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Sadly, even after years of work to educate the public about any illness that affects the brain, a stigma remains. No matter that most, if not all, mental illnesses have a biological basis. No matter that people aren’t any more responsible for a brain illness than they are for other illnesses. The fact remains that whether the disease affects the brain occurs at a younger age in the form of depression or bipolar disease or an older age in the form of Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia, people with brain illnesses are often reluctant to acknowledge their illness for fear of being treated differently than others. Read more →


Can caregivers get so drawn into the world of the care receiver that their mental health is at risk? I received a private email from a reader that made me think more deeply about this possibility. The reader said she’d been caring for her mother in her mother’s home for three years. The mother has middle stage Alzheimer’s and can be quite "creative" about reality. Read more →


Could life experience make up for some of the effects of age on the brain? According to researchers from the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, it can and does. The research group measured a person’s decision-making ability over their entire lifespan. Read more →


We can’t truly understand what others go through unless we have been in their shoes. Fortunately for caregivers, the inventive Virtual Dementia Tour Program comes as close as anything can to helping caregivers - whether medical people, social workers or family members - understand what their patients or loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are experiencing. Read more →


Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. Read more →


...Now her parents are getting frail. Nancy had been through a lot of therapy so she could learn to cope with her childhood issues. She's come to terms with the fact that her father did what he thought he was supposed to do. She rightly felt, as a child, that he should recognize and stop the abuse her mother was doling out. Through therapy, she has learned to forgive her father for his lack of involvement and the fact that he didn't stop the abuse. Read more →


Dear Carol: Four months ago, my mother fell and broke her hip. She was admitted to the hospital for surgery and then sent to a nursing home rehab. The care seems good but Mom has completely changed. Before the fall, she was mentally sharp for someone nearly 80. Her only issue was an occasional memory gap. Then, right after the emergency surgery, she began showing signs dementia. She’s only worsened in rehab. The facility doctor says that she has Alzheimer’s, but how could that happen so fast? I thought that Alzheimer’s took time to develop. How could she go from having almost no sign of Alzheimer’s to hardly knowing me in just four months?– DN Read more →


When my mother died in a local nursing home, my "career" of visiting this exceptional facility nearly every day for close to 15 years ended. Mom's death prompted a nurse to whom I'd become quite close, to say to me, "We'll still be seeing you up here. You won't be able to quit." She was wrong on that one. However, my case may be a little different from many others, as I'd spent nearly two decades caring for multiple elders.  Read more →


A study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years. For this study, Ohio State University’s Ronald Glaser, head of OSU’s Institute for Behavioral Medicine Research, and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at OSU, teamed with Nan-ping Weng and his research group from the National Institute on Aging. Read more →


As they age, millions of Americans develop health conditions, including chronic pain. For an expert’s view on prevention and treatment, HealthCentral interviewed Kenneth Thorpe, Ph.D., via email. Dr Thorpe is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Health Policy at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He is also the chairman of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease, an organization that has made several public-policy recommendations to address chronic disease, encouraging ways to improve patient access to care and invest in medical innovation. Read on to become part of the conversation. Read more →