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September 2011

Tips on initiating the talk about end-of-life issues

I've found in my experience that it isn't always the elders who shy away from end-of-life talks. Some do, of course, but many would like to discuss the arrangements they've made for finances, as well as their opinions about what measures they would want taken if they needed someone to make their decisions if they can't, however the adult children often find excuses to put off that particular "talk."

Read more about talking with your elders about end-of-life issues:

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Study shows diabetes doubles risk for Alzheimer's disease

A multitude of studies, some dating back to the late 1990s, have suggested a link between diabetes and Alzheimer's disease, as well as other types of dementia. However, those studies had some inconsistencies in the definition of both diabetes and dementia, thus making the results less convincing than they could be.

According to an article on Yahoo.net:

"The authors of the new study, led by Yutaka Kiyohara, MD, an environmental medicine researcher at Kyushu University, in Fukuoka, sought to address this weakness by using the gold standard of diabetes diagnosis, an oral glucose tolerance test."

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Grief and relief mix of emotions can foster guilt

When a family member has witnessed a long, slow decline in a spouse or elder prior to the elder's death, the death often brings mixed emotions. While grief is expected, relief that ordeal is over often is a surprise. This feeling of relief is something many people are afraid to make known to others, as they feel guilty having such feelings.

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Healthy forgetting: everyone's brain needs some free space

Middle aged people sometimes watch their aging parents with some trepidation. Current news is so packed with stories about Alzheimer's disease that every memory slip a parent makes can strike fear into the hearts of their adult children. People need to step back and think about the difference between a diseased brain and normal, healthy forgetting. Even young people's brains need to select what to remember. So don't panic. Your elders may be just fine.

Read more about healthy forgetting:

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Medicare open enrollment earlier this year

Dear Readers: Around September 30, those of you on Medicare will receive information about a change in the Medicare annual open enrollment dates. Open enrollment is when you can make changes in the plans and providers you’ve chosen for your Medicare D prescription drug coverage, your supplemental plan and Medicare Advantage if you’ve chosen that option.

Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, the Medicare annual open enrollment period this year changes to Oct. 15 through Dec. 7. If the companies you’ve chosen as providers or the plans you’ve chosen are no longer the best fit for you, you may change without a penalty. If you are happy with your plans and the providers you won’t have to do a thing.

Read more about open enrollment changes:

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When care receivers won't accept outside help

Paid caregivers, hired by family members or even elders themselves, go into the elder's home as nurses, assistants (CNAs) and custodial help (non-medical help such as shopping and light house keeping). Often their best efforts are frustrated by anger and actual abuse dished out by the elder they are there to care for.

Read more about elders abusing their caregivers:

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Online puzzle competition for Alzheimer's awareness and cash prizes

I received a press release from the Alzheimer's Foundation of American announcing their crossword challenge beginning today. The release begins:

NEW YORK, NEW YORK—The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is calling on crossword buffs, novices up for a challenge and others in between to participate in its inaugural National Brain Game Challenge, an online game of skill created by one of the nation’s most admired puzzle masters.

    For the National Brain Game Challenge, Merl Reagle, whose popular Sunday crossword is syndicated in 50 newspapers across the country, has crafted a series of challenging, fresh-themed puzzles that lead to a single solution.

    Players pay a $25 registration fee, which will give them online access to the puzzles on September 25 at exactly 3 p.m. ET. The contest ends September 27, and AFA will announce the winners the following day. Up for grabs: a $5,000 grand prize and other prizes. 

To register and for more information, visit www.alzfdn.org

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Learning the skills of detaching with love: sometimes it's about survival

Yet, it's natural for adult children to love their parents and even want to care for them as they age. If your parents abused you when you were a child, how do you care for them without harming yourself by being subjected to ongoing criticism and abuse?

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Hospitalized elders may be more prone to cognitive decline

Why are some elders subject to returning home from a hospitalization cognitively worse? Experts are studying this problem with varying results, but many agree that there are conditions at play which can result in an elderly person suffering cognitive decline after a hospitalization. Although there is no 100% conclusive evidence that a hospitalization can lead to dementia, the medical community calls the condition "hospital delirium," a condition that the American Geriatrics Society estimates affects about one-third of patients over 70, particularly those who are in intensive care or who undergo surgery.

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Alzheimer’s Association urges people to wear purple for World Alzheimer’s Day

The Alzheimer’s Association is highlighting World Alzheimer’s Day by asking everyone to wear purple Wednesday, Sept. 21. Purple is the worldwide color designated for Alzheimer’s awareness. From the Alzheimer’s Association site, you can change your Facebook icon to an Alzheimer's awareness graphic or purchase awareness products. You can also join sponsored walks to raise both money and awareness. If you are inclined to become locally active, you can coordinate your own Alzheimer’s fundraiser by joining forces with your local Alzheimer’s organization.

Read more about World Alzheimer's Day:

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Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: