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October 2017

Memory Box Valuable Tool for People with Alzheimer's

MemoryboxPeople 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 full article on HealthCentral about how a memory box can help people living with dementia:

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

Last chance to register!  Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

Depression2Lack 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 the full article on HealthCentral about how to help be living with dementia overcome apathy:

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

Last day to register for the Caregiver Smile Summit! Keep the entire summit for yourself to watch when you can. Over 50 presenters with excellent information: 

caregiver smile summit


Changing Caregivers Can Be Traumatic for Elder

OutsideHelpDear 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 full column on Inforum about how changing caregivers can be handled:

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


Evidence Confirms Chronic Stress Increases Alzheimer's Risk

Stress 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. Don't panic - it's not a done deal. However, learning to manage stress is important.

 

Read full article on HealthCentral about how stress can increase risk (not cause) Alzheimer's:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


Be Prepared and End-Of-Life Conversations Needn't Be Horrible

Family3Sex 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. I've found in my experience that it isn't always the elders who shy away from end-of-life talks. Some do, of course, but many would like to discuss the arrangements they've made for finances, as well as their opinions about what measures they would want to be taken if they needed someone to make their decisions if they can't, however the adult children often find excuses to put off that particular "talk."

Read the full article on Agingcare about how end-of-life conversations need not be terrible experiences:

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


Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

CaregiverComfortEvery 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.

One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever-changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others. A positive attitude and a flexible approach can go a long way as we feel our way along the sometimes uncertain path a caregiver must follow. But even the most laid back person is going to feel stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving from time to time. That’s normal and to be expected. With some care, people generally bounce back. What caregivers need to watch for is burnout.

Read full article on HealthCentral about when caregiver stress can turn into burnout:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


If Someone Is Going To Be In Hospice At Home, Will Hospice Give The Oral Morphine To Anyone To Administer?

DeathOriginally asked by HealthCentral Community Member Z…T.

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?

If hospice is supposed to be an advocate for the patient first, shouldn’t hospice vet the caregiver before giving him/her morphine to give to the patient? If hospice has no responsibility in making sure the volunteer caregiver is someone who won’t abuse the position, how can an elderly, frail patient be protected? I guess I need to know - if hospice doesn’t vet the “friend” caregiver, then who protects the patient? Who makes sure the patient is safe? Thank you.

Read full question and my answer on HealthCentral:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


Elderly Mother Vehemently Denies Memory Loss: Refuses Referral For Memory Test

Depression2thinkstkOriginally asked by HealthCentral Community Member EastCoastAir

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 the remainder of this dramatic question and my answer on HealthCentral:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit 


The Sneaky Grief that Accompanies Gradual Loss

CryingWomanNearly 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? Weren't they the ones in charge? Generally, these changes are subtle, the grief sneaky. 

Read the full article on Agingcare about the grief we feel as we watch our loved one struggle with dementia:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

caregiver smile summit


Caregivers May Have to Work Hard to Recover Positive Memories

OldermanTHinkStock Dear Carol: 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. The worst part for him was that, at least in the beginning, he would realize that he had become verbally abusive and hated himself for it. For me, it was because this wonderful man that I married began to scream that me he never loved me and that I should go away. My husband died a year ago, and I’m still having trouble remembering the good times before LBD. I’m seeing a counselor and though I still struggle that is helping. I just wanted to write to let other people know that they aren’t alone if they are burdened with this same issue. – Gin

Read full column on Inforum about how difficult it can be to claw back through years of pain to recover positive memories:

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