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Ageism: How Unrealistic Portrayals of Aging Affect Senior Health

WomanAgingGlamourHow are older people portrayed in movies and on TV? Are they consistently cranky and the target of jokes or are they realistic in their variations and strengths? Are stereotypical portrayals harmful to their health? Possibly so. New research from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, in partnership with Humana, Inc. sheds light on both the expected conclusion that older people, if represented at all in film and on television, are often typecast negatively, but also on the unexpected fact that these portrayals seem to affect the overall health of our aging populations.

Read more on HealthCentral about ageism and how it affects our senior population's health:

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


How Humor Helps Provide Armor for Caregivers to Survive

FriendsOne of the positive parts of being a family caregiver is the opportunity for emotional growth. We can develop increased compassion, patience, and tolerance, as well as humor. Yes, we often shed tears over our loved one’s illness and often over our feelings of powerlessness.  But humor may be the saving grace that keeps us from drowning in sorrow. Some situations, of course, leave no room for laughter. But some tough times can offer moments of levity if we choose to recognize them. My sister, Beth, and I experienced what to some people may be a rather macabre situation during the three days our mother was going through the death process. If we hadn’t maintained our senses of humor, I’m not sure how we would have handled those sad, seemingly endless days.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how humor helps caregivers survive:

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


April is Parkinson's Awareness Month: How Informed Are You?

Caregiver_cropped_hands_2There are many neurological diseases that can affect people as they age. Alzheimer’s, of course, is one of the most feared because it is so well known. However, while not as common, Parkinson's disease is also prevalent. This neurological disorder affects an estimated 2 percent of people older than 65. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is progressive and it involves changes in the brain that can become debilitating. The National Parkinson Foundation estimates that one million Americans have the disease. Of those who develop Parkinson’s disease, 50 to 80 percent will eventually experience Parkinson's disease dementia.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Parkinson's disease to find out what you many not know:

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


Why Your Ill Loved One Fools the Doctor and What to do About It

DoctorNursePatientA frequent problem expressed among adult children is that their parents aren't truthful with their doctors. While the parent may complain at home of pain, exhibit memory problems and accuse the family of theft when he or she can't locate a commonly used item, the moment the parent faces their doctor a change occurs. Like an actor on stage, the person sitting in front of the doctor becomes animated and charming. My mom was a supreme example.

Read full article on Agingcare about why your ill loved one may fool the doctor:

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


Pursuing Creative Arts Could Prevent or Delay Alzheimer's

ARTcanvasCompleting crosswords, making a habit of Sudoku and playing challenging brain games on the Internet have long been suggested as methods of maintaining our cognitive health. These are all fine pursuits, but recent research by Mayo Clinic has shown that creative arts such as painting, drawing, and sculpting may protect the mind against cognitive decline even better than the commonly used forms of brain exercise.

Read complete article on HealthCentral about how creative arts may help prevent 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


Is Validation Therapy for Dementia Calming or Condescending?

Caregiving4People with Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia often live in an altered reality that doesn't mesh with ours; yet their perceptions are as real to them as our perceptions are to us. That's a tough concept for many adult children and spouses of people with dementia to absorb. Validation of our loved one's reality is very often the kindest, most respectful response to their altered world that we can provide. In order to offer that validation without coming across as condescending, we need to understand the reason behind "therapeutic fibbing"—as validation therapy is sometimes called.

Read full article on Agingcare about validation therapy and how it helps people living with dementia:

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


Anxiety May Speed Onset of Dementia When Paired with MCI

AnxietyMany studies have shown that stress, and anxiety which is often at the core of our stress, can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a recent study has shown that anxiety and stress can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) turning into Alzheimer’s disease, as well. People with mild cognitive impairment are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than the general population. Therefore, these findings suggest that while lowering stress is good for all of us, it’s vital for those who have MCI to keep stress levels low in order to decrease their risk of developing full-blown Alzheimer’s disease.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how anxiety may speed onset of dementia:

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


Delirium Leading to Dementia One Surgery Risk

Doctor2As people age, surgery becomes a greater risk to their overall health than the same surgery would be for younger people. Older people often have less robust immune systems so they are more at risk for general infections and they are more at risk for pneumonia. However, one of the most frightening risks for older people is post-surgical delirium. Delirium is described as an acute state of confusion that often affects older adults following surgery or serious illness. A recent study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that inflammation most likely plays a key role in the onset on-set of delirium.

Read full article on HealthCentral about delirium and surgery for elders:

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


Aging in Place or Assisted Living: It’s About Choices

HomeAccording to an AARP survey, the vast majority of boomers have stated that they want to stay in their current homes rather than move to another setting for their later years. This attitude has been the springboard for many aging in place advocates as well as businesses like contractors and high-tech companies. It’s not hard to understand why 60-year-olds would say that they want to remain in their home for life rather than move to assisted living or a nursing home. These are generally people who are relatively healthy and feel that they can hire help for whatever they need down the road.

Read full article on HealthCentral about making choices between aging in place and assisted living:

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


How To Get People With Dementia To Take Pills

Medications5Dementia care demands incredible creativity. The ever changing needs of the person who has dementia challenges family caregivers and professionals alike. One particular frustration is getting important medications into their loved ones who either can’t or won’t cooperate when it comes to taking pills. As Alzheimer’s spreads throughout the brain, logic departs. The ability to understand one’s world disappears, understandably being replaced by fear and suspicion. These emotions are often blamed by caregivers when the person that they love refuses to take needed medications.

Read full article on HealthCentral about convincing people living with dementia to take necessary pills:

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