Long-Married Couples Covering Each Other: A Red Flag?
Photo credit Imon Godfrey Dear Carol:  My parents are in their 80s and have been fortunate with their health, but I worry about how they will do in the future. They still live in their home which we have made safer with some upgrades so that’s going fine for now. Any help they’ve needed has been provided by family members without too much disruption, so we consider ourselves fortunate. What worries me is that while I don’t see signs of actual dementia, at least from what I know about it, I do see them filling in for each other more often when it comes to words. Should we be worried about them and the...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 16, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Rosanne Corcoran of Daughterhood.Org Interviews Carol Bradley Bursack
Photo credit Matt Botsford It's always an honor to be interviewed by Rosanne Corcoran for Daughterhood.org_thepodcast. Listen to our conversation here but browse the others, as well. Rosanne is a compassionate, knowledgeable interviewer with a natural talent to be sure, but also because she's a compassionate caregiver. Thank you, Rosanne, for this opportunity!   Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol                  Related StoriesVal...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 15, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Valentine's Day When Your Spouse Doesn't Know You
This Valentine's Day, millions of spouses will be masking their pain as they struggle to celebrate a day dedicated to love. Their husband or wife who has dementia either doesn't understand what the day is about or, worse yet, doesn't recognize them for who they are. In a previous post, I wrote about my own pain as I, the family caregiver, helped my parents go through the motions of celebrating special days. Continue reading on HealthCentral to learn more about the pain and love that comes with celebrations like Valentine's Day - when your spouse doesn't know you. Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support grou...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 14, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Celebrating Love: Dementia Caregivers Speak Up
Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and birthdays have traditionally been celebrated with balloons, gifts, cards, parties, and food. Sadly, when dementia enters into the picture, such general mayhem may overwhelm a person already confused by his or her surroundings. Even attempting to celebrate love can become a challenge. The choice about whether or not to mark special days is often fraught with pain for the caregiver. Read more on HealthCentral about how dementia caregivers feel about Valentine's Day when someone they love has dementia: Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories&nb...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 13, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

10 Things People With Dementia Wish Their Caregivers Knew
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. View this slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about what your loved one may wish you knew: Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in su...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 12, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Challenging Hobbies Help Maintain Brain Health
Although there’s a long way to go before Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are well understood, studies have shown that keeping the body and brain active throughout life may at least delay dementia symptoms. Happily, staying active is not all work. Hobbies can be healthy View this slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about how hobbies can help keep the brain healthy Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol                 &n...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 11, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Aromatherapy Safe and Effective for People With Alzheimer's
Photo credit Drew L Nihjew Alzheimer's disease can't be cured. There are medications that help slow the development of symptoms for some people, but the type of care that seems to help most people with Alzheimer's is hands-on attention. This often means that caregivers need to use a tool-box approach to providing care. Thus, opening our minds to ancient medicine can give us additional options. One ancient technique that's been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the use of aromatherapy. Continue reading on HealthCentral to learn more about how aromatherapy can help older adults (and their caregivers) rela...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 10, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Valentine ’s Day More An Observance Than a Celebration for Dementia Families
Photo credit Jasmine Waheed Dear Carol: My parents enjoyed a true love affair during their marriage. I’m the youngest in the family and still live in the same community. Because Dad has dementia and recently had a stroke, he lives in a nursing home. They are doing a good job caring for him, but Mom still insists on spending hours with him every day. I think that this is hard on her in some ways, but it’s what she wants so the family supports it. What has me upset is that Valentine’s Day is coming up and traditionally Mom and Dad made a big deal about it. Since Dad’s dementia though, it’s been ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 9, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Having “The Talk”: How to Discuss End-of-Life Issues with Parents
Photo credit Berhard Grossgasteiger Sex and death: It’s odd that these two topics of conversation should bring so much anxiety to parents and children. One addresses the beginning of life, while the other addresses the end. Both are a natural part of the circle of life, but many find that sex is often the easier subject to discuss. In fact, a national survey conducted in 2018 by The Conversation Project found that 92 percent of Americans say it’s important to discuss their wishes for end-of-life care, but only 32 percent have had such a conversation. Why is it that we are avoiding these discussio...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 8, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

7 Tips for Preserving an Aging Parent's Dignity
Fearing that their aging parents could be injured, caregivers can become nagging nannies who try to stop Dad from working in his beloved shop or Mom from gardening. But insisting that elders avoid all risks can compromise their dignity and joy. So how do you find the right balance of concern and trust? View this slideshow on  HealthCentral for some tips about preserving your older parents dignity: Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol            &nb...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 7, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Respecting Elders' Dignity May Require Accepting Risk
It’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. We don’t want them taking risks that could result in an injury. That’s love, after all, and parents appreciate being loved. It’s a mistake, however, to make yourself director of your parents’ lives simply because they are piling on years. Continue reading on HealthCentral about accepting some risk as we care for ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 6, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Getting Over the Guilt of Placing a Loved One in a Home
If we could control events, most of us would never want our elders to be so sick that they need the care of a nursing home, especially homes that are still operating in the dark ages, as some of them still are. Many homes have now moved forward into person-centered care, and reluctant caregivers often find their elders thrive, once they have adjusted. Still, it's hard. For many caregivers, placing an elder in a home spells failure on the part of the caregiver. Even when carers know they've done all they can, a subconscious nagging voice often tells them they are giving up on their parents or spouse. I'm here to tell y...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 5, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

What Are Bedsores and How Can They Be Prevented?
Bed sores, pressure sores, or pressure ulcers are all words used to describe a condition that people often think of as a small problem for a caregiver to handle if they think of it at all. However, this condition is anything but small. Complications from pressure sores can cause death. The Candid Caregiver asked Sharon Roth Maguire, M.S., R.N., a board-certified gerontological nurse practitioner, and the chief clinical quality officer at BrightStar Care®, to help us understand more about this potentially serious condition. Roth Maguire has an extensive healthcare background including more than 35 years of experience wo...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 4, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Why Language Matters With Dementia
Photo credit Griffin Taylor Dear Candid Caregiver: Six months ago, at age 56, my husband was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. While we aren’t in denial about all of the tough times ahead, my husband has a well-informed doctor who is trying to steer us away from all of the negative dialogue that exists about the “horror” of Alzheimer’s. He’s even started us with some helpful online groups that are focusing on living well with dementia. As you can imagine, though, even with that type of support, staying in the right frame of mind takes resolution and constant work. This woul...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 3, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Mother ’s Personality Change Is Driving Family Away
Photo credit Itaris Sfakianakis Dear Carol: My 66-year-old mother lives alone in a condominium. She used to be quite pleasant but now all she does is complain. Since she says that she’s lonely, I’ve suggested that she move to a local assisted living facility so she can make friends and have company when she wants it, but she refuses. When we visit, all she does is complain and pick apart people who care about her. I’m too fat, my husband’s too quiet, her grandchildren have hair the wrong cut or color, the wrong jobs, the wrong friends, the wrong everything. Her sister lives 75 miles away but she got...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 2, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiver or Care Partner? How Terminology Evolves With Awareness
Decades ago, when I began my caregiving life, I just did what I did. I’m not sure I was referred to as anything other than the daughter, the niece, or the mom, and I was too busy to care. 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. Continue reading on HealthCentral to learn more about the differences in terms between careg...
Source: Minding Our Elders - February 1, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Helping Your Loved One Through "I Want to Go Home"
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 ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 31, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

A Neurologist Shares Her Thoughts on the Individuality of Each Person Living with Dementia
"For years, the push to do something about Alzheimer’s disease-focused almost entirely on drug development. Find a cure. Develop a vaccine to prevent the disease. Develop a drug to “manage” people who live with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. What many people weren’t noticing, however, was that in tandem with this effort was a quiet revolution doggedly moving forward...Developing dementia doesn’t take away your individuality or humanity any more than developing cancer or diabetes. Therefore, rather than concentrate only on drugs, we need to help caregivers – and yes p...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 30, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

End-of-Life Care: ER Doctor Answers Our Questions
Photo credit Kevin Haselhorst Emergency-room doctor Kevin Haselhorst had an epiphany while he tried valiantly to save an elderly man who’d been through one-too-many traumas. His book, “Wishes To Die For: A Caregiver’s Guide to Advance Care Directives,” was the first step toward a new advocacy. Dr. Haselhorst continues to work toward helping people understand the importance of healthcare directives and the ability to make their own decisions about end-of-life care. Curious about more of Dr. Haselhorst’s views, the Candid Caregiver contacted him through email for the following interview. Co...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 29, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Getting Into Their Heads: The Advantages of Not Arguing With Someone Who Has Dementia
Photo credit Alexandre deBieve "Where's my college ring?" This had become Dad's mantra during some months of his early demented years. I knew he hadn't gotten a ring when he graduated from college. His college career was interrupted by World War II, then work and a family. He went back to school during his work career. I, at age fourteen, attended his college graduation. I suppose, with a family to support, he didn't think a college ring was important. He didn't order one. He never owned one. But no way would he believe that now, as a man in his late seventies with heavy-duty dementia. Continue reading on HealthC...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 28, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Caregiving for Someone Living With Alzheimer's
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.” View slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about how avoiding certain mistakes while caring for someone who lives with dementia can make everyone's life easier: Caro...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 27, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiver with Chronic Pain Must Be Clear About Limits
Photo credit Kat-J Dear Carol: My 80-year-old mother had a stroke two years ago and lives in a close-by nursing home. I’m happy to visit her and make sure that her needs are met, but that’s not enough for her. She says it’s my duty to take her to the mall and other places to shop. She’s a large woman and taking her out in this way means getting her in and out of the car as well as wrestling a wheelchair in and out of my car trunk. I have fibromyalgia and body-wide arthritis, but she’s never accepted my health challenges.  I’ve offered to take her for drives since the nursing home st...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 26, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Real-Time Advice Could Have Been a Game-Changer for These Dementia Caregivers
“Mom continually accused me of stealing her money to travel,” Vicki Tapia, author of Somebody Stole My Iron, says. “Nothing I could say or do convinced her otherwise, leaving me both frustrated and upset.” After her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, followed closely by her father with Parkinson’s disease-related dementia, Tapia struggled to find practical, helpful information to light her way. “It would have saved me much distress and been very helpful had there been an experienced guide I could have asked for advice,” she says. Continue reading on...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 25, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Sharing Family Caregiving Responsibilities With a Crew
Along with her brother Jay, Kim Savage of Phoenixville, PA has been caring for her now 82-year-old mother, JoAnn, since JoAnn was officially diagnosed with dementia in 2015. Dementia is an umbrella term that describes the symptoms of cognitive diseases. These include having problems with thinking that are severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living lasting longer than six months. Different types of dementia affect different areas of the brain, particularly in the early stages of any given disease. Alzheimer’s disease, the most common type of dementia, most often destroys neurons and their connec...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 24, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How to Deal With Resentment of Family Members Who Don't Pitch In
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,  Continue reading on HealthCentral to learn more about coping with family members who won't pitch in to help with paren...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 23, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Juggling Priorities for Multiple Elders Reality for Many Caregivers
...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. Continue reading on Health...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 22, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiving Can Take a Toll on Your Marriage
Dear Candid Caregiver:  My husband and I have been married 25 years and have raised two children. Just as we were thinking that we’d be able to travel because the kids are old enough to be on their own, my in-laws started having one health problem after another. I know that this isn’t my husband’s fault, and I also understand that if it were my parents I’d be scrambling with trying to help them out. However, I do think that my husband should pressure his siblings to do more. Yes, his siblings live out of town and we live in the same community, but his siblings aren’t that far away. Contin...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 21, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Try a Different Approach If You Want to Keep Older Man Off Ladders
Photo credit Zubair Khan Dear Carol: Even though my 79-year-old dad has had medical problems through the years, he’s strong both physically and mentally. Dad’s always enjoyed working outside in the yard and on home maintenance, which is wonderful. However, he won’t listen when it comes to climbing ladders, going on the roof to clean gutters and crawling under the car and his jacked-up riding mower to work on them. I nag him. I’ve hollered at him that he’s nuts (not my finest moment). I’ve begged him. But he says he loves working around the house and I shouldn’t even think of &ldquo...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 20, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Altered Walk Can Signal Health Changes
Photo credit Tyler Jacobs Dear Carol: My husband and I are both 76 and have been healthy, though he’s had problems with high blood pressure. Lately, he’s begun to shuffle his feet as he walks. I try to remind him to pick up his feet because, well, it’s irritating, and it seems like an “old people” thing to do. I realize that we are old people, but we’ve kept up with things through our kids and grandkids and we both socialize and volunteer, so we’re considered young for our ages. This shuffling worries me because it seems to be a sign of worse to come. Am I over-reacting? Is this so...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 19, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Daughter Upset About Mom's Wish for Hospice Care
Photo credit Chrstian Newman Dear Carol: My mom is 85 and has lived with COPD, diabetes and heart disease for the last 10 years, but she’s been a fighter. She’s always said that she didn’t want extreme measures to keep her alive when her time to go was obvious, and I agreed, but now that the end seems close, I think that she should fight longer. She qualifies for hospice, but hospice means that she has to stop the medications that are keeping her alive. Mom says that she’s fought long enough and she’s done with that. She just wants comfort for as long as she has left. It’s true that...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 18, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How Soon Is Too Soon To Sell House and Move To Assisted Living?
Photo credit Nasim Keshmiri Dear Carol: A while back you wrote about a widower with mild cognitive impairment who wanted to move to assisted living after his wife died. Our situation is similar, but this is my 83-year-old mom and her memory is fine. Mom's an extremely social person. Dad died just two months ago and already she is telling me that she wants to move to an assisted living place that they once looked at. I get that she misses Dad and she doesn’t like being alone, but I worry that she’s making this change too soon. Some of my reluctance is probably because of the idea of losing Dad and then havi...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 17, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Is It Ever Okay for Non-Family Members to Use Pet Names for Older Adults?
Photo credit Paul Stickman Dear Carol: My mom, who’d been healthy all her life, recently suffered a stroke which requires the skilled care available in a nursing home. Her overall care seems good, but I’m irritated by how they address mom because some of the aides call her “Dear” or even “Hon.” I know that these caregivers mean well and Mother doesn’t indicate any distress, but I think that this is disrespectful. I admit to being somewhat formal myself, so I’d like your opinion about whether or not I’m too critical about something relatively small. — LR. Cont...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 16, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

We Can Support Our Surviving Parent, but We Can't Erase Their Pain
Photo credit Jeremy Wong Dear Carol: My dad, who had been Mom’s caregiver for years, died suddenly from a stroke. I can’t say that I’m surprised because he was under enormous stress trying to cope with first Mom’s illness from cancer treatments, and more recently her early-stage Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Needless to say, we’re all heartbroken over Dad’s sudden death as well as up in the air about how to handle Mom. She seems to be in total denial, though some of her repeated questions may be due to occasional short-term memory loss. How do we help her with this shock and grief? &mdash...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 15, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Preventing Winter Weather Falls A Challenge for Older Adults
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.  Read the full article on Inforum to learn more about how to prevent winter weather falls: Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders o...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 14, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Are Your Older Parents on Too Many Meds?
By the time Janet Johnson’s father reached his mid-80s, he was on so many medications their names are now impossible to recall. There were pills for managing his cholesterol, blood pressure, and asthma, says Johnson, an administrative assistant who lives near Minneapolis. Other drugs helped with his sleep problems and treated his type 2 diabetes. There were more, too, but who can remember? One thing was certain though: As the number of prescriptions increased, his health seemed to get worse. Continue reading on HealthCentral to learn more about how too many medications can cause more harm than good - particularly for...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 13, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Traveling with Dementia Easier with Unique Services
Photo credit Vidar Nordli  Mathisen Dear Carol: My parents dreamed of travel before they retired and were fortunate to live their dream for many years. Sadly, my mom has now developed dementia. She’s still in the early stages and can enjoy life with a few adjustments, but Dad still insists that they travel. After they returned from a two-week jaunt to British Columbia last month, Mom was disoriented, and her anxiety was off the charts. Dad’s reaction was to complain that she “wasn’t herself” when he wanted to hop from place to place without rest. When I tell Dad that Mom just can’t ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 12, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Mom Fires Caregiver Who She Thinks Is Stealing Her Watch
Photo credit Mosoianu Bogdan Dear Carol: My mother’s healthy but at 93, she needs someone to stop in daily to arrange her medications, give her a bath and do other routine tasks. I live 200 miles away and try to visit weekly. We’ve hired three care agencies but my mother's fired them all. Finally, we contacted a woman who is a bit older and she and Mom hit it off. I thought that we were on the road to a quieter time, but yesterday Mom called me and told me that the woman stole her watch, so she fired her. The caregiver contacted me and we discussed the problem. Since Mom hasn’t worn a watch for decades, I...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 11, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Daughter Upset Because Dad ’s Careless about HIs Diabetes
Photo credit Manignacio Amenabar Dear Carol: My dad has been Mom’s caregiver since her stroke 10 years ago. Dad’s 79 and healthy except for Type 2 diabetes. I visit my parents every few days to help them out so I set up both of their medications for the week, but Dad often leaves the diabetes medication in the pillbox. When I ask him why he says that the medication makes him feel dizzy and sluggish so he hates taking it. I remind him of the possible complications of diabetes but he brushes me off because his weight is normal and he used to be physically active. That makes no sense since he has diabetes no matte...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 10, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Former Caregiver Wants to Protect Her Children From the Same Stress
Photo credit Meghan Holmes Dear Carol: I’m 62 and recovering from over a decade of heavy caregiving for my parents. During the last four years my mother, who had dementia, lived with me and it wasn't pretty. I’m terrified that this is how my life will end, not for myself but for my kids. Naturally, I’d like my kids to care about me, but I don’t want their lives consumed by my last years of potentially failing health. I don’t have much financially so I’ve never been able to afford long-term care insurance. What can I do to smooth the path for my kids? — KL. Continue reading on ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 9, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiver for Spouse Feels Guilty About Trip Away with Friends
Dear Carol: My husband has vascular dementia due to strokes and uses a wheelchair. I’ve been his sole caregiver for over a decade, but a year ago it was obvious that my body was breaking down from the physical work and emotional exhaustion of 24-hour care. It was his idea that he should move to a local nursing home, so we moved him and he’s done well. We like the staff and have become close to some of them. Recently, I was invited to go on a 10-day trip with some women friends from church. Even though I’d love to go, the thought of leaving my husband terrifies me. I’ve told him about the trip and wh...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 8, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Hiring Parent Care Management Great Help with Long-Distance Care
Photo credit Sergey Zolkin Dear Carol: My parents are in their 80s and beginning to have occasional problems with managing their medical appointments and medications. Since I live and work nearly 1000 miles away, I can’t be with them enough to handle this. Thankfully, my parents have been realistic and proactive when it comes to legal work and bill paying. Still, the physical distance between us is a worry. They have a decent income and some savings so I’m considering hiring an in-home care agency, but I feel disadvantaged by the distance since I can’t closely supervise the care. If I hire a caregiver to ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 7, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Uncooperative Parent Doesn ’t Want To Work With Physical Therapist
Photo credit Paul Stickman Dear Carol: My mother, 93, is mentally sharp and lives in her own retirement apartment. As would be expected, she has some physical problems, including arthritis severe enough that she needed a hip replacement in her 80s. She uses a walker but her balance is iffy even with that. I’d like her to have physical therapy to help her improve her balance because of the risk of falling. I’ve communicated with a doctor and she said that we could have a therapist come to the apartment twice a week, but Mom refuses. She takes little medication so there’s nothing detrimental that I can see ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 6, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Adjust Caregiving Routine for a Less Stressful New Year
Photo credit Matthew Bennett Dear Carol: My parents are both in their 80s and still living in their own home. They had two ER visits between them last year because of falls, with me as transportation and support. I take them to medical appointments, pick up their groceries, do their banking, and try to stop in daily because I’d like to cheer up their lives. The thought of a New Year has me depressed because even though their needs run my life, I still can’t seem to make them happy. How do people handle caregiving over the years? Do they do it with a glad heart all the time, which makes me a terrible person, or ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 5, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Adjust Caregiving Routine for a Less Sressful New Year
Photo credit Matthew Bennett Dear Carol: My parents are both in their 80s and still living in their own home. They had two ER visits between them last year because of falls, with me as transportation and support. I take them to medical appointments, pick up their groceries, do their banking, and try to stop in daily because I’d like to cheer up their lives. The thought of a New Year has me depressed because even though their needs run my life, I still can’t seem to make them happy. How do people handle caregiving over the years? Do they do it with a glad heart all the time, which makes me a terrible person, or ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 5, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Sandwhich Generation Mom Anxious About Everyone Needing Her
Photo credit Jenna Norman Dear Carol: During this past year, my once-healthy parents have together experienced one heart attack, one minor stroke and one diabetes diagnosis. My in-laws are still healthy but also old enough to start having health problems. We all live in the same town, but since my husband travels, I’m the go-to person for their needs. We have two children in middle school. or now, things are calm and I can get back to concentrating on being a wife, mom, and employee, but I know that more issues with my parents and possibly my in-laws are inevitable. I love them all and want to do the right thing, but...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 4, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Failing New Year's Resolutions 101 as a Caregiver
Photo credit Anton Scherbakov Whether or not it's a conscious thought, many of us look at a new year as a time to make changes in our lives. We become energized for a few days. However, most of us are quickly caught up in routine. Whether or not we like the routine, it's familiar, and the status quo often provides the path of least resistance. Therefore, even if we're stuck in a life that's not satisfying, we stay with the familiar. Change seems too hard. Read the full article about how we can think we are failing NY 101 but we really aren't:  Carol is the Candid Caregiver Support a caregiver or jump-start discus...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 3, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Brighten the New Year as a Caregiver with Music and Color
Photo credit Matthieu Even though many people with dementia can no longer form new memories they can still feel pleasure in the moment. Since researchers have shown that music and color are two areas of life that continue to affect mood and cognitive activity long into dementia, they are key approaches used by many therapists. Music and color can also lighten the mood of a tired caregiver, so why not add some of each to this new year of caregiving? Continue reading on HealthCentral for more ideas about using music and color to bright your loved one's New Year - and yours: Carol is the Candid Caregiver Support a c...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 2, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Realistic New Year's Resolutions for Caregivers
Photo credit Lament5 Like most caregivers, I always strove for perfection and I always wound up feeling like I fell short. There is no way that I know of to be a perfect caregiver. The needs of any care receiver can change in an instant. We can miss subtle signals. We are often so tired and stressed that we may absentmindedly forget to pick up a prescription, check an adult brief or do the laundry. All of these things can bring on a huge case of unearned caregiver guilt. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the difficult feelings and the pressure.  Read the whole article on Agingcare for ideas on how to have a brighter ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 1, 2020 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Tips to Help Caregivers Improve Their New Year
In the New Year, because your loved one’s situation hasn’t changed, you might think that nothing can improve your own situation. But if you are open to change, you may find that the symbolism of the New Year does offer opportunities to make your life better. Resolve to improve your life through better self-care. View the slideshow on HealthCentral for tips on how to make your New Year a little better: Carol is the Candid Caregiver Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol       &nbs...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 31, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Juggling the Needs of Multiple Elders Is the Reality for Many Caregivers
...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. Thus, the adult ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 30, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs