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July 2012 Feed

Loneliness with Aging Is Inevitable But Can be Managed

...One can be lonely in a marriage. One can be lonely in a crowd. It's all about the quality of the relationships. People living in assisted living facilities and nursing homes are often lonely. While they live among plenty of people, these are not the people they've built their life around. They lack the intimacy of close relationships built over time. Good staff members work with people to help them feel needed and at home, but they can't heal the mounting wounds of lost personal relationships?

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Husband with Alzheimer’s refuses to see specialist

Dear Carol: My husband went for a physical and was surprised by a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. He’s in denial and won’t see a specialist for confirmation. So far, he can still function almost normally except for short-term memory loss and occasional confusion. His primary care doctor prescribed Aricept and Namenda, for now, but he did suggest we get a second opinion. What can I do to help my husband? Gale

Dear Gale: Your husband’s denial isn’t unusual. He likely doesn’t want the diagnosis confirmed, so you may want to suggest a specialist by saying that the primary doctor could be wrong, which does happen. There are many types of dementia and a specialist is more likely to be able determine what specific type of dementia is present.

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Companies That Can Help Elders Move

...Understandably, people tend to groan when they think about the difficulty of these moves. First, of course, the elder must part with years - perhaps decades - of belongings. Many of our parents were great "savers." They grew up in the depression and they have a strong feeling that they may need, um, that cracked mixing bowl, one day. And why wouldn't they feel this way? Many lived close to the edge of starvation during the Dirty Thirties. These experiences colored their whole life.

Read more about companies that can help your parents with the moving experience:

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Time management tips for caregivers

... tips and thoughts from people whose lives have closely mirrored mine, in at least some aspects, have been generally welcome. I like stories. I like knowing how people make their lives work. If ideas are presented to me that way, I feel the flexibility of personalities and lifestyles blending, and that makes suggestions sound less like demands that I "shape up" and act like other people. I can then assimilate the story, take what works for me and ignore the rest—guilt free.

Read more about trying to manage time and find some for yourself:

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Alzheimer’s treatments undergoing late-stage trials

Three treatments for Alzheimer’s disease are undergoing late-stage trials. If none of these treatments can be considered a success once the trials are finished, Alzheimer’s researchers will need to consider starting over on another track in their quest to prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Existing drugs for Alzheimer’s can slow the symptoms of Alzheimer’s for some people, but they don’t affect the underlying mechanism of the disease. 

So far, the first of these late-stage trials has proven to be a failure. Pfizer Inc., said that Bapineuzumab, Pfizer's experimental Alzheimer's disease treatment “failed to prove effective in one of four late-stage trials in patients with mild to moderate forms of the memory-robbing disease. The drug failed to improve cognitive and life function, the primary goals of the trial, compared with patients taking placebos. Pfizer will continue to conduct the remaining tests to see how the treatment performs under different criteria.” 

Read more about 3  trials on Alzheimer's treatment:

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5 questions new caregivers should ask themselves

Many of us dove into caregiving with full hearts and no planning, then ended up sustaining this life-altering mode for months and often years. But at some point as a caregiver, you need to have a honest, realistic talk with yourself. You will, eventually need to include others in your final decisions, but some honest, quiet soul searching can help you sort out your own priorities and determine how much you can handle.

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Don't feel guilty if you want a second opinion

...Whatever the case, we do have the right to question a doctor's advice or diagnosis, ask for an explanation, and if we aren't satisfied, look for a second opinion. But the issue becomes more complicated when we question a life-long family doctor that our elders trust.

Many of our parents have been seeing the same physician for decades. In their view, the doctor is "just fine." And probably, the doctor has been fine for their run-of-the-mill ailments.

However, the doctor is likely not a specialist in diagnosing dementia and may not be well trained in caring for aging patients in general, or helping them have the best quality of life. Moreover, some family doctors still believe that many signs of dementia are "natural aging" and tell their patients, who may be at a point where early intervention could be helpful, that they are just getting old.

Read more about getting a second opinion:

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AFA Report Focuses on Alzheimer’s Wandering and What Caregivers Can Do About It

According to an Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) report, most people with Alzheimer’s disease who wander are found in close proximity of their home. That being said, it’s essential that people who wander be found quickly, since confusion or poor judgment could cause them to walk into traffic, enter a dangerous construction site, or simply become increasingly disoriented, confused and frightened.

The AFA report titled “Lost and…Found: A Review of Available Methods and Technologies to Aid Law Enforcement in Locating Missing Adults with Dementia,” was funded by Project Lifesaver International, a nonprofit organization based in Chesapeake, VA, through a grant from the United States Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Read more about wandering and how to cope:

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Functional products preserve dignity

Dear Readers: It’s rare for me to write about a specific product because there are generally competing businesses that offer quality merchandise. A package that recently arrived in my mail prompted me to make an exception. It contained samples of stylish clothing protection that replaces the function of bibs.

While many of us have dripped food on our clothing while dining out, few adults want to wear a bib in public. Call it what you will, a bib is a bib. People who have Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Alzheimer’s disease, brain injuries or other disabilities have a greater need for clothing protection than most of us when they eat, yet they have as much right to a dignified appearance as anyone. Enter Kathy Steck of www.dinerware.com.

Read more about products that deliver help and dignity to caregivers and care receivers:

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Tips for new caregivers who suddenly realize they have a new job

...For me, caregiving began with an elderly neighbor who needed some assistance. This "assistance" turned into a five-year stint of elder care, closely followed by the ever increasing needs of six of my own family members. For all but one of my elders – my dad whose failed brain surgery sent him into severe dementia – care needs gradually increased.

I can clearly remember the day when I finally woke up to the fact that I had a full-time job as a caregiver, even though, technically, I wasn't "working" at the time. Had I had more family caregivers to communicate with, I may have realized earlier how much my caregiver rold had slowly overtaken my life.

Read more about discovering that you have a new job as a caregiver:

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