Brain Health Feed

Give Your Dad the Best Father’s Day Gift Ever: Your Attention

FatherDaughter...As years go by, most of us gain–or attempt to gain–perspective. By retelling personal stories, elders are often, consciously or subconsciously, trying to reframe their life from the perspective of time. If we give them the gift of attentive listening, we may find their stories more interesting and even learn something new about them. Since an elder’s history is part of our own, we might learn something new about ourselves, too. This mutually beneficial activity is the perfect gift for Dads this Father’s Day.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how much your attention can mean to both of you on Father's Day:

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


Cruel Remarks Follow Plan to Move Husband Into a Nursing Home

Comfort14Dear Carol: My dad had a massive stroke five years ago when he was 78, and Mom, who’s the same age, is caring for him at home. Mom's finally realizing that she can’t keep this up because her health is declining. I live 500 miles away so I can only help so much. Mom’s tried hiring in-home care but that hasn’t worked out consistently so Dad’s on a list for a nearby nursing home. Having to make this move is heartbreaking for Mom but she knows that it needs to be done. The problem is Dad’s sister, who is also Mom’s friend. She’s been laying guilt on Mom saying that Mom’s not honoring her marriage vows if she moves Dad. This woman has been a widow for 30 years and her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. She has no idea about what Mom’s been through. Mom’s moving ahead with the plan, but my aunt’s bitter words are painful for her. Mom reads your column. Could you give us both some support? TM

Read full article on Inforum about the cruelty of being judged for placing a loved one in a nursing home:

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


Celebrating Father's Day When Your Dad Has Dementia

MomandDadFather’s Day and my birthday always fall close together. Some years they are the same day. That always made Father’s Day an extra special time in our house as I was growing up. I was, of course, an adult and mother by the time Dad had the surgery that threw him into dementia for the following decade. However, my adulthood didn’t shield me from the pain of missing “my real dad” when I’d bring Mom up to the nursing home and we brought cards and flowers.

Read full article on HealthCentral about celebrating Father's Day when your dad has 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


June is Brain Awareness Month: Helping Caregivers Cope

WheelchairmanJune is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. What better time to become educated about how to help people who have dementia live a better quality of life, help caregivers with support and resources, and teach others about the many types of dementia and other brain diseases? The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011. Since that time, milestones have been identified to meet the plan’s biomedical research goals. But until recent years, the creation of similar milestones on patient care and caregiver support has lagged.  In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association Workgroup published recommendations – including patient-care milestones – to augment the U.S. Government’s “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Read more on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month and tips on how caregivers can grow:

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


Father's Day Memories: Dementia or Not, He’ll Always Be Your Dad

MindingOurEldersCoverFullThis Father's Day, as on all days, I'll have fond memories of my dad. So will many of you. No matter what has happened to our parents as they age, they remain our parents. Cognitive and physical decline don't take away their legacy as adults. We may have to provide some care that many would consider demeaning, but given in love, no care is demeaning. Part of that love is keeping in mind that this person is our parent, the person who raised us. Respect and preservation of dignity are their due.

Read full article on Agingcare about how dementia doesn't take away our Dads:

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


Memory Impairment May Not Be First Sign of Alzheimer's

Memory1Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it? Indeed, a new study showed that behavioral changes affected 80 percent of those who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which for many people is a precursor to Alzheimer’s. These behavioral changes often became evident well before noticeable problems with memory.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the first signs of Alzheimer's:

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


Often Surgery Seems the Only Choice, Yet Results Can Devastate

DeathDear Carol: My world changed in an instant when, at age 45, my mom suffered a brain aneurysm. Because of that, she had to undergo brain surgery which left her with dementia and severe physical limitations. I quit my job and took Mom home and cared for her for three years. Fortunately, my husband has been supportive and we could afford it. Eventually, Mom’s care needs were overwhelming me and I had to move her to a nursing home. I haven’t been able to drop the guilt that I feel over doing this even though I spend time with her daily.  Mom barely speaks and she’s in and out of reality. Mostly, she sleeps. The doctor calls this the natural progression of the disease. They gave me such hope with the surgery, but afterward, they just brushed off her dementia with the attitude of “it happens.” That attitude still makes me angry. Could I have done something different? – Trish: 

Read full column on Inforum about how even necessary surgery can have devastating results:

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


7 Tips for Preserving an Elder's Vital Sense of Dignity

BicycleRiskFearing that their aging parents could be injured, caregivers can become nagging nannies who try to stop Dad from working in his beloved shop or Mom from gardening. But insisting that elders avoid all risks can compromise their dignity and joy. So how do you find the right balance of concern and trust?

View slideshow on HealthCentral about taking steps to preserve the sense of dignity all ages deserve:

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


9 Surprising Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Health

GutBacteriaIt’s not sexy but it’s real. Many scientists are now looking at the gut as a primary source of many diseases that plague humankind. Probiotics, the prebiotics that they feed upon in the gut, as well as changes in our diet are being studied as possible methods of preventing or curing major diseases.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how gut bacteria can affect health: 

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


Caregiver Tells of Harrowing Experience in Handling Parents' Finances

FinancesFinances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. In the case of caregiver Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, the legal documents for her parents were signed in time — barely.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the importance of getting financial documents in line early:

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