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August 2012 Feed

Are Your Siblings in Denial About Your Aging Parents?

...even with updates and warnings, a distance sibling doesn't always get the full picture. Added to that is the disturbing reality that often an elder will perk up when the long-distance adult child shows up for a visit, making the caregiver look like he or she is exaggerating the illness of the parent. That's only natural. The parent is thrilled to see the long-lost child. Everyone is excited and the adrenaline is pumping.

Read more about siblings in denial about aging parents:

National TV talk show looking for siblings who have conflict over caring for aging loved one. If  you are interested, please contact me.

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Only Children Vs. Sharing Decisions With Siblings – Which is Easier?

In the world of caregiving, sibling issues abound. Any problems that were around when you were growing up will likely turn up again, as your parents age. The pecking order rarely changes. The "girl" work and the "boy" work rarely changes. There are exceptions, of course. And there are a few families that get along so well that these issues never are a problem. But watching our parents age is nearly always difficult, and when you throw in complicated decisions about whether to go ahead with dangerous or expensive treatment with a frail elder, differences of opinion abound. Even living decisions - stay home, assisted living, nursing home? - can cause great conflict.

Read more about sibling conflict over aging parents' care:

National TV talk show is looking for siblings who have conflict over caring for aging loved one. If  you are interested, please contact me.

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When a Parent Has Dementia, Arguments Can Be Counterproductive

"Thank you for helping an old man’s fantasies,” Dad said, in one of his increasingly rare moments of clarity. He looked at me through clear, intelligent eyes to thank me for producing the degrees and awards he’d asked for; for taking dictation and "mailing" letters to local and national leaders; and for supplying him with business cards and a title. The moment was brief. His pupils soon returned to mere pinpoints, his gaze unfocused. Dad, once again, was swallowed up by his dementia.

Read the rest of this article on Next Avenue:

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Solanezumab Fails Phase 3 Alzheimer’s Trials: Retains Faint Glimmer of Hope

August 2012 has been a busy month for late-stage testing of long awaited Alzheimer’s drugs. Unfortunately, the results haven’t been good. In early August, information was released disclosing that Pfizer’s bapineuzumab did not meet the primary endpoints set up by the studies, and trials were stopped. Now, Eli Lilly has also announced that their contribution to the Alzheimer’s battle, solanezumab, did not meet the primary endpoints, both cognitive and functional, in either of the two Phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies on the drug.

Read more about the last drug on the list that didn't pass:

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Caregiver's own health often neglected

Dear Carol: My elderly parents have two or three medical appointments every week and I am the only person who is willing to take them. The result of this is that I don’t go to the doctor myself. I believe this is partly because I am exhausted from being in doctor's offices so much. The other part is that if I did go for a check-up and something was wrong it could be too time consuming to handle my parents appointments and my own. I know you’ll tell me I should take care of myself, so I guess I’m just asking how common this is. - Grace

Dear Grace: Caregivers who neglect their own health for the reasons you cite are so common it’s almost normal behavior.  I was like you, so I completely understand. With multiple elders to care for, sometimes I felt like I lived in doctor's offices. I skipped mammograms, among other things. I knew that was unwise, but I just couldn’t face making the appointments for myself, let alone the follow through. I was fortunate that I didn’t develop health problems that worsened because of my self-neglect.

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Siblings in Denial About Aging Parents

...One form of denial takes advantage of distance. There is a caregiver in town and there are siblings at a distance. It's definitely harder for the long-distance caregivers to give hands-on care, but there are things they can do, whether it's bookkeeping for the parents or writing an occasional check to hire respite care so the hands-on caregiver can hire help. However, when one is at a distance, it's easier to hide one's head in the sand.

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Is Anesthesia Worth the Risk for Elderly?

...When sharing my personal opinion,, I made it very clear that an informed decision includes information on what anesthetics can do to the aging body. Several studies have been done on the effects of anesthetics on the aging body; however the one I often go back to was done by researcher Roderic Eckenhoff, of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Eckenhoff was especially suspicious of one commonly used anesthetic, isoflurane, as a possible culprit in pushing some elders over the edge into dementia.

Read more about the risks of anethesia for the elderly:

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3 Reasons Siblings Often Don't Help with Parent Care

...Caregiving can grow from just running a few errands for the elder into a full-time job. Many people have quit paying jobs, or not accepted a promotion, in order to be available to care for an aging parent. From the outside, it looks as though this person has the time. In most cases, the person has made the time, often at great sacrifice.

Unless there's a family agreement, family caregivers don't get a salary. That not only affects their current financial status, but their future, because family caregivers aren't paying into Social Security if they can't work. Therefore, those of us who have given years to caregiving often find our own later years threatened by poverty. Yet, many of us stay home from a paying job to care for an elder; thus we "have the time."

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The Complications of An Elder With Dementia, Memory Loss and Accusations of Stealing

Victoria had a thing about her red sweater. It was obviously purchased at a store – the tag was still on it, though it was faded. She wore the sweater daily, until a CNA would finally tell her enough was enough. She would be told that the sweater would get washed and she would get it back the next day. Victoria had a closet full of sweaters, but that didn't matter. She wanted her red one. That red one. And anyone who took anything away from Victoria stole it.

Read more about the complications of an elder with dementia screaming theft:

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Should You Get Genetic Testing For Alzheimer’s Disease?

According to an international study last year from the Harvard School of Public Health, Alzheimer’s disease was the second biggest health fear after cancer. The survey also found that there are a significant number of people who were interested in predictive testing. Approximately two thirds of respondents said that they would be willing to get a medical test which would tell them whether or not they would develop Alzheimer’s disease before they had symptoms. 

At this point in time, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease and little treatment. Nor can we reliably prevent it.  We can exercise, eat a healthy diet, maintain an optimum weight, socialize and stay mentally active –we can do everything right – yet we can still develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more about test to see if we may develop Alzheimer's:

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