Dementia/Alzheimer's Feed

My car, buffeted by wind that had chilled to 30 below zero, plowed through yet-to-be-cleared streets. Mom had set off her personal alarm so the dispatcher called me as planned. It had been one of those days. I’d just returned home from the nearby nursing facility after trying to calm my dad, who was experiencing a major anxiety episode due to his dementia. No rest for the caregiver. I climbed back in the car and fought my way through the streets to Mom. It wasn’t another false alarm. Mom really had fallen, and as usually happens after a fall, I couldn’t get her up off the floor by myself. I had to call the EMTs — again.  Read more →


People living with dementia are the only ones who really understand what it’s like to live with their form of the disease, whether it’s Alzheimer’s or another type such as frontotemporal (FTD) or Lewy body (LBD). Sadly, the ability to communicate becomes compromised by dementia. That being said, care partners can, if we take time to search out the meaning behind their words or actions, continue to improve the care provided. Here are some tips that can help you. Read more →


Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s at age 53, Hazel has been living with the disease for more than 18 years. Her early years were grim even as she fought to do everything she could to improve her health. She used a wheelchair much of time. Then, while attending a bridal show, she stopped to rest at the table of professional dancer Chris Ingram. Ingram asked her if she’d like to learn how to dance. Hazel’s response was what one would expect. “How can I dance when I can’t even walk?”  Ingram just told her to stop by the World Champion Productions Dance Studio and see. Read more →


As people age, even the healthiest among us tend to need more maintenance. While young people can skip sleep and still function well, older people may need more rest to regain their energy. While young people may seem to thrive on junk food and sporadic exercise, older people may find that their bodies are more demanding about receiving their required nutrients and exercise if they are to stay vital. Increasingly, oral health is making news in this area. Read more →


...No rest for the caregiver. I climbed back in the car and fought my way through the streets to Mom. It wasn’t another false alarm. Mom really had fallen, and as usually happens after a fall, I couldn’t get her up off the floor by myself. I had to call the EMTs — again. Thankfully, this time she wasn’t seriously hurt. Hours later, once I’d settled Mom in her bed, I forced my way back through the still unplowed streets toward home, hoping for a couple of hours of sleep before morning, when I had to take my uncle to his neurology appointment for a post-stroke checkup. Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My parents are both in their late 70s and doing quite well but I see that the need for making decisions about their futures, or at least gathering information, is closing in. We live in the same community, so my husband and I have been helping with some minor things around their home, but they are very independent and hire out the most difficult jobs. However, with time, I know that more help from us will be necessary. When do I consider myself their caregiver? How do I begin? What do I need to know? – Potential Newbie Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad is having around-the-clock home care, which was his choice early on when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. He’s in the later stages now, but he keeps telling his caregivers, including me when I take a shift, that he wants to go home. I read an article that you wrote where you said that asking to go home didn't necessarily mean any particular home, but your comments were directed toward the idea of someone living in a nursing home. Since Dad is in the home where he lived for nearly 40 years, you'd think he'd feel some comfort from that. In fact, that's one reason we've continued to stretch the finances to keep all of this care in his home. What could he possibly want that we aren't delivering? – Sad and Bewildered Read more →


...The internet can be useful for starting these searches and there are a couple of quite different ways to go about it. The Medicare site Nursing Home Compare is probably the logical first choice though, in my opinion, it should simply be one tool because, like all current tools, it is imperfect. Certain categories are self-rated by the nursing homes involved, which sets up questionable results. Also, since states vary in how they do inspections, standards that may seem high in one location may not rate so well in another, so even those categories are not unbiased. Still, Nursing Home Compare is a tool, so I’d suggest that you use it as a launching pad. Just keep an open mind. Read more →


Most of us who have cared for someone living with dementia have tried our best to determine how best to provide that care. We research. We try putting ourselves in their place. We do our best to be patient because we understand that they can’t help their having the disease. Still, we are human and we make mistakes. While we shouldn’t wallow in guilt when we do make mistakes as a care partner, there are situations that we should try extra hard to avoid. Here are nine of them. Read more →


Dear Carol: My mother is 76, healthy, and enjoying life. She lives in the same small home where I grew up. Mom still drives though she’s smart about when and where and in cases where she’s not comfortable she rides with younger friends or I drive her.  She loves to garden but again is smart and hires the heavy work done. She’s agreed to wear a personal alarm so that I can be alerted if she has an emergency. We see each other nearly once a week and chat or email daily. So why am I writing? I have two coworkers who have parents with Alzheimer’s. They are laying guilt on me because I’m not “making” my mother move to a “safe environment.” Why would I want to insist that Mom do anything different? Mom says to ignore them, and I try, but I hate the guilt trips. I love my mother and will do what I can to help. Am I a neglectful caregiver? – JE Read more →