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January 2015

Family Caregivers Provide Nursing Services Without Much 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.   In a story by Paula Span on the New Old Age Blog titled  “Caregiver, Plus M.D. or R.N.”, Carol Levine is quoted as saying, “The public perception is what you see in ads — people sitting by the bedside, holding hands, making lunch, smiling at one another…It has that glossy look. That’s not the whole story.” 

Read more about family caregivers who provide nursing services:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: 


Elders’ Appetite Problems Complicated

Adult children often worry about their aging parents’ eating habits. Sometimes the elders live alone and don’t feel like cooking or even going out to buy groceries. They may have pain issues that keep them from enjoying food, or dentures that make chewing uncomfortable. Depression can be a factor for some people, as can medication side effects. Loneliness, especially for people who have lost a spouse to a nursing home or death, can make eating seem unimportant or unattractive.

Read more on HealthCentral about appetite loss:

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

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Music Therapy Goes High Tech for Alzheimer's

Music therapy has come into its own during the last decade as caregivers, care facilities and hospice organizations have recognized the therapeutic power that music can have on ill and suffering people. This therapy has been successfully delivered by a single staff member playing a guitar for a residents’ sing-along, a specialized harpist playing for a hospice patient or downloaded playlists on iPods that can stimulate memories.

Read more on HealthCentral about music and the brain:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: 


12 Tips for Spousal Caregivers

While family members who provide care for loved ones share many issues, there’s a different emotional dynamic between caregiver and care receiver when the care partners are spouses than when they are an adult child caring for a parent. Here, we offer some tips for spouses.

View slide show on HealthCentral for spousal caregiver tips:

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

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


When Late Stage Dementia Patients Cannot Articulate Pain

Dear Carol: My mom is in late stage dementia. According to the doctor she would be expected to sleep quite a bit, which she does. She’s on a strong opioid pain patch but she still seems to be in pain when she’s awake. It’s her agitation and gestures that clue me in. She’s had severe osteoarthritis for years, has had both hips replaced and she has spinal spurs. I’ve asked the doctor if she is ready for hospice care but he says that since she sleeps so much she’s probably not ready yet. All I want is for her not to be in pain. What more can I do? Beverly

Read more on Inforum about treating pain when people have dementia:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: 


HealthCentral Twitter Chat Focuses on Health Costs

Most of us who have our own health issues or are caregivers to those who are ill are acutely aware of how insurance coverage can change from year to year. Just managing the yearly Medicare changes for our elders can be confusing, especially for the Medicare supplemental policies and for Medicare D, which is the prescription drug policy. However, many caregivers are still on their employer’s policies, or have enrolled in a policy through a state and federal market place.

Read more on HealthCentral about Twitter chat this Thursday:

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

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Alzheimer’s and Communication: Some Suggestions

Since communication is vital to quality of life, we who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other diseases that make understanding language difficult need to learn unique methods of coping with the challenge. It’s not easy. When your wife thinks you are her brother, when your dad thinks his best friend is robbing him, when your 75-year-old mom insists that her baby is in danger – it will be your challenge to try to find words or actions that will calm your loved one and redirect his or her thinking.

Read more on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and communication:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: 


Bilingual People May be Better Protected Against Alzheimer's

The first elder for whom I became a primary caregiver was my neighbor, Joe. He was born of Norwegian immigrant parents who spoke Norwegian at home. As a result, Joe needed to repeat first grade because he spent his first year in school learning English. While Joe went on to become a well educated engineer who spoke English with no Norwegian accent, in his later years he did occasionally talk about the challenges he faced as a Norwegian speaking child. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how being bilingual may be good for the brain:

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

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Milken Institute: Cost of Aging in America

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University has published a piece called "The Cost of Aging in America," which explores the serious financial burdens faced by aging individuals, their loved ones, and industry professionals -- as well as steps our health care system might take to counteract this trend. I wanted to share this infographic with the readers of Minding Our Elders. Cost-of-Aging-IG-1.9.15

 


Flu Kills: Keeping Our Elders Safe

Flu isn't just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy, and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers. 

Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place? 

Read more on HealthCentral about how to help your elders avoid the flu:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: