater rate than noncaregivers. Dr. L. easily conveys subject matter and informally but professionally talks about respite, family members, vitamins, prolonging life, how to decide if an antidepressant would help–all this and more when answering the tweets. If caring for someone with dementia is in your future (or present), make the time to watch this webinar–especially the Q & A.



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