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June 2017

Would you prefer a hot dog or hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, relish? Chips, salad, dessert? All were available during the annual barbecue picnic at the nursing home where my parents, my uncle and my mother-in-law lived at different times. While people also enjoyed the monthly birthday dinners and holiday festivities hosted by the nursing home, the summer barbecue was one of the most anticipated events of the year. Read more →


ew rules for the protection of nursing home residents have been implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Many of these rules provide answers to concerns that have troubled families with loved ones living in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), generally called nursing homes. I emailed Medicare expert Ginalisa Monterroso for an update on these rules and what they mean for nursing home residents and their families. Read more →


It seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who’ve never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives. Read more →


Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care. Read more →


I believe that all caregivers who practice any form of validation when caring for a person living with dementia aim for the same result. They want to help the person maintain their sense of self, and they want to lower the anxiety and stress that stems from the person living with dementia losing the ability to readily understand the world around them. Read more →


Dear Carol: My 83-year-old father died recently. He had been in a good nursing home for three years, and there were no changes I his condition that I could see, yet he suddenly died. I keep second-guessing the nursing home staff for not warning me, which is probably unfair, but I can’t help but feel that they should have had some clue to Dad’s impending death. I’m not saying that they were neglectful in any way, and certainly they weren’t responsible for his death. I’m just wondering why they didn’t pick up on what was happening so that we would have had some warning. Shouldn’t they have been able to let us know that he may only have a week or a month to live? Should I ask them for an explanation? – Pat Read more →


As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, sometimes worry becomes inevitable. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives, but you may genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash? Read more →


...As with most types of dementia, family members are the primary caregivers by default, at least at the beginning of the disease. They are usually the people who notice that something is not right with their spouse or parent. Again, like Alzheimer’s and most other types of dementia, care needs escalate with time. This ongoing care can be physically arduous and emotionally demanding. Read more →


Poor diet has become increasingly recognized as a precursor to poor health, including diabetes and brain diseases, and the health issues are often intertwined. For example, diabetes increases the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the suggestions for maintaining heart health are very close to those given to maintain brain health. HealthCentral conducted an email interview with Dr. John Douillard, DC, CAP, to discuss the ways that diet may influence the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease in particular, but related diseases, as well. Read more →


Myths about brain health are as rampant as they are for any feared disease. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun is a memory expert who actively fights against these myths. In the process, she helps people learn how to reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Braun has worked for 10 years as a clinical neuropsychologist in departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry in hospitals and academia. In 2008, she received the Practitioner of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association in southeastern Wisconsin. Read more →