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May 2013

What To Do When We Are Displeased With Our Parent's Care

...In my family, there were multiple elders—my father, uncle, mother and mother-in-law-- in need of varying levels of care at the same time I had to care for young children. Eventually, they all went to the same facility near my home and I became a daily visitor and part of the care team.

Be realistic. Care centers are generally too understaffed to give one-on-one care, unless you are paying for a private duty nurse. Don't expect your loved one's call light to be answered immediately every time.

Read more about what to do when we aren't happy with the care our loved one is receiving:

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Male Caregivers Need Unique Support

Traditionally, most men have a harder time sharing feelings and emotions than women do. They seek medical advice less often than women and they tend to resist attending specialized support groups more than women. While the trend for younger men may be leading them toward a more open way of communicating, it’s the older generation whose wives have developed Alzheimer’s that is faced with caregiving. These men are often uncomfortable sharing confidences with people who they view as outsiders.

Read more about the type of support men as caregivers need:

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Caregiving Alone: Can't Take It Anymore?

Most of us, when we have a vulnerable loved one, want to take care of them. We aren't excited about having strangers take over the care of our loved ones, and our loved ones normally aren't excited about that idea, either. However, outside care eventually becomes a necessity for many. When we are talking about elder care, often people jump immediately to the "nursing home" solution, since in days past, that was pretty much the only choice people had once someone couldn't stay at home, or with family. Things have changed now, but that doesn't mean it is easy.

Read more about  solutions to caregiving stress:

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High Blood Sugar Impacts Alzheimer's Risk

Research has repeatedly shown that people with diabetes have an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Additionally, some studies have demonstrated that intra-nasal insulin, sometimes used to treat diabetes, may help improve memory in those already diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This background of knowledge prompted a group of researchers from the University of Arizona to conduct their own research to see if high blood sugar levels in people who have yet to develop diabetes may also increase their chances of developing Alzheimer's. The results have shown that this is likely the case.

Read more about high blood sugar levels and Alzheimer's risk:

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Choosing Assisted Living Facility Challenging

Dear Carol: My mom has mild Alzheimer’s disease and really shouldn’t live alone anymore. I’ve been helping her look at assisted living facilities and we’ve narrowed our choices to two. One is nicer than the other, but more expensive. We feel Mom can pay for approximately five years at the nicest AL, but if she lives longer than that she’d have to move because of money issues. If she took the less nice one now, she could stay longer. How do people make these decisions when so much is unknown?  - Nichole

Dear Nichole: As you indicated, we can’t know what will happen in the future. We can plan, but we have to be prepared to make adjustments in our plans – sometimes major adjustments.

Read more about choosing assisted living or other care for our aging parents:

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Do You Worry That You Are Developing Alzheimer's?

...Don't panic. Stress can be a huge culprit when it comes to memory problems, as can medications, infections and sleep deprivation. So it's important to take a realistic look at your situation. If you always mess up when you balance your checkbook, you probably shouldn't be too concerned if you do it again. However, if you are an accountant and the numbers no longer make sense, then it's time to consider a checkup.

Read more about how to tell if you may have early stage dementia:

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Is Caregiving Driving You to Eat?

Somewhere deep in our subconscious most of us learn to connect food – at least certain types of food – with nurturing, comfort and solace. Caregivers, stressed to the max from trying to stay ahead of the needs of elders or others who depend on their care, often turn to food to comfort themselves or to relax. There tends to be a "I deserve this" mentality, and caregivers do, indeed, deserve to be pampered somehow. It's human and actually very good to want to comfort ourselves when we are stressed or even bored.

Read more about emotional eating and caregiving:

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Vitamins B12, B6 and Folic Acid Shown to Slow Alzheimer’s in Study

Could a combination of the vitamins B12, B6 and folic acid be first effective “drug” to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease? The concept looks promising. The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences recently published information about a study on aging volunteers that has demonstrated how this combination of B vitamins has, in their trials, slowed atrophy of gray matter in brain areas affected by Alzheimer’s disease. In the words of senior study author A. David Smith, professor emeritus of pharmacology at Oxford University in England, “It’s a big effect, much bigger than we would have dreamt of.”

Read more about the promising vitamin cocktail that could slow Alzheimer's progression:

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Adult Grandchildren Often Pick Up the Role of Caregiver

Few people who have fulfilled the caregiver role to an elder would say it's an easy job. However, most caregivers are either adult children who have at least matured into their 40s or 50s, or else they are mature spouses of the ill person. These caregivers have a few decades of living behind them and hopefully have been able to enjoy some young years where their responsibilities, at the most, were to take care of themselves, a spouse and their children.

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Helping Grandchildren Understand Grandparent's Dementia

Children can be frightened by the changes in the grandparent who was once gentle and loving, but could now have become cranky and occasionally downright mean and abusive. How we, as parents, handle the changes in our own parents can affect how well our children handle the changes. But each child is different and each set of circumstances is different. So where to you start when it's time to explain?

Read more about how to help grandchildren understand changes in grandparents:

 

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