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January 2018

According to the Healthy Aging Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), it is estimated that 20 percent of people age 55 years or older experience some type of mental health concern. These agencies say that the most common conditions include anxiety, severe cognitive impairment, and mood disorders such as depression or bipolar disorder. Mental health issues are often implicated as a factor in cases of suicide. Read more →

"What’s the difference between being a patient and being a 'person? Often, “patient” means you’re suffering. Something is wrong with you. Ideally, you would never be treated like this in your own home. As you try to do your best to manage the situation, you deserve respect over constant nagging." 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 stage of AD.” Read more →

Dear Carol: My mother is relatively healthy for a 76-year-old woman but she’s overcome cancer twice and I worry about losing her. She doesn’t show any signs of dementia, which I know because she actually went through screening with a specialist to prove to me that she is capable of doing what she wants. She does want me to accompany her to the doctor, and I’m Power of Attorney for her health, but she says that I take over the appointment when we’re there. Read more →

When our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders’ environments, depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated. Read more →

Many elders do well in their homes. They graciously accept the help they need, have cleaning people come in, and are even able to throw away the old newspapers that are piling up in the corner. They are content with adding some safety measures and feel cozy with a bit of clutter. Then there's the other side. Many seniors are living in the same home they raised their children in. These homes are modest but worked well for raising their family and even for the early empty nest years. Read more →

As I watched my 90-year old grandparents grieve the loss of many friends, I had to wonder how much fun it is to be the last one standing. My parents faced much the same situation. Mom, who once loved getting Christmas cards, found that not only did the number of cards she received dwindle, the ones that she did get often contained sad news of death or disease. As she and many other older folks have said, "aging isn't for sissies." Read more →

Sometimes, these expenses are enormous, especially for spousal caregivers. Costs can range from simple personal items to charges for adult day services. Either way, caregivers should develop a method of tracking these expenses. One reason is that, for some, the expenses could be taken off of their taxes. 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.  Read more →

One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” Read more →