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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


9 Surprising Ways Gut Bacteria Affect Health

GutBacteriaIt’s not sexy but it’s real. Many scientists are now looking at the gut as a primary source of many diseases that plague humankind. Probiotics, the prebiotics that they feed upon in the gut, as well as changes in our diet are being studied as possible methods of preventing or curing major diseases.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how gut bacteria can affect health: 

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


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


Caregiver Tells of Harrowing Experience in Handling Parents' Finances

FinancesFinances can be a difficult topic to discuss in some settings, and talking with aging parents qualifies as one of those. But it’s essential that families discuss finances and how they will be handled when — not if, but when — one of them becomes incapacitated physically or mentally. Wise people appoint a trusted person as power of attorney (POA) before there is a health crisis. In the case of caregiver Marianne Sciucco, author of Blue Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer’s Love Story, the legal documents for her parents were signed in time — barely.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the importance of getting financial documents in line early:

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


Male Caregivers' Visibility Increasing as Society Changes

MotherSon3...What needs to be done to give men the visibility and support they deserve? Society must catch up with reality. Since men have always been providing care to some degree and will continue to do so in increasing numbers, the fact that a large percentage of family caregivers are men should become recognized as the norm. Strong men are making this happen by overcoming a perceived threat to their manhood and allowing themselves to become visible in public and online. Dedicated women are also spreading the word.

Read full article on Enlivant about how male caregivers are rising in numbers and visibility:

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


Loving Daughter Views Disease Through a Different Lens Than Nursing Home Staff

CaregiverComfort

Dear Carol: I’m watching my mom decline from Parkinson’s disease complicated by Lewy body dementia (LBD). She has good medical care and lives in a nursing home that has been a blessing to us all. I try to imitate the way that the staff works with her because they seem well trained. The problem is Mom is not just another patient to me. She is my mother. I want to fight what this disease is doing, and sometimes that makes me forget how I should work with Mom’s disease, especially when it comes to her LBD. I just can’t accept what’s happening. I know that my feelings are irrational because her disease can’t be cured. Am I strange for feeling happy with her care on days when she seems okay, but mad at other times? What’s wrong with me that I can’t be like these people and just accept that Mom can’t be cured and learn to help her so that I can let go of my anger? Marianne

Read full column on Inforum about how families must struggle more for acceptance of disease symptoms:

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


12 Tips that May Help Spousal Caregivers Have a Better Life

CommunicatingWhile family members who provide care for loved ones share many issues, there’s a different emotional dynamic between caregiver and care receiver when the care partners are spouses than when they are an adult child caring for a parent. Here, we offer some tips for spouses.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how spousal caregiving is different for adult child caregiving:

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


Elders and Heat-waves Can Be a Dangerous Combination

FanHeatsmallerThe heat-wave we’ve been having in most parts of the country has made many people a bit crabby. Even those who like heat tend to wilt when there is no break. However, for many elders, extreme heat can be much more than uncomfortable. Extreme heat can kill. One of the many clues that my mother-in-law was ready to move across the avenue from her condominium to a wonderful nursing home was her response one hot summer to an intense heat wave we had here in the Dakotas (yes it gets hot on the prairie). She would have every window shut tight and her fan and air conditioner turned off. No circulation. No cool air. Nothing but dead heat.

Read full article about elders and heat on HealthCentral:

Image: Thinkstock

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


Infections May Speed the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease and Other Types of Dementia

Brain2...I remember the effect that my mother-in-law’s urinary tract infection and later, her pneumonia, had on her dementia.  While she lived two years after clearing up the pneumonia, her quality of life had taken an irreversible dive. I always felt that her infections accelerated her dementia. These studies certainly correlate with my experience.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how infections may speed up the progression of dementia:

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