Alzheimer's Feed

Alzheimer's Is Only One Type of Dementia Though It's the Most Common Type

Fatherdaughter7One 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.”

View slideshow on HealthCentral about the different types of dementia and how they affect people:

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

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


When a Loved One With Dementia Thinks You're Stealing

AngryWomanAccused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem?

View the slideshow on HealthCentral about when a loved one thinks that you are stealing:

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

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


Playing Along with the Realities of Dementia World

MindingOurEldersCoverFullIt was not unlike any other day, but this particular afternoon Dad was adamant. He was waiting for his medical degree to come from the University of Minnesota and wondered why it was taking so long to arrive. I did what I usually did, and waited a few days to see if this episode of delusional thinking would pass. It did not. So, I created a facsimile of a medical degree on my computer with my dad's name on it. I scribbled some "signatures" on the bottom, put it in a mailing envelope and brought it to him in the nursing home the following day. He was delighted. I added it to the other awards and degrees hanging on the wall; an entomology "degree," his legitimate college degree

Read full article on Agingcare about entering into a loved one's world of dementia:

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

caregiver smile summit


Maintaining Dignity of Aging Parent Often Takes Special Insight

Friends6Dear Carol: I’ve decided that my mother must have dementia. Today I discovered that her tax return was rejected because she had marked several things wrong. She took this to my husband because she didn't want me to know. Also, her housekeeping is terrible. It drives me nuts that she doesn't even throw away garbage when the can is a foot from where she puts the garbage down. These are just examples of what is happening. How can I convince her that she needs to let me handle things and that she needs to trust that I will do what is best for her? I understand she doesn't want to give up her independence but I'm tired of cleaning up her messes and would prefer to just handle things myself so that I only have to do things once. – BY 

Read full article on Inforum about how adult children's reactions can make a difference with aging parents:

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 

Over 50 experts can guide your caregiving journey when you won this virtual summit. click the image below to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer's Advances

Medications6While Alzheimer's specific drugs may help slow symptoms for some people, they also may increase the risk of hip fractures, fainting, urinary problems and other health issues. Most researchers now think that a time comes when many medications for the elderly are no longer beneficial and may be harmful. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester looked at 5,406 nursing home residents who had late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia with more than half of them being older than 85. The scientists found that 2,911 of the patients - nearly 54 percent - were taking at least one medication of questionable benefit.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how medications can become negative as people age:

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

caregiver smile summit


Many Common Drugs Have Surprising Mental Side Effects

Medical_tablets_01_hd_pictures_168382Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system. Many over-the-counter drugs used for sleep and allergies are anticholinergic drugs as well, a fact that’s been well publicized. A recent article on Forbes.com spotlighted OTC drugs with these anticholinergic properties because they are so prevalent. The article states that researchers have yet to prove that anticholinergic drugs actually cause Alzheimer’s. Yet, there is a link that can’t be denied.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how common drugs can cause serious problems down the road:

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

caregiver smile summit


Aromatherapy Shown to be Safe and Effective for People With Alzheimer's

HerbalTreatmentsAlzheimer’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 toolbox 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. The NIH abstract on aromatherapy reports that the trial consisted of having subjects inhale the fragrance of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and lavender and orange essential oils in the evening.

Read full article on HealthCentral about studies showing that aromatherapy helps many with AD:

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

caregiver smile summit


Contracts for Retirement Communities May Require Expert Help to Fully Understand

Contract-signing-10044619Dear Carol: My husband and I are trying to help my brother select a retirement community that would also offer assisted living for his future needs. He’s 74 and has early Parkinson's disease so he wants to make this move soon. Our experience with trying to decipher the pricing structures of the places that we visited has been enormously frustrating.  Is there some sort of resource that covers retirement living contracts that transition to assisted living and perhaps even nursing care? We really need some guidance. Thanks for any help that you can provide. – TL

Read full article on Inforum about the ins and outs of signing a contract for assisted living:

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

caregiver smile summit


When One Parent Dies the Survivor's Need for Assistance Often Becomes More Apparent

ManGrandfatherLong-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gaps is gone, and those gaps can suddenly look like chasms.

Read full article on Agingcare about how to help the surviving parent continue on:

caregiver smile summit


Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders

Guitar2Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.

On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well supplied with CDs from the Big Band era. This music represented the time of his life when he was, perhaps, the most care free. Very little could get Dad smiling quite like a Buddy Rich CD.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how music can help Alzheimer's:

caregiver smile summit