Aging Feed

Ageism: How Negative Portrayals of Aging Affects All Senior Health

AgingwomanHow are older people portrayed in movies and on TV? Are they consistently cranky and the target of jokes or are they realistic in their variations and strengths? Are stereotypical portrayals harmful to their health? Possibly so. New research from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, in partnership with Humana, Inc. sheds light on both the expected conclusion that older people, if represented at all in film and on television, are often typecast negatively, but also on the unexpected fact that these portrayals seem to affect the overall health of our aging populations.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how images on TV and the screen have a negative effect on seniors' health:

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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


Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

Researcher2When you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about the choices that must be made when coping with the reality of Alzheimer's:

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Dementia Service Dogs an Idea That Should be Growing

DogMost of us are aware of service dogs, especially guide dogs for people with sight impairment, because we see them around our communities. These dogs are not pets. They are working animals and are allowed wherever the person they serve goes. Increasingly, other service dogs are being trained to help people with impaired hearing, people who have grand mal seizures and people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. With more than five million people in the U.S. alone coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s, any attempt to help people with dementia have a better quality of life is welcome.  So why not have trained service dogs for people with dementia?

Read full article on HealthCentral about how dementia dogs are an idea that has come:

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Be Kind but Firm about Mother's Place in Family's Life

Caregiverstress4Dear Carol: My mom had a small stroke six months ago. She’s always had a controlling, manipulative personality that everyone gives into. After her stroke, she announced that she was moving in with us during rehab because she didn’t want to hire strangers to help her at home, so I let her. Now, she’s fully recovered. The doctor says that there is no cognitive damage, but she’s settled in. We need our home back. She’s always criticizing the kids and my husband is so stressed that he’s ready to walk out. We’ve kept Mom’s apartment and she could go back there now or she could move to assisted living if she chooses. She needs to get back with her friends and her previously active life for all of our sakes. I know that I need to stand up to her but I never have and now it seems impossible. What do I do? – Mary Sue

Read full article on Inforum about how to convince Mom to move back home:

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Delaying Alzheimer's Symptoms: Life-long Learning Helps a Significant Number of People

Books2Nearly all of us know that if we don’t use our muscles as we age, we’ll lose muscle mass. The same theory seems to hold true when it comes to keeping our minds sharp. Computer games, word games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other challenging mental pursuits have been advised as methods of keeping the mind healthy as we age. Now, a recent study has shown that by pursuing life-long learning, even people who are genetically at risk for Alzheimer’s disease may be able to stave off symptoms for years.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how life-long learning can help many people delay Alzheimer's symptoms:

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Alzheimer's Only One Type of Dementia but What Are the Others?

AlcoholOne 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.”

The National Institutes of Health says that some types of dementia can be stopped or reversed with treatment. Normal pressure hydrocephalus, caused by excess cerebrospinal fluid, can be helped by surgical intervention. Some drugs, vitamin deficiencies, alcohol abuse, depression, and brain tumors can cause dementia-like symptoms. Most of these causes respond to treatment.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about the different types of dementia:

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Reasons to Overcome Denial and Seek Potential Dementia Diagnosis

CoupleComfortOne reason for this intense fear of Alzheimer’s is obvious. While many types of cancer can be cured, most types of dementia cannot. However, another reason is that the idea of being betrayed by our brains to the point that we are essentially lost in the disease is abhorrent to most of us. This fear, unfortunately, tends to make many people less than willing to see a physician for dementia testing even when they are showing signs that point to the illness. People don’t want to hear that they have dementia. Refusing to be examined assures that they won’t hear those words even though the reality is that living in denial can be counterproductive. Many conditions can cause dementia-like symptoms and if they are caught early, damage can often be reversed.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about reasons to get an early diagnosis:

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

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Did You Promise Your Parents You'd Never Put Them In a Nursing Home?

Nursinghome4... So, with some guilt, we start looking at other options. For some people, this means having your parents move in with you. If there is enough room that everyone has privacy and the personalities blend, this can work. However, before making such a move, make sure your head is as engaged as your heart. While you are considering this option, you also may want to read "Living With Elderly Parents: Do You Regret the Decision?"

Read the full article on Agingcare about the sacred promise and how life can change:

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

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Dementia: When Your Loved One Unfairly Accuses You of Stealing or Abuse

CaregiverStress2When a person succumbs to any form of dementia, it is hard on family and friends. It is difficult to see the diminished capacity of a loved one and the unbearable frustration it brings. However, one of the worst things we have to cope with is the fact that this person has a flawed memory, and this flawed memory can cause them to tell others terrible things about us, simply because their brain isn't working correctly. No matter how far-fetched their stories and accusations may be, to them, what they are saying is true.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how people living with some types of dementia can accuse caregivers of stealing or abusing when it isn't true:

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

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Living While Dying: A Short Film Featuring Role Models for Dying Well

CathyZheutlinCreditEdisJurcys2Death. For some, it signals the beginning of a more perfect life. For others, it is the end. Ultimately, for everyone, death is part of the life cycle and no amount of medical intervention will change that. Filmmaker Cathy Zheutlin became fascinated by the way that different cultures and religions view the death experience, and in the process, she has made a remarkable film titled Living While Dying, which features people who are going through that process and their varying emotions.

Read full article and view powerful short video on HealthCentral about living while dying:

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 

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