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May 2010

Caregivers Need to Start Early With Keeping Good Financial Records

Mom calls with the news that Dad's in the hospital. She's with him as he rests and waits for tests. Could you meet her there and brings some things for Dad's room? Of course! You rush out from work, stop at the drug store and get toiletries your Dad uses.

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Mom Lies to Doctor: What Can I Do?

Dear Carol: My mother is in her late 70s, and I accompany her to her doctor appointments. She is having subtle memory problems. She also loves sweets, which, since she is borderline diabetic, she shouldn’t have. However, she is so charming and seemingly sharp when we go to the doctor that she gets away with anything. I know she’s lying to the doctor, but I don’t want to contradict her, which she’ll resent. How do I get the doctor to know the truth?  Marge

Dear Marge: Unlike taking a child to a doctor appointment, when you accompany an adult you can’t just answer the questions yourself.

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Elders and Falls: Irregular Medication Increases Risk

Most of us know that some medications can cause dizziness, which in turn can cause a fall. Some blood pressure medications can lower the blood pressure too quickly, and a person take a tumble. However a recent edition of Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological and Medical Science

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Stepping Stones in Care Series: When Outside Help Is Needed, How Do You Begin?

The process of aging brings gains for those wise enough to see them, but it also brings inevitable losses. Decades of experience can be tapped by younger generations, stories of "how things were" can be recorded, and elders who have allowed life to mellow them, rather than embitter them, can be a source of encouragement and inspiration to younger generations. However, with this process also come the losses.

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Long-Distance Caregiving Can Be Emotional and Frustrating

Living a distance away from our parents can be freeing for the young. However, as we mature our parents mature also, or as we generally say, they "age." For adult children who see their aging parents regularly because they live close by, this aging process, barring urgent health issues like a parent's stroke, is gradual. It's different for those who live at a distance. People who haven't seen their aging parents for a few months are often shocked when they do visit. It's like they've been smacked in the face with reality. Mom and Dad are "old."

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Adult day care for Alzheimer's patients: Different Personalities

Caregivers of folks with early on-set Alzheimer's face unique challenges, not unlike those who care for parents or children who have suffered debilitating brain injuries. These younger people often don't quite belong with the older generation found in many adult day care settings.

Adult day care, or day services as some are called, is one of the newer forms of caring for people who need help during the day. I toured a number of adult day centers in my community awhile back and they each had a different personality. Some are attached to nursing homes, which works great for elders who will soon need to be transitioned to a nursing home, though they can work well for other people, as well.

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Area Agencies on Aging Good Source of Information

It’s unfortunate that we can’t all have access to the community help that is offered by the Area Agencies on Aging. I’m somewhat baffled that all states don’t have access, but I happen to live in one that doesn’t – even though I can cross the bridge downtown and be in another state which does.

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An Elder’s Paranoia Affects the Caregiver

One of the many heartbreaking effects of Alzheimer's and other dementias is that the person with the disease can become paranoid. You see paranoid behavior in nursing homes on a regular basis and it can be confusing to observers. Is an elder complaining about being ignored and not fed because he or she can't remember eating or is this really happening? Does the person think her bracelet was stolen simply because she put it somewhere (maybe twenty years ago) and can't find it, or was it actually stolen?

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Dementia In Public: Strangers Will Stare

Dear Carol: My dad has mid-stage Alzheimer’s. We like to take him out so he has some variety in his life, but he gets angry, paranoid and stubborn, even though we go to familiar places. People stare at him, and that makes my mother uncomfortable. I’ll admit I feel uncomfortable, too, but I try to hide it and help my mother. Any suggestions?  Pam

Dear Pam: It’s sad, but unavoidable, that when people act differently others will stare. I have been in your shoes. My dad came out of surgery with total dementia. At first, I tried taking both of my parents out for fun things,

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CNN Reports on Caregivers' Risk of Illness

Hundreds (thousands?) of studies, articles and references to the toll constant caregiving can take on the caregiver’s physical and mental health have popped up over the last years. When I first started writing about this topic, I had to dig to find references. Now they are every place. Still, the subject needs to be kept in front of caregivers and those who love them.

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