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October 2017

People with Alzheimer’s lose their short-term memory, progressively fading deeper and deeper into their cognitive past. While I’ve often written about the value of bringing old photos and other memorabilia along for visits to elderly loved ones, I don’t believe I’ve ever before suggested anything as self-contained as a memory box. Home Instead Senior Care, one of many excellent in-home care franchises, uses this idea as one of their tools to help elders enjoy memories of their past, or in the case of those with Alzheimer’s, help them have a more concrete connection to what at they may view as their current reality. Read more →


Lack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group. Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad has been a widower for years. Because of a stroke history, he needs someone around, at least during the day, so we started in-home care with an agency. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out, but we got lucky and the sister of a neighbor was available for hire. She and dad became a real team. Now, this caregiver is having her own health problems and is moving out of town. Dad insists that he won’t have anyone else. He says that he'd rather be alone which isn’t an option. How do we get him to give another caregiver a chance? – AM Read more →


A doctoral thesis by Sara K. Bengtsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, UmeÃ¥ University, Sweden, examines the reason why chronic stress can increase one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Read more →


Sex and death. It's odd that those two topics should bring so much anxiety to parents and children. But, there you have it. One – sex – is about the beginning of life. The other – death – is about the end. Both are a part of the lifecycle, but if anything, sex is easier for many to discuss than death. Read more →


Every 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. Read more →


If Someone Is Going To Be In Hospice At Home, Will Hospice Give The Oral Morphine To Anyone To Administer? Does Hospice Ask A Person Who Volunteers To Be A Caregiver If He Has A Criminal/drug Past? Read more →


I  am the eldest of four children. I am our nearly 85-year-old mother’s healthcare surrogate and have for decades, paid all her living expenses. In the last few years, her memory has steadily declined. Her personality has changed and she has been physically assaultive and verbally abusive to people in public as well as to all of us. She is intelligent and able to “present well” in front of her physician when she sees him for ten minutes. However, at her senior center, she has had to be subdued by the police, taken in an ambulance for “heart” problems that are due to hysterical screaming and behavior. Read more →


Nearly everyone involved in caring for aging loved ones is experiencing grief. Often, however, we're not aware of this grief. We have a parent who used to be strong and capable begin to ask for a little assistance. No big deal, right? We're happy to help. But underneath, often unnoticed, there's a knot in our hearts. We're grieving the loss – the loss of function that made our parent need to ask for help. Weren't they the ones who helped us? Read more →


My husband and I were teenage sweethearts and married right out of college. While we experienced bumps along the road, I’d say our marriage of over 40 years was exceptional – or was until my husband developed Lewy body dementia. The dramatic personality change that this disease caused was devastating for us both. Read more →