Brain Health, Alzheimer's, Dementia Feed

Choosing an individual or a company to come into our home, or that of a vulnerable loved one, to provide assistance with anything from cleaning to personal services is never easy. We are giving an unknown person access to not only our property but to the safety of our loved one who may need care while we are not able to supervise. Choosing the right person or company should be done methodically, and education can help you ask the right questions. Read more →


How vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. I asked Robert Drapkin, MD FACP, to help us understand ... Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments. As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond. Dad began lecturing the child about not “falling in.”  Read more →


 I"ve written about how playing in an orchestra has helped people living with dementia renew their confidence in themselves.  Another twist on music has now come in a recent report from the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in London. The researchers describe how both the people in their study who had dementia, as well as their caregivers, benefitted from group singing. This exercise seemed to have much the same effect on the people with dementia as the orchestra experiment. Read more →


Dear Carol: My 93-year-old grandma has hearing aids but she refuses to wear them. Her hearing without them is poor, and while she's taught herself to read lips that only works if I'm standing right in front of her. My husband's so frustrated that he stood in front of her the other morning and said, “I am not going to talk to you until you put your hearing aids in your ears.” I understand his frustration but his response doesn't seem right, either. Could there be some logical reason why Grandma won't wear her hearing aids? – WS Read more →


Insisting you are right because, well, you know better. You don’t have dementia. People living with dementia (PLWD) have an increasingly limited ability to understand the world as we see it. Therefore, we need to learn to see the world from their view. When we do this, we don’t argue if they say that they haven’t eaten all day even though lunch was an hour ago. We just say, “Really? Then we’d better get you a snack.” Read more →


It's been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories" and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com. When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver "in the trenches" stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival. Read more →


It's difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times. Read more →


If you haven’t been making yourself a priority over the last year, you’re not alone. Most caregivers face countless mental, financial and logistical hurdles when it comes to participating in self-care. But, the new year is upon us, which is the perfect time for us to take inventory of our lives, pinpoint some changes we want to make and adjust our attitudes to help us see these things through. Changing how you approach your caregiving responsibilities doesn’t mean that you love the person you are caring for any less. To the contrary, changing your mindset can actually be a clear indication of the depth of your love. Read more →


.Dear Carol: When my husband started having some rather bizarre behavioral episodes he made an appointment for a checkup. After an exam didn’t show problems, the doctor referred him to a neurologist who conducted some tests and diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. Because my husband didn’t have memory problems that are unusual for his age, I wasn’t satisfied, so we saw another neurologist. She diagnosed my husband with mixed dementia with signs of Alzheimer’s, but also vascular dementia. This diagnosis seems odd to me, too. Aren’t memory problems the hallmark of Alzheimer’s? Are we right in staying with her or should we get yet another opinion? – GD Read more →