Compliments of
John Verster
Changing Places Vancouver
Volume 12 Edition 8
Family Dynamics and Caregiving

Providing care for a family member can bring out the best - and the worst - in everyone involved. People can come together to support each other or the stress can lead to frustration and conflict between family members. Past dynamics and family roles often re-surface when dealing with the stress of caregiving. All those old issues and unresolved tensions can often re-emerge.

Important to keep in mind is that everyone will respond to the situation in his or her own way. Frustration can occur if you expect other people to feel or act the same as you. Everyone in the family comes with a different history and perspective; a different relationship with the person who is ill; and a different comfort level with illness and the associated emotions.

Also, family members each have their own strengths. Some will excel at the personal care aspect of caregiving, while others cringe from it. Others may thrive by doing housework, gardening, repairs or dealing with finances. Let people work in the areas where they shine.

Even when two people are both doing the same duty, they may still do it differently. How you provide personal care to your spouse may be different than how his sister does when she relieves you. Different does not mean wrong. Ask yourself whether it is really worth butting heads over.

Family meetings are important for keeping everyone up-to-date regarding the care, recipient’s health, as well as to delegate duties. The goal at these meetings is not to resolve long-time family issues, but to ensure everyone is on the same team, and to sort out what needs to be done. It can also be an opportunity for current concerns to be aired and miscommunications to be cleared up.

Here are some suggestions for how family members can work together when caregiving:

* Start early. Clarify tasks and responsibilities. Be concrete, specific and ensure everyone has interpreted the plan the same.

* Have one person (usually the primary caregiver) be responsible for coordinating what needs to be done and for keeping family members in the loop.

* Let others know their help is both wanted and needed.

* Be realistic in your expectations as to what each person is able to do.

* Express appreciation to each other for the help each is able to provide.

* Expect and accept differences of opinion and reactions and find ways to compromise. Keep in mind that everyone has the right to his or her own feelings and point of view. You can agree to disagree and still complete the caregiving tasks as needed.

* Take a moment to recognize what is old conflict and what is related to the current situation. Try to put aside long-time grudges for now so everyone has the energy to deal with caregiving.

Article by, Barbara Small, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine,

What Home Care Can I get For My Elderly Parent?

A - Your elderly parent may begin to require some assistance but would prefer to remain in their home. The extent of the assistance will vary depending on the individual and depending on the situation your family or friends may be able to provide the required assistance. In more complex cases, outside help may be required.

Typical areas of assistance may include:

Your parent may be able to make themselves breakfast and lunch but may not be able to make dinner. You may need to help them make these meals or help them with the weekly grocery shopping.

However, if you do not live close to your parent or if schedules do not permit, this may be difficult to do. One option would be ‘Meals on Wheels’ or a similar program that provides a nutritious meal delivered right to their home for a modest cost.

If your parent is ill, but still able to get around on their own, the degree to which they are able to do so will have to be considered. Canes, walkers and scooters can be of great assistance in helping your parent get around. If your parent is relatively mobile, they may want to go to doctor’s appointments or go shopping. You and your family members or friends can create a schedule to make these trips. If this isn’t possible, there are many community organizations that provide transportation services for those with limited mobility. If your parent is still able to drive, you should look into getting a Disabled Parking Permit

Home and Garden Care
If your parent is able and prefers to stay at home, they will probably require some assistance in maintaining their home and garden. You and your family members may be able to create a schedule to help take care of the home – doing laundry, cleaning, garden maintenance, snow removal etc.

If your family is unable, there may be local volunteer services that may be able to assist the infirm/disabled. If that isn’t an option, you will have to hire a local company to help out with chores in and out of the home.
If the needs are beyond what friends and family can provide then professional home care providers are available and typically provide the following types of services:

• Hourly Care
• Overnight Care
• Live-In Care
• Palliative (End of Life) Care
• Respite Care

Article provided by

Turmeric-Scented Rice

This golden coloured rice sings with zippy turmeric that offers up a lemony flavour that is bright and would be perfect to serve alongside many different main courses like chicken, fish or beef. Makes 4 – 6 servings.


5 mL (1 tsp) canola oil
3 green onions, thinly sliced
15 mL (1 tbsp) minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
7 mL (1 1/2 tsp) ground turmeric
250 mL (1 cup) basmati rice
500 mL (2 cups) sodium reduced vegetable broth
125 mL (1/2 cup) water
45 mL (3 tbsp) sliced almonds, toasted


1. In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onions, ginger, garlic and turmeric for 3 minutes or until softened.

2. Stir in rice and stir to coat. Add broth and water and bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.

3. Fluff with fork and sprinkle with almonds to serve.

Tip: To toast almonds place in small nonstick skillet set over medium heat and shake pan occasionally for about 4 minutes or until golden and fragrant.

Nutritional Information Per Serving (250 mL/1 cup or 150 mL/2/3 cup)Calories: 288

Protein: 6 g
Total fat: 4 g
Saturated fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Carbohydrate: 55 g
Fibre: 3 g
Sugar: 2 g
Sodium: 187 mg
Potassium: 140 mg

Developed by Emily Richards, PH Ec. ©The Heart and Stroke Foundation 2011.


"We are continually faced with great opportunities which are brilliantly disguised as unsolvable problems."

Margaret Mead

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."

Francis Bacon

"What is opportunity, and when does it knock? It never knocks. You can wait a whole lifetime, listening, hoping, and you will hear no knocking. None at all. You are opportunity, and you must knock on the door leading to your destiny. You prepare yourself to recognize opportunity, to pursue and seize opportunity as you develop the strength of your personality, and build a self-image with which you are able to live -- with your self-respect alive and growing."

Maxwell Maltz

Seniors and Leisure Activities

Canadians aged 65 to 74 engaged in leisure activities for most of their day—7.8 hours for men and 7.2 hours for women in 2005. Men aged 75 and older spent even more time—8.0 hours a day—on leisure; women spent 7.9 hours. Retired women spend more time than men on domestic chores, yet leisure activities still take up more of their day.

Both men and women aged 65 to 74 in 2005 devoted more time on average to active leisure—such as physical exercise, and going out and socializing—than to passive leisure—such as watching television, reading, listening to music or to the radio. Men aged 75 and older spent the same number of hours on active leisure as on passive leisure. But active leisure continues to predominate later in life for women aged 75 and older.


Economy Class Syndrome

Coronary heart disease, being overweight and sitting still for extended periods of time are known risk factors for the development of blood clots in the veins of the legs.This condition is known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or economy class syndrome. Some researchers believe that long haul flights can be a risk factor in susceptible people.If you are faced with a long flight to get to your dream destination, here are some tips to help you out:

Consult with your doctor before flying. They may recommend that you take half an aspirin (150mg) on the day of the flight, and you may be advised to use elasticized stockings for the flight.

  • Wear loose clothing.
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
  • Take a stroll up and down the aisles when possible.
  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed.
  • Perform leg and foot stretches and exercises while seated.

Article by, Darryl Wilson, Reprinted with permission from Senior Living Magazine,

Family Dynamics and Caregiving
What Home Care Can I get For My Elderly Parent?
Turmeric-Scented Rice
Seniors and Leisure Activities
Economy Class Syndrome