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People stare. Most are not unkind, they are just curious. But when someone "different" from the norm becomes part of their environment, they often gawk without thinking about or understanding how this affects others. Anyone who has cared for a disabled child or has a visible disability of their own knows this. Read more →

Dear Carol: My father has Lewy body dementia and he hallucinates, which I understand is part of the disease. I was raised to not lie. Your writing, as well as articles on the Alzheimer’s Association website and that of many medical people, seems to advocate lying to your parents or spouse once they have dementia. When my dad tells me that he sees people in the garden who aren’t there and wants to know what he should do, I get frustrated. I tell him that no one is there and that he’s imagining it. Then he gets upset and insists that two people are out there. Next, I get mad because he won’t believe that no one is out there. I don’t want to lie. What should I do? Lana Read more →

The type of heat exhaustion or mild dehydration that a middle aged caregiver may feel during a heat wave is uncomfortable, but the same occurrence could be deadly for an elder. Because of the seriousness of overheating, some older people take a prescription drug that helps increase blood flow to the skin which in turn helps them cool off. Read more →

Caregiving can mean that nothing seems to change as we go about our daily routines, endlessly keeping tabs on all that must be done for our vulnerable loved ones, yet knowing that the next moment a life threatening, or at least quality of life threatening, incident can occur at any minute. This combination of unchanging daily routine all the while staying in a fight or flight mode because of a possible crisis situation can be exhausting. The only way I have ever coped with these issues is through my faith—I am never alone. My deeply held sense of spirituality has given me relief from the endless routines of caregiving as well as life-changing crises. Somehow, my core belief has helped me as a caregiver. Read more →

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) says that falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. I can attest to that since frequent falls - as in nearly daily - were partly responsible for the final decision that my mother and I jointly made for her to join my dad in a nearby nursing home. I doubt that I could have talked my mother into learning tai chi. However, I have been doing my own rather modified version of yoga and a regular session of meditation for decades and am considering learning tai chi so to help maintain my sense of balance as I age. Read more →

When our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders’ environments, depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated. Read more →

Many people sign a form to have body tissue or organs donated to others after their death. They often have this information recorded on their driver’s license to expedite procedures necessary in case of an accident. But far fewer choose to donate their whole body for scientific research — despite the fact that this type of donation is vital to help train new doctors, as well as to develop cures for diseases. Read more →

Lack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group. Read more →

Dear Carol: My mom loves to shop, attend church, see local theater, and go to park events. We’ve done these things together for years. What’s changed is that Mom had a stroke last year. She recovered well, but she is unsteady on her feet when conditions aren’t perfect. She’s supposed to use a walker for balance, at least when she goes out of the house, but she refuses. I’m always nervous that she will fall, so I want her to hold onto me, but she hates that. I’ve begged and I’ve nagged, but I don’t get anywhere. How can I convince my stubborn mother to cooperate? – MC Read more →

For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be. Read more →