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Food of life

In the interests of seeing the (wine) glass half full, I’ve taken to cooking with a gusto in the years since being a carer became part of my life—and generally speaking, feel the better (and probably heavier) for it. 

For many carers, however, cooking is not so much something to skite about as it is an area of serious concern. 

An article published this week in the British Guardian highlights the problem

Gaza blues

The situation in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel has been on many people’s minds these past couple of weeks. 

It has been on my mind as well—not only because of the miserable events remorselessly unfolding but for the personal memories they evoke. 

Some years ago I happened to be in Sderot and on the outskirts of Gaza. 

Caring again?

By Laurie Hilsgen

There is a poem in Ted Hughes' final book, Birthday Letters, recalling his innocence as he bites into a peach for the first time and soon thereafter falls in love with glamorous fellow student and poet Sylvia Plath. 

With awe and a tincture of pity for his young self, Hughes writes of his headlong tip into a waterfall of firsts: marriage, fatherhood, and supporting Plath, who committed suicide after their breakup several years later. 

The professorial finger

You know the situation I mean: your medical adviser thinks you really haven't understood the seriousness of your health problem. 

So he (women are more subtle) wags his index finger at you, calls you by your surname, and speaks in a very slow, forceful way. 

Three times I remember this happening.

The most memorable was in 1980, when I had testicular cancer. In those days they were only just starting to get on top of this particular

scourge.

The youngest carers

Talk about a hard road.

The number of people caring for an older person, someone with a disability or with a health condition is rising — we all know that. 

Considerably less well known, or appreciated, is the age of some of those who do the caring. 

In Britain this month, a new documentary looked at a previously unmined corner of the caring community: those who begin to look after ailing parents during their own childhood. 

Who do we trust?

The latest Reader’s Digest Most Trusted poll celebrates a “wonderfully diverse mix of Kiwis we can be proud of,” according to the monthly magazine. 

“People like Edmund Hillary, Willie Apiata, Peter Avery, Richie McCaw and John Kirwan come from different walks of life—yet each one has made their own mark on the world and our country.” 

What I learned

About the time my mother-in-law was 80, we began to be worried about her mental health.

She would lose things she had never lost before. She would tell us someone had been in her house and stolen things. And most important of all, she could not manage her medication: her inhalers (for emphysema) would be used up in a couple of days, instead of a month!

For some years, since her husband died, I had been taking her to the supermarket each week, and over that time she had lost track of her pin number for her card at the checkout.

So the writing was on the wall.

Disability Survey results: serve with a little salt?

Statistics NZ labour market and household statistics manager Diane Ramsay said the proportion of people aged 65 and over was growing, and this was feeding into the upward trend. 

Among the other notable findings:

* Among boys under 15, an estimated 13% were disabled, while for girls, 8% were disabled.

* For males and females aged 15-44, the figure was16% in both cases.

* 28% of both men and women aged 45 to 64 were disabled.

Caring eyewitnesses

Over on the Fairfax Media website, Stephen De Jong writes –movingly, bitterly and astutely—about the challenges of caring for an intellectually impaired teenager.

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