Mental Health and Depression Feed

Accused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem? Read more →


Relishing the effects of the aging process is a shocking idea in our society. We are expected to fight every sign of age. Billions of dollars annually are spent to help people, especially women, look more like their young adult children than who they really are. Sadly, older adults are even encouraged to act like young people rather than celebrate who they’ve become throughout decades of learning.  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 →


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 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 more →


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 →