Reflections Feed

Feeling Useful Integral to Emotional Health and Contentment

PetsDear Carol: My dad suffers from the effects of poorly controlled diabetes. He’s finally trying to follow the advice his doctors have given him which is helping some, but he’s forgetful. He also has some problems with his feet. I watch his diet and pills so that helps. Even when Dad’s feeling fairly well physically, though, he seems vaguely depressed. He claims to be happy enough, but he says that he's not contributing anything to the family. Dad used to be very physical and now there are so many things he can’t do. I know that he gets bored, but I wish he could just accept that he doesn’t have to do more. How can I help him feel better about himself? Meghan

Read full article on Inforum about helping elders stay active and useful:

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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


Anxiety May Speed Onset of Dementia When Paired with MCI

AnxietyMany 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 article on HealthCentral about how anxiety may speed onset of 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


Delirium Leading to Dementia One Surgery Risk

Doctor2As people age, surgery becomes a greater risk to their overall health than the same surgery would be for younger people. Older people often have less robust immune systems so they are more at risk for general infections and they are more at risk for pneumonia. However, one of the most frightening risks for older people is post-surgical delirium. Delirium is described as an acute state of confusion that often affects older adults following surgery or serious illness. A recent study led by researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) has found that inflammation most likely plays a key role in the onset on-set of delirium.

Read full article on HealthCentral about delirium and surgery for elders:

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


Missing the Moment of Passing Can Make Some Family Members Feel Guilty

Between-seasons-10031027Dear Carol: My dad had been fighting cancer for years. Eventually, there was no more hope for a cure, so we agreed to ask for hospice care to keep Dad comfortable during his last weeks of life. He surprised us by doing well under hospice care, living beyond the doctor’s expectation, but, of course, he eventually died. What bothers me is that I wasn’t with him at the moment he passed. He was in a nursing home at the time and the staff was wonderful. They called the family together when it was determined that Dad was close to the end. My siblings and I sat with Dad for two days around the clock. We brought in food at first but as the wait stretched out we took turns going to my nearby home to shower and nap. Dad died during my nap. I still feel devastated and guilty that I wasn’t there when he passed. I go to hospice grief counseling and that is helping, but I’m wondering if you have any words of comfort to offer? Rhonda

Read full column on Inforum about feeling guilty when you miss the moment of passing:

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Aging in Place or Assisted Living: It’s About Choices

HomeAccording to an AARP survey, the vast majority of boomers have stated that they want to stay in their current homes rather than move to another setting for their later years. This attitude has been the springboard for many aging in place advocates as well as businesses like contractors and high-tech companies. It’s not hard to understand why 60-year-olds would say that they want to remain in their home for life rather than move to assisted living or a nursing home. These are generally people who are relatively healthy and feel that they can hire help for whatever they need down the road.

Read full article on HealthCentral about making choices between aging in place and assisted living:

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


What Is Palliative Care and How Is It Different from Hospice?

HospitalPalliativeHospice care is palliative care, but palliative care is not hospice. The difference between these two types of care is something that I have found difficult to clarify myself let alone explain to others. However, this care is a fundamental part of treating any chronic or terminal illness.

Read full article on Agingcare about the difference between hospice and palliative care:

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


Can Weather and Lunar Activity Affect People Living with Dementia?

Night5Dear Carol: My mother lives in an assisted living facility. She has arthritic pain and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but she usually does well with the support that she has. When I visited her last Saturday evening she seemed upset and confused and she told me that she didn’t feel well. I suggested that she rest and reminded her that I’d see her in the chapel the next day for services. The next morning it seemed like a lot of the residents in the chapel were disgruntled, including Mom, who hadn’t improved overnight. We’d had a huge air pressure change in the last day, and I began to wonder if weather causing problems with health is myth or fact. I even mentioned it to one of the nurses after I escorted Mom back to the common room. The nurse nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. We sure see it here.” She said that a full moon affects the residents, too. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there is something to this idea. What do you think? Jen

Read full column on Inforum about how weather and lunar cycles may affect your loved one's behavior:

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


6 Tips To Help Modify Financial Drain on Alzheimer's Families

Money...Also, Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers had $9.3 billion in additional health care costs of their own in the same year. Nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high, and more than one-third report symptoms of depression. Remember, this is just the cost for caregivers.There’s also the possibly bankrupting cost of medical and other care for the person with the disease to consider. The Alzheimer’s Association and the ADEAR Center, which is the Alzheimer’s research arm of the National Institute on Aging, have suggestions that can help. 

Read full article on HealthCentral about finding help for the financial drain 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


Caregivers Confess: Thoughts We Aren’t Proud Of

FriendsWouldn't it be nice to be a caregiver who had only loving thoughts every moment of the caregiving day? Maybe there are caregivers like that. If you are one of them, I truly congratulate you. Most of us who have been through years of caregiving will not fall into that category.  Here's a sampling of caregiver thoughts that I've heard people talk about. You'll likely feel better just reading them.

Read full article on Agingcare about  those little thoughts that we wish we didn't have:

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Major Changes Like Moving Can Set Back Health of Some Elders

MovingDear Carol: My mother’s memory has gotten very poor, her arthritis puts her at risk for falls, and she has severe asthma, so she decided that she’d be better off in assisted living.  My brother and I were in agreement and we went with Mom to look at available facilities. We were thrilled with what we thought was the perfect home. Since the move, though, Mom has lost interest in everything. She won’t do her once cherished crossword puzzles, even when I bring the newest ones published. Her magazines pile up unread. She won’t participate in any of the interesting activities that the facility offers and has to be begged to go to group meals. It’s like she pulling in on herself. We have to sell her house to continue paying for her assisted living, but now my brother and I feel guilty. What if she wants to go back to her old home? She says, no, that’s not what she wants. She likes feeling safe. Yet she shows no interest in life. To be fair, this was coming on long before the move, but it’s worse now. How do we handle the situation? Tim

Read full article on Inforum about how moving can affect someone with 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