Dignity Feed

Unearned Guilt Intrinsic to Most Caregiving

CaregiverComfortIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregivers often suffer from unearned guilt:

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I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

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85-Year-Old Author Illustrates How Relishing Accumulated Decades Enhances Beauty

CummingsIleneBookJacketRelishing 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. A whisper-thin (less than 100-page) volume titled “The Truth Is at My Front Door: Spiritual Direction on Aging Beautifully” pushes back against this negative view of women and aging.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about aging women and the truth:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer's Advances

Medications6While Alzheimer's specific drugs may help slow symptoms for some people, they also may increase the risk of hip fractures, fainting, urinary problems and other health issues. Most researchers now think that a time comes when many medications for the elderly are no longer beneficial and may be harmful. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester looked at 5,406 nursing home residents who had late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia with more than half of them being older than 85. The scientists found that 2,911 of the patients - nearly 54 percent - were taking at least one medication of questionable benefit.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how medications can become negative as people age:

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

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Aromatherapy Shown to be Safe and Effective for People With Alzheimer's

HerbalTreatmentsAlzheimer’s disease can’t be cured. There are medications that help slow the development of symptoms for some people, but the type of care that seems to help most people with Alzheimer’s is hands-on attention. This often means that caregivers need to use a toolbox approach to providing care. Thus, opening our minds to ancient medicine can give us additional options. One ancient technique that’s been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the use of aromatherapy. The NIH abstract on aromatherapy reports that the trial consisted of having subjects inhale the fragrance of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and lavender and orange essential oils in the evening.

Read full article on HealthCentral about studies showing that aromatherapy helps many with AD:

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

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Aging with Ease: How Moving Right Can Make All the Difference

PhyscialtherapyistockMost of us move and sit automatically without thinking of how it affects our bodies. With age, however, our habitual movements can translate into poor posture and sore or damaged joints. Mary Derbyshire has some words of wisdom to help us age with less pain, and the approach to movement that she teaches is, well, painless. Derbyshire has taught fitness and movement for over 35 years.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how moving the right way can help us age with grace:

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 Stages of Alzheimer's and the Caregiver's Role

AlzehimersWomanWhile Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently, three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about the stages of Alzheimer's:

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

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Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 1

BarbaraDrakeAndJohnDrake2012Elder care in America is expensive, with Alzheimer’s topping the charts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website carried an article published in the Health Tidbits section of the Journal of the National Medical Association that says: “Patients in most nursing homes are not receiving proper care due to a shortage of workers.” This is not to say that many U.S. nursing homes aren’t superb, but it is true that care is extremely expensive and in far too many cases, less than optimum in quality.

Read all of Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 1 on HealthCentral about eldercare in Peru:

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

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When Both Parents Have Dementia: How to Cope?

CaregiverStress"My mom and dad both have dementia. I am all alone taking care of them since my sister passed away. I have no one to help me. I get sad and frustrated with them both. How do I deal with my feelings?" These are powerful words from one AgingCare.com forum participant. It is a cry that is all too familiar for many family caregivers and one which will touch the hearts of most readers. Many of us feel alone when we are trying to care for our aging parents and there are no siblings to help, or our siblings won't help. When we have one parent who has this disease, it is hard. When we have two, it is often nearly unbearable.

Read full article on Agingcare about how difficult it can be to cope when both parents have 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 website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman

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Is Our Youth-Obsessed Culture Making You Old Before Your Time?

Family2Look young Feel young! Think young! The constant barrage of information about how being forever young is the only desirable way to live is enough to make even a young person feel old. Now researchers have shown that this ageism is potentially harmful to one’s cognitive abilities over the long term. A study led by Becca R. Levy, PhD of Yale University and her colleagues has shown that our memory is actually shaped by age stereotypes. In other words, if you are ageist in your thinking, adhering to stereotypical images of older people as bumbling, forgetful, annoying people who are going “downhill,”  your memory will likely age in accordance with the stereotypes that you carry.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how being obsessive about youth can make you old:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

Minding Our Elders lets you know that you are not alone, that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done, You do the best you can, and that is good enough. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to have. What a gift she gave us. – CM Jones


Incontinence Embarrassment Shouldn’t Block People from Seeking Medical Help

DoctorWomanDear Carol: My mom is smart, stylish, and trim. She was very social but now that’s changed. Occasional, minor urinary incontinence has become a problem and she’s acting like her life is over. I’ve told her that women who’ve had babies often have this issue and that there are products that she can use. Of course, she knows this, but she says that’s not an option. Meanwhile, she is becoming reclusive which is not like her. I’ve told her that her doctor may have some ideas but she says that talking to her doctor about this is humiliating. How do I convince her that this one issue doesn’t need to ruin her otherwise exceptional life? – Kate

Read full column on Inforum about incontinence and aging:

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

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