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Caregiver Needs Medical Care before Health Is Irreparably Shattered

Stress3Dear Carol: I’m an only child and single. My mother developed cancer in her 70s and I helped Dad care for her until her death two years ago. Only months after her death, Dad turned into another person. It’s not that he was simply angry. He seemed to be hallucinating and could be violent. I managed to get him to a psychiatrist who said that Dad has mixed dementia, likely a combination of Alzheimer’s and something else, maybe Lewy body dementia. The trauma of seeing his wife decline and finally die in a nursing home may have kicked off Dad’s symptoms and I’m sympathetic, but I could not handle Dad’s situation alone and eventually placed him in the VA home.

Read full column on Inforum about caregiver burnout and the need to take action: 

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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Is Our Youth-Obsessed Culture Making You Old Before Your Time?

Family2Look young Feel young! Think young! The constant barrage of information about how being forever young is the only desirable way to live is enough to make even a young person feel old. Now researchers have shown that this ageism is potentially harmful to one’s cognitive abilities over the long term. A study led by Becca R. Levy, PhD of Yale University and her colleagues has shown that our memory is actually shaped by age stereotypes. In other words, if you are ageist in your thinking, adhering to stereotypical images of older people as bumbling, forgetful, annoying people who are going “downhill,”  your memory will likely age in accordance with the stereotypes that you carry.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how being obsessive about youth can make you old:

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


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:

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


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


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


Pain Management as We Age: An Interview With Denis Patterson, D.O.

Exercise11ThinkstockPain management can be a problem for aging bodies. With the current focus on removing opioids as a go-to solution, doctors are working hard to provide alternatives for their patients. Denis Patterson, D.O., is a Board Certified Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation physician. He is also the founder and owner of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in Reno, Nevada. I’ve had questions for some time about what doctors suggest for pain management of aging bodies, regardless of whether the pain stems from old injuries or a current issue such as severe arthritis. So I asked Dr. Patterson if he would be willing to provide us with information from the perspective of a specialist. He did so in this email interview.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how a lot of pain can be managed without opioids:

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

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


Mid-life Exercise: Being Vigilant May Have Beneficial Effects on Brain Later in Life

Exercise10Once you’ve reached your 70s, will you look back and thank your middle-aged self for spending another hour each day on social media rather than jogging around your neighborhood? According to new research, the answer is no: you’re more likely to wish that you’d had more self-discipline. A long-term study of more than 3,000 twins by researchers at the University of Helsinki found that midlife, moderately vigorous physical activity is associated with better cognition as we reach old age.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how mid-life exercise can help your brain when you are older:

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 


Joining In Loved One's Dementia World Makes Life Better for All

Alzheimers_elder_caregiver6Dear Carol:  My father has Lewy body dementia and he hallucinates, which I understand is part of the disease. I was raised to not lie. Your writing, as well as articles on the Alzheimer’s Association website and that of many medical people, seems to advocate lying to your parents or spouse once they have dementia. When my dad tells me that he sees people in the garden who aren’t there and wants to know what he should do, I get frustrated. I tell him that no one is there and that he’s imagining it. Then he gets upset and insists that two people are out there. Next, I get mad because he won’t believe that no one is out there. I don’t want to lie. What should I do? Lana

Read more on Inforum about how joining our loved ones in their world can help everyone connect:

Sign up for the Caregiver’s Smile Summit: 0ver 50 Experts on Caregiving, Aging, and Care Partnering

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


Folic Acid May Aid Elders During Heat Waves

FanHeatThe type of heat exhaustion or mild dehydration that a middle aged caregiver may feel during a heat wave is uncomfortable, but the same occurrence could be deadly for an elder. Because of the seriousness of overheating, some older people take a prescription drug that helps increase blood flow to the skin which in turn helps them cool off. Recently, Penn State researchers published information suggesting that folic acid, also known as vitamin B9, may be an inexpensive alternative for prescription drugs for the elderly during heat waves. Folic acid also increases skin blood flow and has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events, as well.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how folic acid may help your elder stay safe in extreme heat:

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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Faith Helps Many Caregivers Relieve Stress According to Study

Prayer3Caregiving can mean that nothing seems to change as we go about our daily routines, endlessly keeping tabs on all that must be done for our vulnerable loved ones, yet knowing that the next moment a life threatening, or at least quality of life threatening, incident can occur at any minute. This combination of unchanging daily routine all the while staying in a fight or flight mode because of a possible crisis situation can be exhausting. The only way I have ever coped with these issues is through my faith—I am never alone. My deeply held sense of spirituality has given me relief from the endless routines of caregiving as well as life-changing crises. Somehow, my core belief has helped me as a caregiver.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how faith can help caregivers relieve stress:

Sign up for the Caregiver’s Smile Summit: 0ver 50 Experts on Caregiving, Aging, and Care Partnering

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