Meditation Feed

Group Singing Offers Multiple Benefits for People with Dementia

PianoRecently, I wrote about how playing in an orchestra has helped people living with dementia renew their confidence in themselves.  Another twist on music has now come in a recent report from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in London. The researchers describe how both the people in their study who had dementia, as well as their caregivers, benefitted from group singing.This exercise seemed to have much the same effect on the people with dementia as the orchestra experiment. While music is valuable on its own, and reminiscing while singing old songs is helpful, it seemed that one of the important takeaways from the most recent experiment was that the couples were doing something together as equals. This, in turn, helped the person with dementia feel more confident.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how group singing can help people with dementia:

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85-Year-Old Author Illustrates How Relishing Accumulated Decades Enhances Beauty

CummingsIleneBookJacketRelishing the effects of the aging process is a shocking idea in our society. We are expected to fight every sign of age. Billions of dollars annually are spent to help people, especially women, look more like their young adult children than who they really are. Sadly, older adults are even encouraged to act like young people rather than celebrate who they’ve become throughout decades of learning. A whisper-thin (less than 100-page) volume titled “The Truth Is at My Front Door: Spiritual Direction on Aging Beautifully” pushes back against this negative view of women and aging.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about aging women and the truth:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Aging with Ease: How Moving Right Can Make All the Difference

PhyscialtherapyistockMost of us move and sit automatically without thinking of how it affects our bodies. With age, however, our habitual movements can translate into poor posture and sore or damaged joints. Mary Derbyshire has some words of wisdom to help us age with less pain, and the approach to movement that she teaches is, well, painless. Derbyshire has taught fitness and movement for over 35 years.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how moving the right way can help us age with grace:

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


Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders

Guitar2Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.

On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well supplied with CDs from the Big Band era. This music represented the time of his life when he was, perhaps, the most care free. Very little could get Dad smiling quite like a Buddy Rich CD.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how music can help Alzheimer's:

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How to Communicate When Your Elderly Parent Can No Longer Speak

Hands13A video I recently stumbled upon remains vivid in my mind. An elderly couple who had spent a lifetime devoted to one another was coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. At this point, the wife was in a nursing home. She was unhappy, aggressive and even combative with the staff. No one knew what to do with her. On instinct, the husband decided he would do what he'd always done. He climbed into her bed with her and held her. He cuddled with her. He stroked her face and told her he loved her. He spent hours just snuggling and holding her. Slowly, the wife responded. This once angry, difficult woman became easy for the staff to handle. She was, once again, friendly, cooperative and generally happy.

Read full article on Agingcare about how to communicate with your parent who can no longer speak:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning

NightskyMany people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior:

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to better handle sundowning in people living with Alzheimer's:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Optimistic Thinking May Help Preserve Memory and Judgement

ProudIt should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgement. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if  not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alzheimer’s risk.

Read more on HealthCentral about how positive thinking can help preserve our cognitive abilities:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Tai Chi Reduces Falls and Improves Brain Function In Elders

TaiChi2The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. I can attest to that since frequent falls - as in nearly daily - were partly responsible for the final decision that my mother and I jointly made for her to join my dad in a nearby nursing home. I doubt that I could have talked my mother into learning tai chi. However, I have been doing my own rather modified version of yoga and a regular session of meditation for decades and am considering learning tai chi so to help maintain my sense of balance as I age.

Read complete article on HealthCentral about how Tai Chi helps us age well:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

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


Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

Fatherson4smallLack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how stimulating activity can help offset common apathy in those living with Alzheimer's:

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


Fitness Is a Vital Part of Aging Well: An Interview with Dr. Drapkin

BicyclingHow vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age.

I asked Robert Drapkin, MD FACP, to help us understand the importance of physical activity to those of us who simply want to remain healthy. Dr. Drapkin is a former Instructor in Medicine, University of Illinois Hospital, Chicago, and a Memorial Sloan-Kettering trained Medical Oncologist. He’s Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, and Palliative Care and a competitive body builder, as well.

Read full article on Healthcentral about the science behind aging well:

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