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While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently, three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. Read more →

I should add a caveat for anyone thinking of moving an elder to Latin America. Our experience involved caring for an elderly person who was relatively healthy. Apart from Alzheimer’s, my octogenarian father didn’t have any major chronic illnesses. He had an enlarged heart that wasn’t giving him trouble at the time we moved him. Our care focus was on getting help with the daily tasks of living, not caring for someone with a chronic illness who needed serious medical interventions. Read more →

Elder care in America is expensive, with Alzheimer’s topping the charts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website carried an article published in the Health Tidbits section of the Journal of the National Medical Association that says: “Patients in most nursing homes are not receiving proper care due to a shortage of workers.” This is not to say that many U.S. nursing homes aren’t superb, but it is true that care is extremely expensive and in far too many cases, less than optimum in quality. Read more →

The Instinct to Protect: While many caregivers come to terms with the fact that we can't make our loved ones completely healthy again, we still want to be the person who provides care and safeguards their well-being. This protective instinct is powerful and hard to overcome. Read more →

Dear Carol: I’m an only child and single. My mother developed cancer in her 70s and I helped Dad care for her until her death two years ago. Only months after her death, Dad turned into another person. It’s not that he was simply angry. He seemed to be hallucinating and could be violent. I managed to get him to a psychiatrist who said that Dad has mixed dementia, likely a combination of Alzheimer’s and something else, maybe Lewy body dementia. The trauma of seeing his wife decline and finally die in a nursing home may have kicked off Dad’s symptoms and I’m sympathetic, but I could not handle Dad’s situation alone and eventually placed him in the VA home. Read more →

Decades ago, having Grandma come to live with the younger generations was fairly common, and it often worked well. It did for my family. When my brother and I were teenagers and our little sister a toddler, our grandmother can to live with us. Grandma was crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and could no longer live alone. My parents built a house that would accommodate the different generations, with some privacy for all, and Grandma came to live with us. The home wasn't huge by today's standards, but it was nice and well designed for our needs. The arrangement worked. Read more →

Occasionally, someone in support groups will say that they secretly wish the parent for whom they are caring would die. The parent is sick, miserable and hard to care for. The caregiver wants her or his life back. Of course, those who admit they have had this thought wonder if that makes them a terrible person. Most of these people are decent folks who love their parents. Read more →

"My mom and dad both have dementia. I am all alone taking care of them since my sister passed away. I have no one to help me. I get sad and frustrated with them both. How do I deal with my feelings?" These are powerful words from one AgingCare.com forum participant. It is a cry that is all too familiar for many family caregivers and one which will touch the hearts of most readers. Many of us feel alone when we are trying to care for our aging parents and there are no siblings to help, or our siblings won't help. When we have one parent who has this disease, it is hard. When we have two, it is often nearly unbearable. Read more →

Most caregivers go into caregiving mode with full hearts and wonderful intentions. They rarely stop to think, "Hmm, this could go on for years. I'd better plan it out. If I move to part-time at work, have more child care and spend mornings caring for my parents' needs, it will be difficult, but possible. If I continue to work full time, I'll have more for retirement, but I can't do it all. Read more →

A video I recently stumbled upon remains vivid in my mind. An elderly couple who had spent a lifetime devoted to one another was coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. At this point, the wife was in a nursing home. She was unhappy, aggressive and even combative with the staff. No one knew what to do with her.  Read more →