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August 2018

Relationships are important to all of us whether or not we live with dementia. However, often due to the fear of not knowing how to handle changes in a friend or relative who is diagnosed with dementia, relationships can evaporate, leaving the person living with dementia, as well as the caregiver, isolated. Helping others understand that with a little shift in their method of communication is part of the goal of awareness campaigns. Read more →


How can faith help both caregivers and people with dementia get through something that makes no sense even to those who believe in a loving God - or maybe especially to those who believe in a loving God? Many people have asked me this question. My own spiritual beliefs have been vital to my caregiving life, but I wanted to give people more depth than I could provide on my own. With that in mind, I asked Dr. Benjamin Mast, a licensed clinical psychologist... Read more →


Most Alzheimer's organizations have found that, in general, people are more afraid of a dementia diagnosis than finding out that they have cancer. One reason for this fear is the stigma that accompanies dementia. While sympathetic to those who have Alzheimer's and other dementias, people who haven't been close to anyone with the disease often think that any type of satisfying life is out of reach after such a diagnosis. Read more →


Alzheimer's disease can't be cured. There are medications that help slow the development of symptoms for some people, but the type of care that seems to help most people with Alzheimer's is  hands-on attention. This often means that caregivers need to use a tool-box approach to providing care. Thus, opening our minds to ancient medicine can give us additional options. One ancient technique that's been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the use of aromatherapy. Read more →


Sometimes it's just easier to stay home. I'll admit I have these thoughts more often than most people, as I don't have a very social personality. However, when it comes to caregivers, it's often undeniably true - it easier to stay home...If we won't push ourselves to respond to invitations they will dwindle. People will get tired of asking. And many caregivers, no matter where the loved one lives, can sink into isolation and start refusing opportunities to go out with friends because seems too exhausting to go. It's just one more thing to do. I did that, even when the last three of my elders were living in a nursing home. Read more →


Dear Carol: My parents are in their 60s and have decided that they need to have their legal paperwork updated. I think that this is smart and my siblings agree. The problem is that my parents want to designate me as their Power of Attorney for both healthcare and financial decisions since I live in their community. Unfortunately, my siblings feel slighted. While I don’t love the idea of having this responsibility, I have no problem doing what’s needed when the time comes. My brother lives 500 miles away and my sister lives over 800 miles in the other direction so this seems to be the sensible decision. There’s no concrete reason why my siblings would object to this arrangement except for sibling rivalry. My siblings would be assigned as secondary POAs and they would have their equal shares laid out in the will. How do we get over this bump? – ST  Read more →


It should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgment. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Read more →


A double whammy here is that chronic stress is a problem for most caregivers and stress can be a trigger for many people who live with chronic migraines. It is for me. The fact is that whether caregivers have migraines, severe arthritis, asthma, or any other ailment if they are still functioning better than the person or people for whom they care, they carry on. It’s what we do. Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments. As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond.   Read more →


Family caregiving is more of an art than a science. Most people who take on the challenge of family caregiving do the best that they can under their unique circumstances, yet, they often receive criticism, sadly even from other caregivers. How can family caregivers who are already doing so much for their loved one(s) weather criticism from outsiders about how they provide care? Read more →