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November 2016

People get worried about visiting caregivers. They are concerned about intruding or what to say or do in certain situations. But it is great when someone makes the effort and most caregivers find the contact and support of others invaluable. Here are seven tips to allay your concerns about visiting caregivers to people with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Read more →


For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be. Read more →


... Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone. Read more →


Dear Carol: Mom has had dementia for several years. I moved her to my house for about six months but she was extremely unhappy living there. I then moved her back to her home and hired help. That was worse. She wouldn’t get out of bed, she fought the caregivers and she wouldn’t eat. Finally, I gave up and moved her into the memory unit of a nearby assisted living center. Now, she’s up and around every day. She eats well and she is reasonably happy. The problem is that when I visit her she begs me to take her home. The staff has told me that she is doing well and this is just a normal reaction for someone with AD. They said, very kindly, that it may be better if I don’t visit quite so often. I feel guilty if I don’t visit daily but I can see their point. I read your column every week and you advocate visiting our parents often. Is it bad if I cut back and visit just once or twice a week? PR Read more →


In modern U.S. culture, coffee has literally been raised to an art form, with baristas topping complicated coffee-based drinks with drawings that will disappear with the first sip of the brew. Few coffee drinkers, whether they buy their coffee at these high-end shops or perk it at home in a humble pot, are drinking coffee for its health benefits. For the most part, they drink it because they like the taste, because it’s a comforting habit or for its invigorating kick. Read more →


The first-of-its kind campaign, organized by the AARP Foundation and the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, aims to help seniors assess their social connectedness and suggest practical ways they can forge bonds with other people. Read more →


Caring for our aging loved ones can be exhausting, frustrating, demanding and time consuming. Since November marks National Alzheimer's Awareness Month we’re honoring Alzheimer’s caregivers, but November is also National Caregiver’s Month. Thanksgiving, as another November holiday, reminds me to think of ways that caregiving, tough as it can be, also offers caregivers a time to note the special blessings we’ve received when we are open to recognizing the gifts. After all, caring for one another is, in my view, one of the answers to “why are we here.” Read more →


DEAR CAROL: My wife has had a stroke that’s left her mostly paralyzed on one side. She can’t speak well and she cries often. We’re in our 70s and have spent our lives as active church people. In fact, we’ve done our share of visiting hospitals and nursing homes representing the church. We’ve told people that what they are facing is their reality and that we will pray for them. We’ve told them to be grateful for what they have. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m having a difficult time feeling grateful for anything at all. Instead I feel angry, exhausted, frustrated and frightened. How could I have been such a hypocrite all of these years? – Roger Read more →


We can’t keep these facts buried. Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the leading variety, is a family disease in that it affects family dynamics, family income, and family health. It turns couples into care partners. It turns adult children into caregivers for their parents often during the time that they also are caregivers for their young children, which has created the term “sandwich generation.” Read more →


It’s been said that once you know one person with Alzheimer’s, you know one person with Alzheimer’s. In other words: people are unique, and not everyone will respond to a particular treatment. This truth was highlighted in a study based on the combined efforts of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and UCLA Easton Laboratories for Neurodegenerative Disease Research. Read more →