Empathy for Seniors Feed

Conserving Estate Money No Excuse for Risking Elder's Health

Nursinghome3Dear Carol: My mom moved into the memory unit of an assisted living last year and she loves it. She’s very social so this environment is perfect for her. Now, my brother has suddenly decided that he wants Mom to come and stay with him for the winter since he lives in a warmer climate. He’s the man so he has the Power Of Attorney. Mom doesn’t want to leave her comfortable little apartment, but she’s said if he really wants her there for a time, she should do it. My fear is that the move could make her dementia worse. My brother says he just wants to spend more time with Mom, but he's never been that close so the only true motivation that I can see is that he knows how expensive AL is and he’s struggling financially. I think that he wants to save the estate money. I’m not trying to keep Mom in my town to be selfish. I just want her happy. How do I handle this? – SD

Read the full column on Inforum about the wisdom of moving someone with Alzheimer's:

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Depression in Elders: Symptoms, Triggers and What to Do

Olderwoman2Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include being cognizant of the fact that the person would reverse the depression if he or she could, assisting the person in seeking professional help, and continuing with your own education about depression and how to approach treatment for a loved one. Before getting the proper treatment, here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression:

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about depression in elders: 

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Relatives Who Care More About The Inheritance Than Elders' Care

Money2..Your siblings don't show up at the door to visit Mom. They don't offer to take Dad to doctor's appointments. Heck, they don't even know the doctors' names. They don't know the medications. They don't care about the elderly parent's temper tantrums you, the caregiver, must weather. They don't care that you are the target for verbal abuse from the Alzheimer's afflicted parent. And they really don't care that you haven't had a break from 24/7 responsibility, whether hands-on or helping with all the needs of an elder in assisted living or nursing home, for weeks, months or years. They voice huge concern for the elder, yet they aren't willing to get their hands dirty (figuratively or literally), or open their wallets to help.

Read the complete article on Agingcare about how siblings and others can try to save parents' money for themselves:

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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Playing Along with the Realities of Dementia World

MindingOurEldersCoverFullIt was not unlike any other day, but this particular afternoon Dad was adamant. He was waiting for his medical degree to come from the University of Minnesota and wondered why it was taking so long to arrive. I did what I usually did, and waited a few days to see if this episode of delusional thinking would pass. It did not. So, I created a facsimile of a medical degree on my computer with my dad's name on it. I scribbled some "signatures" on the bottom, put it in a mailing envelope and brought it to him in the nursing home the following day. He was delighted. I added it to the other awards and degrees hanging on the wall; an entomology "degree," his legitimate college degree

Read full article on Agingcare about entering into a loved one's world 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

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Maintaining Dignity of Aging Parent Often Takes Special Insight

Friends6Dear Carol: I’ve decided that my mother must have dementia. Today I discovered that her tax return was rejected because she had marked several things wrong. She took this to my husband because she didn't want me to know. Also, her housekeeping is terrible. It drives me nuts that she doesn't even throw away garbage when the can is a foot from where she puts the garbage down. These are just examples of what is happening. How can I convince her that she needs to let me handle things and that she needs to trust that I will do what is best for her? I understand she doesn't want to give up her independence but I'm tired of cleaning up her messes and would prefer to just handle things myself so that I only have to do things once. – BY 

Read full article on Inforum about how adult children's reactions can make a difference with aging parents:

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 

Over 50 experts can guide your caregiving journey when you won this virtual summit. click the image below to learn more:

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Flu Season: Remember That Flu Can Kill Older Adults

Medications8Flu isn’t just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to  Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers. 

**Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place?  

Read full article on HealthCentral about the flu season and what you can do to help your elderly loved one:

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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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The Impact of Grandparents On Our Society

GrandfatherBoybubblesThe importance of grandparents in the lives of children cannot be denied. Before our culture became so mobile, it was common for children to grow up surrounded by extended family, including one or both sets of grandparents. Seniors often moved in with their adult children and young grandkids when they became frail. My own childhood mirrored this now quaint picture of the past, and I've always felt happy about the fact that my children were involved with both sets of their grandparents as they grew up. Yet, even though my kids enjoyed weekly grandparent visits, they were already in the minority. Many of their friends rarely saw their own grandparents, who often lived hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away. But, even with the obstacle of distance, I heard many of these young children talk excitedly about seeing Grandma and Grandpa over holidays and whenever they could.

Read the full article on Agingcare about the importance of grandparents in our society:

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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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Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders

Guitar2Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.

On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well supplied with CDs from the Big Band era. This music represented the time of his life when he was, perhaps, the most care free. Very little could get Dad smiling quite like a Buddy Rich CD.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how music can help Alzheimer's:

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