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February 2013

Chronic Pain Management in People With Dementia Complicated

Since dementia can leave people unable to verbally express the fact that they are in pain, they may scream, kick or hit. They may act out aggressively because they don’t understand why they are in pain. They just want it gone. If caregivers misinterpret the reason for this “acting out,” there is a chance that the elder will not receive proper pain management for his or her chronic or acute pain. Read more →


It's Spring: Time to Refresh Our Caregiving Routines

...Making pro and con lists of what is working and what is not working is an effective method of examining anything from budgets to weight loss. It can be just as effective for caregiving. Below I've provided a template for a hypothetical caregiver we'll call Ann. If you're up for a little self-reflection, Ann's list could help you jumpstart your own self-improvement project. Read more →


HRT May Prevent Accelerated Biological Aging for Alzheimer’s Gene Carriers

A new wrinkle has now appeared on the HRT front. A recent study found that healthy menopausal women carrying a well-known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease showed measurable signs of accelerated biological aging. Read more →


Medication Could Cause Slurred Speech, Drooling

Dear Carol: My mom has several medications to help with various health problems. Lately, her speech has been slurred and she seems to be drooling quite a bit. The symptoms appear to be the most pronounced shortly after she’s taken her medications, but she has some symptoms intermittently all day. She also complains of a headache nearly every day, so we are having her eyes checked next week just to be sure, although her glasses are quite new. Can medications cause these problems? – Mary Beth Read more →


Family Caregivers Provide Nursing Services with Little Professional Support

According to Carol Levine of the United Hospital Fund, a longtime researcher and caregiver herself, and Susan Reinhard of the AARP Public Policy Institute, few non-caregivers have any real idea of how much care an in-the-trenches family caregiver provides. Read more →


Eating Issues: How to Cope

Often, whether from physical problems or lack of appetite, eating loses its appeal to frail elders. Regardless of the reason their loved one has for not eating well, caregivers can be stressed by the situation. We know the value of nutrition. We know the feeling of hunger. We want to help them stay nourished. Professional caregivers, such as those in nursing homes, also struggle with the issue. However, nourishment needs to be provided in the right way, which often depends on why the person has trouble eating. Read more →


Alzheimer’s Disease Doesn’t Just Affect the Aged

Receiving an Alzheimer's diagnosis at the age of 75 can be a crushing blow. Imagine, then, what it would be like to receive such a diagnosis when you are 35, 40 or 45-years-old? You're at your prime in many ways because you've got experience in your work, yet are nowhere near retirement. You have children, maybe yet in grade school. You've got a mortgage, car payments and plans to travel when your kids are older. You're on a roll - until you realize that you are forgetting things. Important things. Eventually, you see a doctor and the diagnosis is early on-set Alzheimer's disease. Read more →


Vitamin D, Mediterranean Diet Help Lower Risk of Alzheimer’s

Two different studies have highlighted natural weapons we may have at our disposal in our fight against developing Alzheimer’s disease. One is Vitamin D and the other is our diet. We’ve long known that vitamin D, generally absorbed through sun exposure but often supplemented, is necessary for bone strength. During the last few years, evidence has been accumulating showing that a low level of vitamin D likely contributes to cardiovascular disease, some cancers, strokes, depression and some metabolic disorders. Read more →


NPR Investigates True Cost of Quitting Job To Be Family Caregiver

Given the cost of hiring in-home care or placing an elder in assisted living or a nursing home, the idea of staying at home to care for a loved one can seem cost effective. Sometimes by cutting corners, a family can survive financially for a few years while one spouse stays home to care for an aging parent. Doing so can seem like a humane choice, one that speaks of love and filial responsibility. However, the NPR report forces us to take another look. Read more →


Serene Atmosphere Can Relax Care Receiver

Dear Carol: My sister, who I’ll call Mary, is the primary caregiver for our mother. Mom has late stage Alzheimer’s and is in a nursing home near Mary. Mary is understandably stressed by a demanding job, caring for her family and visiting our mom several times a week. I’m concerned because when Mary is around Mom in the nursing home setting, she seems rushed and her voice is sharp. Then Mom gets agitated and distressed. Read more →