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September 2009

Is My Elderly Parent a Shopaholic?

“Mom! Where are all these packages coming from?” Some caregivers are pulling out their hair over Mom or Dad’s shopaholic habits. What do you do when your mother calls that shopping network 800 number and orders jewelry she has no use for, and worse yet can’t afford? What do you do when she uses her limited computer skills to shop online, charging up the credit cards with who knows what? How do you step in when the money isn’t yours and Dad insists he has a right to do as he pleases?

Read more about elders and shopping on agingcare.com:

Find care agencies in your aging parents' area:

Find accessories for independent living:

Veterans and In-home care

Dear Readers: There’s exciting news for veterans. The Department of veterans Affairs has an expanded home care service, needed especially by many veterans who must travel some distance to the VA for care. Diane Freih, program coordinator for Home Based Primary Care at the Fargo VA, sent me the following information on the program. I believe it will affect many of you in North Dakota and Minnesota:

Read more about Veteran In-home care on in-forum.com (and encourage your VA to do the same):

Find care agencies in your parents' home town:

Stay independent with these aids:

Study Shows Memantine Helps People with Alzheimer’s Communicate

When human beings loses their ability to communicate verbally, whether through stroke, Alzheimer's or some other disease, the frustration of not being able to articulate one's feelings can create anger and difficult behavior. I saw my uncle struggle with aphasia after his last major stroke. This man, who had been a voracious reader, speaker and crossword puzzle whiz, could no longer put the right name on an object. He spent ten minutes one day hollering at me, as he wanted me to get his magazines fixed. When I put my hand on his neat stack of magazines, he got madder. "No! My magazines!" he hollered.

Read more about language and dementia:

Find care agencies for your loved one:

Find items for independent living:

Northern Plains Conference on Aging and Disability September 22nd-24th

If you are in western Minnesota or eastern North Dakota from the evening of September 22nd through the 24th, make it a point to get to the NPCAD. This annual conference is always good for information, education and entertainment, as well as supplying CEUs for those who need credits.

A couple of the people who are speaking have written books I've reviewed. Cheryl Woodson, MD., family caregiver and geriatrician, wrote To Survive Caregiving: A Daughter's Experience, A Doctor's Advice on Finding Hope, Help and Health. Dennis McCullough, M.D. wrote My Mother, Your Mother: Embracing 'Slow Medicine,' The Compassionate Approach to Caring for Your Aging Loved Ones. Both of these doctors produced excellent books and I'm excited to hear them speak.

I, too, will be speaking at two sessions. My subjects for this conference are "Is She Dear Yet? Attended Deaths: How to Help a Loved One Die and Survive the Experience With Grace," and "Why 'Parenting Your Parents' and 'Role Reversal" are Are Misleading Terms." Of course, Minding Our Elders: Cargivers Share Their Personal Stories will be sold and signed by the author: )

I hope some of you can make it to the conference. "Is She Dead Yet" will be video taped and eventually available from my site. The conference is to be help at the Ramada Plaza Suites, Fargo, ND and the site for information is www.northernplainsconference.com.

Find caregiving help for your elders:

Stay more independent with these aids:

Bathroom Issues: A request for family restrooms

Dear Carol: My wife has Alzheimer’s disease. When we go out and she needs to use the restroom, I’m always uncomfortable. I wait right outside the door, but she gets disoriented and sometimes frightened. I know this will only get worse,..Dear Robert: This is a frustrating problem for many caregivers. When I took my dad to the clinic for doctor visits, the waits were long, and he’d inevitably have to go to the bathroom. My options were nil. I couldn’t take him to the women’s bathroom, and I couldn’t go into the men’s bathroom...

Read more about public bathrooms on In-forum:

Find care agencies for extra help:


Seniors Get Educated About Health Care Fraud and Scams

The SMP programs, formerly known as Senior Medicare Patrol, are set up to help Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries avoid, detect and prevent health care fraud. This is one way that seniors help peers, as most SMP volunteers, trained to help seniors watch for fraud, are Medicare recipients.

On the SMP site, seniors can find their state and simply click to get contact information for their area. Whether a senior wants to be trained as a volunteer, or is wondering if something on their bill is fishy, this is the place to go. I find this a brilliant way for seniors to help seniors see that Medicare dollars go where they are intended to go, and to watch for other types of scams. Do check out the SMPsite.

Find care agencies to help your area seniors:

Keep living independently with inovative products:

"Ask Medicare" Newsletter Worth Signing Up For

Medicare bears watching for those of us who care for seniors, as well as those of us who are seniors. Many of us are both. I received my September/October e-mail for my “Ask Medicare” newsletter and thought that I should remind many caregivers and seniors that for most of us (if we use a computer or have friends or families who do), Social Security and Medicare issues are often more easily understood by going to the Web site than by waiting for someone to help you on the phone. Obviously, sometimes phone calls and even appointments are necessary. But the government sites have come a long way. The link below takes you to the current newsletter which has some important reminders as it is sign-up season for many who will be looking at their Medicare D prescription drug plans. I feel it's worth your time.

Ask Medicare Newsletter:

Find care agencies to help with your caregiving:

Products for independent living:

Elder Care Financial Resource Locator Search Tool Available

Paying for the best care for our elders is tough. It's also tough finding out where to look for help. The Eldercare Financial Resource Locator Search Tool helps families find financial resources to pay for eldercare. It is in its early stages but basically you enter basic demographic data about the individual in need of care and the Tool provides a list of different state, federal, veterans, home equity and other resources for which they are qualified.  The Tool is located at www.payingforseniorcare.com

Find care agencies to help with our elders' care here:

Find equipment for independent living here:

Cargegiver Burnout: Neighbor takes on too much

Dear Carol: I’ve found myself in the role of the caregiver for an 88-year-old neighbor. None of her six children has anything to do with her other than an occasional birthday card. I make her doctor appointments and take her to them, as well as to the grocery store and drug store... I’m in over my head, and I don’t know how to stop this being her sole support system. – Pam

Dear Pam: Good friends and neighbors are often part of a team of caregivers for seniors, but you are one person trying to do it all, and you have your own life to live. There is no reason for you to feel guilty for pulling back. You have been doing more than your share.

Read more about caregiving neighbors on in-forum:

Find care for your aging parents:

Products for independent living:

PBS Hosts Boomer Series: Life (Part 2)

I received a press release from PBS on their new "Life (Part 2)" series. After checking out clips and their site, felt that this is well worth passing on.

From the release:

"The PBS series Life (Part 2) premiers nationwide on September 13. (check local listings.)  Our series connects with the 78 million strong baby boomers who are unlike generations before them. They are fitter, will live longer, will look better, will earn more, and will be more active than any generation before them. But are they ready for Life (Part 2)? How they are dealing with aging, and how they can overcome the societal, physical and financial obstacles that come with it to live a vibrant and fulfilling second part is the focus of this timely and groundbreaking series. I’m hoping your readers would be interested in checking us out, there seems to be a lot of overlap with your content and ours. 

Hosted by Emmy winning New York Times journalist Robert Lipsyte, the series provokes, entertains, and educates boomers on a wide range of topics from plastic surgery, boomer dating and successful boomer marriages, to getting rid of the boomer belly, keeping a fit mind and body, and fighting ageism while looking for an encore career. With wit, insight, and the experience of having made the passage himself, Lipsyte engages in candid dialogue with a wide range of guests including Joy Behar, Martha Stewart, Phil Donahue, Gail Sheehy, David Hyde Pierce, Billie Jean King, and Governor Mike Huckabee among many others.

Check out our website at(www.pbs.org/lifepart2) which features video, a blog written by our Host, and tons of great resources."

Fiind local agencies to help your elders: