Aging Feed

Incontinence Embarrassment Shouldn’t Block People from Seeking Medical Help

DoctorWomanDear Carol: My mom is smart, stylish, and trim. She was very social but now that’s changed. Occasional, minor urinary incontinence has become a problem and she’s acting like her life is over. I’ve told her that women who’ve had babies often have this issue and that there are products that she can use. Of course, she knows this, but she says that’s not an option. Meanwhile, she is becoming reclusive which is not like her. I’ve told her that her doctor may have some ideas but she says that talking to her doctor about this is humiliating. How do I convince her that this one issue doesn’t need to ruin her otherwise exceptional life? – Kate

Read full column on Inforum about incontinence and aging:

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10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning

NightskyMany people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior:

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to better handle sundowning in people living with Alzheimer's:

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“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


Dementia Death: Conflicting Emotions Are Normal for Caregivers After a Loved One Dies

Funeral“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 slumped 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. What I knew was this. Dad was finally released from the cage that had trapped his spirit over this last decade. 

Read the full article on HealthCentral about the emotional turmoil a caregiver can endure after the death of a loved one from dementia (or any long illness):

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The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards 

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5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships with Friends when Dementia Takes a Seat

Hands10Memory loss can be one of the first symptoms a person experiences with Alzheimer’s, and those living with Lewy body dementia may also become easily confused. These varied symptoms can make maintaining relationships more difficult, but friendships are no less important for people with dementia than for the rest of us. Maintaining relationships, however, especially among friends who are not pressured to continue involvement because of a new sense of duty over a person with dementia, can take work. This guide discusses how caregivers can help by educating willing visitors who want to be helpful but simply don’t know how to make a visit tolerable, let alone, meaningful.

Read full article on HealthCentral about maintaining friendships when dementia is a big part of life:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


How to Cope with An Elder Who Loves to Complain

Anxiety1You've taken your mom to the doctor and she's upset with you because the doctor's office was cold. You've helped your dad with the yard and he's annoyed that you didn't mow the grass in the right pattern. Why do many elders complain about everything you do? Much depends on the parents' personalities throughout life. If your parents were the bickering type and were always negative, this complaining may be the only way they know how to communicate. They may not even be aware how their attitude affects others. Since you grew up in their household you can ask yourself, "Is this how they always acted?"

Read full article on Agingcare about coping with an elder who loves to complain:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Is Forgetfulness A Precursor of Alzheimer's or Are There Other Signs?

FAtherSon5...While these statistics are scary, you shouldn’t let them cloud the reality that many of us will age normally and will not develop AD, or any other type of dementia. Certainly, we will have some memory changes as we age. Improvements in our lifestyle may help mitigate some of those. Other changes we’ll just have to live with. So what is normal memory loss and when should we worry? What if you momentarily forgot an old friend’s name? What if it routinely takes time to remember where you left your car keys, or your glasses? Are these glitches something to be worried about? In most cases, no.

Read full article on HealthCentral about forgetfulness and how it fits in with Alzheimer's:

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


Optimistic Thinking May Help Preserve Memory and Judgement

ProudIt 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 judgement. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if  not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alzheimer’s risk.

Read more on HealthCentral about how positive thinking can help preserve our cognitive abilities:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Helping in an Emergency Shouldn’t Tag Neighbor as Full-time Caregiver

ComputerFamilyDear Carol: I own a condominium in a building where two elderly sisters live. Though we didn’t spend time together we’d always been friendly and they seemed to have plenty of other friends, though no family. Three months ago, the youngest sister fell and needed to go to the emergency room. The older sister asked for my help so I called 9-1-1 and accompanied them.  I was happy to help, but now that the younger sister is home they have both grabbed on to me as their savior. They want rides to medical appointments, help with their checkbook, and even cleaning. I telecommute with work so, while I am home a lot, I don’t have much free time. It seems that the ladies’ declining health has scared away the other friends and suddenly I’m “it.” I feel trapped into being their caregiver and that’s not what I intended. How do I get out of this situation? – MB

Read full article on Inform about how to withdraw from feeling trapped into caregiving by a neighbor:

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Convincing Elders That It's Time for Assisted Living

Nursinghome3Conventional wisdom says that we all want to stay in our own homes for as long as we can. That is likely how most of our elders feel; however, it's not always in their best interest to do so. How do we talk with them about the realities and dangers of staying at home once their health is failing, and how do we convince them that a move to an assisted living center could be a very good – and positive option? I believe that part of the problem with convincing elders, and many younger people for that matter, is that people haven't been inside a modern assisted living center. Deep inside their gut, they harbor the outdated image of an "old folk's home." They consider a move from the family home one more step away from independence and one step closer toward death. They think a move to assisted living signifies to the world that they now have the proverbial "one foot on a banana peel and one foot in the grave."

Read more on Agingcare about how to help your elders understand when they need a safer environment:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Needs of 'Elder Orphans' a Growing Concern in Aging Population

WomanBaking“Elder Orphan” is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, “Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population,” Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to help elder orphans age with grace:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

Minding Our Elders lets you know that you are not alone, that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done, You do the best you can, and that is good enough. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to have. What a gift she gave us. – CM Jones