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September 2008

How Your Voice and Words Can Affect a Loved One During the Death Process

I've learned many valuable lessons as I've attended the deaths of loved ones. It's hard to place a value on any of them. However, one that I'll keep close to my heart is the value of the spoken word, even as a person in a coma nears death. As my mother's body was shutting down, her limbs looked as though they were rotting, but her heart kept beating. My sister, Beth, and I were at Mom's side, expecting that at any moment her heart would follow the rest of her organs, and finally she would give up. Mom could then be released from her frail body and do what she had wanted to do for months. She would join Dad, her sisters and her parents in whatever form our spirits take after the death of a worn out body.

Read more on How Your Voice and Words Affect a Loved One During Death on ouralzheimers.com:

Medicare Launches New Caregiving Site

Medicare is out to help us. Acting Administrator Kerry Weems had some extra incentive to figure out how to better help caregivers navigate the murky waters of the Medicare system, because he and his wife have been caregivers. Since taking over as head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid (CMS), he's been working on this new initiative.

Read about Medicare Launches New Caregiving Site on ouralzheimers.com:

Study Shows B Vitamin Deficiencies Contribute to Memory Disorder

A Newswise article titled, "B-Vitamin Deficiency May Cause Vascular Cognitive Impairment," caught my eye, as I'm always looking for ways that we can help prevent dementia and other health problems through nutritional or other safe and readily available means. This particular article is about a Tufts University study that "...used an experimental model to examine the metabolic, cognitive, and microvascular effects of dietary B-vitamin deficiency." In a nutshell, the study found, "Mice fed a diet deficient in folate and vitamins B12 and B6 demonstrated significant deficits in spatial learning and memory compared with normal mice."

Read more on "B Vitamin Deficiencies and Memory Disorder" at ouralzheimers.com

New Findings on Flu Shots for Elders Controversial

Every fall my parents would get their flu shots. At the time, it was considered necessary for people over 65 and those with certain illnesses, plus their caregivers, to be vaccinated against the coming winter's strain of influenza. I not only was a caregiver for elders, I had a son with asthma, which is one risk category, so I always got my shot.

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Inflammatory Breast Cancer - Must View

I don't often go off topic on this site, but sometimes there is a compelling reason to do so. This is one of those times. I know a woman going through chemotherapy for inflammatory breast cancer - a type of cancer that will not be picked up by a mammogram. After viewing this video and hearing about the death of a 16-year-old girl from this disease, I knew I had to do what I could to spread the word. Please view this. You may save the life of someone you love.

Inflammatory Breast Disease video:

World Alzheimer’s Day: Truly a Global Issue

This Sunday (tomorrow), September 21, is World Alzheimer's Day. There are many U.S. Alzheimer's agencies that are sponsoring walks, strolls, food sales and seminars as fundraising and awareness events. Our Alzheimer's has been focusing on the Alzheimer's Quilt project and of course, Alzheimer's and dementia are a year around focus for us here on OurAlzheimers.com. It's always amazing to me how the Internet contributes to these efforts. Because of this Internet site, I've was able to review, for a large audience, Richard Taylor's ...

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Memorials and Mementos Hold Deep Meaning for Caregivers

The old soldiers from our local American Legion Honor Guard fired their rifles into the brittle blue sky over my father's grave. It was December in North Dakota, and the cemetery was knee deep in snow. These men were not much younger than the man they helped bury. Earlier, I had marveled at their dedication to a fellow soldier as I watched them march on aging, unsteady feet, through the snow that lead to the burial site.

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Did someone steal Grandma’s sweater or is dementia stealing Grandma’s mind?

“She took my sweater! I saw her. She stole it! That woman took my sweater my mother made for me!”

Victoria, the lady ranting about her sweater, was sitting in her wheelchair. I’d offered to take her down to Rosewood’s main dining room, as I was going down there to sit with my mother-in-law, anyway...

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New Medicare Site for Caregivers to be Unveiled September 18th

On September 18th, Medicare will unveil the new site "Ask Medicare." I've been asked to attend  a Web Cast that will include the unveiling of the site and I will try my best to make it. Either way, I'll be reporting on the site and adding it to my resources list.

According to the press release, the site at medicare.gov/caregiver "...will provide updated, easy to use information and tools to assist caregivers in talking with their loved ones to make a family plan and in making informed healthcare decisions about a variety of topics from Medicare coverage to technology updates to emotional support."

Keep watching for information and I'll keep you up to date.

Cleaning Out the Homestead

The first time I had to dig through the belongings of a loved one was when my uncle had to move into a nursing home. He and my aunt had sold their long-time home a number of years before, and moved out to their birth-state to be us, their only family. After my aunt died, my uncle continued on in their lovely apartment for a number of years, with the help of my parents and an in-home agency. However, after a particularly devastating stroke, it was obvious that my uncle needed 24-hour care that only a nursing home could provide. 

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