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Family Caregivers Can Have Sibling or Legal Issues If They Don't Keep Good Records

As caregiving duties multiply, you find yourself doing more shopping for your parents. Mom has a harder time getting out so she writes you a check when you bring their groceries over. It's all friendly and reasonably fair. You go on this way for months as caregiving needs grow. Read more →

Protection briefs are step toward dignity

Dear Carol: My dad has dementia. He also had prostate surgery a number of years ago and should wear adult diapers but refuses, so he always smells. How can I convince him to wear diapers? – Disgusted Dear Disgusted: You’ve got a tough but common problem. First of all, the obvious: Don’t call them protection “diapers,” even if it’s only in your head. Read more →

Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease: When Do We Treat It and When Do We Let Go?

A friend recently came to me in tears with the news that her mother, who is in mid-stage Alzheimer's, had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. My friend was beside herself with grief, mostly because she didn't know what to do. She felt the full responsibility of making the decision to treat or not to treat her mother's cancer was on her. Read more →

Stepping Stones in Care Needs: A Nursing Home May Be Necessary Even if You Need to Break a Promise

"Promise me you won't ever put me in a nursing home!" Many of us grew up hearing that plea from our grandparents or parents. The instinctive answer, of course, is, "I'd never dream of it. I'll always take care of you." Read more →

Studies Show Good Cholesterol May Protect the Brain against Alzheimer’s

If you are over 50 and you see your doctor regularly, you are likely being told to get your cholesterol levels checked. Those of you with a family history of heart disease may get nagged at even a younger age. “Watch your weight.” “Watch your cholesterol.” “Exercise.” Read more →

Calling Elders by Preferred Name is Important To Caregiving Bond

Dear Carol: My mother is in a nursing home. She has mid-stage dementia. The home is great in most ways, but I wish the whole staff could learn that she responds best to Maggie, not her given name of Margaret. The name on the door says Margaret. Any suggestions about getting the staff to use her nickname? Bruce Dear Bruce: Modern nursing homes are training staff to use respectful names for the elders, rather than names which some find demeaning, such as “honey” and “dear.” That is good in many ways, as elders need to feel respected, and many aren’t used to younger people calling them by their first names let alone a nickname or endearment of any kind. Read more →

One Man's Love Letter to His Alzheimer's Stricken Wife

Throughout my years of writing about eldercare I’ve come into contact with many fantastic caregivers. My newspaper column brought me the friendship of one outstanding caregiver, a retired college professor, named Bob Tolbert. Bob has contributed to my newspaper column and he regularly comments on my other work, generally giving me a pat on the back. Occasionally, he’ll add to what I’ve said with his thoughts about his personal experience. Read more →

Be Open and Learn: People with Dementia Have Much to Teach Us

In Erasing the Stigma of Dementia, I wrote about my dad and others with a dementia diagnosis who become "oddities" to those who don't understand. As a society, we may think we've come a long way in our attitudes toward mental illness and diseases of the brain. And, indeed, we have. But we haven't come far enough. Read more →