Brain Health, Alzheimer's, Dementia Feed

Dear Carol: My aunt, who has never married, always been a complainer. She has a decent retirement income but has always lived in a hovel because she never wanted to spend her money. Now she has chronic health problems. When my husband and I last visited her home we knew that morally we couldn’t let this go on because she was physically filthy and unable to care for herself, and she couldn’t climb her steps to go out. We finally convinced her to move to a wonderful care facility where she’s been settled for over six months. She has great food, a saintly aide that costs extra but is worth every penny, activities to attend, and lovely surroundings. Still, all she does is complain. It’s getting so that I can hardly stand to visit her, though visiting has been a priority so that we could keep an eye on things. She’s wearing me down. Why are some people like this? – RE Read more →


Dear Carol: I’ve lived 900 miles away from my parents for years. My husband and I were tied down with caring for his parents, so we didn’t see my family as often as we’d like, but they always seemed fine when we talked or visited. Now, his parents have both passed and we’ve been traveling to visit my parents more often. These last few visits have highlighted my mom’s decline. It’s obvious that she’s got dementia but she ignores the symptoms and hasn't been diagnosed. Dad is in denial and covers for her, as does my only sibling. How do I even begin to help with this? – NY  Read more →


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 more →


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015 nearly 16 million family and other unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $221.3 billion. This is with caregiving being valued at only $12.25 per hour. Similar statistics are posted by the International Alliance of Carer Organizations, which tracks caregiving in countries around the world. Read more →


Aging can bring unique joys, but for many it also brings the loss of physical and, for some, cognitive abilities that they feel once defined them. These losses can usually be absorbed if the elders stay connected to the greater community in some way and/or they enjoy engrossing hobbies. But many become isolated, either because they don’t feel like making the effort to stay connected or they lack the opportunity. Those who do become socially isolated will often succumb to disease or early death. Read more →


Eight out of 10 older adults take at least one medication and many take three or more daily. Older adults comprise 13 percent of the population but account for 34 percent of all prescription medicine use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medicine use. Also, older adults often use multiple medicines (averaging 14 prescriptions each), increasing the risk of drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for harmful side effects. Source: National Council on Patient Information and Education Read more →


Pain 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. Read more →


Long married couples are often said to "finish each other's sentences." They work as a unit, and friends and family members are used to this interaction. This ability to work as a team is a wonderful thing until one of the team isn't functioning well and the other is in denial. When couples cover up for each other, precious time can be lost. So, adult children need to be on the lookout for signs that things aren't going well. Read more →


Dear Carol: I read your column about a woman whose friend was getting lost when driving and she wondered about confronting her friend about possible dementia. I beg everyone that if people suspect that their older friends or family members are slipping mentally they pull their keys before something bad happens. I say this as the victim of a very old woman who should never have been driving. I was riding my bicycle in the bike lane when she hit me and dragged me half a block. She was driving a huge, old vehicle and didn’t even know I was there. I will forever live with the physical pain and limitations that remain even after repeated surgeries for the injuries I sustained. Old drivers need to be pulled off the road. – SM Read more →


According to the National Sleep Foundation, changes to our sleep patterns are a part of the normal aging process. The foundation states that as people age, they tend to have a harder time falling asleep and more trouble staying asleep than when they were younger. Knowing this, and knowing about the common thinking that adults need less sleep as they age, HealthCentral asked Dr. Martha Cortes some questions via email about aging and sleep. Read more →