Family Feed

Antibiotics and the Elderly: When Do We Say No?

ComfortThis post is about another study, my friends, but this one is more personal for me. A report in the February 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine titled "Study examines antibiotic use among nursing home patients with advanced dementia," reminds me of a situation with my mother-in-law. Alice was in a very good nursing home and flourishing. Before she was admitted, her life in her condominium - no matter how much attention and care we gave her - had become unsustainable. She was afraid and paranoid. She couldn't look out the windows because she imagined bad things, so she kept her shades drawn all day. She was even afraid to retrieve her newspaper from the hallway. She wouldn't go out.

Read more about when it's time to let go and let nature take over:

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


Specialized Music Therapy for Alzheimer's and Other Types of Dementia

Guitar2..Fridays at the nursing home were very popular. Regular music groups would come by at the week’s end to play old favorites for the residents, always filling the room with cheer. My dad, who had dementia caused by failed surgery, loved the live music but also responded well to CDs of his favorites from the big band era. I know that his quality of life during his last ten years would have been diminished without music to help override the effects of dementia.

Read more on Agingcare about specialized music therapy for people with 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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Many Common Drugs Have Mental Side Effects That May Contribute to Dementia

Medical_tablets_03_hd_pictures_168380Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system. Many OTC drugs used for sleep and allergies are anticholinergic drugs as well, a fact that's been well publicized. 

Read more on HealthCentral about common drugs that may contribute to 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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Can Hospitalization be a Dementia Risk?

DeathSupposedly, people are hospitalized because they are ill. Then, barring a terminal condition, they are released because they are better. Once home, people recover further, and continue on with their lives as well as their original illness allows them to. Unfortunately, with elderly people, that best case scenario doesn't always happen. Readers ask about the cognitive decline of a post-hospitalized elder. They want to know what happened. They want to know if their parent will ever be cognitively the same as he or she was before a hospitalization. I tell them that each case is unique, but according to many studies, some elders may not cognitively recover from the trauma.

Read more on Agingcare about hospitalization and dementia risk:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Summer Outings for Seniors and their Families

GrandfatherboyMany aging adults spend the bulk of their time just managing to get through the day. They take care of life's basics but often don't leave their home, assisted living center or nursing home, except for doctor appointments and an occasional holiday. Families and friends might like to take a senior out for some fun but they don't know how to go about it. Even seasoned caregivers can be stumped for ideas, so here are a few to get started:

Read about 10 summer outings on Agingcare:

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


Sibling Relationships: Resolving Issues While Caring for Parents

PensiveIssues between brothers and sisters often seem to come to a head when a parent suddenly needs care. While siblings who have always had a healthy relationship generally find ways to work through their disagreements, many who never truly got along can find themselves frustrated, hurt and even completely estranged from one another in the end. In either scenario, objective, professional advice can be helpful for those families who are working towards conflict resolution at a time when everyone should be cooperating.

Read full article on Agingcare about sibling issues and caregiving: 

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


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

CarkeysFor much of our society, the ability to get into a car and drive to a desired destination is a sign of independence. Therefore, convincing a person that he or she should no longer drive is frequently an emotional battle. Often, the longer adult children or other involved people wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one who has cognitive issues the harder it can be since advancing dementia generally involves a declining ability to make balanced decisions.

Read more on HealthCentral about driving and how to help someone give up the right to do so:

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


Depression and Dementia Challenging Combination to Manage

Medical_drugs_tablets_222894Dear Carol: My mother has had problems with mild depression all of her life but up until now she’s managed it without drugs. Mom’s now 81-years-old. A few months ago she was diagnosed with early stage dementia so her doctor put her on drugs for Alzheimer’s symptoms. After starting these drugs, Mom’s depression got worse so the same doctor prescribed an antidepressant. Now her depression is worse than ever, she’s confused, and she has nausea and digestive problems. Is this the normal course of events for someone like my mother? I’ve always liked this doctor and he’s cared for mom for years but I’m uncertain about the direction that this is going. FHM

Read full column on Inforum about dementia drugs and antidepressants for the elderly:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Guilt Intrinsic to Caregiving: Most Is Unearned

CaregiverStressIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. 

Read more on HealthCentral about unearned guilt for caregivers and how to cope with it:

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


Veteran Caregiver for Multiple Elders Tells It Like It Is

Minding Our EldersIt’s been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book “Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories” and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com/alzheimers. When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver “in the trenches” stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival.

Read more on HealthCentral about lessons learned as a caregiver:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling