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Where Is the Line Between Caregiver Stress and Burnout?

Stress3Every 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 difference between caregiver stress and burnout:

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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

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Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Navigational Skills may Deteriorate Long before Memory

ElderlywomanCaregiverTypically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape your grasp and tasks to be done are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.

Read more on HealthCentral about navigational skills and early detection of Alzheimer's:

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Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Reminiscing Powerful “Drug” for People with Dementia

Caregiving4I love stories. When I was a teenager, I’d encourage my grandparents to relate stories of their young years struggling to survive on the wind-swept prairie. When I grew older, I was fascinated by the stories my parents and in-laws told of their early years of growing up during the Great Depression. Little did I know at the time that peoples’ stories would become the springboard for my life’s work. Now there is mounting evidence that encouraging our elders to reminisce about their past is therapeutic as well as enjoyable.

Read more on HealthCentral about how reminiscing can help 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


Alcohol and Dementia Can Be Toxic, Complex Terrain

Aggression

Dear Carol: My husband has been a recovering alcoholic for years, but after we both retired he started having a drink here and there. It didn’t seem like a problem until he started to show symptoms of dementia. He was eventually diagnosed with mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. I’m not sure whether he forgets how much he’s had to drink or his alcoholism has caught up with him. He often becomes angry and on a couple of occasions he’s become threatening. He also falls after he’s been drinking, which is scary. I can’t get him to stop drinking or to return to his recovery meetings. I think I could care for him with his dementia at home for some time if he didn’t drink, but I’ve become afraid of him. His doctor tells him not to drink, but that does no good. He drives to the store to get alcohol and once, when the car was being fixed, he took a cab. I feel isolated, frightened and lonely. How do I handle this? DSR 

Read more on Inforum about alcoholism and 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


Alzheimer’s Development Predicted Through Changes in Gait

DoctorElderlyManWhen you are stuck behind an older woman at the supermarket, do you get impatient at her slow pace? Maybe she simply has all the time in the world and no longer must rush through each day as though she needs to put out a fire. Or maybe she has arthritis or another physical illness that is slowing her down. There’s nothing wrong with being more cautious about movements and slowing a bit as we age. However, for some people, a slow gait, particularly an uneven gait, could be a sign of brain disease such as Alzheimer’s.

Read more on HealthCentral about how change in gait can be a predictor of Alzheimer's:

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


Caregivers May Need Assistance to Provide Elders with Social Options

AssistedLiving

Dear Carol: My parents-in-law live with my husband and me. My husband is on the road for his work much of the time so I’m the main caregiver. I work part-time from home. Considering my job, along with the time spent helping both parents with dressing and meals and going with them to their many medical appointments, I don’t have time to get them out for social activities very often. I know that social activities are important to their emotional health so I feel guilty, but I’m only one person and I don’t see what I can change. How badly am I shortchanging them?  BRK

Read full column about social activities on Inforum:

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


6 Potentially Reversible Conditions that Can Mimic Dementia

ComfortingWhen dementia symptoms appear, it’s natural to become frightened and jump to the conclusion that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than looking at the symptoms with panic, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Yes, many forms of dementia are incurable, but there are conditions that can present symptoms that seem like dementia but are reversible.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about reversible conditions that can mimic 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


Anxiety May Speed Onset of Dementia When Paired with MCI

Brain5Multiple studies have shown that stress, and anxiety which is often at the core of our stress, can lead to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, a recent study has shown that anxiety and stress can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) turning into Alzheimer’s disease, as well.   People with mild cognitive impairment are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than the general population. Therefore, these findings suggest that while lowering stress is good for all of us, it’s vital for those who have MCI to keep stress levels low in order to decrease their risk of developing full-blown Alzheimer’s disease. 

Read full post on HealthCentral about how anxiety can speed onset of dementia especially when MCI is present: 

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


Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Reverse Fructose Damage According to Researchers

FoodThinkStockPhoto credit: Think Stock

Fructose has been tagged for years as a harmful part of the Western high-sugar, fast food diet. A recent study conducted by UCLA life scientists may show us a way toward mitigating the damage done in the past while we try to improve how we eat. This study has shown that Omega-3 fatty acids, known as docosahexaenoic acid, or DHA, seem to reverse the harmful genetic changes caused by fructose.  

Read more on HealthCentral about fructose and the effects of Omega-3 fatty acids on our health:

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


Elders’ Loss of Appetite Complicated

BerriesHCAdult children often worry about their aging parents’ eating habits. Sometimes the elders live alone and don’t feel like cooking or even going out to buy groceries. They may have pain issues that keep them from enjoying food, or dentures that make chewing uncomfortable. Depression can be a factor for some people, as can medication side effects. Loneliness, especially for people who have lost a spouse to a nursing home or death, can make eating seem unimportant or unattractive.

Read more on HealthCentral about elders' appetite loss:

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