« October 2012 | Main | December 2012 »

November 2012 Feed

Caring for An Elder's Hair Kindly

I'll tell you up front that I'm not good with hair. For the most part, I'm a minimalist. Alice had perms, but her hair still needed washing and a daily curling to arrange it nicely. Over time, and with lots of humor thrown in, I did learn a few things.

Read more about caring for an elder's hair:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Alzheimer’s Symptoms Often Manageable without Drugs

Alzheimer’s disease cannot as yet be prevented or cured. While there are some medications that may help some people with the symptoms of the disease, they have drawbacks. With this in mind, some experts feel that many symptoms of the disease are better treated with behavior interventions.

An article on newswise.com reports on the work of Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) professor Laura N. Gitlin, PhD and her colleagues. These scientists are promoting the concept that if physicians integrate behavioral management strategies into early ongoing treatment, behavior changes can be controlled.

Read more about managing Alzheimer's symptoms without drugs:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Kids Want Dad to Hire Help for Mom

Dear Carol: My mother is in the middle stage of Alzheimer’s. Dad is her primary caregiver and it’s wearing him out. He can’t sleep because she doesn’t sleep. He’s worried about her wandering even though the house is secure. My siblings and I try to help, but we are all out of town and have jobs and families. Dad refuses to consider putting Mom in assisted living, yet he can’t continue life as he’s living it, either. We’re all worried sick that he’ll have a stroke or something while he’s trying to provide all of Mom’s care. How do we convince him to do things differently? – Tom

Dear Tom: Your parents vowed to care for each other until “death do us part.” Sometimes, people get so caught up in caregiving they feel that providing all of the spousal care personally is the only way to honor their vow. This is unfortunate, because in many of these situations, if the well spouse hires help to reduce the intense strain of constant caregiving, he or she can actually provide more relaxed, soothing emotional care for the loved one,

Read more about getting Dad to hire help for Mom:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


How Do Families Pay for Assisted Living?

The reality is that when it comes to assisted living, most families pay their own way. If the adult children have the resources, many times they will help out if their parents don't have enough income. This, of course, can cause issues within the extended family context, especially if some siblings are wealthier than others. How do families decide whether or not the children financially contribute to their parents' care, and if they do, who pays how much?

Read more about paying for assisted living:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Available Drugs Could Combat Dementia According to Study

A study funded by Alzheimer's Society (UK) and led by King's College London has identified four existing drugs and one drug class which could possibly reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or at least slow down the progression. The study is part of an ongoing drug discovery project that aims to accelerate the search for a cure for Alzheimer’s by looking at existing treatments. The researchers say that medications used to treat hypertension, diabetes and skin conditions could be doubling as treatments for Alzheimer's within a few years.

Read more about existing drugs that may be used to treat Alzheimer's:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Telling Your Loved One It's Time To Call Hospice

Our culture has historically been devoted to cure illness at all costs, and death is often looked at as "failure," no matter the age or condition of the person being treated. Many other cultures readily accept death as part of the life cycle. I believe we, as a culture, are making progress in this direction, but death still tends to be a word people avoid. If it's up to you to inform a loved one that he or she would be more comfortable under hospice care – or that a person they love will be on hospice care – there are steps you can take to get you through this difficult transition.

Read more about telling your loved one it's time to call hospice:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Family Involvement in Senior Living Facility

...The nursing home staff would occasionally confide in me about families who "took over" the nursing home. The families came on like they owned the facility and their loved one was the only person who mattered. They cornered every staff member they could find and talked to them either with the attitude of a good neighbor who had all the time in the world, or as an adversary who needed constant monitoring. Neither attitude is good.

Read about family involvement in senior living facility:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Caring for Your Surviving Parent After Death of Spouse

The death of a parent is tough, whether it's sudden or a long time coming. The advantage of a slower death is that there may have been more time to prepare, however human nature being what is, often people don't use that time well. Of course, a sudden death can throw everyone back by the very nature of the shock. Either way, unless there is a solid reason to do otherwise, it's generally unwise to make changes too quickly, if they can't easily be undone.

Read about when one parent dies and one remains:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Thanksgiving: Finding Gratitude in Caregiving

Caring for our aging loved ones can be exhausting, frustrating, demanding and time consuming. Since November marks National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, we’re honoring Alzheimer’s caregivers, but November is also National Caregiver’s Month. Thanksgiving, as another November holiday, reminds me to think of ways that caregiving, tough as it can be, also offers caregivers a time to note the special blessings we’ve received when we are open to recognizing the gifts. After all, caring for one another is, in my view, one of the answers to “why are we here.

Read more about finding gratitude in caregiving:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook


Hospitalization of Elders and Dementia

Readers ask about the cognitive decline of a post-hospitalized elder. They want to know what happened. They want to know if their parent will ever be cognitively the same as he or she was before a hospitalization. I tell them that each case is unique, but according to many studies, some elders may not cognitively recover from the trauma.

Read more about dementia risk when elders are hospitalized:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook