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Dear Carol: My mom, 83, is in a memory unit because she has advanced Lewy body dementia (LBD). While a nurse was bathing mom she noticed a breast lump. My logical mind tells me that considering Mom’s cognitive state, as well as her age, this lump is best ignored since she has no pain. I’ve talked with her neurologist and he said that I could consult an oncologist but that he’d suggest not telling Mom since she may be stressed by the news when there’s a good possibility that this isn’t even cancer. This doctor and her care nurses all feel that Mom couldn't tolerate testing let alone surgery and treatment. I agree, yet I can’t let go of the fact that I’m keeping something from her. Should I tell her and explain the options even though her ability to make sound decisions based on fact is basically non-existent. Maybe a word from you will help me feel better. – HF Read more →

Studies show that many diseases affect ethnic groups differently, with a larger percentage of some groups than others expected to develop these diseases over time. Recently, the first-ever study to expand its research with dementia, particularly Alzheimer's, beyond the Black and Caucasian communities has published data that should make us all pay attention. Six ethnic and racial groups within the same geographic population were studied.  Read more →

The Candid Caregiver and Laura Mansfield met through our daily meander out in the Twitterverse. I was intrigued by the handle @geezerstories, thinking that this must be a couple of older gentlemen poking a little fun at themselves and their generation. By the time I found out this Twitter handle belongs to Laura, a caregiver who tweets about caregiving issues, I was already hooked.  Read more →

In part one of this second series on swallowing, Kathryn Kilpatrick, who has been a speech-language pathologist for over four decades and is the author of the popular 5-volume “Therapy Guides for Language and Speech Disorders workbooks, ” helped us understand some of the causes of swallowing issues and how to cope. Here, in part two, Kilpatrick gets down to one of the major challenges of the issue: food preparation: Read more →

A few months ago, a gerontologist told us her story about how she coped as a family caregiver when her father developed swallowing problems (dysphagia). Considering the seriousness and frequency of these issues with aging adults, I felt that we needed further information from a specialist. I contacted speech-language pathologist Kathryn Kilpatrick who has spent four decades helping people cope with these issues. Read more →

After my dad's brain surgery left him with dementia, the doctors put him on the anti-psychotic drug Haldol. He was in the hospital and we were still being told that nothing went wrong from the surgery and he would be just fine. The fact that he had a voice in his head and was not at all the same as before was never admitted, however the psychiatrist did see fit to put him on this drug. At first, I couldn't figure out why Dad was insisting that the young male nurse with whom he'd bonded so well before surgery was now, in Dad's mind, trying to kill him in the shower.  Read more →

Alzheimer’s is a global issue that is on track to bankrupt worldwide health systems if a cure is not found. Therefore, funding for research is paramount, not just for those who have the disease but for future generations, as well. However, large numbers of the people who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia at this time are trying to make the point that it is equally important to put imagination, research and funding into how to care for those who already have this incurable disease. Read more →

Dear Carol: My mom’s lived with me for three years. I’m single and have a demanding job but I’ve made time for her medical appointments and to keep up with her needs. I love her and want to do my best, but I now find myself getting short-tempered with her, which I hate. The doctor suspects that she has vascular dementia which accounts for her forgetfulness. I've become afraid that she is not safe alone while I’m gone. I’m upset with myself over my own short-tempered behavior, but for many reasons, including concerns about my job, I no longer think that this is the best arrangement. Still, I don’t want her to go to a nursing home. Any suggestions? – VE Read more →

It seems shocking to hear people ask whether dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s since it’s the best known, is as hard on the caregiver as it is on the person with the disease. After all, developing dementia of any kind is one of our greatest fears, even overtaking cancer. A caregiver who asks this question must be incredibly heartless and selfish, right? Yet, people who've never been a caregiver for someone with dementia need to think this through. When a loved one develops dementia, both the care receiver and the caregiver have entered an incredibly challenging time in their lives. Read more →