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March 2011

How much can people with severe dementia understand?

Most of us have wondered, when visiting someone with severe dementia, how much can they actually be absorbing? What do they understand and what don't they? Is my visit worth while?

Read more about dementia and what the person may or may not understand:

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Teenage tips: How to take care of elderly parents

Note from Carol: I rarely use guest bloggers, however this wonderful post by Katie Price, from the Eldercarelink.com blog, was too good to pass up. Please read on.

I am 13 and I am in 7th grade. I am planning to go to high school to complete an IB (International Baccalaureate) program. Then I will go to Stanford and try to get into the horse program and major in biotechnology. After college I will get a job, a house and eventually a family. When I am grown up my parents will start needing my help. 

Read more about the ideas on caregiving that have occured to Katie Price, including using a trained monkey or a robot (which are available at this time!):

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How do caregivers manage their time?

Caregivers juggle many jobs and often the needs of multiple care receivers. How on earth can they mange their time? How do they survive these time challenges and stay sane? It's not easy. 

Read tips on caregiver time management on agingcare.com:

Get help caring for your loved ones:

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Mom thinks I’m stealing her treasures

Dear Carol: My 88-year-old mother still lives independently, but has recently developed some paranoia. It’s mostly centered on me, as I’m the family member who is with her the most. She misplaces objects and then accuses me of stealing what she can’t find. Even when we find the object, she accuses me of moving it and lying. My siblings live farther away, so it’s hard for them to visit often, yet I don’t want to upset Mom with my presence. How can I support her and my siblings? Geraldine 

Dear Geraldine: Your concern for your mom’s feeling is important. It's a horrible experience to your parent think you are stealing from them, but not as unusual as you'd think.

Read more about paranoia and loved ones who think you are stealing:

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How good was your mom's advice?

Our moms generally had lots of advice. As we watch them age, we are, at the same time maturing. We often find that they were right. Sometimes, we realize they were wrong. 

Read more about "Mom's advice" on agingcare.com:

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“In-laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats” beautiful, practical guide to intergenerational living

Inlaws

While I’ve been aware that many more families than in the past were looking for ways to care for aging parents within the home, or to simply save on extended family expenses, I wasn’t aware of the magnitude of this movement until I received a review copy of “In-Laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats: Your Guide to Turning One House into Two Homes.” Author Michael Litchfield has renovated many homes throughout his life, however after a move to the west coast he became fascinated by some property that offered the option multiple living units on one home base, so to speak. 

Read more about inter-generational housing:

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Medication in nursing homes: Is your elder getting too much?

We often find ourselves second-guessing nursing homes when it comes to the medication their doctors prescribe to residents. Years back, it was accepted practice to medicate people heavily. These days, new approaches are considered. 

Read more on agingcare.com:

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Convincing parents to accept a move to assisted living

Is it true we all want to stay in our own homes as long as we can - even with failing health and few social outlets? For some, yes. For others, a little psychology can help them find out there are better options.

Read more on agingcare.com about convincing parents to move to assisted living:

Find care agencies to help you help your loved ones:

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Hiring In-Home Caregivers: Are You Prepared to Do the Necessary Background and Training Check?

For many people, the economy is still tough going. The high unemployment we are still facing adds desperation to a mix of people who may be good hearted - or not - but who are aware of the gaps between the need for in-home care for elders and the money to pay for it. Home caregivers need to be careful about who they hire to help them with their caregiving.

Read more about hiring private in-home caregivers:

Find care agencies to help you care for your loved ones:

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Getting Mom to the doctor when she refuses to go

Dear Carol: My dad has been caring for my mother for years, filling in the blanks in her memory, making excuses for her sometimes bizarre behavior, and just plain living in denial. I’ve talked to them both repeatedly about getting Mom to a doctor to see if there is help, to no avail. Dad can’t keep this up. I see his health failing from worry and from the hard work of taking care of her. Yet, he won’t give in unless she does. What do I do? Stanley

Dear Stanley: Most of us have a tendency to deny as much of the aging process as we can. It’s just no fun to feel ourselves “slipping,” in some area. Yet, it’s a fact that early detection of a disease is nearly always better than letting symptoms go on without diagnosis and treatment, when possible. 

Read more about getting aging parent to a doctor:

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