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July 2016

Some Caregivers Are Also Elders: The Challenges of Caring for the Very Old

PhoneDear Carol: I am the last surviving child of my nearly 94-year-old mother who insists on living in her own home. She’s in relatively good health for 94. I don’t have a problem with her in her staying in her home except that she expects me to be there for hours every day and at the drop of a hat at night. She won’t accept hired help. I am in my 70s and widowed. A woman friend of mine and I have dreamed of taking a cruise but I can’t go because of my mother. I never talk with her about this because I don’t want to hurt her, but is this what loving our parents is about? I have some health problems of my own, and somedays I feel that she’ll outlive me. Where do we draw the line? MK

Read more on Inforum about how elderly caregivers struggle to care for their very old parents:

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


Ethnic Groups Vary in Susceptibility to Alzheimer's Disease

EthnicStudies show that many diseases affect ethnic groups differently, with a larger percentage of some groups than others expected to develop these diseases over time. Recently, the first ever study to expand its research with dementia, particularly Alzheimer's, beyond the Black and Caucasian communities has published data that should make us all pay attention. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how ethnic groups can vary in susceptibility to AD:

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


Don’t Judge a Book by Its Cover: Aging Bodies Often House Strong Minds

ElderlyManCaneAdult children are right to be aware of their parents’ physical and mental changes since there’s no way to stop the aging process. However, as a columnist on caregiving and a forum moderator, I’m seeing something very scary happening far too often. Ageism is overtaking common sense and respect. The fact that someone is over 65, and perhaps has arthritis and controlled high blood pressure, does not make this person cognitively unstable.

Read more on HealthCentral about strong minds in older bodies:

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


UK Reporter Chronicles Dementia Awareness Course: Calls It a “Taste of Hell”

WatercliffThe saying that we can’t really understand another person’s experience until we’ve “walked in their shoes,” has always felt right to me. Intelligent people can be educated to the brim and be able to give excellent book advice. However, it frequently takes someone who has endured an experience similar to ours in order to make us feel thoroughly understood. This is where real hands on advice differs from advice in the abstract.

Read more about dementia awareness training on HealthCentral:

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


Caregiving Rewards Can Outlast Challenges

MomDaughter2Caregivers of elderly or disabled loved ones work hard. There’s no getting around the sacrifices of time, energy, private life and often financial wellbeing that caregivers, be it family or professional, often make. However, the rewards that accompany this self-sacrifice can be priceless.

Read more on Healthcentral about caregiving rewards that last:

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


Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

Stress3Every person who becomes a caregiver will have unique personality traits, yet we nearly always share certain feelings and experiences as we travel a road similar to one another. That’s one reason that caregivers often turn to other caregivers for support. It’s a version of the adage that we need to walk in another’s shoes in order to truly understand what they feel. One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others.

Read more on HealthCentral about the difference between caregiver stress and burnout:

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


Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Navigational Skills may Deteriorate Long before Memory

ElderlywomanCaregiverTypically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape your grasp and tasks to be done are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.

Read more on HealthCentral about navigational skills and early detection of 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


Reminiscing Powerful “Drug” for People with Dementia

Caregiving4I love stories. When I was a teenager, I’d encourage my grandparents to relate stories of their young years struggling to survive on the wind-swept prairie. When I grew older, I was fascinated by the stories my parents and in-laws told of their early years of growing up during the Great Depression. Little did I know at the time that peoples’ stories would become the springboard for my life’s work. Now there is mounting evidence that encouraging our elders to reminisce about their past is therapeutic as well as enjoyable.

Read more on HealthCentral about how reminiscing can help people with dementia:

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


Alcohol and Dementia Can Be Toxic, Complex Terrain

Aggression

Dear Carol: My husband has been a recovering alcoholic for years, but after we both retired he started having a drink here and there. It didn’t seem like a problem until he started to show symptoms of dementia. He was eventually diagnosed with mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. I’m not sure whether he forgets how much he’s had to drink or his alcoholism has caught up with him. He often becomes angry and on a couple of occasions he’s become threatening. He also falls after he’s been drinking, which is scary. I can’t get him to stop drinking or to return to his recovery meetings. I think I could care for him with his dementia at home for some time if he didn’t drink, but I’ve become afraid of him. His doctor tells him not to drink, but that does no good. He drives to the store to get alcohol and once, when the car was being fixed, he took a cab. I feel isolated, frightened and lonely. How do I handle this? DSR 

Read more on Inforum about alcoholism and dementia: 

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


Drug Free Management of Sundowning in People with Alzheimer's

FacialExpressionsSundowning, sometimes called Sundown Syndrome, is the label given to late day anxiety, irritability, disorientation and general agitation in people with Alzheimer’s. Sundowning, also called sundowners, frustrates home caregivers and professional care staff alike, as they often feel completely unable to comfort the person affected.

Read more on HealthCentral  about sundowning and how to approach the management:

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