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Hospital stay can prove fatal for people with Alzheimer’s

Last April, the journal “Neurology” reported on a study showing that people with Alzheimer’s disease who were hospitalized have more than double the risk of cognitive decline than the control group. Now, newer information makes the case that the hospitalization of a person with dementia presents even a greater risk than previously thought. Read more →

Elders vulnerable to abuse in domestic situations

Most of us want the best possible care for our aging parents. There are many ways to provide good care, one of which is bringing our parent or parents to live with us, or taking our family to live with them. Sometimes that works out wonderfully. But sometimes it doesn’t. Not everyone is cut out for the day to day stress of hands-on caregiving, let alone 24-hour caregiving in their own home. What can start out as a loving gesture can end up a nightmare. Read more →

Can caregivers be subject to abuse by their care receivers?

When we think of domestic abuse in a family where elders are cared for, we generally think that the elder is the most likely person to suffer abuse. Statistics would probably prove this to be a fact. However, there are many caregivers who can truthfully say that they are emotionally, verbally and even occasionally physically abused by their care receiver. Read more →

Father's Day: Give the gift of your attention

As years go by, most of us gain – or attempt to gain – perspective. By retelling personal stories, elders are often, consciously or subconsciously, trying to reframe their life from the perspective of time. If we give them the gift of attentive listening, we may find their often told stories more interesting, and we may even learn something new about them. Also, since our elders' history is part of our history, we may learn something new about ourselves Read more →

Caregiving: creating a legacy to be proud of

...I've been a drugstore store clerk, a military librarian, a university library staff member, a stay-at-home mom, a humor columnist, a news researcher/librarian, an author and an eldercare columnist. I've also been a caregiver for many people, elders and children alike. I imagine one day some of those things will be mentioned in my obituary. But, in the end, what matters most to me? What, ideally, would I want people to write about me after I'm gone? Read more →

Cutting use of antipsychotic drugs in Alzheimer’s

Once again, antipsychotic drugs are in the news. Often used to control symptoms of agitation and aggression in people with Alzheimer’s, antipsychotics occasionally have their place. However, during the last few years there’s been an outcry from agencies and the public that nursing homes and doctors have misused the drugs. Now, the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is officially aiming to cut the use of these drugs by 15 percent. Read more →

Historic event at White House raises awareness of elder abuse

Friday, June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. In preparation for this important day, the White House Office of Public Engagement, in collaboration with federal partners from the Administration for Community Living/Department of Health and Human Services, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Department of Justice, is hosting a day-long symposium at the White House Thursday, June 14. The event will highlight the problem of elder abuse, exploitation and neglect. Read more →

Dementia Boot Camp: Training to Be a Caregiver, Part 2

We finally reached the top step. The woman holding my elbow didn’t have much to say. I was hungry for the sound of an unfiltered human voice, but I had to concentrate so hard on climbing the steps, as my sight was distorted by the goggles, that I probably wouldn’t have heard much, anyway. Besides, these headphones were isolating. Read more →

Dementia Boot Camp: Training to Be a Caregiver, Part 1

Let me start at the beginning: A couple of weeks ago, I attended a training program at Bethany Homes, a care facility near my home. They make this sensitivity training program mandatory for their staff. Bethany uses a combination of “Dignity & Sensitivity: The Ultimate Boot Camp,” from Gemini Consulting and the “Virtual Dementia Tour” (VDT), a program from Second Wind Dreams. Read more →