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June 2015

Alzheimer’s Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

GuitarLack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer's disease overcome apathy. 

Continue reading on HealthCentral about how to provide stimulation that helps prevent apathy:

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“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


Dementia Driven Sexual Gestures Need Thoughtful Response

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Dear Carol: After Mom died seven years ago Dad adjusted as well as could be expected. However, over the last three years he’s been sliding into dementia. He’s confused about people, which is our biggest problem for now. When Dad sees my 22-year-old daughter he thinks that she is my mother back when my parents were young. His overly affectionate welcomes are clearly sexual in nature and it makes us all deeply uncomfortable.

Read more on Inforum about sexual attraction and Alzheimer's:

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Shadowing in Alzheimer’s Sign of Fear, Anxiety

ReflectPoolFear and anxiety are two disturbing symptoms exhibited by many people with Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms are completely understandable, considering the fact that people with dementia are often confused about their surroundings. Confusion that won’t go away leads to fear and fearful people tend to be anxious.  This need to calm anxiety and feel safe can lead people with Alzheimer’s to a behavior called shadowing.

Read more on HealthCentral about shadowing in Alzheimer's:

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“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


Long-term Caregiving Can Significantly Shorten Life

BirdOceanA study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years.

Read more on HealthCentral about how caregiving can shorten caregivers' lives:  

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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: Education Helps but Stigma Remains

CryingWomanThere shouldn’t be any more reluctance for people with Alzheimer’s disease to relate news of their dementia than if they had a cancer diagnosis. Yet the stigma that surrounds dementia as well as most mental illnesses is regrettably alive and well, often forcing people to erect a protective wall of denial around their symptoms rather than seek help.

Read more on HealthCentral about the stigma of dementia:

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“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


Challenging Hobbies Help Maintain Brain Health

PoolAlthough there’s a long way to go before Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are well understood, studies have shown that keeping the body and brain active throughout life may at least delay dementia symptoms. Happily, staying active is not all work. Hobbies can be healthy.

View slide show on HealthCentral about how hobbies can help maintain brain health:

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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


Long-Married Couples Often Die Close Together

BirdPairMy first exposure to this phenomenon happened when my parents were in a nursing home. I visited daily and knew the staff and many of the residents. One elderly man on their floor had later stage Alzheimer's disease. His wife of many decades visited him at least once a day until she was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. Even during the worst of her treatment, she visited as often as she could. Then, she died.

Read more on Agingcare about how long-married couples often die close together:

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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


Elder Should Decide How Aggressively To Treat Cancer

BeachDear Carol: My 88-year-old mother recently had a mammogram and they’ve discovered a cancerous lump in her breast. I think she should have surgery and treatment but the doctor says that it should be left alone. He says that considering Mom’s age and general health, treating it could be harmful to her and it’s not guaranteed to cure her. He actually said that the treatment itself could kill her. I think it’s just that they don’t want to spend money on old people.

Read more on Inforum about older people and treatment:

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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


Would Paid Family Leave Help You As a Caregiver?

GlassescomputerthinkWe family caregivers save tax payers millions of dollars every year by keeping our loved ones in the home for as long as possible. Many of us must quit our paying jobs in order to provide this care, which in turn takes money out of the economy.

Read more on Agingcare about the pros and cons of paid family leave:

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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


8 Lessons of Dementia Caregiving

AloneBeachMost of us find, as we travel our unique journeys, that certain phrases or concepts take on the status of truth in our world view. Our personal truths may not be identical to those of others, but we know what is true for us. Below, I've shared, as food for thought, a few of my own truths that have developed during my personal caregiving journey.

Continue reading on Agingcare about lessons learned as a caregiver:

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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