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May 2017

Memory Books and Photos Great for Communication When Visiting Elders

MemoriesOldPhotosSince elders by definition have many decades of life to their credit, they will likely enjoy looking back on the past. This is especially important when people have Alzheimer’s disease because their disease prevents them from forming new memories. Nearly everyone enjoys reminiscing to some degree. To help you kick off a nice visit with the elder you intend to spend time with try bringing some props. Physical reminders should help your visit go more smoothly.

Image: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about how memories can aid in visiting elders:

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


Common Excuses From Siblings Who Don't Help With Caregiving

MoneyTimeMany caregivers ask how to respond to siblings who, after being directly and distinctly asked for help, either skirt responsibility with excuses or become outright nasty if they are asked for assistance in a direct manner. Let's look at a few examples and contemplate responses. These can, perhaps, trigger ideas about how to handle your unique circumstances:

Read full article on Agingcare about sibling excuses for not helping with parent care:

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


Family Caregiver Needs Recognition from Siblings

Comfort12Dear Carol: I have been taking care of my aging parents’ needs for several years. Since I live near them, and caregiving suits my personality, I’m happy to do it. My parent care has gone from just running a few errands and accompanying them to the doctor to going to their home daily and doing their laundry, most of their cooking, and setting up medications. I realize that my siblings, because they live out of town, can’t do much for our parents. All that I ask for is a pat on the back now and then for what I do, but it’s like they live in another world. They are glad that our parents are taken care of, but they offer no support or even a thank you. I’m not asking for help, but I’m becoming resentful which I don’t like. Am I selfish to want some recognition? Susie

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Read full article on Inforum about caregiver's need for some appreciation from siblings:

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

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


Feelings of Unearned Guilt Intrinsic to Most Caregivers

GuiltIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. While some reasons caregivers feel guilty are unique to their situation, many are commonly shared in caregiving. Below, I’ve listed four causes of unearned guilt that most caregivers share, along with some ideas that I hope will help you look at your situation more realistically:

Read more on HealthCentral about guilt and how it affects caregivers: 

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

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


The Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice Can be Confusing

Comfort19Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about the differences between palliative care and hospice:

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


Alzheimer's Symptoms: Navigational Skills May Deteriorate Long Before Memory

OldercoupleTypically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape one’s grasp, daily tasks 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 full article on HealthCentral about navigational skills and what they mean when Alzheimer's is a risk:

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 Risk Higher for Women: Why?

Caregiver6It’s been known for years that women are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than men.  Now, there’s even more evidence of gender differences. A new study has found that among those who've been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), women show a much faster rate of memory loss than men. The 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference took place recently in Washington, D.C. While many topics were covered, including some drugs that are showing promise, this study about women has attracted its share of attention. Earlier studies showing that more women developed Alzheimer’s than men concluded that this statistic simply reflected the fact that women live longer than men. Since age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it would stand to reason that more women would develop the disease. #WomensHealth

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's rate as it applies to women:

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


Loneliness May Increase Dementia Risk, Heart Attacks and Stroke

Depression2A study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry has found that people who feel lonely are significantly more at risk for developing dementia. The study, headed by Tjalling Jan Holwerda of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found that participants who reported feeling lonely, no matter how many friends and family surrounded them, were more likely to experience dementia than those who didn’t feel lonely. The team focused on approximately 2,200 older adults living in Amsterdam, ages 65 to 86. None of the participants exhibited signs of dementia and none of them lived in facilities such as nursing homes. The researchers visited the elders two times over the course of three years. About half of them lived alone, with 20 percent reporting feelings of loneliness, even if they were married or lived with family.

Read full article on HealthCentral about loneliness and health effects:

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 


Strategies for Downsizing for a Move to Assisted Living

Moving1For most seniors, moving from their home of many years into an assisted living facility is difficult. For some, it's nearly paralyzing. Even if they are moving to a very nice assisted living environment, the move will likely mean a significant loss of space, especially if they are leaving a house. Downsizing – the term often used for weaning ourselves from long-time possessions – can be hard for anyone. When it's more or less forced upon someone because of age or infirmity, the process becomes even tougher.

Read full article on agingcare about downsizing for a big move:

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


Early Memory Issues Alone Shouldn't Force Contented Elder from Home

CaringDear Carol: My dad is 81 and lives alone in his small home that he loves. What he can’t do, he hires done. He’s a positive person who is fun to be around, but he’s also proud. While his memory recall has slowed, that seems normal. He writes himself notes to remember to do what needs to be done. Still, I don’t see that he has a huge problem living relatively safely and well. I go with him to his doctor and the doctor seems to think that Dad's doing extremely well. The issue is my brother. He lives 1000 miles away and only occasionally visits. When he was last here, he saw Dad’s notes and told me that I need to confront him about his memory and get him moved to some kind of care. He says it’s for Dad’s safety. I hate to see Dad’s spirit shattered, and a confrontation like this would do that. I want Dad safe, but I also want him happy. Who is right? Jenny

Read full column on Inforum about deciding together what's best for dad:

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

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards