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December 2017
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February 2018

I’m struggling with trying to find answers on how I can help my elderly mother. I’m 67, I’m retired and I live an hour away from my 87-year-old mom who has heart failure. Mom still lives alone in her house and this is very important to her. As her condition has worsened, she’s required more help from my sister who lives just 10 minutes away. My sister runs all of mom’s errands, completes all of her chores, and checks in on her several times a day. On top of this, my sister still works full time and won’t be able to retire for a three more years. I visit mom a couple times a month to give my sister a rest, but I fear as moms health continues to fail, that won't be enough. I feel guilty for not doing more but I am too far away. I love the town I live in as it is close to my daughter and grandchildren. Should I move? – BT Read more →


Myths about brain health are as rampant as they are for any feared disease. Neuropsychologist Dr. Michelle Braun is a memory expert who actively fights against these myths. In the process, she helps people learn how to reduce their risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Braun has worked for 10 years as a clinical neuropsychologist in departments of neurology, neurosurgery, and psychiatry in hospitals and academia. In 2008, she received the Practitioner of the Year Award from the Alzheimer’s Association in southeastern Wisconsin. Read more →


Aging can bring unique joys, but for many it also brings the loss of physical and, for some, cognitive abilities that they feel once defined them. These losses can usually be absorbed if the elders stay connected to the greater community in some way and/or they enjoy engrossing hobbies. But many become isolated, either because they don’t feel like making the effort to stay connected or they lack the opportunity. Those who do become socially isolated will often succumb to disease or early death. Read more →


Our culture has historically been devoted to cure illness at all costs, and death is often looked at as "failure," no matter the age or condition of the person being treated. Many other cultures readily accept death as part of the life cycle. I believe we, as a culture, are making progress in this direction, but death still tends to be a word people avoid. If it's up to you to inform a loved one that he or she would be more comfortable under hospice care – or that a person they love will be on hospice care – there are steps you can take to get you through this difficult transition. Read more →


Every person who becomes a caregiver will have unique personality traits, yet we nearly always share certain feelings and experiences as we travel a road similar to one another. That’s one reason that caregivers often turn to other caregivers for support. It’s a version of the adage that we need to walk in another’s shoes in order to truly understand what they feel. One of those shared experiences is a certain amount of stress. Some personalities cope with the ever changing, nearly always challenging, business of caring for another adult with health issues better than others. Read more →


When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, a number of researchers think that it’s time to reconsider the idea of infection as a root cause. Scientists are now pointing to studies that reveal the presence of a microbe as a possible trigger for the disease. The theory is that microbes "find their way into the brain via the bloodstream and lie dormant until triggered by aging, immune system decline or by different types of stress…once they are activated, the microbes then damage brain cells - either directly or via inflammation.” Read more →


Then we have issues involving the brain. The stigma of any health problem connected to the brain may have improved over the years, but it has yet to disappear. The attitude that there is something particularly bad about diseases that affect the way a person thinks is particularly evident in the older population, yet the older population is where most dementia is found. For this reason, caregivers are often advised to take the loved one who may be having some potential cognitive issues to his or her primary physician as a first step. Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad has aggressive prostate cancer that has spread to his liver and bones. His oncologist isn’t very communicative and when I asked about hospice care he said that’s up to us. He told us that Dad won’t get better but that he can keep treating him if we want. The treatments make Dad miserable. If they won’t help, what’s the point? I feel strongly that Dad needs hospice care and have been trying to talk my mom into it but she’s dragging her feet. How do we go about getting the service? Which one do we choose? Will Mom have to go on Medicaid to get it paid for? This is her biggest fear. – ST Read more →


Many people are genetically predisposed to developing certain diseases, among them diabetes, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It’s natural to worry if you’ve watched family members endure the illnesses. However, the cortisol released in your body by chronic stress, which can be caused by worry, could increase your susceptibility. The fix? Be proactive. Limiting stress may not completely protect you from the disease that you dread, but it can help your overall health and, for some diseases, this could help you avoid a trigger. Where do you start? Read more →


For many of us, the word "home" signifies refuge, safety, caring and warmth –a sanctuary where we belong. It's a place that we know is waiting for us at the end of our daily journey into the sometimes cold and uncaring world.  The actual location of our home may be dynamic rather than static—ever-changing as our personal world changes. Yet the meaning of home remains the same: a place of comfort. Read more →