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Is Alzheimer's As Hard on the Caregiver As the Person with the Disease?

AnxietyIt seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who’ve never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and the toll it takes on the caregiver:

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

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


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


Nursing Home Staff May Not Always Foresee an Approaching Death

Deathcomfort2Dear Carol: My 83-year-old father died recently. He had been in a good nursing home for three years, and there were no changes I his condition that I could see, yet he suddenly died. I keep second-guessing the nursing home staff for not warning me, which is probably unfair, but I can’t help but feel that they should have had some clue to Dad’s impending death. I’m not saying that they were neglectful in any way, and certainly they weren’t responsible for his death. I’m just wondering why they didn’t pick up on what was happening so that we would have had some warning. Shouldn’t they have been able to let us know that he may only have a week or a month to live? Should I ask them for an explanation? – Pat

Read the full column on Inforum about how to cope with the shock of sudden loss under these conditions:

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

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


Memory Expert Separates Fact from Fiction about Preserving Brain Health

Exercise13Myths about brain health are as rampant as they are for any feared disease. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun is a memory expert who actively fights against these myths. In the process, she helps people learn how to reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Braun has worked for 10 years as a clinical neuropsychologist in departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry in hospitals and academia. In 2008, she received the Practitioner of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association in southeastern Wisconsin.   #ENDALZ  #ABAM @healthcentral

Read full article on HealthCentral about how a memory expert views the preservation of brain health:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

Minding Our Elders lets you know that you are not alone, that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done, You do the best you can, and that is good enough. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to have. What a gift she gave us. – CM Jones


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


Cruel Remarks Follow Plan to Move Husband Into a Nursing Home

Comfort14Dear Carol: My dad had a massive stroke five years ago when he was 78, and Mom, who’s the same age, is caring for him at home. Mom's finally realizing that she can’t keep this up because her health is declining. I live 500 miles away so I can only help so much. Mom’s tried hiring in-home care but that hasn’t worked out consistently so Dad’s on a list for a nearby nursing home. Having to make this move is heartbreaking for Mom but she knows that it needs to be done. The problem is Dad’s sister, who is also Mom’s friend. She’s been laying guilt on Mom saying that Mom’s not honoring her marriage vows if she moves Dad. This woman has been a widow for 30 years and her husband died suddenly of a heart attack. She has no idea about what Mom’s been through. Mom’s moving ahead with the plan, but my aunt’s bitter words are painful for her. Mom reads your column. Could you give us both some support? TM

Read full article on Inforum about the cruelty of being judged for placing a loved one in a nursing home:

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


Celebrating Father's Day When Your Dad Has Dementia

MomandDadFather’s Day and my birthday always fall close together. Some years they are the same day. That always made Father’s Day an extra special time in our house as I was growing up. I was, of course, an adult and mother by the time Dad had the surgery that threw him into dementia for the following decade. However, my adulthood didn’t shield me from the pain of missing “my real dad” when I’d bring Mom up to the nursing home and we brought cards and flowers.

Read full article on HealthCentral about celebrating Father's Day when your dad has 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


June is Brain Awareness Month: Helping Caregivers Cope

WheelchairmanJune is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. What better time to become educated about how to help people who have dementia live a better quality of life, help caregivers with support and resources, and teach others about the many types of dementia and other brain diseases? The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA) was signed into law in 2011. Since that time, milestones have been identified to meet the plan’s biomedical research goals. But until recent years, the creation of similar milestones on patient care and caregiver support has lagged.  In 2014, the Alzheimer’s Association Workgroup published recommendations – including patient-care milestones – to augment the U.S. Government’s “National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.”

Read more on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month and tips on how caregivers can grow:

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


Memory Impairment May Not Be First Sign of Alzheimer's

Memory1Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it? Indeed, a new study showed that behavioral changes affected 80 percent of those who were diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) which for many people is a precursor to Alzheimer’s. These behavioral changes often became evident well before noticeable problems with memory.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the first signs of Alzheimer's:

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


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. A positive attitude and a flexible approach can go a long way as we feel our way along the sometimes uncertain path a caregiver must follow. But even the most laid back person is going to feel stressed by the responsibilities of caregiving from time to time. That’s normal and to be expected. With some care, people generally bounce back. What caregivers need to watch for is burnout.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the line between caregiver stress and burnout:

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