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February 2012

What happens when having a parent live with you isn't working out?

Many people are facing the fact that their sweet intentions have taken a sour turn. Certainly, for some, the decision to cohabitate with their elders works out fine. Two or even three generations residing in the same home can work. It can work when there is plenty of space so that everyone has some degree of privacy. It can work when there is respect for one another and a place to go when one has had enough family time. It can work when there is plenty of cooperation, planning beforehand and even some respite care for the elder, should that be needed.

Read more about regretting the decision to have your parents live with you:

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Joining the person with dementia in their reality

Hogwash, I thought. I know my dad. I know he is not capable of coming into my "reality" and I wasn't going to torture him by trying to drag him along. If I argued that he was delusional, he would feel degraded and disrespected. It made no sense to me. I still had my brain. Why couldn't I put his anxiety to rest by traveling into his world – his "reality"?

Read about joining the person with dementia in his or her reality:

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Dad with Alzheimer’s obsessed with wallet and paying bills

Dear Carol: My dad has Alzheimer’s and lives in a very good nursing home. We visit often. What I’m wondering about is his habit of repeatedly taking his wallet out of his pocket and emptying out the contents. He then carefully puts everything back. He also tries to pay the nursing home staff when they help him. Telling him everything is paid for simply doesn’t work. Any insight? Julie

Read more about the reasons why Alzheimer's and dementia patients can obsess about a wallet or purse:

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Alcoholism and elders can be a devastating combination

First, most doctors aren't thinking of a "little old man or little old lady" and alcoholism in the same context. Yet we have many elders who, like Joe, were heavy drinkers their entire lives, or some who just began to drink excessively after retirement or after the death of a spouse. We have many elders addicted to drugs, prescribed and otherwise.

Read more about alcoholism and aging parents:

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How catch phrases like "role reversal" can affect our caregiving attitude

I have found that I have a real issue with these phrases. I understand the use, as people immediately "get" the meaning. Oh, your parents are in decline and you have to make their decisions and maybe even change their diapers. They nod. They sympathize. You have become your parents' parent. You have switched roles with them. Or have you?

Read about "parenting our parents" and "role reversal" and how the phrases can affect our attitudes:

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Technology post nominated for award: you can vote

How Do Your Elders View New Technology That Monitors their Home Life  has been nominated for an ALTY Blog Award for articles written in 2011 on technology used to help care for our vulnerable loved ones. My article stresses the need for hands-on care no matter how much technology we use to help care for our loved ones. Please vote for your favorite article at Assisted Living Today Technology Blogs.

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Drug free management of sundowning in people with Alzheimer's

Sundowning, sometimes called Sundown Syndrome, is the label given to late day anxiety, irritability, disorientation and general agitation in people with Alzheimer’s. Sundowning frustrates home caregivers and professional care staff alike, as they often feel completely unable to comfort the person affected.

Researchers and care staff alike are looking for answers. One nursing home in particular has made some dramatic changes in end-of-day care, resulting in a major reduction in the need to medicate residents for late day anxiety. Home caregivers can learn from their work, as well.

Read more about help for sundowning behavior in Alzheimer's: 

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When siblings are more interested in the inheritance than good elder care

Ah, siblings. Some are a joy. Some are helping the primary caregiver, as you struggle to find the right balance of care for your elderly parents. Some siblings don't help with caregiving at all. And some, maybe more than we'd like to admit, have a less than admirable motive for their comments.  Some don't want Mom to have outside care, because outside care is expensive. And outside care will quickly eat up their parents' hard-earned money – the money the family was to inherit.

Read more about siblings who'd rather inherit money than spend it on their parents:

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Should we tell a parent with dementia that their spouse has died?

My struggle began as we finally were able to get my suffering father into hospice care. I'd fought doctors for quite awhile, with the help of the nurses in the nursing home who knew him well, to get him better pain relief. The attitude of the doctor, who viewed his chart, was that he slept a lot, so he wasn't in that much pain.

Read more about helping parents through the death of their spouse:

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Dr. Travis Stork interviewed about heart health

 

Stork

 

Dear Readers: February is Heart Health Month. With this in mind, Dr. Travis Stork, co-host of the award winning talk show “The Doctors,” agreed to a telephone interview with four writers, so he could answer our questions about heart health. Dr. Stork is a practicing ER doctor and faculty physician in the emergency department at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. 

When asked for one important change that he would suggest people make in their daily routine, Dr. Stork replied without hesitation, “walk at least 30 minutes a day.” He considers exercise one of the most important routes to good health.


Read more about Dr. Stork's advice for good heart health:

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