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October 2009

Mind Body Medicine: Can This Help a Caregiver with Self-Care?

GoFishing LoveHeals 






Dr. Dean Shrock is convinced that mind and body work together when it comes to health. Two of his books, Doctor’s Orders: Go Fishing and Why Love Health: Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine are interesting treatises explaining the science (hard and soft) behind his teaching in the mind-body-health field. Shrock was Director of Mind Body Medicine for a physician management group of 40 cancer centers, so he has a lot of clout behind him.


I met him at a conference where we were both speaking, we struck up a conversation and I said I was interested in reviewing his books, which he generously donated to the cause, even after I told him what I tell all authors  - I'm not a book reviewer. I only write about books I like. I liked his books.


Shrock’s books are the way to discover the complicated interaction of the mind and body. If I could explain it here, there’d be no need to read the books. Besides, I don’t want to over-simplify his message.

I will say that one of my favorite parts of Why Love Heals is where Shrock talks of his teaching and how he thought that his message was what helped people. Yet he heard repeatedly that what helped people the most was that he “listened.” Not that he talked, but that he listened.

Shrock’s Web page, www.deanshrock.com, offers his books, audio courses and other ways to improve our mind/body health experience. If his knowledge and teaching products can help people with cancer, why not caregivers and those of us aging boomers who are trying to stay healthy? His work is, in my opinion, worth investigating.


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Living Life With Dementia

Fellow blogger Leah, has vascular dementia. Her post on alzheimers.com titled, Choose Life Over Dementia, is in my opinion, outstanding. Below is the first paragraph of Leah's post:

"Dementia is a diagnosis.  A tragic one, to say the least.  But it does NOT have to be so...final.  When I received my diagnosis, I was devastated.  Newly married, I was beside myself with grief and uncertainty.  I didn't want to put my husband through what I thought would be instantaneous "daffiness". "

Read the rest of Leah's post on ouralzheimers.com:

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Scholars Coming Forward with Their Alzheimer’s Stories Helps Reduce Stigma of Dementia

Brilliant people get Alzheimer's and other dementias. Three rather public figures that come to mind are recent Nobel prize winner, physicist Charles K. Kao, retired psychologist, professor and Alzheimer's activist Richard Taylor and the husband of retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor. Most of us can name a few lesser known figures, though to us they are far more important. My dad's dementia was much like Alzheimer's, however it was brought on by brain surgery that was meant to correct the effects of a World War II brain injury. We all probably know and love others who may not have been well educated, or achieved public acclaim of any kind. What better recommendation can anyone have but to be loved?

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Dental Care for Elders Challenge for Caregivers

Dear Carol: My mom’s teeth are really an issue. She has her own, if you want to call it that. But they are starting to give her pain. She has dementia, and she is too frail for much of the work that would normally be done. How do we cope with this? – Andrea

Dear Andrea: I found this one of the most frustrating challenges of elder care. Good dental hygiene is essential

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National Alzheimer’s Association Offers Tracking Device for Wandering Elders

Wandering is and important issue when we are caring for someone with dementia, especially of the Alzheimer’s type. Now, the National Alzheimer’s Association has an electronic monitoring system that can help you find your loved one if he or she wanders off, despite your best efforts. There are other systems on the market, but this is backed by one of the foremost Alzheimer’s groups in the country.

From their press release: To provide support to Alzheimer’s caregivers and people living with the disease, the Alzheimer’s Association has launched a new location management system.   The Alzheimer's Association Comfort Zone™, powered by Omnilink, is the first comprehensive location management system designed specifically for Alzheimer’s, giving people with the disease more freedom and independence in their community while providing their family some peace of mind.  Comfort Zone is a Web-based application that works with various location devices throughout the progression of the disease to proactively communicate the location of the person with Alzheimer’s within two to 30 minutes.  Comfort Zone also offers families assistance with 24/7 monitoring center services and access to emergency health records from the MedicAlert Foundation. The price of the Comfort Zone service packages varies, beginning at $42.99 a month with a $45.00 activation fee, similar to most cell phone services. 

This is, in my opinion, something to look into if you have any feeling that wandering may become part of your loved one’s agenda. The National Alzheimer’s Web site is www.alz.org.

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PACE Program Coordinates Senior Care

PACE, The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, is interdisciplinary team of professionals who will provide all of the coordinated care a senior needs. Unfortunately, PACE isn't available everywhere. I've taken this passage below from their Web site at www.PACE4You.org. This site has a place to put in your elder's zip code to see if they are in an area where this service is provided.   


{PACE is}"An interdisciplinary team of professionals will provide all of the coordinated care you need. These professionals are also experts in working with older people. They will work together with you and your family (if appropriate) to develop your most effective plan of care.

Once enrolled in PACE, the amount you pay each month will not change no matter what care and services you might need.  The program provides all the care and services covered by Medicare and Medicaid, as authorized by the interdisciplinary team, as well as additional medically-necessary care and services not covered by Medicare and Medicaid. PACE provides coverage for prescription drugs, doctor care, transportation, home care, checkups, hospital visits, and even nursing home stays whenever necessary."

If you are in an area that doesn't have a PACE program (as I am), start pressuring your Congressman about it. In my opinion, this program shows how senior care should be done. Again the site is www.PACE4You.org.

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Dental Care for Elders Important but Frustrating

Most dentists stress the importance of dental care for elders. Realism for caregivers comes into play here, as many of our elders get so they can't be transported and lifted into a dental chair for major work. Some will fight even having their mouth swabbed out by a family member. This can become a huge issue for already guilt-ridden caregivers. We want to do more for their dental health, but what? How? 

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Video aids Alzheimer’s understanding

RichardTaylorlarge Dear Readers:

Most of us have enough sensitivity to understand that being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease has to be devastating. We grasp that. We can relate and let our friend or spouse know that we “understand” how hard it must be. But can we really understand? Of course not. If we don’t have the disease ourselves, there is no way to do better than imagine how challenging this disease must be for those who have it. There is one person, however, who does have the disease and is very vocal about what it does feel like to live with “Dr. Alzheimer” in his brain. That is Richard Taylor.


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The Importance of Conversing With a Person Who Has Dementia: Some Tips

After my dad had surgery to correct increasing fluid build up behind scar tissue from a World War II brain injury, he came out of the surgery totally demented. Whether the dementia came from a combination of his age and the scar tissue, anesthetic or something else, we didn't know. All we knew was that he came out of surgery with a voice in his head and very little ability to discern the difference between what was a happening in this head and the reality of this world.

That he was irreversibly altered was obvious. It was heartbreaking for his family and friends. However, Dad needed people.

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Medicare Part D Enrollment and Veteran Scam

Dear Readers: It’s the time of year when seniors or those who care for them need to be doing some Medicare housekeeping. The Insurance Department is gearing up for the Medicare Part D annual enrollment period.

Read about Medicard enrollment, The Family Caregiver Support Program Veteran scam:

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