Family Feed

Dear Carol: I read your column about a woman whose friend was getting lost when driving and she wondered about confronting her friend about possible dementia. I beg everyone that if people suspect that their older friends or family members are slipping mentally they pull their keys before something bad happens. I say this as the victim of a very old woman who should never have been driving. I was riding my bicycle in the bike lane when she hit me and dragged me half a block. She was driving a huge, old vehicle and didn’t even know I was there. I will forever live with the physical pain and limitations that remain even after repeated surgeries for the injuries I sustained. Old drivers need to be pulled off the road. – SM Read more →


Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. Read more →


The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read more →


Summer is a time when it’s generally easier for elders to be out and about than when snow and ice are an issue. Even if our loved ones have dementia, severe arthritis, lung issues or a combination of ailments, there are things we, their caregivers, can do to relieve a sense of being left out of life that can affect people in their situation. Think about the personality of your ailing elders and consider excursions or entertainment that they may enjoy.  Read more →


Residents and their families would gather on the patio, or find chairs under the trees out on the lawn. The able-bodied served those with more limited abilities. For years, the grill chef was the husband of one resident. He was aided by other spouses, children and grandchildren of residents, as well as staff. Read more →


In reading “The Only Way Out,” I was especially taken with your advice about saying goodbye to your old life and letting go of what was before you can move on. This is a complicated process, and your book takes this on in depth, but could you give us a few brief tips that people can hold on to?  Read more →


Dear Carol: My parents have lived together in assisted living for several years and loved their lifestyle but now my mother, due to a massive stroke, now will require nursing home care. I’m aware that we must consider available openings but we’d like to have options. From the talk around the assisted living facility, nursing homes in our community are all quite good but some seem better than others. Any tips? – MC Read more →


Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas:  Eldercare in America is expensive, with Alzheimer’s topping the charts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website carried an article published in the Health Tidbits section of the Journal of the National Medical Association that says: “Patients in most nursing homes are not receiving proper care due to a shortage of workers.” This is not to say that many U.S. nursing homes aren’t superb, but it is true that care is extremely expensive and in far too many cases, less than optimum in quality. Read more →


While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. Read more →


Accused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem? Read more →