Depression Feed

Group Activities Reduce Depression among Older Population

GroupWhen our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders’ environments, depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated. Two separate programs were used for the research. One was a group high-intensity functional exercise program and the other was a non-exercise group activity. They were conducted with people in an elder care facility, all of whom had dementia.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how group activities can help reduce depression in older people:

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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


Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

Fatherson4smallLack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how stimulating activity can help offset common apathy in those living with Alzheimer's:

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


Hospice Care: Help During End Stages of Life

ComfortNo one needs to die in pain. That is what the social worker told me as I signed the papers that would put my father on hospice care. That is the mantra of hospice, and it became my mantra as well. I had no choice but to believe it since my dad had suffered so much. For weeks, each time I walked into Dad's room in the nursing home, he would be rigid in bed, up on one elbow and slamming his fist against his hand. Pow! Pow! Pow! Over and over, he pounded fist against hand. I would try to get him to relax; to lie back. He couldn't comprehend. Pow! Pow! Pow! He was trying to knock out the pain.

Read full article on AgingCare about how hospice can help your loved one through the death process:

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


Broken Heart Syndrome Hastens Death of Some Spouses

HeartDear Carol: I read one of your articles which said that you had lost both your parents in quick succession so I identify with you. I live in the UK. In early March, I lost my father, aged 92.  He didn't want anyone with him when he passed away. Then, exactly two months later, my mother, aged 88, passed away at home. She waited until I was holding her hand, then she squeezed my hand, slightly opened her eyes to look at me, and peacefully passed on. Mum and I had talked about the future and I told her I would always live near her, or with her, if she preferred. She had seemed fine, but shortly after Daddy's death, she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer. Mum passed away within three days of leaving the hospital. I was able to tell her how much I loved her, but then I had to let her go. I just wondered how quickly your Mum passed away after your father, and if you believe that your mum didn't want to go on without her husband. Thank you for reading this. – Meghan

Read full column on Inforum about broken heart syndrome:

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


Fitness Is a Vital Part of Aging Well: An Interview with Dr. Drapkin

BicyclingHow vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age.

I asked Robert Drapkin, MD FACP, to help us understand the importance of physical activity to those of us who simply want to remain healthy. Dr. Drapkin is a former Instructor in Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, and a Memorial Sloan-Kettering trained Medical Oncologist. He’s Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Palliative Care and a competitive body builder, as well.

Read full article on Healthcentral about the science behind aging well:

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


Dementia: Moving Beyond Diagnosis toward Living with the Disease

Hands-touching-10035106For most anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or has loved someone with a type of dementia, the formal diagnosis was a moment frozen in time. A moment where the thought of possibly having a brain-destroying disease became a confirmed reality. That pivotal moment is life changing, however, people can move beyond that moment in time and learn to live with dementia.

For our family, that moment arrived after my dad came out of a surgery that was supposed to repair damage caused by a World War II brain injury. We had seen Dad wheeled into surgery. He’d propped himself up on one elbow and given us a signal that all would be well. That hand sign was accompanied by his signature smile.

Read full article on HealthCentral about living with dementia after the diagnosis:

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


What to Say, and What Not To Say, to People Who Are Grieving

Comfort15It’s difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about how to comfort others who are grieving:

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


Caregiving Rewards Often Outlast Challenges

Caregiving6Many people are providing intensive care for adult children, others for parents or spouses. I feel it’s safe to say that all of us, with our diverse caregiving responsibilities, have had times when we wonder if we can go on. Conversely, nearly all of us have also had moments when we’ve looked at the people we are caring for and realized that being a caregiver is not just a responsibility, but an honor.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving rewards can affect our lives forever:

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


Dementia Caregivers Grief Soul Deep, Defies Labeling

Depression7When a beloved elder dies, we may have varying reactions, frequently changing moment by moment. Naturally, there’s grief and the realization that we’ve seen the last of our loved one’s physical presence. Often, however, if the death follows a long illness or significant pain, we can also feel a sense of relief that their suffering is over and we can get on with healing. It’s often the in-between time - the caregiving years - that are the most difficult to label. Both of my parents endured long, slow declines with significant pain before their deaths. However, my dad’s decline was one that many caregivers of those with dementia will relate to.

Read full article on HealthCentral about dementia caregivers and their unique type of grief:

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


People with Dementia Are Often Undertreated for Pain

PhysicalTherapyWhen people lose their ability to articulate what is causing them pain, this pain is often overlooked by doctors. A recent Slovenian study presented at the Congress of the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) in Copenhagen and conducted by Dr. Martin Rakusa investigated this problem. It involved 452 patients with an average age of 65 who had been treated for diabetes over a period of many years.

Some 44 percent (199 individuals) were considered cognitively impaired. Using careful examination to compare pain levels of those who could communicate with those who could not, it became obvious to the team that those who could not communicate their pain still experienced as much pain as those who could.

Read full article on HealthCentral about treatment for pain in people with 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