Empathy for Seniors Feed

Driving and Memory Loss: Tips to Help Compromised Elders Give Up Driving

Driving2For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be.

Occasionally, people in the earlier stages of cognitive or physical decline will recognize the signs of that decline when they have a close call while driving and scare themselves into giving up their right to drive. More frequently, if the person has developed Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, and the disease has advanced to a point where judgment is affected, a prolonged battle often erupts.

Read full article on HealthCentral to learn tips about how to help your compromised loved one stop driving:

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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:

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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


Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the controversy when it comes to funding 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


Pain Medication for Older Patients Must be Carefully Chosen and Closely Monitored

Medical_tablets_03_hd_pictures_168380Dear Carol: My dad has Alzheimer’s. Recently, he had a bad fall and needed to be hospitalized. Dad was given Dilaudid for pain, but the drug affected his dementia so badly that I begged them to take him off of it. The hospitalist agreed, and they found something else for the pain, but he still hasn’t improved. It’s been two weeks and Dad's dementia is off the charts. The staff said that he may still improve, but that we must remember that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease so he may simply be getting worse because of the disease. This change was so sudden that I can’t buy this thinking. Is there anything that I can do? – FT

Read full article on Inforum about how drugs can affect elders, especially during hospitalization:

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


Hospice Care about Re-Focusing Priorities, Not Giving Up

Hands17Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how hospice is an active choice:

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

Ebook on sale this week for $2.99 in honor of "the longest day" and Alzheimer's Authors


Parsing Validation: Helping People Living with Dementia Maintain Self-Worth

CaregiverWomanValidation is a term often used to describe different approaches to helping improve the quality of life of people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. Webster defines the word as “recognition or affirmation that a person or their feelings or opinions are valid or worthwhile.” I believe that all caregivers who practice any form of validation when caring for a person living with dementia aim for the same result. They want to help the person maintain their sense of self, and they want to lower the anxiety and stress that stems from the person living with dementia losing the ability to readily understand the world around them.

Read full article on HealthCentral about validating the people who have various types of dementia:

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


Give Your Dad the Best Father’s Day Gift Ever: Your Attention

FatherDaughter...As years go by, most of us gain–or attempt to gain–perspective. By retelling personal stories, elders are often, consciously or subconsciously, trying to reframe their life from the perspective of time. If we give them the gift of attentive listening, we may find their stories more interesting and even learn something new about them. Since an elder’s history is part of our own, we might learn something new about ourselves, too. This mutually beneficial activity is the perfect gift for Dads this Father’s Day.

Read the full article on Agingcare about how much your attention can mean to both of you on Father's Day:

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