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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 →


Adult children are right to be aware of their parents’ physical and mental changes since there’s no way to stop the aging process. However, as a columnist on caregiving and a forum moderator, I’m seeing something very scary happening far too often. Ageism is overtaking common sense and respect. The fact that someone is over 65, and perhaps has arthritis and controlled high blood pressure, does not make this person cognitively unstable. Dementia doesn’t necessarily step in even after – gasp! – age 70. Read more →


Many people are genetically predisposed to developing certain diseases, among them diabetes, cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. It’s natural to worry if you’ve watched family members endure the illnesses. However, the cortisol released in your body by chronic stress, which can be caused by worry, could increase your susceptibility. The fix? Be proactive. Limiting stress may not completely protect you from the disease that you dread, but it can help your overall health and, for some diseases, this could help you avoid a trigger. Where do you start? Read more →


We are, for good reason, repeatedly reminded of the horrifying statistics related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people over the age of 65 is exploding and most dementia symptoms develop as a person ages. This is fact. In no way does this article intend to distract from the need to cure all types of dementia. However, there is one thing to celebrate. The actual rate of Alzheimer's seems to be declining. Of course, Alzheimer's will not go away without a fight.  Read more →


Sometimes it's just easier to stay home. I'll admit I have these thoughts more often than most people, as I don't have a very social personality. However, when it comes to caregivers, it's often undeniably true - it easier to stay home...If we won't push ourselves to respond to invitations they will dwindle. People will get tired of asking. And many caregivers, no matter where the loved one lives, can sink into isolation and start refusing opportunities to go out with friends because seems too exhausting to go. It's just one more thing to do. I did that, even when the last three of my elders were living in a nursing home. Read more →


Dear Carol: My parents are in their 60s and have decided that they need to have their legal paperwork updated. I think that this is smart and my siblings agree. The problem is that my parents want to designate me as their Power of Attorney for both healthcare and financial decisions since I live in their community. Unfortunately, my siblings feel slighted. While I don’t love the idea of having this responsibility, I have no problem doing what’s needed when the time comes. My brother lives 500 miles away and my sister lives over 800 miles in the other direction so this seems to be the sensible decision. There’s no concrete reason why my siblings would object to this arrangement except for sibling rivalry. My siblings would be assigned as secondary POAs and they would have their equal shares laid out in the will. How do we get over this bump? – ST  Read more →


It should come as no surprise that optimistic thinking is, for the most part, better for one’s health than negative thinking. In fact, negative thinking has been connected to poor health for some time. A recent study confirms what was previously suspected, linking optimistic thinking to the preservation of memory and good judgment. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Read more →


A double whammy here is that chronic stress is a problem for most caregivers and stress can be a trigger for many people who live with chronic migraines. It is for me. The fact is that whether caregivers have migraines, severe arthritis, asthma, or any other ailment if they are still functioning better than the person or people for whom they care, they carry on. It’s what we do. Read more →


If the risk of a stroke or heart attack doesn’t scare us into controlling our blood pressure, surely a heightened risk for vascular dementia should. While Alzheimer’s is considered by experts to be the most common form of dementia, vascular dementia follows closely behind in ranking. The two mixed together are also common, so we should consider ourselves at risk for dementia unless we have a healthy vascular system. Read more →