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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:

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Group Activities Reduce Depression among Older Population

GroupWhen our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders’ environments, depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated. Two separate programs were used for the research. One was a group high-intensity functional exercise program and the other was a non-exercise group activity. They were conducted with people in an elder care facility, all of whom had dementia.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how group activities can help reduce depression in older people:

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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


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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Pride and Fear May Explain Elder's Refusal to Use Physical Aids

WalkerAideDear Carol: My mom loves to shop, attend church, see local theater, and go to park events. We’ve done these things together for years. What’s changed is that Mom had a stroke last year. She recovered well, but she is unsteady on her feet when conditions aren’t perfect. She’s supposed to use a walker for balance, at least when she goes out of the house, but she refuses. I’m always nervous that she will fall, so I want her to hold onto me, but she hates that. I’ve begged and I’ve nagged, but I don’t get anywhere. How can I convince my stubborn mother to cooperate? – MC

Read full column on Inforum about seemingly stubborn elders and their walkers:

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Driving and Memory Loss: Tips to Help Compromised Elders Give Up Driving

Driving2For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be.

Occasionally, people in the earlier stages of cognitive or physical decline will recognize the signs of that decline when they have a close call while driving and scare themselves into giving up their right to drive. More frequently, if the person has developed Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, and the disease has advanced to a point where judgment is affected, a prolonged battle often erupts.

Read full article on HealthCentral to learn tips about how to help your compromised loved one stop driving:

Sign up for the Caregiver’s Smile Summit: 0ver 50 Experts on Caregiving, Aging, and Care Partnering

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


6 Potentially Reversible Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia

ComfortingWhen dementia symptoms appear it’s natural to fear that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than reacting with panic, however, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Many forms of dementia are incurable, of course, but other conditions can present symptoms that resemble those of dementia but are in fact reversible.
 

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

 

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Related articles


Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

ResearcherWhen you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the controversy when it comes to funding 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


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


Dementia: Moving Beyond Diagnosis toward Living with the Disease

Hands-touching-10035106For most anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or has loved someone with a type of dementia, the formal diagnosis was a moment frozen in time. A moment where the thought of possibly having a brain-destroying disease became a confirmed reality. That pivotal moment is life changing, however, people can move beyond that moment in time and learn to live with dementia.

For our family, that moment arrived after my dad came out of a surgery that was supposed to repair damage caused by a World War II brain injury. We had seen Dad wheeled into surgery. He’d propped himself up on one elbow and given us a signal that all would be well. That hand sign was accompanied by his signature smile.

Read full article on HealthCentral about living with dementia after the diagnosis:

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


What to Say, and What Not To Say, to People Who Are Grieving

Comfort15It’s difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about how to comfort others who are grieving:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman