Assisted Living Feed

Specialized Music Therapy for Alzheimer's and Other Types of Dementia

Guitar2..Fridays at the nursing home were very popular. Regular music groups would come by at the week’s end to play old favorites for the residents, always filling the room with cheer. My dad, who had dementia caused by failed surgery, loved the live music but also responded well to CDs of his favorites from the big band era. I know that his quality of life during his last ten years would have been diminished without music to help override the effects of dementia.

Read more on Agingcare about specialized music therapy for people with 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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Can Hospitalization be a Dementia Risk?

DeathSupposedly, people are hospitalized because they are ill. Then, barring a terminal condition, they are released because they are better. Once home, people recover further, and continue on with their lives as well as their original illness allows them to. Unfortunately, with elderly people, that best case scenario doesn't always happen. Readers ask about the cognitive decline of a post-hospitalized elder. They want to know what happened. They want to know if their parent will ever be cognitively the same as he or she was before a hospitalization. I tell them that each case is unique, but according to many studies, some elders may not cognitively recover from the trauma.

Read more on Agingcare about hospitalization and dementia risk:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Elders’ Loss of Appetite Complicated

BerriesHCAdult children often worry about their aging parents’ eating habits. Sometimes the elders live alone and don’t feel like cooking or even going out to buy groceries. They may have pain issues that keep them from enjoying food, or dentures that make chewing uncomfortable. Depression can be a factor for some people, as can medication side effects. Loneliness, especially for people who have lost a spouse to a nursing home or death, can make eating seem unimportant or unattractive.

Read more on HealthCentral about elders' appetite loss:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Guilt Intrinsic to Caregiving: Most Is Unearned

CaregiverStressIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. 

Read more on HealthCentral about unearned guilt for caregivers and how to cope with it:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


5 Tips to Ease Discussions with Elders about Housing

FatherDaugher6As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, you worry. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives but you genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash?

View slide show on HealthCentral about tips for discussing housing arrangements with elders:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Having a Purpose Necessary for Quality of Life

ARTDear Carol: My dad has vascular dementia which is thought to be caused by a series of mini-strokes. He lives in the memory unit of a fine nursing home. Dad needs a certain amount of nursing care and is at risk for frequent falls, but I believe that some of his depressed state could be relieved if he felt that had a purpose. Probably the same is true for several other residents. The staff is kind and devoted and I believe that they want the best for their residents, but choices for activities are limited. Do you have any ideas about how Dad and other higher functioning people could take part in life with more than visiting the zoo and playing bingo? Gary

Read more on Inforum about the need to have a purpose in life:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Choosing a Care Facility? Listen To Your Gut

HairSalonPeople often ask what to look for when choosing an assisted living facility or a nursing home for a loved one. There are grading sites such as the Medicare Nursing Home Guide, found on Medicare.gov, and I suggest you use them. However, there are many things that go into good care that can’t be measured on a chart. In order to see the heart of a facility, you need to spend some time there. Observe routines and pay attention to the atmosphere. What is your gut feeling about the place? 

Read more on HealthCentral about choosing a nursing home: 

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


General End-Of-Life Discussions Can Keep Conversations Natural

GetImageDear Carol: My mother, who is 81, has been happily involved in her life at a good assisted living facility near our home. She’s been hospitalized several times because of heart issues but this hasn’t affected her feeling of independence. Mom takes her medications and has been doing well.  I took her in for a mammogram because of a breast lump which ended up being non-cancerous but the scare opened my eyes to the need to talk more with her about her final wishes. Her mind is still good. She assigned me Power Of Attorney years ago for both finances and health care, but we haven’t discussed in depth what she would want done now if one of her health problems worsens. I’m afraid that if I bring up the issue she’ll think that I’m expecting her to die any day! How do I begin? Mel

Read more on Inforum about discussing end-of-life wishes:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

GuitarLack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer's disease overcome apathy.    People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group.

Read more on HealthCentral about apathy with Alzheimer's:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Re-imagine a Picnic for an Elder in a Senior Living Community

  Picnic3...Picnics are symbolic of shared good times, casual but special. While generally held outdoors, they need not be. A quick look at the dictionary tells us that the word picnic means an informal good time. With that definition as a guide, we can come up with our own variations.

Read more on Agingcare about planning and enjoying a picnic with your loved ones in a care home:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling