Dignity Feed

Elders and Heat-waves Can Be a Dangerous Combination

FanHeatsmallerThe heat-wave we’ve been having in most parts of the country has made many people a bit crabby. Even those who like heat tend to wilt when there is no break. However, for many elders, extreme heat can be much more than uncomfortable. Extreme heat can kill. One of the many clues that my mother-in-law was ready to move across the avenue from her condominium to a wonderful nursing home was her response one hot summer to an intense heat wave we had here in the Dakotas (yes it gets hot on the prairie). She would have every window shut tight and her fan and air conditioner turned off. No circulation. No cool air. Nothing but dead heat.

Read full article about elders and heat on HealthCentral:

Image: Thinkstock

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Different Types of Memory: Life Experience Could Offset Cognitive Decline Due to Aging

FathersDayCould life experience make up for some of the effects of age on the brain? According to researchers from the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, it can and does. The research group measured a person’s decision-making ability over their entire lifespan. Using two difference types of intelligence - fluid and crystallized - they found that experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime of decision-making often offset the declining ability to learn new information. Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn and process new information. Crystallized intelligence is experience and accumulated knowledge. 

Read full article on HealthCentral about aging and the different types of memory:

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The Many Faces of Dementia: Knowing the Symptoms Helps with Treatment

Brain5Dementia is not a single disease. It’s a non-specific syndrome that affects cognitive areas of the brain that control memory, language, attention and problem-solving. To be considered dementia, the problems must be severe enough to affect daily living. Because Alzheimer’s is responsible for 50 to 60 percent of dementia cases, it’s the most broadly recognized form. However, there are up to 50 different known versions of dementia. Dementia symptoms can include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. While some cases, such as dementia caused by medications, infections, hormone imbalances, vitamin deficiencies and alcohol and drug abuse can be cured, most cases cannot.

Read more on HeathCentral about the most common types of dementia:

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Dad Needs Help Taking Care of Mom But He Won’t Allow It

Caregiving7Dear Carol:  I’m a certified nursing assistant (CNA). My dad has been caring for my mom, who has severe lung disease as well as dementia, and he's worn out. We agreed that it would be a good idea for me to move in with my parents to help with Mom's care. Dad agreed to this arrangement because he knows that he needs help, but now that I’m here he won’t let me do anything for mom. I just want him to get some rest before he collapses, but he can’t seem to let go. He’s still up all night because Mom doesn’t sleep much, and he insists on providing nearly all of Mom’s daily care. I feel like he doesn’t trust me. What’s the solution? Terry

Read full column on Inforum about helping care for mom:

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7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Visiting Someone Living with Dementia

Hands11Whether you’re caring for someone with dementia or visiting them from time to time you’ll want to do your best to make them feel good.   No one will ever hit the right note every time but knowledge helps. With that in mind, here are a few pitfalls that you can avoid in order to help make your time with a friend or loved one who has dementia less stressful.

View complete slideshow about how to avoid pitfalls when visiting someone living with dementia:

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Common Excuses From Siblings Who Don't Help With Caregiving

MoneyTimeMany caregivers ask how to respond to siblings who, after being directly and distinctly asked for help, either skirt responsibility with excuses or become outright nasty if they are asked for assistance in a direct manner. Let's look at a few examples and contemplate responses. These can, perhaps, trigger ideas about how to handle your unique circumstances:

Read full article on Agingcare about sibling excuses for not helping with parent care:

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The Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice Can be Confusing

Comfort19Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about the differences between palliative care and hospice:

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Alzheimer's Symptoms: Navigational Skills May Deteriorate Long Before Memory

OldercoupleTypically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape one’s grasp, daily tasks are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.

Read full article on HealthCentral about navigational skills and what they mean when Alzheimer's is a risk:

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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


Loneliness May Increase Dementia Risk, Heart Attacks and Stroke

Depression2A study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry has found that people who feel lonely are significantly more at risk for developing dementia. The study, headed by Tjalling Jan Holwerda of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found that participants who reported feeling lonely, no matter how many friends and family surrounded them, were more likely to experience dementia than those who didn’t feel lonely. The team focused on approximately 2,200 older adults living in Amsterdam, ages 65 to 86. None of the participants exhibited signs of dementia and none of them lived in facilities such as nursing homes. The researchers visited the elders two times over the course of three years. About half of them lived alone, with 20 percent reporting feelings of loneliness, even if they were married or lived with family.

Read full article on HealthCentral about loneliness and health effects:

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 


Strategies for Downsizing for a Move to Assisted Living

Moving1For most seniors, moving from their home of many years into an assisted living facility is difficult. For some, it's nearly paralyzing. Even if they are moving to a very nice assisted living environment, the move will likely mean a significant loss of space, especially if they are leaving a house. Downsizing – the term often used for weaning ourselves from long-time possessions – can be hard for anyone. When it's more or less forced upon someone because of age or infirmity, the process becomes even tougher.

Read full article on agingcare about downsizing for a big move:

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