Spouse Feed

Alzheimer’s Risk Higher for Women: Why?

Caregiver6It’s been known for years that women are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than men.  Now, there’s even more evidence of gender differences. A new study has found that among those who've been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), women show a much faster rate of memory loss than men. The 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference took place recently in Washington, D.C. While many topics were covered, including some drugs that are showing promise, this study about women has attracted its share of attention. Earlier studies showing that more women developed Alzheimer’s than men concluded that this statistic simply reflected the fact that women live longer than men. Since age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it would stand to reason that more women would develop the disease. #WomensHealth

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's rate as it applies to women:

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6 Potentially Reversible Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia

Comfort9When 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.

View slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about the potentially reversible conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's or other types of dementia:

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April is Parkinson's Awareness Month: How Informed Are You?

Caregiver_cropped_hands_2There are many neurological diseases that can affect people as they age. Alzheimer’s, of course, is one of the most feared because it is so well known. However, while not as common, Parkinson's disease is also prevalent. This neurological disorder affects an estimated 2 percent of people older than 65. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is progressive and it involves changes in the brain that can become debilitating. The National Parkinson Foundation estimates that one million Americans have the disease. Of those who develop Parkinson’s disease, 50 to 80 percent will eventually experience Parkinson's disease dementia.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Parkinson's disease to find out what you many not know:

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 web site devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


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:

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


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


How To Get People With Dementia To Take Pills

Medications5Dementia care demands incredible creativity. The ever changing needs of the person who has dementia challenges family caregivers and professionals alike. One particular frustration is getting important medications into their loved ones who either can’t or won’t cooperate when it comes to taking pills. As Alzheimer’s spreads throughout the brain, logic departs. The ability to understand one’s world disappears, understandably being replaced by fear and suspicion. These emotions are often blamed by caregivers when the person that they love refuses to take needed medications.

Read full article on HealthCentral about convincing people living with dementia to take necessary pills:

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


Recovery from Double Grief May Require Professional Care

CryingWomanDear Carol: My mom passed away a month ago from a major stroke. Since her death, I seem to either be in a fog or collapsing into tears. My sister, Carolyn, had been caring for mom until two years ago, but then Carolyn had a sudden heart attack and died. She was only 43. Mom then came to live with us. Mom had COPD and heart disease. My husband has always been a rock of support and love and my two kids have handled Mom's death well. They are trying to help me even though they, too, are grieving their aunt and their grandma.  I’m the one who is a mess. I miss my mom more than I ever thought possible. My grief seems to be more consuming than that of other caregivers who’ve lost a parent. I’m not sure what to do with my overwhelming feelings.  I’m not even sure what I’m asking for except that I need guidance. SC

Read full column on Inforum about buried grief and fresh grief:

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


Valentines Day, Anniversaries Can Be Painful for Caregivers

Heart...Many of you know exactly what I'm talking about. This year, you will help your parents give each other Valentines cards. Or, you will comfort your widowed mother or father on this day that celebrates love. It's all around us. We can't deny it. So, we cope the best we can.

Read full article on HealthCentral about celebrating Valentine's Day 

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

as a caregiver:

“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


A Speech Pathologist Explains Common Swallowing Issues Part 2: Tips for Food Preparation

Caregiving6...Families may be instructed to puree all foods, but they could be unsure exactly what that means. Additionally, a plate with a pile of pureed meat, vegetables and other foods may not be very appealing to anyone, so arrangement of the food is important. The following suggestions should help, but may need to be modified if a patient has restrictions in their diet due to other medical conditions or has to have their liquids thickened. 

Read more on HealthCentral from an expert on swallowing issues: Tips for food preparation

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