Empathy for Seniors Feed

Informing Person with Dementia of the Death of Loved One Judgement Call

Sunset3Dear Carol: My grandmother died suddenly leaving my grandfather, who has middle stage Alzheimer’s, more confused than ever. I’ve been arguing with my parents about how to handle his repeated questions about where my grandmother is. Both of my parents feel that they need to keep telling him that she died because that’s the truth. I know they mean well, but it seems as if his pain is fresh each time and I think I've read where you shouldn't tell people with dementia about a death. I’d hate to lie to my grandfather but I don’t know what to do. Is there some rule to go by? Amanda

Read more on Inforum about telling whether or not to repeat information about a death to someone with Alzheimer's:

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Defining Our Role as Caregivers Is Often a Process

Family2Throughout several decades, I've been a care provider for many. Most of my care receivers were elderly, including one neighbor, an aunt and uncle, two in-laws and two parents. Each one needed varying amounts of care. I'm currently providing assistance for another. This relationship is vastly different from the others, yet there are also many similarities. Through it all, I've had a hard time accepting the caregiver label.

Read more on Agingcare about the challenge of defining our role as a caregiver:

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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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer’s Advances

Medical_drugs_tablets_222894While 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. 

Continue reading on HealthCentral about when it's time to start pulling back on Alzheimer's medications:

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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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

CaregiverStressEvery person who becomes a caregiver will have unique personality traits, yet we nearly always share certain feelings and experiences as we travel a road similar to one another. That’s one reason that caregivers often turn to other caregivers for support. It’s a version of the adage that we need to walk in another’s shoes in order to truly understand what they feel.  One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others. 

Read more on Healthcentral about the line between caregiver stress and burnout:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


The Many Faces of Dementia: Knowing the Symptoms

FacialExpressionsDementia 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 HealthCentral about the many ways that dementia can present itself:

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling

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Related articles

There Is Life After a Dementia Diagnosis
Is Alzheimer's As Hard on the Caregiver As the Person with the Disease?
Brighten the New Year as a Caregiver with Music and Color

Steps to Take When Planning for Future Caregiving

ComputerElderDear Carol:  I’m an only surviving adult child. My parents, who are in their late 70s, have been healthy and active all of their lives. They have no trouble keeping track of their medications. They haven’t fallen and don’t have memory problems beyond what you’d expect with age. Even then, as I see the years pass I know that one day I’ll be a caregiver in that I’ll be making decisions for them.  How do I prepare? Gerald

Read more on Inforum about how to prepare for helping your parents:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Is It a Good Idea to Quit Your Job to Care for Your Elderly Parent?

WomenOldYoungYou already know what may be gained by giving up employment and becoming the sole caregiver for your parents. You are the hands-on person and know their care intimately. You know how they are doing day and night and you hope they will appreciate your help. They raised you and you want to give back. You also could save the money that would be spent for in-home care or adult day care, plus you likely put off, if not eliminate, the need for nursing home care. Therefore, quitting a job and staying home to care for your aging parents could save them significant money. What do you lose if you quit your job to provide care for your parents?

Read more on Agingcare about quitting a job to care for your parents:

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling

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


The Challenge of Overcoming Denial to Seek Potential Dementia Diagnosis

Fog4One reason for this intense fear of Alzheimer's is obvious. While many types of cancer can be cured, most types of dementia cannot. However, another reason is that the idea of being betrayed by our brains to the point that we are essentially lost in the disease is abhorrent to most of us. This fear, unfortunately, tends to make many people less than willing to see a physician for dementia testing even when they are showing signs that point to the illness. People don’t want to hear that they have dementia.

Read more on HealthCentral about overcoming denial:

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Can caregivers be subject to abuse by their care receivers?

AggressionWhen we think of domestic abuse in a family where elders are cared for, we generally think that the elder is the most likely person to suffer abuse. Statistics would probably prove this to be a fact. However, there are many caregivers who can truthfully say that they are emotionally, verbally and even occasionally physically abused by their care receiver. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how caregivers can be abused by their care receiver:

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling

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Having the End-Of-Life Talk with Our Elders

ElderTalkFew of us like to consider the fact that our parents will die. However they will. Nothing will change that fact. Good medical care, solid healthful habits, a pleasant social life – all of these may extend our years, but in the end, we will die. With this in mind, it is to everyone's advantage to discuss the details at as early a stage as possible. As I told my kids when I had my own legal papers drawn up, "Let's do all of this and then get on with the business of living." We did just that, and while my sons didn't find the prospect of my death fun to talk about, they dutifully listened to what I had drawn up and where I keep my papers. Whether it is the adult children or the parents who don't want to have the talk, this is something that needs to be done.

Read more on Agingcare about having the end-of-life talk:

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling

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