AgingInPlace Feed

Dear Candid Caregiver: My mother is in a lovely assisted living facility and I have to say that she’s having a ball. While she’s always had a tendency to play “the Grand Lady,” this arrangement seems to have given her even more of a feeling of entitlement. There’s another woman with a similar personality and they seem to have a turf war going on, even to the point of “recruiting” people for their tables. I’m thrilled that Mom has competition – it’s about time – and I find the whole scenario funny. I don’t see a problem with laughing at some of these situations, but I have a friend who is deadly serious about every aspect of aging and she thinks that I should be taking this seriously Read more →


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 →


Increasingly, stress is considered a risk factor for dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s. Stress is also a risk factor for stroke and heart attack as well as a trigger for many diseases from arthritis to psoriasis. Obviously, limiting stress in our lives is a good idea. But how? Simply living what we call modern life seems to make stress the norm. Read more →


As you watch your parents or other beloved elders age, sometimes worry becomes inevitable. Should they have housing upgrades? Can they continue to live independently? Your intention isn’t to take over their lives, but you may genuinely want to start the conversation about possible future changes. How do you do this without causing a backlash? Read more →


Dear Carol: Six months ago, my husband, 83, broke his hip and was admitted to the hospital. His time there was emotionally exhausting and the stay took a terrible toll on him. Eventually, he was released to a local nursing home and things were going well until he developed pneumonia. The nursing home was well equipped to care for him there which is what we both wanted, but I alerted his adult children, as we’ve agreed to do in a health crisis. Even though my step-kids rarely visit, they have rights since we share Power of Attorney which is set up so that any one of us can make decisions. At first, I thought that their coming would be a comfort but they took over and effectively negated their father’s health care documents - FC Read more →


For many, it’s not as much the fear of the elders’ reactions to our words as it is an effort to preserve our own denial. If we don’t voice the fact that our parents are aging and may eventually need assistance, and then, yes, die — it won’t happen. This is a version of covering our eyes when we were small and saying “you can’t see me.” Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My grandma has had mixed dementia, probably a combination of Alzheimer’s and vascular, for many years. She’s generally sweet and compliant, just wanting to stay comfortable in a world that she seems to have created for herself. The whole family tries to encourage her to tell stories, which she will sometimes do if she’s feeling up to it, but mostly she listens to the old-time music that we play for her or she naps. Grandma hasn’t recognized anyone... Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad has Alzheimer’s. Caring for him is difficult, but since I have support and also have made an effort to get educated about the process, I’m doing well enough. I also try to educate others when the opportunity presents itself because we’ve experienced the stigma that goes along with this disease and I want to help eliminate that. What has me in a twist at the moment, though, is how cruel some people can be. Read more →


Home care can be helpful in supporting individuals of all ages to safely live at home for as long as possible and/or to recover from an unexpected health crisis. Additionally, home care can be a welcome source of support when family members can no longer provide care alone. These care providers are available for anything from simple household chores and companionship to complex care. But what exactly is meant by the terms “home care” and “in-home care," and what will your insurance cover? Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is doing great cognitively but she relies heavily on a walker. Even though she’s pretty steady, walkers can catch or get off balance. She’s grudgingly agreed to let me get rid of her throw rugs and I’ve had grab handles installed in her bathroom, by her bed, and in the hallway where we get her ready to go out. The biggest problem during these last months has been the ice and snow. I’ll have to get Mom from the car into the clinic for another appointment soon and I’m already starting to sweat how to do it safely, especially if we have a cycle of melting and refreezing. – VH Read more →