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How It Feels When a Parent with Alzheimer's Doesn't Recognize You

If we had to list examples of emotions by the distress they cause us, at the top of the list would be the experience of watching someone we love experience pain, whether it’s physical, psychological or emotional. Next on the list, at least for many caregivers, would be having to live with the fact that a loved one no longer recognizes us for who we are Read more →

How do your elders view new technology that monitors their home life?

During my busiest elder care years, I convinced several of my elders to wear person medial alarms. With personal medical alarms, the person wearing the alarm is in control. If there’s a fall or other emergency, the person pushes a button on the bracelet or necklace style alarm, and help is summoned. Once they agreed to wear the devices, my elders did feel more peace of mind. Read more →

Sharing meals with our loved ones as dementia takes its toll

Until I became a full-time employee at a newspaper, I’d made my noon hour the regular time for a daily visit with my elders in a nearby nursing home. Early on, that meant picking my mother up at her apartment and taking her along with me to see Dad who was the first to need nursing home care. Read more →

Father has mixed disorders

Dear Carol: My father has Alzheimer’s disease, an adrenal gland problem and now, major depression. He suffered a heart attack twenty years ago, and responded well to surgery. He then quit smoking and become an avid runner, however after his adrenal dysfunction was diagnosed, he seemed to give up. His doctor has tried two antidepressants and neither has helped. Read more →

Touch, voice and family love can create "miracles"

In the recent tragedy that occurred in Tucson, Arizona, where a young man opened fire on a community event, killing six and wounding 13, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. Most medical people were pretty well convinced that if Giffords would "recover" at all, she be left severely damaged. Read more →

Young people deserve age-appropriate surroundings when they need nursing home care

Years ago, my friend and neighbor, Joe, for whom I was a primary caregiver, broke his hip. Joe, a man in his eighties, went from the hospital to a nursing home, where most of his fellow residents were in his age group. I was, however, saddened by the fact that Joe’s roommate was a man with ALS, who had yet to reach forty. The contrast seemed startling and unfair. Read more →

How to handle a loved one with dementia who lies

When a person succumbs to any form of dementia, it’s hard on family and friends. We hate to see the diminished capacity of a loved one spiral downward. We hate to see someone we love be so frustrated. However, one of the worst things we have to cope with is the fact that a person with dementia has a flawed memory, and this flawed memory can cause them to tell others terrible things about us, simply because their brains aren’t working correctly. To them, what they are saying is true. Read more →

Early Diagnosis for Alzheimer's Disease: The Reasons to Do So Keep Building

It's human to evade doctor appointments when we feel that bad news is the only logical outcome. Who wants to hear they have diabetes, cancer, or perhaps even more dreadful, Alzheimer's? Diabetes is serious and unpleasant, but manageable. Read more →

Culture Creation: A Concept Based on Person-Centered Care

I recently came across an article that makes me smile – really smile. I’ve written copiously about “culture change” in nursing homes. Part of culture change, pushed with great skill by the Pioneer Network’s great work, is that nursing homes are becoming person-centered, rather than set up for staff efficiency. The irony of all of this is that once person-centered care is in place, the residents of the nursing home are generally much easier to care for. Read more →