How to care for caregivers

Some 39% of adults serve as full- or part-time caregivers to a loved one struggling with a disease or disability. You almost certainly know one of them. But do you know what kind of strain they are under? And are you making any effort to support them?

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‘He may be naked, but I’m only looking at his wrinkles’

Friends can confer dignity upon dementia patients
It's the best expression of our humanity

As a culture we seem overly concerned, at least the baby boomers among us, with wrinkle prevention. We have the soft approach: creams, scrubs and lotions. We have the serious stuff: lasers, botox, fillers, surgery and some ominous sounding choices, like carboxytherapy, which might not raise eyebrows if listed among the service items of an auto repair shop. While I’m not criticizing or holding myself aloft from this obsession, I had an insight recently about wrinkles and how they might contribute to dignity.

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR ⎮November 10, 2015 

Caring caretakers

Sincere thanks to Mary McDaniel Cail for her excellent Nov. 8 column, ‘He may be naked, but I’m only looking at his wrinkles.’

Both of my parents developed dementia at the end of their lives, and over my years in ordained ministry, I have called on many parishioners who whipped off their clothes as soon as someone covered them up. That has never been a problem for me—dignity is a lot deeper than being covered. So now, being the older generation, I have some concerns for my own care when I can’t hold it together anymore.

The one thing for which I pray is to be cared for by caring people, as I’ve seen too many less-than-caring caretakers. I trust that part of their caring will be recognizing my dignity—clothed or unclothed.

I’ve never read a more professional and compassionate article on a sensitive and totally human subject.




Providing Support When a Caregiver Requires Care

Abstract: If you're putting in 168 hours of on-call time per week tending a person who is unable to manage without you, you're probably too drained to take the initiative to call a friend, and you're worried about coming across as too pessimistic or inviting a storm of unwanted advice if you do.   

Lifestyle, page 5


THE HUFFINGTON POST ⎮Articles & Related Links

'Invisible' Purple Communities

Mary McDaniel Cail | Posted 10.28.2014 | Fifty

Read More: Walk-to-End-Alzheimer'sAlzheimer's Disease, February 26 2014 Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Dementia, Francis Collins, Alzheimer's Association, Health and Human Resources, Seth Rogen, Fifty News

What a different world it would be for people whose lives have been upended by Alzheimer's disease if they felt the support of everyone, friends and strangers alike.

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Solace With the Solstice

Mary McDaniel Cail | August 20, 2014 | Healthy Living

Read More: Alzheimer's, Alzheimer's Disease, Awareness, Comfort, Disease, Healthy Living,Solstice, Summer Solstice, Healthy Living News

We need months and days when we are faced with the reality of a hardship we might not share or fully understand. A few friends who join forces and give increments of time steadily can bring about meaningful relief in a situation that may provide little chance for it otherwise.

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MARIA SHRIVER  Architects of Change

(Content posted on and



WSLS 10 ⎮Innovations in Care Worksop ⎮Reported November 11, 2014

Innovations in Care Workshop Inspires Learning and Education

Mary CailKaren McNew, Channel 19 News Anchor, Sue Friedman, President, Alzheimer's Association CVWV

ROANOKE (WSLS) – "Hundreds of people gathered in Roanoke to hear from several experts in the field of treating and supporting patients with Alzheimer’s and Dementia..." 

NOTE TO VISITORS:  Alzheimer's: A Crash Course for Friends and Relatives is an expanded, updated version of The All-Weather Friend's Guide to Alzheimer's Disease. The following stories and events use the first title.

NBC29  WVIR TV⎮Reported by Dannika Lewis ⎮ May 30, 2012

Charlottesville Author Helps With Alzheimer's

Byrd Abbott remembers life being very different seven and a half years ago, before her husband Cort was diagnosed with a form of dementia.  The symptoms, which look like a mix of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, have turned her once successful financier husband into a completely co-dependent person in less than a decade...

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THE WASHINGTON POST ⎮ Reported by Whitney Fetterhoff ⎮ May 14, 2012

Advice for Patients and Caregivers

Cail discusses what can be done to help both the patient and you as the caregiver in the early, middle and later stages of the disease. You’ll learn what to do — from helping the patient learn to accept the disease initially and doing the remembering for him or her as the condition progresses. 

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Also published in The Star Tribune, Minneapolis, MN: May 26, 2012

STEPHANIE'S HERO'S ⎮ Charlottesville Newsplex - CBS19 ABC16 FOX27 ⎮ Reported by Stephanie Satchell ⎮April 9, 2012

For the rest of the story, see "Many Hats Disclaimer"

THE MIAMI HERALD ⎮Reported by Marcella McCarthy ⎮November 15, 2011

Caring for the Caregiver: New Book Gives Insight Into How to Be a Friend—to Both Alzheimer’s Patients and Those Caring for Them

see "miami herald" blog in the reflections category

". . . After she cared for her husband who had a brain tumor, and after she failed multiple times to have a child, Mary Cail's life took an even darker turn. In 2000, in the middle of winter in Charlottesville, Va., while searching for her husband on hospital grounds, she found him, Dr. Wayne Cail — a Miami native who had attended Hialeah High — dead. Wayne had taken his own life. . ."

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Also see also "The Miami Herald Article"


Also published in:
The Seattle Times, Seattle, WA: November 25, 2011
The Raleigh News and Observer, Raleigh, NC
The Modesto Bee, Modesto, CA: November 22, 2011
The Star-Telegram, Fort Worth, TX:  November 22, 2011
The Sun Herald, Gulfport, MI: November 22, 2011
Belleville News-Democrat, Belleville, IL: November 22, 2011
The Fresno Bee, Fresno, CA: November 22, 2011
The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento, CA: November 22, 2011
The Lexington Herald Leader, Lexington, KT: November 22, 2011
The Forum of Fargo Moorhead, Fargo, ND: November 27, 2011