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Most of us dread the thought of moving a loved one into a skilled nursing facility, and this sentiment doesn’t change for those who are fortunate enough to have a selection of stellar facilities to choose from. We know that we are giving up a certain amount of direct oversight, which can be hard even though we are well aware of our limitations as individual caregivers. We also know deep down that this move is an admission that a loved one has passed a certain point in their health where returning home or resuming even a few aspects of self-care is no longer a possibility. In other words, this transition is a direct dose of reality. Read more →


According to an AARP survey, the vast majority of boomers have stated that they want to stay in their current homes rather than move to another setting for their later years. This attitude has been the springboard for many aging in place advocates as well as businesses like contractors and high tech companies. Read more →


Dear Carol: I grew up with my grandparents because my parents were killed in a car accident. My grandmother died seven years ago when I was 23. I’d been on my own for a few years, but I moved back in with grandpa after he had a stroke. Things have gone fairly well with me working part time jobs and spending a lot of time with him. Lately, though, his memory has gotten very bad and he’s become stubborn about taking his medication, which he was always good about before Read more →


It seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who've never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time of their lives. Read more →


After decades of caregiving I’ve experienced some negative effects as noted in 5 Negative Effects of Long-term Caregiving. However, I've also experienced positive effects that continue to give me pleasure and enhance my life. I saved the positive aspects of caregiving for the second article because, having recently written about the ill effects on our health caused by negative thinking, it seemed more authentic to me as a writer. Also, as a person, when possible I like to concentrate on the positive. Below are a few of the many things that I feel I have gained, and still am gaining, from long-term caregiving. Read more →


...it can be especially challenging for doctors to distinguish the symptoms of new or worsening mental illness from conditions like dementia or medication interactions. This is especially true for primary care physicians and psychiatrists who have not received geriatric training. Read more →


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 more →


I knew that Dad was in significant pain and that his pain was not being addressed. Since Dad was showing end-of-life symptoms, the nurses and I were able to convince the doctor to allow Dad hospice care. Just a few hours after hospice took over his care Dad was peacefully lying in bed, able to smile and respond. His pain had been addressed. Read more →


A study published in JAMA Neurology reports that participants with evidence of preclinical Alzheimer's experienced worse sleep efficiency than those with no evidence of potential Alzheimer’s. One hundred forty five people between ages 45 and 75 took part in the study conducted by researchers at the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine. Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad, who is 84, has lived on the same farm and in the same house that his parents owned all of his life. He and Mom rented out the land ten years ago, but kept a few animals and a large garden. After Mom died, Dad sold the animals except for his house dog. He no longer gardens but he finds simple chores to do that keep him occupied. I know that he feels like he has to look after the home but that leaves him alone out in the country, essentially isolated. He’s in good health but the family worries about him. We want him to move to town and live with one of his adult children or rent an apartment but he resists the idea saying that he wants to stay independent. He’s mentally fine so we don’t feel that we can press too hard. We’re also afraid that if he is forced to move he may just give up on life. Either way we feel guilty. TR Read more →