Reflections Feed

Reminiscing Powerful “Drug” for People with Dementia

Caregiving4I love stories. When I was a teenager, I’d encourage my grandparents to relate stories of their young years struggling to survive on the wind-swept prairie. When I grew older, I was fascinated by the stories my parents and in-laws told of their early years of growing up during the Great Depression. Little did I know at the time that peoples’ stories would become the springboard for my life’s work. Now there is mounting evidence that encouraging our elders to reminisce about their past is therapeutic as well as enjoyable.

Read more on HealthCentral about how reminiscing can help people with 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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Unearned Guilt Often Intrinsic Part of Parent Care

Stress

Dear Carol: My mother has had diabetes for years and now her health has been complicated by dementia. I cared for her in my home for three years but apparently couldn’t do anything right. That wasn’t new, since her personality is such that even when she was fairly healthy, nothing anyone did was ever right. She’s now in a nursing home. The staff is excellent and I visit her nearly every day but she’s still complaining. This makes me feel even guiltier than I felt when she was at home complaining. It’s as if moving her to the nursing home makes me a bad person. I know that I did what had to be done, but going forward is hard. How do I start? ELB

Read more on Inforum about unearned guilt:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Hindsight for Caregivers: Looking Back What Would You Do Differently?

MomDaughter4As a seasoned caregiver of multiple elders, I can choose to torture myself with my perceived failures at being a perfect caregiver, or I can choose to forgive myself for being imperfect, and recognize that I did the best I could at the time. You have the same choice. Much like an adult who realizes that he or she has a "wounded child" living inside – a child who suffers from unearned self-blame or low self-esteem because of life events – many adult caregivers carry the guilt from their "infant" caregiving years to their grave. They spend precious time thinking about how they should have understood someone's needs better, could have been more patient, would have done any number of things better, if only they knew then what they know now.

Read more on Agingcare about how caregivers often look back and what they might have done differently:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Creative Thinking Often Needed for Compassionate Caregiving

Hands8Dear Carol: My mother has advanced dementia, so her short term memory is nearly non-existent. Dad died when I was a child, so it’s been over 30 years since he passed. Mom eventually accepted reality and moved forward with her life, though she never re-married. Now, she’s asking when Dad’s coming home. I told her the truth and she completely fell apart in grief. I thought that after such a long time she’d been okay with the answer but I couldn’t have been more wrong. What should I have said? I hate lying to my mother and I don’t want to treat her as I would a child. JMC

Read more on Inforum about joining people with dementia where the are:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Celebrate July 4th: Picnic With an Elder in Senior Living

Picnic3Would you prefer a hot dog or hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, relish? Chips, salad, dessert?  All were available during the annual barbecue picnic at the nursing home where my parents, my uncle and my mother-in-law lived at different times. While people also enjoyed the monthly birthday dinners and holiday festivities hosted by the nursing home, the summer barbecue was one of the most anticipated events of the year. The care home's backyard included a vegetable garden, which allowed the residents who liked working the soil to tend and harvest the plants, eventually sharing their healthful bounty with everyone.

Read more on Agingcare about celebrating the 4th with your loved one - picnic style:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Specialized Music Therapy for Alzheimer's and Other Types of Dementia

Guitar2..Fridays at the nursing home were very popular. Regular music groups would come by at the week’s end to play old favorites for the residents, always filling the room with cheer. My dad, who had dementia caused by failed surgery, loved the live music but also responded well to CDs of his favorites from the big band era. I know that his quality of life during his last ten years would have been diminished without music to help override the effects of dementia.

Read more on Agingcare about specialized music therapy for people with 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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Can Hospitalization be a Dementia Risk?

DeathSupposedly, people are hospitalized because they are ill. Then, barring a terminal condition, they are released because they are better. Once home, people recover further, and continue on with their lives as well as their original illness allows them to. Unfortunately, with elderly people, that best case scenario doesn't always happen. Readers ask about the cognitive decline of a post-hospitalized elder. They want to know what happened. They want to know if their parent will ever be cognitively the same as he or she was before a hospitalization. I tell them that each case is unique, but according to many studies, some elders may not cognitively recover from the trauma.

Read more on Agingcare about hospitalization and dementia risk:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Life Experience May Offset Cognitive Decline Due to Aging

Brain7Could life experience make up for some of the effects of age on the brain? According to researchers from the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, it can and does. The research group measured a person's decision making ability over their entire lifespan. Using two difference types of intelligence - fluid and crystallized – they found that experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime of decision-making often offset the declining ability to learn new information. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how life experience can offset aging decline:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Summer Outings for Seniors and their Families

GrandfatherboyMany aging adults spend the bulk of their time just managing to get through the day. They take care of life's basics but often don't leave their home, assisted living center or nursing home, except for doctor appointments and an occasional holiday. Families and friends might like to take a senior out for some fun but they don't know how to go about it. Even seasoned caregivers can be stumped for ideas, so here are a few to get started:

Read about 10 summer outings on Agingcare:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling


Guilt Intrinsic to Caregiving: Most Is Unearned

CaregiverStressIf ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. 

Read more on HealthCentral about unearned guilt for caregivers and how to cope with it:

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

Global Alzheimer’s Study Now Enrolling