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December 2009

A Fresh New Year is Approaching: Smudge It Early and You’ll Save Some Stress

One of the many things caregivers have in common guilt. Generally, it's unearned guilt. We haven't done enough. We could do something better. We are imperfect caregivers. So? We are human. There isn't a person on earth who can guess another person's needs and respond exactly right every time. If you add physical ailments and mental issues such as Alzheimer's or other dementias to our messy lives, well, our best intentions will often be at least slightly off the mark.

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From Toilet Overflow to Entertainment Alzheimer's Store Has Solution

Dear Carol: I don’t know how newspaper appropriate this is, but I’m having a problem with my mother and an overflowing toilet. I try to help her as much as possible, but she insists she can handle this herself. Taping the handle is impractical. Any ideas? Worn Out 

Dear Worn Out: Believe it or not, I’ve been asked this question several times. When I look for devices to help elders and their caregivers, I often turn to www.alzstore.com. This is a fantastic

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It's Christmas Whether We're Snowed in or Not

As I write this note to wish those of you who celebrate Christmas a merry one, I'm aware that many of us will not be celebrating it the way we'd planned. My family may or may not be able to make it to my home for our meal and celebration, as we will likely be in the middle of a full scale blizzard.

This brings to mind other Christmas times that were “imperfect.” We, as a family, had several elders die near Christmas. So those years, we planned funerals and Christmas all at once. Other years brought other problems. Life doesn’t stop happening because it's Christmas.

Yet, when we think of the day, with all of its bitter sweet historical counterparts, we realize that what matters is how we live our lives all year. While it would be fun to have a "Normal Rockwell" Christmas every year, it's not very practical to expect that. We'll have a nice Christmas in whatever way it unfolds (and the celebration on whatever day it works). We'll have a normal, imperfect Christmas, and that is okay.

Wishing you the best of the holiday season from Minding Our Elders. Remember to take care of yourself, the caregiver, as well as the care receivers.

A Woman with Alzheimer’s Teaches Visitor about Expectations

Bob, a gentleman I've known only through correspondence as he's a faithful reader of my newspaper column and blog, invited me to visit and meet his wife, Jane. Jane has Alzheimer's disease, probably stage five, on the seven stage scale.  They live near me so we thought this Christmas season was a good time to get together.I had a pretty good idea of what Bob would be like. He's an 81-year-old retired professor, very active and savvy. From what I'd learned

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Celebrate Christmas Your Own Way: Imperfectly

Dear Readers: Is your Christmas cheer beginning to wear thin? You’re on the home stretch now, so it may be time to check in with yourself. Trying to decide how to best celebrate Christmas with your elders, your adult children, your small children and your spouse can seem like a marathon event.  Most caregivers are challenged by the holiday juggling act.

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PACE: A Program We Should All Have Access To

I've written about PACE (The program of all-inclusive care for the elderly) before. I wish I could write that this program is available everywhere. Alas, it is not. But it is available in many places. If you are looking for comprehensive care for an elder, check the PACE Web Site www.npaonline.org. They have a program finder to see if you can get help from their services. It's a way to coordinate care that can save caregivers and their loved ones tons of headaches. Check it out.

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Whether at a Doctor Visit or a Family Gathering, Include Elders in Conversation

I know it can be hard. Your siblings are in town. You visit the nursing home with them so you can all be together with your mom who is living in a care center. The adult children are all jabbering, trying to catch up on each other's lives. Sure, you are physically in the room with your parent. But there's a good chance that your mom is completely left out of the conversation.

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Dementia not always Alzheimer’s

Dear Carol: My dad is having memory problems and he and Mom argue about whether he should have a checkup. He says nothing can be done, even if he has dementia. My grandmother had dementia, but not Alzheimer’s as far as I know. What is the difference between the two? Will it hurt my dad to wait for a checkup? – Rita
Dear Rita: Yes, your dad needs a checkup. It’s no longer true that nothing can be done to help him if he does have dementia. However, he may not. It could be that medications he’s taking are causing dementia symptoms. He could have a nutritional problem, such as low B12 levels. This is reversible

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Minding Our Elders and KindEthics Chat On Talk Radio

Viki Kind is a personal healthcare strategist and a medical ethicist with a wonderful Web site at www.kindethics.com. She is also a radio host. Viki will be interviewing me Tuesday, Jan 12th at 9 a.m. PT. We'll talk about a lot of elder care issues, but Viki is particularly interested in talking with me about dementia. Here is the link for the show:  http://tinyurl.com/ylf95re 


People can also listen at blogtalkradio.com/kindethics or at www.kindethics.com. Listeners can call in during the show at 347-945-5152. Spread the word! We’d love live calls.



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New Caregiving Magazine Launches This Week

CaregivingamericaSauck Media Group is launching Caregiving in America magazine this week to serve the estimated 65 million caregivers in the United States.

A Note from the Publisher:

“Inside Caregiving in America, readers will find articles and stories written by nationally acclaimed authors, speakers and specialists in the caregiving field. They will also connect with stories of real people in similar caregiving situations sharing their successes, encouragement and how they cope. This magazine will be a part of the lives of millions of caregivers across the nation.”

Subscription Information:
Sauck Media Group is a publishing company located in Fairmont, Minnesota.  Subscriptions can be purchased by calling Sauck Media Group at (507) 235-8737 or by going online at CaregivingInAmerica.com.  An introductory rate of $10 for twelve issues is currently being offered.

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