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How to Manage Your Caregiving Duties

Independent Living expert Elinor Ginzler hosts an online chat and answers your pressing questions

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Comment From Amy Winter: My sister has had a series of health issues over a period of 10 years. First, a back operation, then fourth-stage breast cancer, for which she had two surgeries (because of being sent first to a general surgeon vs. oncological). Then she had further back problems and could not walk without pain, and dental problems — very painful due to mistreatment. All now resolved but she has been very upset and angry throughout and seems unable to let of the anger and, at times, hysteria. It has taken its toll on me and I have "cracked" a number of times.

We don't live together, but I have been commuting at great expense from New York to Arizona. Compounding this, she married someone from Canada and because of economic circumstances she has had to commute back and forth, which causes further stress and pain. I'm thinking I need a support group; and she needs some post-traumatic stress and anger therapy. Can you comment? Many thanks.

Elinor Ginzler: You certainly are dealing with a lot right now. A support group would be a great idea. And if you can't get to one in person, AARP has an online support group for you. You will find that it is amazing to share with others and get support from folks who know what you're going through.

Comment From Michele: Is there any help available (Medicare, etc.) to help pay for home care? I have been caring for my mother, but now need to go back to work to earn some money. She does not have long-term care insurance.

Elinor Ginzler: Michelle, here is a helpful website to find out what benefits your mother might be eligible for. It might be home care or other community programs. Check out our Benefits QuickLink.

Comment From Adrienne Gruberg: What language can I use to get a parent to realize that having their child as a cosigner on bank accounts is to their benefit. It's a control issue, but it's just for emergencies.

Elinor Ginzler: Adrienne, I'm so glad you recognize that it is very hard for older parents to share financial information with their adult children. If your parent is not comfortable with you on the account, there are other steps you can take. We have lots of information on working with families on financial matters. You'll find many more helpful articles on our caregiving site.

Comment From Guest: My husband is an only child, and we live on the East Coast. His aging parents are on the West Coast. We would like to move them in with us, but people are telling us that it would be too shocking for them. As it is, they are 92 and 93 and are quite feeble. How do I get them to agree to make the move, and is it wise?

Next: Will Medicare cover assisted living expenses? »

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Wendy Breiterman, director of Global Work Life Strategies at Johnson & Johnson, reflects on their initiative to offer flexibility for employees who are caregivers.

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