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Ageism: How Unrealistic Portrayals of Aging Affect Senior Health

WomanAgingGlamourHow are older people portrayed in movies and on TV? Are they consistently cranky and the target of jokes or are they realistic in their variations and strengths? Are stereotypical portrayals harmful to their health? Possibly so. New research from the University of Southern California Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, in partnership with Humana, Inc. sheds light on both the expected conclusion that older people, if represented at all in film and on television, are often typecast negatively, but also on the unexpected fact that these portrayals seem to affect the overall health of our aging populations.

Read more on HealthCentral about ageism and how it affects our senior population's health:

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


Moving Parent from Assisted Living to Memory Care May Require Creativity

WomenOldYoungDear Carol: My mom has been in assisted living for six years and she’s loved it. Unfortunately, while she’s relatively healthy, her short-term memory has nearly disappeared and her ability to make decisions is negligible. The doctor says that she is ready for a memory care unit, and there’s one in the same facility, but she’s resisting. I know that we have to move her, but I don’t know how to do it without upsetting her. Do we just tell Mom that this is what she needs to do and then simply move her? I’m terrified that she’ll give up and start failing.  Jen

Read full column on Inforum about moving a parent to memory unit:

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


How Humor Helps Provide Armor for Caregivers to Survive

FriendsOne of the positive parts of being a family caregiver is the opportunity for emotional growth. We can develop increased compassion, patience, and tolerance, as well as humor. Yes, we often shed tears over our loved one’s illness and often over our feelings of powerlessness.  But humor may be the saving grace that keeps us from drowning in sorrow. Some situations, of course, leave no room for laughter. But some tough times can offer moments of levity if we choose to recognize them. My sister, Beth, and I experienced what to some people may be a rather macabre situation during the three days our mother was going through the death process. If we hadn’t maintained our senses of humor, I’m not sure how we would have handled those sad, seemingly endless days.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how humor helps caregivers survive:

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


Optimistic Thinking May Help Preserve Memory and Judgement

Couple2It should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgement. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alzheimer’s risk.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how optimistic thinking can help preserve brain:

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


Memory: Is Forgetfulness A Precursor of Alzheimer’s?

FAtherSonMillions of aging boomers wonder if their memory lapses are from normal aging, or a sign that they are developing Alzheimer’s. There’s some basis for the worry. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with it. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.

While these statistics are scary, you shouldn't let them cloud the reality that many of us will age normally and will not develop AD, or any other type of dementia. Certainly, we will have some memory changes as we age. Improvements in our lifestyle may help mitigate some of those. Other changes we’ll just have to live with. So what is normal memory loss and when should we worry?

Read full article on HealthCentral about forgetfulness and 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


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


Why Your Ill Loved One Fools the Doctor and What to do About It

DoctorNursePatientA frequent problem expressed among adult children is that their parents aren't truthful with their doctors. While the parent may complain at home of pain, exhibit memory problems and accuse the family of theft when he or she can't locate a commonly used item, the moment the parent faces their doctor a change occurs. Like an actor on stage, the person sitting in front of the doctor becomes animated and charming. My mom was a supreme example.

Read full article on Agingcare about why your ill loved one may fool the doctor:

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


Think Carefully About Long-Term Issues before Cohabitating with Your Elders

Family6You're close with your parents and you see them needing help. You've watched their decline, but so far you've handled it and they've stayed in their home. You've hired out the yard work and much of the housework. But it's time now for something different. Dad's often confused and Mom's diabetes isn't being cared for properly. You are wondering, should they move in with you? Years back, having one or both parents move in with the family was relatively common. My grandmother moved in with our family when my brother and I were teens and our little sister was a toddler. My parents built a new home that could accommodate privacy for Grandma as well as a family with teenagers and a toddler. It worked.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the road to cohabitating with aging parents:

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


Reversing Memory Loss: Non-Drug Approach Shows Promise

Fruits_of_the_forest_blackberries_blueberries_223865A small study at UCLA has shown evidence that a strict protocol concentrating on lifestyle changes can reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms. We frequently hear about some promising new potential drug breakthrough, yet there is at this time no medical cure and it’s not likely that there will be one anytime soon. Thus, the interest in exercise, diet, vitamin and herbal remedies and brain challenges.

Read full on HealthCentral article on how UCLA has shown promising results in reversing AD by lifestyle changes:

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


MIND Diet Recommended for Alzheimer's Prevention

BerriesHCPart of a healthy lifestyle, one that may prevent heart disease, Alzheimer’s and other diseases, involves consuming a nourishing diet. According to a recent study, one way to obtain these nutrients is through the MIND diet. This berry-heavy diet, which was created by nutritional epidemiologist Martha Clare Morris, PhD and colleagues at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL, is a tweaked combination of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets. The acronym MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how our diets might improve our chances of avoiding Alzheimer's symptoms:

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