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A Deserved Vacation from Caregiving Should be Guilt Free

AirplaneDear Carol: I’m 69-years-old and widowed. My76-year-old single sister has advanced osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, and lung disease. I cared for her in my home for over seven years. My health is deteriorating and my doctor has warned me that, if I don’t change my caregiving situation, I’m in for big health issues. My sister said that she understood, so six months ago she moved into a nursing home. The facility is lovely and the staff is great. The staff members have told me that she has made friends and, considering her health, does very well. When I observe her, I see that she’s great with others, but her attitude toward me has changed. I visit daily and bring her everything she wants, but she piles guilt on me and complains about her life. Now, I have a chance to take a week-long trip with a friend to a place I’ve always wanted to visit. I told my sister about this opportunity and she’s pouting. She says to go but then acts hurt. Her caregivers tell me that she’ll be just fine. I want to take this trip. It's finally a chance for some real fun, but how do I enjoy it under these circumstances? TR

Read full article on Inforum about caregiver who wants to take a trip:

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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


Interview with Alzheimer's Association Stresses Economic Devastation Dementia Can Bring to Families

HandsSpouseMore than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care, according to a recent survey by the Alzheimer’s Association. To dig a little deeper into the survey and its implications, I interviewed Beth Kallmyer, Vice President of Constituent Services for the Alzheimer’s Association, and Paul Hornback, who -- along with more than 1,100 other committed advocates -- attended the enormously successful Alzheimer's Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C.

   Read full article on HealthCentral about the economic devastation of dementia for families:

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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


Needs of 'Elder Orphans' a Growing Concern in Aging Population

OlderWoman3"Elder orphan" is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, "Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population," Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues, sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole.

Read full article on HealthCentral about older people who have no one to depend on:

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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


Embarrassing Social Behavior Can Stem from a Number of Causes

AgressionDear Carol: My dad has always been blunt with his words and loud when he’s unhappy with some service but lately he’s become publically belligerent over the slightest irritation. I find this humiliating. A recent example was when we went to a fairly nice restaurant and there was a spot on his spoon. It was just a water spot and could have been wiped off, but he made a huge scene. The waiter apologized and brought him clean silverware but Dad kept shouting that this is no way to run a business. I wanted to crawl under the table. Is this just old age affecting him? He’s 76 and he can’t drive anymore because of his eyes so we try to help out. I’m not sure what to do about his behavior or if there’s anything that I can do. What would you suggest other than not take him out in public, which, I’ll admit, we have considered.  GE

Read complete column on Inforum about embarrassing behavior from parents:

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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: Frequent Relocations May Speed Decline

Hands10Specialized care is needed at different stages of dementia. Frequently, the only way to provide that kind of care is to move the person to either a memory unit or a family home, while supplementing care provided by family members with paid in-home caregivers. In many cases, it’s simply unrealistic to expect to never have to relocate someone who has dementia. At the same time, frequently moving someone with dementia around can be problematic. While it can be a challenge for anyone, it becomes even more difficult for a person with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the effects of frequent moving when someone has 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


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

DrivingFor 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 complete article on HealthCentral about helping elders give up driving when it becomes necessary:

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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 Is Only One Type of Dementia

Fatherdaughter7One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.”

View full slide show on HealthCentral about the different types of 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


Alzheimer's: What Is Really in Your Control?

Meditation3When it comes to Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the sad reality is that there is no cure. But a significant number of people have an increased risk due to genetics, and everyone has an increased risk as they age...What do we do, just give up and give in? Or do we look for ways that may give us a better chance to get through our last years without signs and symptoms of this devastating disease? I say let’s fight. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have determined that winning may be possible. Some people will develop the disease no matter what they do but, according to these researchers’ latest study, there are everyday factors that may influence our risk of developing dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s.

Read full article about what you can do that may help prevent or delay Alzheimer's:

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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


Restructuring Life After Caregiving Ends

CaregiverGroupDear Carol: I helped my mom take care of dad for years after he’d had a stroke. Dad died last year and Mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his death. Apparently, she had cancer symptoms for some time but was so focused on dad that she didn’t follow up on her own health. Mom died last month under the care of a wonderful hospice organization, but now I am lost. I’m divorced and never had children. Caregiving was my life for over ten years. I have enough money not to have to work so I just sit and watch TV, not even registering what I'm watching. I once thought I’d travel but now I have no desire to do so. I understand that I need to build a new life for myself but I don’t even know where to start. How do people “recover” from caregiving once it’s over? MB

Read more on Inforum about how to help yourself find a new normal after caregiving ends:

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Alzheimer’s Symptoms: Navigational Skills May Deteriorate Long Before Memory

Walker2Typically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape one's grasp, daily tasks are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how navigational skills need to be considered when assessing brain health:

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