December 17-23, 2014

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Five continents captured in photos

Laura Toy lived for most of her 93 years on the same block in Philadelphia’s Overbrook section, but she was anything but a homebody. She’s traveled to five continents – always with camera in hand.

Last summer, five of her photographs were featured in an exhibit at Waverly Heights in Gladwyne, where she has lived for the past six years. Among the subjects: an elephant with her young, taken in Kenya; an iceberg in Alaska, taken during a one-day cruise of Glacier Bay; three women by Gadi Sagar Lake, India; and a laundress in Udaipur, India.

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Elder Care

Build a family caregiving team

“Nothing reveals the fault lines in sibling relationships like the seismic shift caused by an aging parent’s sudden decline,” wrote psychologist Barry Jacobs in his article “Doing What’s Best for Mom and Dad,” (Psychology Network Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2010).

While one or more siblings may live close to the person in need of care, others may live far away. Caregiving expenses can become an issue. Old sibling conflicts may flare up again.

To build a successful family caregiving team, siblings need to share a common view of their parent’s medical and functional situation, learn to collaborate, and let go of the past, he advises.

Jacobs is director of behavioral science for the Crozer-Keystone Family Medicine Residency Program in Springfield, Pa. and author of “The Emotional Survival Guide for Caregivers – Looking After Yourself and Your Family While Helping an Aging Parent” (The Guilford Press, 2006).

“Ninety percent of the time, one person is responsible for caregiving, often the youngest daughter,” he says, noting that shouldering such responsibility alone can be immensely stressful.

“Caregivers tend to be very focused on the needs of the person they are caring for and consequently neglect their own medical and social needs. This makes them more likely to burn out over time if their needs are not replenished. Ideally, family members should have roles that complement one another,” he advises. 

In “Doing What’s Best for Mom and Dad,” Jacobs described a family of five siblings who consulted him to mediate issues they were having over their aging mother’s care.  Diane, the youngest, had been providing daily care to their severely arthritic mother while her siblings “cheered from a distance.”

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