Dementia/Alzhiemer's Feed

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 →


Dear Carol: I am caring for both of my parents who are over 90. Mom has Alzheimer’s. Dad tries to help but he's limited in what he can do. Frankly, some days I feel limited as well. I’m so exhausted all the time that I can’t even enjoy my grandchildren. I know that I need more outside help, and maybe even need to change our living arrangements, so I’m looking into that. What spurred me to write to you, though, was that people who were caregivers, but whose parents are long deceased, will say to me, “At least you still have your parents." This happens even if I just sigh or say that I'm tired. What's with these people? I believe that they are now glamorizing what they did. I’m sure they miss their parents, but I think it's the parents they had before illness took over who they miss. Their comments make me feel hurt and guilty. Do they know what they are doing? OP Read more →


Ideally, family members see one another often enough that they can become comfortable discussing issues that come up naturally as parents grow older. When this is the case, adult children are likely to hear when close friends of their parents have moved to assisted living, or have become ill. They may even hear stories where their parents’ friends didn’t assign powers of attorney for healthcare and their finances so that when one or both became very ill, their children are left trying to care for their parents with their hands legally tied. Read more →


...Many families are close, while others can be both physically and emotionally more distant. Still, there is a parent-child relationship that younger people rarely think deeply about. It just is. 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.  Read more →


While we like to think that most seniors have family members or at least lifelong friends to help them through their last years, many don’t. The term elder orphan is often used to describe these older Americans. While many have planned for this time in their lives by hiring attorneys to oversee the legal issues surrounding their potential need for care, others may not have been so wise. These seniors could be a prime target for a guardianship company that can swoop in and—legally—take over their lives, including their finances. Read more →


One of the most common health issues affecting caregivers is depression. Let’s take a look at some of the ways that caregiving can lead to this condition:  We feel like we’re letting everyone down, especially if we have children as well as elders to care for, and perhaps a spouse we don’t want to ignore. We try. We try so hard. Yet, it seems like we are spread so thin that, in our view at least, our loved ones all get shortchanged. This can, indeed, be depressing. Read more →


Caregivers will experience anxiety. It simply goes with the territory. How to cope with that anxiety is the true challenge because if we don’t cope well we, too, may become ill. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recognizes this in the article Physical and Mental Health Effects of Family Caregiving, which concludes that “caregiving is a major public health issue.” Knowing how caregiving can affect your long-term health should help you understand that your anxiety isn’t something to take lightly. Read more →


Dysphagia is a swallowing impairment that can occur after someone has a stroke or any type of brain injury. Dysphagia is also a concern with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), oral cancer, and many other injuries and diseases. However, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), dysphagia is also a growing concern in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). The NIH says that dysphagia “frequently leads to aspiration pneumonia, a common cause of death in this population, particularly in the later stage of AD.” Read more →


Dear Carol: My father-in-law has late stage Alzheimer’s and he no longer knows the family. My husband’s heart breaks when he sees his dad, and he doesn’t want to spend his own Father’s Day going through that pain. I think we should make the effort. Our kids from out of town will call, and our daughter and her family have invited us for an evening dinner. There’s plenty of time to go to the nursing home to see Dad early in the afternoon. I think that I’ve talked my husband into going, but I’d like more insight. To me, it seems important that we visit even if I can’t express why. Can you help? – SA Read more →


As with all celebrations at the time, we were pretty much going through the motions. We were not going to stop celebrating this day for fathers just because Dad didn’t really understand the significance of it anymore. Mom would ask me to order yellow roses for his room. Yellow roses were something they both treasured (I kept the local florist in business during those years by ordering flowers from each of my parents to the other). I’d also pick up Father’s Day cards for him - one for me to give Dad and one for Mom to give him. Read more →