Brain Health 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):

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

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:

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


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


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


The Challenge of Elders Who Won’t Accept In-Home Caregivers

Noentry

Hiring in-home care for my neighbor, Joe, was an ordeal. The company we chose was fine and their caregivers were great, but the quality of care wasn't the issue. The problem was that Joe resented anyone but me helping him. He locked one caregiver out of his home. He let another in but was rude to her, He did thoroughly enjoy one young man but that was only because they could discuss golf together.
 

Read full article on Agingcare about why some elders fight in-home care:

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

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


Alzheimer's: Leaky Blood-Brain Barrier One More Step in Understanding Development of Disease

Brain12The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a collection of cells and cellular components that line the walls of blood vessels in the brain. This barrier is an important part of brain health because it separates the brain from circulating blood. A study led by Walter H. Backes, Ph.D., a professor in medical physics at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, has found that the blood-brain barrier was leakier in a group of people with Alzheimer’s disease than in those without the disease. This new information could add to the accumulation of evidence that early detection of Alzheimer’s is the key to defeating it. In fact, most of the drugs now going through trails need to be taken in the pre-symptom stage of the disease in order to be effective. The goal is to one day be able to start interventions early enough to stop or reverse damage from the disease before symptoms start.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the new information on BBB that could help end Alzheimer's:

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