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Alcohol and Dementia Can Be Toxic, Complex Terrain

Aggression

Dear Carol: My husband has been a recovering alcoholic for years, but after we both retired he started having a drink here and there. It didn’t seem like a problem until he started to show symptoms of dementia. He was eventually diagnosed with mixed Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. I’m not sure whether he forgets how much he’s had to drink or his alcoholism has caught up with him. He often becomes angry and on a couple of occasions he’s become threatening. He also falls after he’s been drinking, which is scary. I can’t get him to stop drinking or to return to his recovery meetings. I think I could care for him with his dementia at home for some time if he didn’t drink, but I’ve become afraid of him. His doctor tells him not to drink, but that does no good. He drives to the store to get alcohol and once, when the car was being fixed, he took a cab. I feel isolated, frightened and lonely. How do I handle this? DSR 

Read more on Inforum about alcoholism and dementia: 

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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

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Convincing Incontinent Elder to Wear Protection Can Be a Challenge

Caregiver_cropped_hands_2Our parents changed our diapers when we were babies. As we grew into toddlers we were “potty trained,” and from that time on we were expected to control our bodily functions. Is it any wonder that elders who have been rendered incontinent by a medical problem or disease often deny their incontinence and refuse, even in the face of evidence, to wear protection? They equate incontinence protection with diapers and diapers with babies. They feel humiliated. Wouldn’t they feel more humiliated smelling of urine or feces, you ask? Logically, yes.

Read more on HealthCentral about convincing elder to wear protection:

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


Women Caregivers Report More Health Issues than Men

SpousesNot surprisingly, the researchers say that caring for an ailing spouse is extremely difficult emotionally and physically for either gender. However, the researchers discovered that three years after the death of their spouse, surviving wives reportedly fared worse than surviving husbands...Another important issue that researchers face is that men and women tend to report caregiving differently.

Read more on HealthCentral about how women's health can suffer during caregiving and after:

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


Lewy Body Dementia Often Confused With Alzheimer’s

Brain10When most people think of dementia they probably think of Alzheimer’s disease. Since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and one of the biggest risk factors for developing AD is age, new developments to combat the disease are often in the news. There are, however, other types of dementia that are just as devastating as Alzheimer’s disease and they are not necessarily rare.

Read more on HealthCentral about Lewy body dementia:

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


6 Potentially Reversible Conditions that Can Mimic Dementia

ComfortingWhen dementia symptoms appear, it’s natural to become frightened and jump to the conclusion that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than looking at the symptoms with panic, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Yes, many forms of dementia are incurable, but there are conditions that can present symptoms that seem like dementia but are reversible.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about reversible conditions that can mimic 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


Many Common Drugs Have Mental Side Effects That May Contribute to Dementia

Medical_tablets_03_hd_pictures_168380Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system. Many OTC drugs used for sleep and allergies are anticholinergic drugs as well, a fact that's been well publicized. 

Read more on HealthCentral about common drugs that may contribute to 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


When Does Senior Forgetfulness Need Evaluation?

  OldercoupleDear Carol: My husband and I are both in our late seventies. There have been a few times when my husband has left the stove top burner on and sometimes he leaves water running after he leaves a room. Maybe it’s more because of distraction than forgetfulness, since I know that I’ve done similar things, but how do we tell? He seems to remember names and other details as well as anyone our age. When I mention my worries to my husband he gets defensive and reminds me of small things that I’ve forgotten. I’ve read the list of possible Alzheimer’s issues online, but that didn’t help much. How do older people decide if they need to be checked out for dementia?  Linda 

Read more on Inforum about older couple wondering about memory problems:

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


Depression and Dementia Challenging Combination to Manage

Medical_drugs_tablets_222894Dear Carol: My mother has had problems with mild depression all of her life but up until now she’s managed it without drugs. Mom’s now 81-years-old. A few months ago she was diagnosed with early stage dementia so her doctor put her on drugs for Alzheimer’s symptoms. After starting these drugs, Mom’s depression got worse so the same doctor prescribed an antidepressant. Now her depression is worse than ever, she’s confused, and she has nausea and digestive problems. Is this the normal course of events for someone like my mother? I’ve always liked this doctor and he’s cared for mom for years but I’m uncertain about the direction that this is going. FHM

Read full column on Inforum about dementia drugs and antidepressants for the elderly:

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


Some Forms of Dementia Can Develop Quickly

AnxietyDear Carol: My mother, at 76, had been doing exceptionally well. Her health was good except for high blood pressure. Her mind was active and quick. That all changed after a series of small strokes. Her doctor has said that these small strokes are the cause of Mom’s mental changes which have been diagnosed as vascular dementia. She used to be so level headed but now she’s confused, disoriented and frightened. I thought dementia developed slowly and that people had time to plan. Now I feel completely blindsided. I’m told this will just worsen and that she can’t be cured. I feel that this suddenness is almost worse than watching the gradual development of dementia. How do I handle this and move forward? SCR

Read full article about vascular dementia on Inforum: 

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


Give Your Dad the Best Father’s Day Gift Ever: Your Attention

CaregiverWheelchairAre you tired of listening to your elders repeat stories? Do you just chalk the repetition up to memory issues? If so, there are a lot of people who can relate. But here's something to think about. There may be a reason aside from memory issues that can explain the repetitive stories. As years go by, most of us gain – or attempt to gain – perspective. By retelling personal stories, elders are often, consciously or subconsciously, trying to re-frame their life from the perspective of time.

Read more on Agingcare about how your attention can be the best Father's Day ever:

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