Health Feed

Depression: How Big of a Risk Factor for Alzheimer’s Is It?

Brain9It seems that there’s always something new popping up in a headline stating that this condition or that disease increases our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. While the constant barrage of negative information can be frustrating, it’s simply a byproduct of the intense research being done to discover the cause or causes of Alzheimer’s. That’s all good. For people with depression, however, seeing their illness on lists for traits that make them more likely to develop AD is worrisome. How seriously should people with depression take this information about which they can do little?

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Treating Pain in Elderly a Careful Balance

FriendlyOlderWomanDear Carol: My mother is 87-years-old and lives with terrible arthritis pain. She had one hip replacement at age 75, but it’s too risky to do more surgery now. When she uses her walker every step is agony. Mom recently moved from assisted living to a wonderful nursing home because she needs a wheelchair fairly often and she has developed some other health problems. They take good care of her, but it seems as if more could be done for her pain. Her stomach is sensitive so all she takes is Tylenol. Mom has always been brave about her pain and she doesn’t complain but I can only imagine how bad it is. I’ve seen her X-rays. She has virtually no cartilage in her knees or hip. Her hands and feet are swollen and twisted. How can I help? Katherine

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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


Mounting Evidence Shows Chronic Stress Increases Alzheimer's Risk

Stress_man_hand_238162The idea of chronic stress as a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease isn’t new. In 2011, scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry in Munich discovered that the increased release of stress hormones in rats leads to generation of abnormally phosphorylated tau protein in the brain and ultimately, memory loss. Other studies also support this theory.  

Read more on HealthCentral about how stress affects our Alzheimer's risk:

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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


5 Positive Effects of Long-term Caregiving

MindingOurElderswebsite50%After decades of caregiving I’ve experienced some negative effects as noted in 5 Negative Effects of Long-term Caregiving. However, I also experienced positive effects that continue to give me pleasure and enhance my life. I purposely saved the positive aspects of caregiving for the second article because, having recently written about the ill effects on our health caused by negative thinking, as well as my own penchant for ending of an upbeat note, it seemed more authentic to me as a writer.  Below are a few of the many things that I feel I have gained, and still am gaining, from long-term caregiving.

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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


5 Negative Effects of Long-term Caregiving

MoneyThere are countless positive aspects to long-term caregiving, but those who’ve done it know that there are also many negative effects – many lifelong. While some effects have been well studied with some frequency during this last decade, there are changes that occur within most caregiver’s lives that are hard to measure. Some are nearly universal to caregivers, some perhaps more unique to me. Therefore you, the reader, may have additions and subtractions if you were to make your own list. Below is a short list from my personal experience.

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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


New Year's Resolutions That Don't Set You Up To Fail

NewYearsResolutionsLike most caregivers, I always wanted to be the "best," yet I knew I fell short. There is no way that I know of to be a perfect caregiver. The needs of any care receiver can change subtly, in a flash. We can miss signals, or just be so tired and stressed we know we can't deliver everything needed, no matter how hard we try. That can bring on a huge case of unearned, caregiver guilt. Most of you have been there.

Read more about resolutions that can help your year - not set you up to fail:

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Negative Thinking Is Risky for Health

Brain4Most of us know that positive thinking is supposed to enhance our lives but thinking positively, especially for some personalities, can be easier said than done. Life can be hard. If you have dementia or another terminal illness, or if you provide care for someone who does, thinking positively can seem impossible. Yet, many studies have shown that negative thinking can cause havoc with our health.

Read more on HealthCentral about the effects of negative thinking on our health:

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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


Failing New Year’s Resolutions 101

ThinkstockPhotos-dv540031Whether or not it’s a conscious thought, many of us look at a new year as a time to make changes in our lives. We become energized for a few days. However, most of us are quickly caught up in routine. Whether or not we like the routine, it’s familiar, and the status quo often provides the path of least resistance. Therefore, even if we’re stuck in a life that’s not satisfying, we stay with the familiar. Change seems too hard.

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Elders’ Need To Control Part of Coping With Loss

FamilyDear Carol: I try to be understanding with my aging parents but sometimes the little things get to me. They are still in their condominium. They go to church, watch TV, and see friends occasionally. My sister and I stop in at least twice a week, on different days. When I’m there, my mother wants me to do the laundry, which I’m happy to do, but I have to do everything the way she always has. My sister does some light cleaning and my mother supervises every move. Dad has clocks everywhere and he and mom both wear watches. If a battery dies on his watch, Dad is upset until we replace it. Really upset. A new watch won’t work either, so we have to keep this one going. I know that these are little things, but can’t they loosen up a little? We’re trying to help, but they micromanage everything. Michelle

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3 Triggers for Alcohol Abuse in Elderly

Caregiver6Alcohol abuse can occur at any age, but in the past most doctors looked for the signs in younger people. There’s also a bias in society at large, including some doctors, that people who abuse alcohol will be of a certain type. It can be hard for a doctor to look at a sweet, grandmotherly woman and think that perhaps the “occasional” glass of wine she admits to drinking may actually be a good portion of a bottle on nightly basis. 

Read more on HealthCentral about alcohol and seniors:

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