Brain Health Feed

Families Can Take the Brunt of Elder Rage

AgressionIt's not really news that people tend to be their worst with the people they love. Generally, this is thought to be the case because people feel safe enough with family to just "let it all hang out." Their anger at their circumstances, which may or may not have to do with these family members, is the real cause. Other times, the behavior is because the person has an abusive personality with deeper problems lurking. Whatever the reason, it's not good. We owe the people we love our best selves. Not our "dressed for company" selves, but our compassionate, honest selves. However, most humans are imperfect creatures. They will take out their frustrations on people they feel won't desert them.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how some elders can abuse their caregivers:

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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

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Abused Adult Children May Need to Decline Role as Primary Caregiver

PensiveDear Carol: When I was born my mother was single and hooked on drugs. She kept me with her, but she abused me physically and emotionally. My grandma gained custody of me when I was five years old and she raised me. Grandma died two years ago and now my mother, who has wrecked her health and is in a nursing home, has decided that I should take her to my home to care for her. I don’t hate her, but I really can’t forgive her, and I can’t take care of her anyway. She is my mother so I do feel guilty. I have followed your work and you have addressed similar situations, but I need to hear this as meant for me. What is my duty in this situation?– AE

Read the full column on Inforum about how forgiveness can help a person move forward:

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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5 Positive Effects of Providing Long-term Care

MomDaughter ...Compassion: While I like to think that I’ve always been a compassionate person, and I believe that maturity adds increased compassion to most of us simply because we’ve seem more suffering,caregiving can take compassion even farther. When we witness the suffering that many of our loved ones go through for weeks, months or even years before they die, we can’t help but have compassion for them and for others who suffer.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving can affect people in a positive manner:

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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Group Singing Offers Multiple Benefits for People with Dementia

PianoRecently, I wrote about how playing in an orchestra has helped people living with dementia renew their confidence in themselves.  Another twist on music has now come in a recent report from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in London. The researchers describe how both the people in their study who had dementia, as well as their caregivers, benefitted from group singing.This exercise seemed to have much the same effect on the people with dementia as the orchestra experiment. While music is valuable on its own, and reminiscing while singing old songs is helpful, it seemed that one of the important takeaways from the most recent experiment was that the couples were doing something together as equals. This, in turn, helped the person with dementia feel more confident.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how group singing can help people with dementia:

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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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 

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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

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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

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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:

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The Impact of Grandparents On Our Society

GrandfatherBoybubblesThe importance of grandparents in the lives of children cannot be denied. Before our culture became so mobile, it was common for children to grow up surrounded by extended family, including one or both sets of grandparents. Seniors often moved in with their adult children and young grandkids when they became frail. My own childhood mirrored this now quaint picture of the past, and I've always felt happy about the fact that my children were involved with both sets of their grandparents as they grew up. Yet, even though my kids enjoyed weekly grandparent visits, they were already in the minority. Many of their friends rarely saw their own grandparents, who often lived hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away. But, even with the obstacle of distance, I heard many of these young children talk excitedly about seeing Grandma and Grandpa over holidays and whenever they could.

Read the full article on Agingcare about the importance of grandparents in our society:

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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

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