Tips for Caregivers Feed

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:

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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:

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Dietary Needs Change for People Over 50: Here Are Some Tips

Food2Turning 50 is a milestone for many people. The half-century mark comes with new rules for medical tests and often brings a couple of health-related signals indicating that it’s for some dietary changes. Even if you have packed away a healthy 50 years or more, our nutritional needs change over time. Gradual dietary tweaks may be wise in order to ensure your golden years are, well, golden. To help you determine what nutrition your body needs as you age, it can be helpful to schedule a consultation with a registered dietician. To give AgingCare readers a head start, I asked Jeanna Freeman, RDN, to provide us with some rules of thumb for senior nutrition. As the clinical dietician at Blakeford, an elder care, and senior living provider in Nashville, Tennessee, Freeman works with elders of all ages and abilities to help them improve their health through smart eating.

Read full article on AgingCare about how our dietary needs change as we 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


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


Pain Medication for Older Patients Must be Carefully Chosen and Closely Monitored

Medical_tablets_03_hd_pictures_168380Dear Carol: My dad has Alzheimer’s. Recently, he had a bad fall and needed to be hospitalized. Dad was given Dilaudid for pain, but the drug affected his dementia so badly that I begged them to take him off of it. The hospitalist agreed, and they found something else for the pain, but he still hasn’t improved. It’s been two weeks and Dad's dementia is off the charts. The staff said that he may still improve, but that we must remember that Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease so he may simply be getting worse because of the disease. This change was so sudden that I can’t buy this thinking. Is there anything that I can do? – FT

Read full article on Inforum about how drugs can affect elders, especially during hospitalization:

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Caregiving Rewards Often Outlast Challenges

Caregiving6Many people are providing intensive care for adult children, others for parents or spouses. I feel it’s safe to say that all of us, with our diverse caregiving responsibilities, have had times when we wonder if we can go on. Conversely, nearly all of us have also had moments when we’ve looked at the people we are caring for and realized that being a caregiver is not just a responsibility, but an honor.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregiving rewards can affect our lives forever:

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


Aging-in-Place and Assisted Living: Pros and Cons of Each

RampOne of the diverse topics concerning aging is whether older people would prefer to update or remodel their current home — often referred to as aging in place — or look into assisted living. Many surveys, including one from AARP, indicate that most aging Americans would rather stay in their own homes.

In the following email interview, Romilla Batra, M.D., chief medical officer at SCAN Health Plan, a not-for-profit, senior-focused organization that offers one of the largest Medicare Advantage plans in California, updates us about current thinking when it comes to the pros and cons of each type of planning. Dr. Batra is a board-certified internist with more than 15 years of experience as a medical director, clinician, and educator.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the pros and cons of aging in place vs. assisted living:

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

Minding Our Elders lets you know that you are not alone, that you are not going to be perfect, but you can get the job done, You do the best you can, and that is good enough. We can't be Carol, but we can learn from her going before us. What a friend to have. What a gift she gave us. – CM Jones


You Are Not Alone: Caregivers Share Their Experiences and Insights

CaregiverGroupThankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone.

Read full article on HealthCentral about caregivers helping caregivers:

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Dementia Caregivers Grief Soul Deep, Defies Labeling

Depression7When a beloved elder dies, we may have varying reactions, frequently changing moment by moment. Naturally, there’s grief and the realization that we’ve seen the last of our loved one’s physical presence. Often, however, if the death follows a long illness or significant pain, we can also feel a sense of relief that their suffering is over and we can get on with healing. It’s often the in-between time - the caregiving years - that are the most difficult to label. Both of my parents endured long, slow declines with significant pain before their deaths. However, my dad’s decline was one that many caregivers of those with dementia will relate to.

Read full article on HealthCentral about dementia caregivers and their unique type of 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


Respecting Elders' Dignity May Require Accepting Risk

Gardening1Think about it. Barring dementia – and as much as we hear about dementia, not everyone over 65 has become unable to make decisions – our elders should be able to exercise their rights as adults. Aging should increase dignity not take it away. Maturing should earn us respect for what we’ve been through, not derision for being a bit weathered physically and somewhat different in how we may process information. If you carefully read the first paragraph of this article you’ll see that much of what I describe sounds like raising children. Ouch!

Read full article on HealthCentral about accepting risk for the greater good:

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