Brain Health, Alzheimer's, Dementia Feed

Ultimately, family caregivers should understand and work through their motivations to be the sole care provider. Accepting help benefits both the caregiver the care recipient, but it can be hard to accept, particularly if you don't know the people who will be helping. Read more →


It seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who’ve never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives. Read more →


Nearly everyone involved in caring for aging loved ones is experiencing grief. Often, however, we're not aware of this grief. We have a parent who used to be strong and capable begin to ask for a little assistance. No big deal, right? We're happy to help. But underneath, often unnoticed, there's a knot in our hearts. We're grieving the loss – the loss of function that made our parent need to ask for help. Weren't they the ones who helped us? Weren't they the ones in charge? Read more →


A friend recently faced the task of letting her mother, who has mid-level dementia, know that the mother’s elderly brother had died. This death was not unexpected, but when a person has dementia and short-term memory loss is a problem, the news would likely be unexpected by the mother. Read more →


All of these people are caregivers. Whether or not they are caregivers in the legal sense that they can file for benefits or qualify for respite care isn't what we're considering in this article. We're looking at the emotional investment of caregiving as well as time and physical presence. Additionally, there's no way to overstate the role of the advocate in a vulnerable person's life. This role may be one of the most important ones we play no matter how much or little we are physically present to provide hands-on care. Read more →


Dear Carol: Your column has been incredibly helpful for my family as we care for my sweet mother-in-law who is in late stages of frontal temporal dementia. As we've struggled to find the right care setting while she progresses through this disease, we've been confused by care options. From assisted living to skilled nursing, there appear to be many choices, but it's not always clear what each provides. Recently, we learned from a nurse in Mom’s current nursing home that some memory care assisted living facilities (ALFs) care for residents through the end of life. We haven't been looking at assisted living options as she needs far more care, but now it looks like we should reconsider since her current nursing home doesn’t specialize in dementia. Can you please clarify for us and other families how these care options are named and what they provide? AG Read more →


When dementia symptoms appear it’s natural to fear that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than reacting with panic, however, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Many forms of dementia are incurable, of course, but other conditions can present symptoms that resemble those of dementia but are in fact reversible. Read more →


Choosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions. Read more →


An ongoing concern for many older adults, as well as their adult children, is whether they really need to pay for the services of an attorney when planning for their finances and health care in old age. This is a valid question, and people of modest means often feel that they can’t afford an attorney. However, the reality is that many elder care problems faced by families can be avoided by consulting an attorney before their loved one needs any form of care. Read more →


...Then there’s that first time when it really registers with you that your parents are aging. Perhaps this awareness occurs after one of them has suffered an emotional or physical trauma. Or it could even strike during a time of seemingly little significance, such as bright sunlight highlighting some gray in mom’s hair, or a strong reading lamp enhancing the sag in dad’s once firm jawline.   This new reality may simply nudge you, or it may sock you in the gut, but reality it is. Your parents are aging. They are on their way to “being old.” Read more →