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April 2010

Alzheimer’s Journal Reports on Quick Test to Spot Early Alzheimer’s

With new awareness of Alzheimer’s can have us feeling as though the disease is lurking around every corner, ready to devour any one of us at any time. It’s easy to get paranoid. We wonder with every memory glitch, is this Alzheimer’s? We wonder even more, if we have Alzheimer’s in the family. We wonder more yet if we have early on-set Alzheimer’s in the family.

Read more about the new Alzheimer's test on eldercarelink.com:

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Your parent is dying: When is hospice needed?

A billboard in my city carries a simple message: "Most families say, "Why did we wait so long to call hospice?" When I talk with our local hospice folks, they say that is the message they hear most often. Yet, I understand why people do wait. Calling in hospice for the care of an elderly parent or other a loved one means you need to come to terms, on all levels, with the idea that this person is dying.

Read more about when to call hospice on agingcare.com:

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Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:


How caregiving sneaks up on adult children

What Happened to My Life? My mother had her second hip replacement surgery when my dad was already in a nursing home, the same home as my uncle. Until that time, I was taking my mother, daily, to see my dad who'd had brain surgery that had backfired, as well as my uncle who'd had a series of strokes. We were fortunate that an excellent nursing home was just blocks away from my home and near my mother's apartment and my mother-in-law's condo.

Read more on the "caregiver sneak-up factor" on eldercarelink.com:

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Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:


Exercise: Finding What They Love

Have you ever been in a nursing home during daily activities and seen the leader tossing a beach ball to each elder, in turn? The residents sit in their wheelchairs, many with puzzled looks, as the ball gently floats in their direction. Some understand what they are supposed to do with the ball, and listlessly catch the ball and toss it back. Others just look puzzled.

Read more about exercise and elder's health on eldercarelink.com:

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Dementia: Is My Behavior Normal or Should I See a Doctor?

News about dementia is everywhere - online, newspapers, TV and radio. Awareness is wonderful, as dementia has for too long been denied or covered up. For many, dementia in the family has been a source of shame. So, awareness is great. The more people can talk about dementia, understand that it is a disease that affects many families and that most of us at least know of someone with dementia, the less stigma is attached to the word.

Read more about when to see a doctor if you suspect Alzheimer's on ouralzheimers.com:

Find care agencies to help you with your caregiving:

Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:



Computers Help Us Communicate With Hard-Of-Hearing Loved Ones

Dear Carol: My dad suffers hearing loss so severe that even though he wears hearing aids people often have to write down what they are trying to tell him. Since I live out of town, I call my parents often, but Dad must rely on Mom to tell him what I say. I know he feels left out, but I don’t know how to help him. I love my Dad, and I feel sad that we can’t communicate directly.  Andrea

Dear Andrea: First of all, I'm assuming that your dad has the best hearing aids he can get and has investigated all other avenues.

Read more about computers and deafness on inforum.com:

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Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:

 


Addressing Elders in Respectful Terms

As my aunt and uncle (who had no children) aged, they found it appealing to move from their longtime home in Arlington, Virginia to be near us in Fargo, North Dakota. They'd been used to a military lifestyle and much more formality than they found here on the high plains, and for the most part were fine with the differences. There were some issues however, and one of the biggest irritations for my aunt was being addressed by her first name when she went through the bank drive-through. This is a common approach now used by many banks.

Read more on addressing elders with respect on eldercarelink.com:

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Finding Escorts for Doctor Appointments a Problem for Agencies

One of the saddest things I see when I walk into clinics is elders having been left by transit buses, slumped in their wheelchairs, waiting. The elders have envelopes prominently pinned to their clothing to identify them. True, these elders are safely transported from nursing homes, but there is no one to personally take charge of them at the clinic. There is no one to hold their hand.

Read more about the need for escorts on eldercarelink.com:

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Getting Doctors to Ask the Right Questions

Many of us are familiar with escorting our elders to a doctor's visit with high hopes that a particular health issue will be handled. Two of the most sensitive health issues are dementia and dealing with driving problems. In cases of dementia and memory problems, a third party can help adult children make decisions with, and in some cases for, their parents.

Read more about getting help from the doctor for an accurate diagnosis on eldercarelink.com:

Find care agencies to help with your caregiving:

Jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol:


Minding Our Elders on NPR Today - Putting Mom In a Nursing Home

Today, at 3:00 p.m. ET, on NPR's Talk of the Nation, columnist Amy Dickinson and I will discuss the trials of putting an elder in a nursing home. Amy is in the process of doing this with her mother. I will be talking with her about the process and the differing scenarios from my own life, as well as from my position as editor-in-chief of Eldercarelink.com.

Listen to NPR's Talk of the Nation Today at 3:00 ET for information and compassion. It is a call-in show.