Dementia/Alzheimer's Feed

...However, as my elders became more dependent I began to hear myself, at least in medical settings, referred to as “the caretaker.” Somehow, that word made me grind my teeth. My loved ones were not a patch of land. They were not a house. They were not an object. Yet the term “caretaker” brought such images to mind.  Read more →


Dear Carol: My dad’s in the middle to late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It’s been rough on both my mom and me in many ways, but right now I can say that the worst is my dad’s verbal abuse. He was always a gentle, wonderful man, so this uncharacteristic behavior is extra baffling and hurtful. He calls us ugly names and swears at us because he thinks that we’re stealing from him or even poisoning him. Mom is so ashamed that this is happening that she can’t tell anyone about it, but I need an outlet, which is why I’m writing. How do we handle living with Dad’s verbal abuse without breaking down or acting ugly ourselves? – KC Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad is in the middle stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Meanwhile, my mom is recovering from cancer surgery, and the prognosis isn’t good. I’m trying my best to be a good caregiver for both of them and stay positive while doing it, but it’s hard. I recognize that we’re fortunate in that my parents are able to hire an agency that supplies a rotation of in-home caregivers. The other side of it is that I have a brother and a sister, both living hundreds of miles away from our parents and me, so they can’t help out much.  Read more →


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 →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My parents were always open about their long-term plans for retirement, saying that they’ve worked hard and retirement was going to be the payoff. Travel was huge on the horizon. Now, my dad has been diagnosed with mixed dementia, which, in his case, means Alzheimer’s and possibly Lewy body dementia, so their dreams are pretty much canceled. Mom is, for the most part, a good caregiver, but she’s resentful about what happened, and why wouldn’t she be? 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 →


Dear Candid Caregiver: My 79-year-old mom has been widowed for a little over a year. She’d always depended on Dad to help her because her arthritis limited her movement and she uses a walker much of the time. Now, though, there’s been a complete change in attitude, and she insists that she can take care of everything herself, even physical tasks that are clearly a challenge... Read more →


Dear Candid Caregiver: I’m the only adult child who lives in our parents’ community, therefore by default I am the family caregiver, and yes, I resent it. It’s not the parent care that I resent, but the fact that I have three siblings and they won’t even recognize what I do, let alone really try to help, is endlessly grating on me. I didn’t mind at first when I was just stopping in to see our parents a couple of times a week after work to make sure things were okay, but now, I feel like I have a second job as a caregiver. 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 →


Most people are aware that transition to facility care may be hard on elders but many don’t realize that it can be hard on caregivers, too. We’ve tried our best but our best is no longer enough. Irrational as it may seem to others, at this stage we may feel like we’ve failed. Quite honestly, we may keep trying to do it alone far longer than we should.  Read more →