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Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care.The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care. 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 →

Many dementia caregivers feel as though they are treading water just to avoid sinking under the often exhausting pressures associated with dementia care. But consciously changing your attitude can, with practice, significantly change how your days, and those of your loved one, unfold. Here are some tips to get started. Read more →

Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it? Read more →

This Valentine’s Day, millions of spouses will be masking their pain as they struggle to celebrate a day dedicated to love. Their husband or wife who has dementia either doesn’t understand what the day is about or, worse yet, doesn't recognize them for who they are. Read more →

Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays have traditionally been celebrated with balloons, gifts, cards, parties, and food. Sadly, when dementia enters into the picture, such general mayhem may overwhelm a person already confused by his or her surroundings. Even attempting to celebrate love can become a challenge. The choice about whether or not to mark special days is often fraught with pain for the caregiver. Read more →

Dear Carol: My wife died of cancer three years ago. Her decline was long and slow, so when the end came there was some relief, along with the agonizing grief. I’ve slowly recovered enough to enjoy life. However, I’ve now been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD). I also have neuropathy which affects my balance. My wife had a great attitude during her illness and I’m determined to use her as my example for dealing with my own challenges. We had no children, and I have no siblings, but I have many wonderful friends who have been helping me with shopping. I’ve appointed a close friend as Power Of Attorney for health and financial reasons and hired a housekeeper who cleans and does some light cooking. She's wonderful, and we get along great, but the time will come when I will need more care. How do I start setting up help now, without going overboard and losing my privacy before I need to? PR Read more →

Dad always got Mom roses for Valentines Day. Yellow roses. They were her favorite. After Dad's brain surgery resulted in dementia and he needed nursing care, I took over ordering the flowers for Mom. I have ordered a lot of yellow roses through the years. Pain was always connected with it because the whole process was one of keeping up tradition while the meaning of the tradition was not clear to the receivers. Read more →

Families may be instructed to puree all foods, but they could be unsure exactly what that means. Additionally, a plate with a pile of pureed meat, vegetables and other foods may not be very appealing to anyone, so arrangement of the food is important. The following suggestions should help, but may need to be modified if a patient has restrictions in their diet due to other medical conditions or has to have their liquids thickened. Read more →

Something most of us take for granted is our ability to swallow. There are many things that can contribute to swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) including stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, oral cancer or problems with teeth or dentures. In some situations the symptoms are obvious, but in others a person may see gradual changes and not realize that the problems a person is having could be due to dysphagia. Read more →