Depression Feed

Family Caregivers are the Heart of Alzheimer's Care

Caregiving5According 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. These statistics should make it glaringly obvious that family caregivers are indispensable to our nation as well as to the rest of the world. Without this so-called free care, global health systems would be in far worse trouble than they currently are.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how family caregivers are at the heart of dementia care:

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


“The Inheritance” Follows ND Family as Genetic Alzheimer’s becomes Legacy

InheritanceDear Readers: For most people, finding out that they have received an inheritance is a positive experience. Not so when that inheritance is early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (eFAD). This type of inheritance involves a gene which each family member has a 50 percent chance of inheriting. For those who inherit this gene, their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease by middle age, if not younger, is 100 percent. In her engrossing new book “The Inheritance,” Niki Kapsambelis presents the story of a North Dakota family facing such a reality.

Read full review of "The Inheritance" on Inforum:

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


Reversing Memory Loss: Non-Drug Approach Shows Promise

Fruits_of_the_forest_blackberries_blueberries_223865A small study at UCLA has shown evidence that a strict protocol concentrating on lifestyle changes can reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms. We frequently hear about some promising new potential drug breakthrough, yet there is at this time no medical cure and it’s not likely that there will be one anytime soon. Thus, the interest in exercise, diet, vitamin and herbal remedies and brain challenges.

Read full on HealthCentral article on how UCLA has shown promising results in reversing AD by lifestyle changes:

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


Pain: How Is It Perceived by People with Dementia?

AnemiaSeniorsIt’s far too easy for onlookers to view someone with dementia as unable to feel pain. Since the disease eventually renders most people helpless and cognitively inexpressive, they can't articulate what hurts or why they are upset. Caring researchers have now brought new insight to this issue. In an article on altered pain processing in patients with cognitive impairment, Medical News Today states that new research shows how wrong previous ideas about what people with cognitive disorders could feel have been.

Read full article about pain and  Alzheimer's on HealthCentral:

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 web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Feeling Useful Integral to Emotional Health and Contentment

PetsDear Carol: My dad suffers from the effects of poorly controlled diabetes. He’s finally trying to follow the advice his doctors have given him which is helping some, but he’s forgetful. He also has some problems with his feet. I watch his diet and pills so that helps. Even when Dad’s feeling fairly well physically, though, he seems vaguely depressed. He claims to be happy enough, but he says that he's not contributing anything to the family. Dad used to be very physical and now there are so many things he can’t do. I know that he gets bored, but I wish he could just accept that he doesn’t have to do more. How can I help him feel better about himself? Meghan

Read full article on Inforum about helping elders stay active and useful:

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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


Kathi Koll Foundation Providing Financial Aid to Low-Income Caregivers

MoneyDear Readers: As you know, I rarely use guest posts, but this is one of my exceptions. Financial aid for caregivers is needed. Please forward to other caregivers who may want to apply. - Carol

In 2015, Kathi Koll started a foundation to help caregivers in need. The issue was a personal one for her. A little more than 10 years before, her husband had suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Kathi became Don's caregiver for six and half years before his passing in 2011 and learned firsthand about the many challenges of caregiving, including the emotional ups and downs, the changes to one's relationship, and all sorts of new practical matters she needed to address.

By suddenly becoming a caregiver, Kathi dealt with intense anxiety and grief and had to completely reorient her life. But through that process, she also learned how to embrace a new normal, nurture love, and handle her many new life stresses in a way that also made those years filled with fond memories despite the catastrophic change that had occurred.

Even after Don died, caregiving has remained a large part of Kathi's world through her work with the Kathi Koll Foundation, which she created to help other caregivers who were struggling.

Her organization provides small subsidies, ranging from $500 to $1,500 to caregivers in need. In addition, the foundation offers guidance to caregivers who may be struggling with the many new demands on them.

For the small grants, applications are available at http://www.kathikollfoundation.org/caregivers/kathi's_caregivers. Assistance can be provided for specific items, such as rent, utility bills, grocery cards, or a wheelchair. To qualify, an applicant's income must be less than $28,000 for an individual caregiver or $34,000 for someone with minor dependent children.

In addition, the website provides helpful articles and videos about issues caregivers often face, and the foundation offers community outreach. For example, speakers can share insights with groups about many caregiving issues, such as living life after a stroke, the immense anxiety that accompanies a catastrophic event, how to manage the expectations of loved ones, coping with the continuum of grief, readjusting to a new life, working toward new, simpler goals, how to improve a patient's emotional care, finding happiness and learning how to love life again.

The idea is to help as many caregivers as possible as they endeavor to address their loved ones' needs.

Article courtesy of the Kathi Koll Foundation

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


Lewy Body Dementia Often Confused With Alzheimer’s

Depressedwoman1When most people think of dementia they probably think of Alzheimer’s disease. Since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and one of the biggest risk factors for developing AD is age, new developments to combat the disease are often in the news. There are, however, other types of dementia that are just as devastating as Alzheimer’s disease and they are not necessarily rare. The type of dementia we’ll focus on in this article is Lewy body dementia. I frequently hear from spouses or adult children of people who have developed LBD. It saddens me that there’s little news to relate to them about research to combat the disease.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Lewy body dementia and how it's different from Alzheimer's:

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


The Challenge of Going Public with an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

DepressedElderSadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren’t any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. The fact remains that whether the disease affects the brain occurs at a younger age in the form of depression or bi-polar disease or an older age in the form of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, people with brain illnesses are often reluctant to acknowledge their illness for fear of being treated differently than others. There has been some progress when it comes to enlightening the public, but not nearly enough.

Read full article on HealthCentral about going public about dementia:

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 web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Granny Flats: Is the Investment a Good Idea?

BalanceWhether known as Granny flats, in-law flats or intergenerational apartments, there is a small trend in real estate toward families living together. They may be adding onto homes or even installing or building separate dwellings on their property so that their elders can live with them yet both generations have significant independence. I reviewed the book ‘In-laws, Outlaws and Granny Flats’ Beautiful, Practical Guide to Intergenerational Living in the past and have been revisiting the topic lately to see how the trend is holding.

Read full article on HealthCentral about whether an in-law apartment is the best investment for your family:

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 web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Can Weather and Lunar Activity Affect People Living with Dementia?

Night5Dear Carol: My mother lives in an assisted living facility. She has arthritic pain and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but she usually does well with the support that she has. When I visited her last Saturday evening she seemed upset and confused and she told me that she didn’t feel well. I suggested that she rest and reminded her that I’d see her in the chapel the next day for services. The next morning it seemed like a lot of the residents in the chapel were disgruntled, including Mom, who hadn’t improved overnight. We’d had a huge air pressure change in the last day, and I began to wonder if weather causing problems with health is myth or fact. I even mentioned it to one of the nurses after I escorted Mom back to the common room. The nurse nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. We sure see it here.” She said that a full moon affects the residents, too. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there is something to this idea. What do you think? Jen

Read full column on Inforum about how weather and lunar cycles may affect your loved one's behavior:

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