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March 2016

When One Parent Dies Will the Other Need a Caregiver?

SpousesLong-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gaps is gone, and those gaps can suddenly look like chasms.

Read more on Agingcare about what can happen to the surviving spouse of a long-term marriage:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling 


Going Public with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Hands2Sadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren’t any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. The fact remains that whether the disease affects the brain occurs at a younger age in the form of depression or bi-polar disease or an older age in the form of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, people with brain illnesses are often reluctant to acknowledge their illness for fear of being treated differently than others. 

Read more on HealthCentral about going public an Alzheimer's diagnosis:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


How Vital Is a Routine for Someone with Alzheimer’s?

DementiaManDear Carol: My dad lives with my husband and me. Dad’s got mid-stage dementia and we are waiting for a room to open up for him in a particular memory center. The center is nearby and very nice so we’re quite happy about it. Meanwhile, I’m wondering how important it is to have a routine for someone like my dad. My husband and I both work odd hours. We take turns with care and we also have an in-home care person filling in. Dad gets his needs met but I think some of his agitation may be because he doesn’t understand different routines with different people. I’d like to convince everyone to do things the same way though my husband disagrees about the importance of this. These aren’t big issues, just everyday duties. How important is staying on a routine for someone like my dad? Ginny

Read more on inforum about the importance of routine with Alzheimer's:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Alzheimer’s Rate Declining as Heart Related Disease Better Managed

HeartHealthWe are, for good reason, repeatedly reminded of the horrifying statistics related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people over the age of 65 is exploding and most dementia symptoms develop as a person ages. This is fact. In no way does this article intend to distract from the need to cure all types of dementia. However, there is one thing to celebrate. Alzheimer’s rates seem to be declining. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how, even though the fight needs to keep gaining momentum, the rate of AD is declining:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go: Cure or Care?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.  

 Read more on HealthCentral about where the money for Alzheimer's should go:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling 


Helping Kids Cope with Alzheimer's in Grandparents

WomenOldYoung...Most people with dementia will decline slowly, giving loved ones time to adjust. However, no time frame makes accepting dementia easy.Whether the grandparents live with the family, in their own home or in a nursing home, the grandchildren are bound to be affected by the changes they see. Children often feel guilty for bad things happening in the family, even when there is no logic to their thinking. They will notice your pain and may also feel guilty for that, as well.

Read more on Agingcare about helping kids understand more about dementia:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


“Birdsong Initiative” Shows Computer Engagement Reduces Use of Antipsychotic Drugs for People with Dementia

Westminster-Canterbury Photo 01 (1)

Photo credit:Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay

Nearly all of us involved with dementia care know that the use of anti-psychotics has had terrible effects on many of our loved ones. My dad's story is one that I won't go into here, but let it suffice to say that I know what these drugs can do. That's one reason that the "Birdsong Initiative" fascinates me. 

The 24-week study was conducted among residents of the Hoy Nursing Care Center by the non-profit life plan community Westminster-Canterbury on Chesapeake Bay in conjunction with Eastern Virginia Medical School and Virginia Wesleyan College. During the study, 31 Hoy Center residents whose dementia makes it difficult to participate in social activities used computers to regularly access enriching content customized to their personal interests and cognitive ability. The touchscreen technology is designed to be easy for seniors and offers Skype, social networking and a spectrum of content. It was developed by Colorado-based It’s Never 2 Late and is referred to as iN2L.

Read more about the "Birdsong Study":

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


How Is Palliative Care Different from Hospice?

SleepHospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness.

With that in mind, I contacted Kimberly Angelia Curseen, M.D., Associate Professor of Internal Medicine at Emory School of Medicine and Director of Outpatient Supportive/Palliative Care Clinic Emory Healthcare. Dr. Curseen has a passion for palliative care and was happy to clarify this important type of medical care that seems to pass under the radar.

Read more on Agingcare about how these two types of comfort care differ:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Motherhood, the Brain and Dementia: Changing Hormones Alter Risk

MotherhoodHormonesThroughout decades of study, hormone therapy (HT), often but not always the same as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), has been glorified and demonized in turn. The information that doctors receive has come from ongoing studies that seemed to offer over time radically conflicting results. A new study may add more confusion since this study has found that not only does HT given near menopause create changes in a woman’s brain, but motherhood itself creates changes. 

Read full article on HealthCentral about motherhood and brain health:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now EnrollingRelated articles

Mind Over Stigma: Now's the Time to Vote for Your Favorite Anti-stigma Entry
Ethic Groups Vary in Susceptibility to Alzheimer’s Disease
Caring for Parents Who Weren’t So Caring

Looking for Guidance on Alzheimer's Group Leadership? Here's Your Guide

LeadersguideNote: I've been alerted to what looks to be an exceptionally helpful tool for Alzheimer's caregivers and those who help these caregivers. The "Leader's Guide for Season's of Caregiving" is a product of UsAgainstAlzhiemer's Clergy Network. For full disclosure, I must say that I am honored to be a co-moderator for UsAgainstAlzheimer's. It is volunteer position. I'm passing on this information because I truly believe that the book has the potential to help many readers. Follow through if you feel that the "Leader's Guide" could help you. - Carol

The Leader's Guide for Seasons of Caring, provides structure and guidance for a 10-week support group based on the Seasons of Caring: Meditations for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers. It touches on universal themes, such as personal stories, guilt, self-care and loss with an interfaith approach.

The "Leader's Guide" includes simple, yet powerful guidance for structuring and leading a support group in a variety of community and faith settings. The guide was written by Dr. Richard Morgan, a distinguished founder of UsAgainstAlzheimer's Clergy Network, which supported publication of this volume.  This is an important resource for families who are facing Alzheimer's, and those working to support them. 

For more information on the Leader's Guide for Season's of Caring: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling