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Dear Carol: My mom has been in assisted living for six years and she’s loved it. Unfortunately, while she’s relatively healthy, her short-term memory has nearly disappeared and her ability to make decisions is negligible. The doctor says that she is ready for a memory care unit, and there’s one in the same facility, but she’s resisting. I know that we have to move her, but I don’t know how to do it without upsetting her. Do we just tell Mom that this is what she needs to do and then simply move her? I’m terrified that she’ll give up and start failing. Jen Read more →


One of the positive parts of being a family caregiver is the opportunity for emotional growth. We can develop increased compassion, patience, and tolerance, as well as humor. Yes, we often shed tears over our loved one’s illness and often over our feelings of powerlessness. But humor may be the saving grace that keeps us from drowning in sorrow. Some situations, of course, leave no room for laughter. But some tough times can offer moments of levity if we choose to recognize them. Read more →


It should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgment. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alzheimer’s risk. Read more →


According to the Alzheimer’s Association, in 2015 nearly 16 million family and other unpaid caregivers for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias provided an estimated 18.1 billion hours of unpaid care, a contribution to the nation valued at $221.3 billion. This is with caregiving being valued at only $12.25 per hour. Read more →


Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems have found evidence that long-term testing starting well before any signs of Alzheimer’s symptoms are evident could be a valuable tool in detecting which people will need intervention with therapeutic drugs that are now in clinical trials. This type of intervention could possibly halt or even reverse cognitive damage while the patient is still symptom-free. The long-term testing would be done in conjunction with brain scans. Read more →


Millions of aging boomers wonder if their memory lapses are from normal aging, or a sign that they are developing Alzheimer’s. There’s some basis for the worry. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million people in the U.S. are living with it. One in three seniors will die with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Read more →


Congress passed a law in 2015 that requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to remove Social Security numbers from all Medicare cards, which they will start doing in April 2018. New beneficiaries will get the modernized cards first, and then new cards will be issued to existing beneficiaries. This is an important change to help prevent fraud and protect people’s identity, but with any new change, scammers are taking advantage of potential confusion. Read more →


There are many neurological diseases that can affect people as they age. Alzheimer’s, of course, is one of the most feared because it is so well known. However, while not as common, Parkinson's disease is also prevalent. This neurological disorder affects an estimated 2 percent of people older than 65. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is progressive and it involves changes in the brain that can become debilitating. Read more →


A frequent problem expressed among adult children is that their parents aren't truthful with their doctors. While the parent may complain at home of pain, exhibit memory problems and accuse the family of theft when he or she can't locate a commonly used item, the moment the parent faces their doctor a change occurs. Like an actor on stage, the person sitting in front of the doctor becomes animated and charming. My mom was a supreme example. Read more →


Dear Readers: For most people, finding out that they have received an inheritance is a positive experience. Not so when that inheritance is early onset familial Alzheimer’s disease (eFAD). This type of inheritance involves a gene which each family member has a 50 percent chance of inheriting. For those who inherit this gene, their chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease by middle age, if not younger, is 100 percent. In her engrossing new book “The Inheritance,” Niki Kapsambelis presents the story of a North Dakota family facing such a reality. Read more →