Support Feed

Caregivers May Have to Work Hard to Recover Positive Memories

OldermanTHinkStock Dear Carol: My husband and I were teenage sweethearts and married right out of college. While we experienced bumps along the road, I’d say our marriage of over 40 years was exceptional – or was until my husband developed Lewy body dementia. The dramatic personality change that this disease caused was devastating for us both. The worst part for him was that, at least in the beginning, he would realize that he had become verbally abusive and hated himself for it. For me, it was because this wonderful man that I married began to scream that me he never loved me and that I should go away. My husband died a year ago, and I’m still having trouble remembering the good times before LBD. I’m seeing a counselor and though I still struggle that is helping. I just wanted to write to let other people know that they aren’t alone if they are burdened with this same issue. – Gin

Read full column on Inforum about how difficult it can be to claw back through years of pain to recover positive memories:

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


When to Go Public with an Alzheimer's Diagnosis Is a Hard Call

CaringSadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren’t any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. The fact remains that whether the disease affects the brain occurs at a younger age in the form of depression or bipolar disease or an older age in the form of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, people with brain illnesses are often reluctant to acknowledge their illness for fear of being treated differently than others.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about when and how to go public with an Alzheimer's diagnosis:

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

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Outside Activities Essential to Caregiver Mental Health

Friends3Can caregivers get so drawn into the world of the care receiver that their mental health is at risk? I received a private email from a reader that made me think more deeply about this possibility. The reader said she’d been caring for her mother in her mother’s home for three years. The mother has middle stage Alzheimer’s and can be quite "creative" about reality. The caregiver told me that she does what experts often suggest and tries to join her mother in her mother’s dementia world.  She loves her mother and doesn’t mind that she spends most of her time caring for her, but is afraid that she is becoming so drawn into her caregiving that she may be losing touch with the non-caregiving world.

Read more on HealthCentral about how caregivers can benefit from outside activities:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Life Experience May Offset Cognitive Decline Due to Aging

Brain5Could 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 different 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. Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn and process new information. Crystallized intelligence is experience and accumulated knowledge. According to the researchers, previous studies have suggested that fluid intelligence declines as a person ages, but the studies didn’t address whether or not decision-making abilities also decline.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how the brain works (and in some ways, improves) as we age:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Virtual Dementia Sensitivity Training Makes Tremendous Difference to Both Care Partners

ConfusionWe can’t truly understand what others go through unless we have been in their shoes. Fortunately for caregivers, the inventive Virtual Dementia Tour Program comes as close as anything can to helping caregivers - whether medical people, social workers or family members - understand what their patients or loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are experiencing.

P.K. Beville, founder and CEO of  Second Wind Dreams, has now received the U.S. Patent for his Virtual Dementia Tour program which has already been experienced by 500,000 people in 14 countries. Second Wind Dreams was formed in 1997. The name is derived from a novel of the same name, written by Beville who is a geriatric specialist.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how virtual dementia training can help:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

caregiver smile summit


Caring for Aging Parents Who Didn't Care for You

Family10 ...Now her parents are getting frail. Nancy had been through a lot of therapy so she could learn to cope with her childhood issues. She's come to terms with the fact that her father did what he thought he was supposed to do. She rightly felt, as a child, that he should recognize and stop the abuse her mother was doling out. Through therapy, she has learned to forgive her father for his lack of involvement and the fact that he didn't stop the abuse.

She's learned that he likely didn't know about a lot of it. She's also learned that he probably was in denial about what he did suspect because he really didn't know what to do. He was wrong, but she's managed to forgive him for what he didn't know, and for what he didn't do about what he did know. Part of this is that her father recognizes where he failed. As he ages – and he's the one who is showing the need for care at this point – she feels she is capable of caring for him, in some "hands-on" capacity.

Read full article on Agingcare about how people who were abused as children must struggle to decide what they can do for their parents: 

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

<caregiver smile summit 


Trauma After a Fall Can Create a Dangerous Domino Effect for Elders

Comfort29Dear Carol: Four months ago, my mother fell and broke her hip. She was admitted to the hospital for surgery and then sent to a nursing home rehab. The care seems good but Mom has completely changed. Before the fall, she was mentally sharp for someone nearly 80. Her only issue was an occasional memory gap. Then, right after the emergency surgery, she began showing signs dementia. She’s only worsened in rehab. The facility doctor says that she has Alzheimer’s, but how could that happen so fast? I thought that Alzheimer’s took time to develop. How could she go from having almost no sign of Alzheimer’s to hardly knowing me in just four months?– DN

Read the full column on Inforum about how trauma can affect the brain of an older person:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more:

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Managing Chronic Disease and Chronic Pain as You Age

PhysicalTherapy4As they age, millions of Americans develop health conditions, including chronic pain. For an expert’s view on prevention and treatment, HealthCentral interviewed Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., via email. Dr Thorpe is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Health Policy at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He is also the chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, an organization that has made several public-policy recommendations to address chronic disease, encouraging ways to improve patient access to care and invest in medical innovation. Read on to become part of the conversation.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to manage chronic pain and chronic disease as you age:

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

I'm honored to be among over 50 presenters in this summit who want to help make your caregiving journey easier. Click the image to learn more: 

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

Assistedliving1It’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. Indeed, aging in place sounds like a wonderful concept. What could possibly be wrong with it? 

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how people go about making choices in where they spend their last years:

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

Over 50 experts can guide your caregiving journey when you won this virtual summit. click the image to learn more:

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Dementia Service Dogs an Idea That Should be Growing

DogMost of us are aware of service dogs, especially guide dogs for people with sight impairment, because we see them around our communities. These dogs are not pets. They are working animals and are allowed wherever the person they serve goes. Increasingly, other service dogs are being trained to help people with impaired hearing, people who have grand mal seizures and people with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. With more than five million people in the U.S. alone coping with the effects of Alzheimer’s, any attempt to help people with dementia have a better quality of life is welcome.  So why not have trained service dogs for people with dementia?

Read full article on HealthCentral about how dementia dogs are an idea that has come:

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

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