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September 2017

Finances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. Read more →


“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head drifted to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy? Yes, I did. Read more →


Many people around the country are now recording or even videotaping their elders as they tell stories about their past. This works for some. However, you need to know your loved ones. Not everyone wants to be onstage, so to speak, and preparing to record, even discretely, could take the spontaneity and fun out of the experience for some. Others may love it. Read more →


Dysphagia is a swallowing impairment that can occur after someone has a stroke or any type of brain injury. Dysphagia is also a concern with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), oral cancer, and many other injuries and diseases. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dysphagia is also a growing concern in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The NIH says that dysphagia “frequently leads to aspiration pneumonia, a common cause of death in this population, particularly in the later stages of AD.” Read more →


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable. The CDC suggests these steps as a start: Read more →


Forgiveness, or the lack there of, can loom large in the life of a caregiver. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. That is rule number one for people to remember when they are working toward crafting better relationships with family members and others whom they care about. Forgiveness can have enormous benefits for the health of the person who does the forgiving. Considering that negative thinking can be disastrous to your own health, you may want to work toward the positive habit of forgiveness. Here are some people that you may need to forgive along with reasons why you should. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mom moved into the memory unit of an assisted living last year and she loves it. She’s very social so this environment is perfect for her. Now, my brother has suddenly decided that he wants Mom to come and stay with him for the winter since he lives in a warmer climate. He’s the man so he has the Power Of Attorney. Mom doesn’t want to leave her comfortable little apartment, but she’s said if he really wants her there for a time, she should do it. My fear is that the move could make her dementia worse. My brother says he just wants to spend more time with Mom, but he's never been that close so the only true motivation that I can see is that he knows how expensive AL is and he’s struggling financially. I think that he wants to save the estate money. I’m not trying to keep Mom in my town to be selfish. I just want her happy. How do I handle this? – SD Read more →


Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include Being cognizant of the fact that the person would reverse the depression if he or she could. Assist the person in seeking professional help. Continue with your own education about depression and how to approach treatment for a loved one. Before getting the proper treatment, here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression: Read more →


...Many people are facing the fact that their sweet intentions have taken a sour turn. Certainly, for some, the decision to cohabitate with their elders works out fine. Two or even three generations residing in the same home can work. It can work when there is plenty of space so that everyone has some degree of privacy. Read more →


Some of that caregiver burden stems from battling to get the caregiver’s loved one bathed, dressed, and transported to medical appointments. To have the option of a house call from a medical professional is only a dream for most caregivers and their care receivers, but this small miracle is actually occurring for some fortunate people through a pilot program called Insights. Read more →