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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


Alzheimer’s and Communication: Some Suggestions

Hands8Since communication is vital to quality of life, we who care for those with Alzheimer’s or other diseases that make understanding language difficult need to learn unique methods of coping with the challenge. It’s not easy. When your wife thinks you are her brother, when your dad thinks his best friend is robbing him, when your 75-year-old mom insists that her baby is in danger – it will be your challenge to try to find words or actions that will calm your loved one and redirect his or her thinking. Conversely, when your loved one is trying to tell you that he or she wants coffee but is saying the word “bread,” you will be faced with the challenge of trying to understand what is desired. 

Read more on HealthCentral about communicating with people who have dementia:

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


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:

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


What If Your Valentine Has Dementia?

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Has your spouse’s dementia made him forget that there is such a day as Valentine’s Day? Worse yet, has your spouse forgotten who you are? Under these circumstances, the second being far more devastating than the first, why would you want to go through the motions of celebrating Valentine’s Day?

Read more on HealthCentral about celebrating Valentine's Day when your spouse 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

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

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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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

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