Memory Feed

Over the past several decades, I’ve been a care provider for many people. Most of my care receivers were elderly, including one neighbor, an aunt, an uncle, two in-laws and two parents. Each one needed varying amounts of care across different settings. Through it all, though, I’ve had a hard time accepting the label of caregiver. My experiences growing up in a multi-generational household may be one reason why I struggled with this concept.  Read more →


People with Alzheimer’s lose their short-term memory, progressively fading deeper and deeper into their cognitive past. While I’ve often written about the value of bringing old photos and other memorabilia along for visits to elderly loved ones, I don’t believe I’ve ever before suggested anything as self-contained as a memory box. Home Instead Senior Care, one of many excellent in-home care franchises, uses this idea as one of their tools to help elders enjoy memories of their past, or in the case of those with Alzheimer’s, help them have a more concrete connection to what at they may view as their current reality. Read more →


...Now her parents are getting frail. Nancy had been through a lot of therapy so she could learn to cope with her childhood issues. She's come to terms with the fact that her father did what he thought he was supposed to do. She rightly felt, as a child, that he should recognize and stop the abuse her mother was doling out. Through therapy, she has learned to forgive her father for his lack of involvement and the fact that he didn't stop the abuse. Read more →


One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain." Read more →


Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include Being cognizant of the fact that the person would reverse the depression if he or she could. Assist the person in seeking professional help. Continue with your own education about depression and how to approach treatment for a loved one. Before getting the proper treatment, here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression: Read more →


Your siblings don't show up at the door to visit Mom. They don't offer to take Dad to doctor's appointments. Heck, they don't even know the doctors' names. They don't know the medications. They don't care about the elderly parent's temper tantrums you, the caregiver, must weather. They don't care that you are the target for verbal abuse from the Alzheimer's afflicted parent. And they really don't care that the you haven't had a break from 24/7 responsibility, whether hands-on or helping with all the needs of an elder in assisted living or nursing home, for weeks, months or years. They voice huge concern for the elder, yet they aren't willing to get their hands dirty (figuratively or literally), or open their wallets to help. Read more →


Relishing 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 more →


Alzheimer’s disease can’t be cured. There are medications that help slow the development of symptoms for some people, but the type of care that seems to help most people with Alzheimer’s is hands-on attention. This often means that caregivers need to use a tool-box approach to providing care. Thus, opening our minds to ancient medicine can give us additional options. One ancient technique that’s been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the use of aromatherapy. Read more →


“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head slumped to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. Read more →


...While these statistics are scary, you shouldn’t let them cloud the reality that many of us will age normally and will not develop AD, or any other type of dementia. Certainly, we will have some memory changes as we age. Improvements in our lifestyle may help mitigate some of those. Other changes we’ll just have to live with. So what is normal memory loss and when should we worry? What if you momentarily forgot an old friend’s name? Read more →