Compliments of
John Verster
Changing Places Vancouver
Volume 11 Edition 3
Reducing Your Feelings of Guilt

A common emotion among family caregivers is guilt:

• Not doing enough for the person they are caring for or not doing it well enough.
• Feeling angry, resentful or frustrated about their situation.
• Taking time off for themselves.
• Not spending enough time with the person to whom they are providing care.
• Not having enough time for other family members (children, spouse).
• Living in another town and not being there when they are needed.
• Bringing in outside help to assist them with caregiving.
• Their family member moving into a care facility because they can no longer be safely cared for at home.

Even the most effective caregiver can find something to feel guilty about. Feelings of guilt, however, drain time, energy and emotion - all three of which are already at a premium for family caregivers.

Guilt arises when there is a gap between the way family caregivers are and the way they perceive they should be. They spend time berating themselves for what they see as failure instead of focusing on the caring and compassion they bring to a family member’s situation. When energy is focused on how things “should” be, it’s more difficult to find solutions for the actual situation.

Sometimes, guilt allows people to feel “good” while doing something that they judge as wrong or inappropriate. Or perhaps guilt comes from helplessness because they can’t do anything about their family member’s illness or disability.

Look beyond the guilt. Caregivers should ask themselves, “Where are my guilty feelings coming from?” and “What are these feeling telling me?”

Once those underlying feelings are recognized, we can see our situation from another perspective and address it directly as needed. Guilt is fostered by unrealistic expectations of what we are capable of doing, as well as what we imagine we should be doing. It is important to remind ourselves that we are doing the best we can at the time with what we know. Given the tools we had to work with, we used our best judgment and made caregiving decisions we truly felt were in the best interest of all concerned.

Sometimes guilt is the result of another person’s comments or actions. However, someone else cannot make us feel guilty if we are not already feeling that way internally. Their comment pushes a button we installed ourselves - so it highlights what we are already feeling. If we change our internal perceptions and expectations, and accept that we are doing our best, then they cannot trigger our guilt.

Moving beyond guilt to acceptance and self-forgiveness will make us more relaxed and confident caregivers. Guilt seldom achieves any positive outcomes.

Article by, Barbara Small
Reprinted with Permission by Senior Living Magazine

Multigenerational Families

Q: Our daughter and her two children want to move in with us. What are some of the pros and cons we should consider?
A: You should be commended for taking the time to review these important considerations.
Multigenerational households are not unusual in Canada. 1/3 of grandparents share a home with a lone single mother and grandchildren, and 65% of these grandparents are financially responsible for the household.
Let’s start with the advantages. Multi-generational homes offer a significant opportunity to deepen family bonds, enhance a sense of unity and establish a connection with history. Grandparents can play a central role in their grandchildren’s lives, transferring their wisdom and life experience. This is especially beneficial for passing along cultural heritage and traditions. The ability to share expenses and offer consistent and reliable child care are also major advantages. And ultimately, reciprocal care may be available to grandparents in response to acute episodic or potentially emerging chronic health conditions.

Equal consideration must be given to the potential difficulties. In addition to needing companionship, we also need our privacy. Limited or cramped space can be stressful, and ground rules should be established regarding what it means to respect each person’s possessions, space, time, and social activities.  Different approaches to child rearing, discipline, nutrition, and house-keeping can create dissention and tension. It can be easy to become dependent on specific family members and this creates the potential for these family members to feel exploited or taken advantage of. Caregiver stress and the risk for elder abuse (financial, psychological and/or physical abuse) increases when additional demands are placed on family structures that do not have established communication and conflict resolution strategies.
This serves as a very brief review of some of the advantages and concerns in forming extended family households. The next edition of this newsletter will provide some tips for successful integration of multigenerational families.
This information was provided by Rhonda Latreille, MBA, CPCA. Rhonda Latreille is the founder and CEO of Age-Friendly Business, and she has been responsible for establishing many pilot programs and training initiatives within the justice, health, financial, and social service disciplines.

Rise and Shine Sandwich

Try this breakfast sandwich for a quick on-the-go start to your day. It is easier than take out, and so much better for you. Compare this sandwich with the leading egg sandwich from a fast food restaurant at 300 calories, 12 g of fat, 5 g of saturated fat and 820 mg of sodium.

Ingredients (Makes 1 serving)

 1/4 cup (50 mL) liquid egg substitute
 2 tbsp (25 mL) light mozzarella cheese, shredded
 2 tbsp (25 mL) red pepper, finely diced
 1 tbsp (15 mL) sodium reduced deli ham, finely sliced
 Pepper to taste
 1/8 tsp (1 mL) Italian seasoning (optional)
 1 whole-grain English muffin, toasted


1. Use a microwave safe bowl, about the same diameter as the English muffin. Spray lightly with canola oil spray.
2. In the bowl, mix together egg, cheese, red pepper, ham, pepper and Italian seasoning (if using). Microwave on high for 1 minute. Turn the egg over and microwave for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
3. Place egg on the toasted English muffin and off you go!

Nutritional Information Per Serving

 Calories: 247, Protein: 19 g, Fat: 7 g, Saturated fat: 3 g, Dietary Cholesterol: 15 mg, Carbohydrate: 29 g, Dietary Fibre: 4 g, Sodium: 710 mg, Potassium: 413 mg

Developed by Nadine Day, RD. © The Heart and Stroke Foundation.  

Confidence and Courage

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy." Dale Carnegie

My Name is Rose - A Story of Inspiration 

The first day of school our professor introduced himself and challenged us to get to know someone we didn\'t already know. I stood up to look around when a gentle hand touched my shoulder. I turned around to find a wrinkled, little old lady beaming up at me with a smile that lit up her entire being. She said, "Hi handsome. My name is Rose. I\'m eighty-seven years old. Can I give you a hug?"  I laughed and enthusiastically responded, "Of course you may!" and she gave me a giant squeeze.  Why are you in college at such a young, innocent age?" I asked. She jokingly replied, "I\'m here to meet a rich husband, get married, and have a couple of kids."  “No seriously,” I asked. I was curious what may have motivated her to be taking on this challenge at her age.  "I always dreamed of having a college education and now I\'m getting one!" she told me. 

After class we walked to the student union building and shared a chocolate milkshake. We became instant friends. Everyday for the next three months we would leave class together and talk nonstop. I was always mesmerized listening to this "time machine" as she shared her wisdom and experience with me.

Over the course of the year, Rose became a campus icon and she easily made friends wherever she went. She loved to dress up and she reveled in the attention bestowed upon her from the other students. She was living it up. At the end of the semester we invited Rose to speak at our football banquet. I\'ll never forget what she taught us. She was introduced and stepped up to the podium. As she began to deliver her prepared speech, she dropped her three by five cards on the floor. Frustrated and a little embarrassed she leaned into the microphone and simply said, "I\'m sorry I\'m so jittery. I gave up beer for Lent and this whiskey is killing me! I\'ll never get my speech back in order so let me just tell you what I know."

As we laughed she cleared her throat and began, "We do not stop playing because we are old; we grow old because we stop playing. There are only four secrets to staying young, being happy, and achieving success. You have to laugh and find humor every day. You\'ve got to have a dream.  When you lose your dreams, you die.

We have so many people walking around who are dead and don\'t even know it! There is a huge difference between growing older and growing up. If you are nineteen years old and lie in bed for one full year and don\'t do one productive thing, you will turn twenty years old. If I am eighty-seven years old and stay in bed for a year and never do anything I will turn eighty-eight.

Anybody can grow older. That doesn\'t take any talent or ability. The idea is to grow up by always finding opportunity in change. Have no regrets. The elderly usually don\'t have regrets for what we did, but rather for things we did not do. The only people who fear death are those with regrets."  She concluded her speech by courageously singing "The Rose."  She challenged each of us to study the lyrics and live them out in our daily lives.  At the year\'s end Rose finished the college degree she had begun all those years ago.

One week after graduation Rose died peacefully in her sleep. Over two thousand college students attended her funeral in tribute to the wonderful woman who taught by example that it\'s never too late to be all you can possibly be. 

Population Projection

A report by the federal agency said the country’s population could top 40 million by 2036, under a low-growth projection.

Source: CBC News,

Keeping Healthy While Travelling

Myth: As long as I avoid ice cubes and drinking water, I won’t get sick while travelling.

Fact: False.  Even though travelers may think they’re playing it safe by avoiding the water, both hepatitis A and B can be contracted unknowingly through a number of different sources.  For example, hepatitis B is spread through contact with blood and bodily fluids of infected individuals, or through perforation of the skin with unsterilized equipment.  Even simple activities such as manicures or pedicures can increase a person’s risk of infection if contaminated spa tools are used.


Reducing Your Feelings of Guilt
Multigenerational Families
Rise and Shine Sandwich
Confidence and Courage
Population Projection
Keeping Healthy While Travelling