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5 Examples of How Forgiveness Can Improve a Caregiver's Life
Forgiveness, or the lack there of, can loom large in the life of a caregiver. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting. That is rule number one for people to remember when they are working toward crafting better relationships with family members and others whom they care about. Forgiveness can have enormous benefits for the health of the person who does the forgiving. Considering that negative thinking can be disastrous to your own health, you may want to work toward the positive habit of forgiveness. Here are some people that you may need to forgive along with reasons why you should. Read full article on HealthCentral abou...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 25, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Conserving Estate Money No Excuse for Risking Elder's Health
Dear Carol: My mom moved into the memory unit of an assisted living last year and she loves it. She’s very social so this environment is perfect for her. Now, my brother has suddenly decided that he wants Mom to come and stay with him for the winter since he lives in a warmer climate. He’s the man so he has the Power Of Attorney. Mom doesn’t want to leave her comfortable little apartment, but she’s said if he really wants her there for a time, she should do it. My fear is that the move could make her dementia worse. My brother says he just wants to spend more time with Mom, but he's n...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 24, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Depression in Elders: Symptoms, Triggers and What to Do
Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include being cognizant of the fact that the person would reverse the depression if he or she could, assisting the person in seeking professional help, and continuing with your own education about depression and how to approach treatment for a loved one. Before getting the proper treatment, here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression: View full slideshow on HealthCentral a...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 23, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Living with Elderly Parents: How's It Going?
...Many people are facing the fact that their sweet intentions have taken a sour turn. Certainly, for some, the decision to cohabitate with their elders works out fine. Two or even three generations residing in the same home can work. It can work when there is plenty of space so that everyone has some degree of privacy. It can work when there is respect for one another and a place to go when one has had enough family time. It can work when there is plenty of cooperation, planning beforehand and even some respite care for the elder, should that be needed. Read the full article on Agingcare about how some people regret the d...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 22, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Pilot Program Brings Mental Health Care to Some Elders at Home
. ..Some of that caregiver burden stems from battling to get the caregiver’s loved one bathed, dressed, and transported to medical appointments. To have the option of a house call from a medical professional is only a dream for most caregivers and their care receivers, but this small miracle is actually occurring for some fortunate people through a pilot program called Insights. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how Insights can grow to help more people in their homes: Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 21, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Relatives Who Care More About The Inheritance Than Elders' Care
...Your siblings don't show up at the door to visit Mom. They don't offer to take Dad to doctor's appointments. Heck, they don't even know the doctors' names. They don't know the medications. They don't care about the elderly parent's temper tantrums you, the caregiver, must weather. They don't care that you are the target for verbal abuse from the Alzheimer's afflicted parent. And they really don't care that you haven't had a break from 24/7 responsibility, whether hands-on or helping with all the needs of an elder in assisted living or nursing home, for weeks, months or years. They voice huge concern for the elder, yet t...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 20, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Families Can Take the Brunt of Elder Rage
It's not really news that people tend to be their worst with the people they love. Generally, this is thought to be the case because people feel safe enough with family to just "let it all hang out." Their anger at their circumstances, which may or may not have to do with these family members, is the real cause. Other times, the behavior is because the person has an abusive personality with deeper problems lurking. Whatever the reason, it's not good. We owe the people we love our best selves. Not our "dressed for company" selves, but our compassionate, honest selves. However, most humans are imperf...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 19, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Unearned Guilt Intrinsic to Most Caregiving
If ever there’s a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it’s caregivers. Whether you’re the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your “if only” times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt. The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn’t have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can’t go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver. Read the full article...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 18, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Abused Adult Children May Need to Decline Role as Primary Caregiver
Dear Carol: When I was born my mother was single and hooked on drugs. She kept me with her, but she abused me physically and emotionally. My grandma gained custody of me when I was five years old and she raised me. Grandma died two years ago and now my mother, who has wrecked her health and is in a nursing home, has decided that I should take her to my home to care for her. I don’t hate her, but I really can’t forgive her, and I can’t take care of her anyway. She is my mother so I do feel guilty. I have followed your work and you have addressed similar situations, but I need to hear this as...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 17, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

5 Positive Effects of Providing Long-term Care
After decades of caregiving, I’ve experienced some negative effects as noted in 5 Negative Effects of Long-term Caregiving. However, I’ve also experienced positive effects that continue to give me pleasure and enhance my life. I saved the positive aspects of caregiving for the second article because, having recently written about the ill effects on our health caused by negative thinking, it seemed more authentic to me as a writer. Also, as a person, when possible I like to concentrate on the positive. Below are a few of the many things that I feel I have gained, and still am gaining, from long-term caregiving. ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 16, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Group Singing Offers Multiple Benefits for People with Dementia
Recently, I wrote 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. While music is valuable on its own, and reminiscing while singing old songs is helpful, it ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 15, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Alzheimer's Is Only One Type of Dementia Though It's the Most Common Type
One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.” View slideshow on HealthCentral about the different types of dementia and how they affect people: Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Mi...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 14, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

When a Loved One With Dementia Thinks You're Stealing
Accused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem? View the slideshow on HealthCentral about when a loved one thinks that you are stealing: Support a caregiver or jump...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 13, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

85-Year-Old Author Illustrates How Relishing Accumulated Decades Enhances Beauty
Relishing the effects of the aging process is a shocking idea in our society. We are expected to fight every sign of age. Billions of dollars annually are spent to help people, especially women, look more like their young adult children than who they really are. Sadly, older adults are even encouraged to act like young people rather than celebrate who they’ve become throughout decades of learning. A whisper-thin (less than 100-page) volume titled “The Truth Is at My Front Door: Spiritual Direction on Aging Beautifully” pushes back against this negative view of women and aging. Read the full article o...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 12, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Playing Along with the Realities of Dementia World
It was not unlike any other day, but this particular afternoon Dad was adamant. He was waiting for his medical degree to come from the University of Minnesota and wondered why it was taking so long to arrive. I did what I usually did, and waited a few days to see if this episode of delusional thinking would pass. It did not. So, I created a facsimile of a medical degree on my computer with my dad's name on it. I scribbled some "signatures" on the bottom, put it in a mailing envelope and brought it to him in the nursing home the following day. He was delighted. I added it to the other awards and degrees ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 11, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Maintaining Dignity of Aging Parent Often Takes Special Insight
Dear Carol: I’ve decided that my mother must have dementia. Today I discovered that her tax return was rejected because she had marked several things wrong. She took this to my husband because she didn't want me to know. Also, her housekeeping is terrible. It drives me nuts that she doesn't even throw away garbage when the can is a foot from where she puts the garbage down. These are just examples of what is happening. How can I convince her that she needs to let me handle things and that she needs to trust that I will do what is best for her? I understand she doesn't want to give up her independence but I'm tir...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 10, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Flu Season: Remember That Flu Can Kill Older Adults
Flu isn’t just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to  Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers.  **Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place?   Read full article on HealthCentral about the flu season and what you can do to help your elderly loved one: Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 9, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer's Advances
While Alzheimer's specific drugs may help slow symptoms for some people, they also may increase the risk of hip fractures, fainting, urinary problems and other health issues. Most researchers now think that a time comes when many medications for the elderly are no longer beneficial and may be harmful. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester looked at 5,406 nursing home residents who had late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia with more than half of them being older than 85. The scientists found that 2,911 of the patients - nearly 54...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 8, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

The Impact of Grandparents On Our Society
The importance of grandparents in the lives of children cannot be denied. Before our culture became so mobile, it was common for children to grow up surrounded by extended family, including one or both sets of grandparents. Seniors often moved in with their adult children and young grandkids when they became frail. My own childhood mirrored this now quaint picture of the past, and I've always felt happy about the fact that my children were involved with both sets of their grandparents as they grew up. Yet, even though my kids enjoyed weekly grandparent visits, they were already in the minority. Many of their friends r...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 7, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Many Common Drugs Have Surprising Mental Side Effects
Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system. Many over-the-counter drugs used for sleep and allergies are anticholinergic drugs as well, a fact that’s been well publicized. A recent article on Forbes.com spotlighted OTC drugs with these anticholiner...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 6, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Aromatherapy Shown to be Safe and Effective for People With Alzheimer's
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 toolbox 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. The NIH abstract on aromatherapy reports that the trial consisted of having subjects inhale the fragrance of rosemary a...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 5, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Aging with Ease: How Moving Right Can Make All the Difference
Most of us move and sit automatically without thinking of how it affects our bodies. With age, however, our habitual movements can translate into poor posture and sore or damaged joints. Mary Derbyshire has some words of wisdom to help us age with less pain, and the approach to movement that she teaches is, well, painless. Derbyshire has taught fitness and movement for over 35 years. Read full article on HealthCentral about how moving the right way can help us age with grace: Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook The stories in this fine book showed u...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 4, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Contracts for Retirement Communities May Require Expert Help to Fully Understand
Dear Carol: My husband and I are trying to help my brother select a retirement community that would also offer assisted living for his future needs. He’s 74 and has early Parkinson's disease so he wants to make this move soon. Our experience with trying to decipher the pricing structures of the places that we visited has been enormously frustrating.  Is there some sort of resource that covers retirement living contracts that transition to assisted living and perhaps even nursing care? We really need some guidance. Thanks for any help that you can provide. – TL Read full article on Inforum about the in...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 3, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

When One Parent Dies the Survivor's Need for Assistance Often Becomes More Apparent
Long-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gap...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 2, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders
Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy. On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well su...
Source: Minding Our Elders - September 1, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

The Stages of Alzheimer's and the Caregiver's Role
While Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently, three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here. View slideshow on HealthCentral about the stages of Alzheimer's: Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with re...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 31, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 2
...When we left Part 1 of Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas, HealthCentral and Barbara Drake were discussing, via an email interview, how health insurance, or lack thereof, affected the move to Peru.  Barbara Drake: I should add a caveat for anyone thinking of moving an elder to Latin America. Our experience involved caring for an elderly person who was relatively healthy. Apart from Alzheimer’s, my octogenarian father didn’t have any major chronic illnesses. He had an enlarged heart that wasn’t giving him trouble at the time we moved him. Our care focus was on getting help with ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 30, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 1
Elder care in America is expensive, with Alzheimer’s topping the charts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website carried an article published in the Health Tidbits section of the Journal of the National Medical Association that says: “Patients in most nursing homes are not receiving proper care due to a shortage of workers.” This is not to say that many U.S. nursing homes aren&rsqu...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 29, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Reasons Why Some Caregivers Say “No” to Help
The Instinct to Protect: While many caregivers come to terms with the fact that we can't make our loved ones completely healthy again, we still want to be the person who provides care and safeguards their well-being. This protective instinct is powerful and hard to overcome. Read full article on Agingcare about why caregivers who need help may sometimes refuse it: Sign up for the Caregiver’s Smile Summit: 0ver 50 Experts on Caregiving, Aging, and Care Partnering Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gon...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 28, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiver Needs Medical Care before Health Is Irreparably Shattered
Dear Carol: I’m an only child and single. My mother developed cancer in her 70s and I helped Dad care for her until her death two years ago. Only months after her death, Dad turned into another person. It’s not that he was simply angry. He seemed to be hallucinating and could be violent. I managed to get him to a psychiatrist who said that Dad has mixed dementia, likely a combination of Alzheimer’s and something else, maybe Lewy body dementia. The trauma of seeing his wife decline and finally die in a nursing home may have kicked off Dad’s symptoms and I’m sympathetic, but I could not han...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 27, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How Should I Prepare My Family for Grandpa Moving in?
Decades ago, having Grandma come to live with the younger generations was fairly common, and it often worked well. It did for my family. When my brother and I were teenagers and our little sister a toddler, our grandmother can to live with us. Grandma was crippled by rheumatoid arthritis and could no longer live alone. My parents built a house that would accommodate the different generations, with some privacy for all, and Grandma came to live with us. The home wasn't huge by today's standards, but it was nice and well designed for our needs. The arrangement worked. Read more on Agingcare about preparing your family f...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 26, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiving: Have You Ever Wished it Could All Be Over?
Occasionally, someone in support groups will say that they secretly wish the parent for whom they are caring would die. The parent is sick, miserable and hard to care for. The caregiver wants her or his life back. Of course, those who admit they have had this thought wonder if that makes them a terrible person. Most of these people are decent folks who love their parents. What has happened is they have taken on the role of caregiver, as so most of us do, out of love. Our elders need us, so we hop in without a thought. We have no idea that this role could last for years or even decades. Read full article on Agingc...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 25, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Have You Secretly Wish An Aging, Struggling Parent Could Die?
Occasionally, someone in support groups will say that they secretly wish the parent for whom they are caring would die. The parent is sick, miserable and hard to care for. The caregiver wants her or his life back. Of course, those who admit they have had this thought wonder if that makes them a terrible person. Most of these people are decent folks who love their parents. What has happened is they have taken on the role of caregiver, as so most of us do, out of love. Our elders need us, so we hop in without a thought. We have no idea that this role could last for years or even decades. Read full article on Agingc...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 25, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

When Both Parents Have Dementia: How to Cope?
"My mom and dad both have dementia. I am all alone taking care of them since my sister passed away. I have no one to help me. I get sad and frustrated with them both. How do I deal with my feelings?" These are powerful words from one AgingCare.com forum participant. It is a cry that is all too familiar for many family caregivers and one which will touch the hearts of most readers. Many of us feel alone when we are trying to care for our aging parents and there are no siblings to help, or our siblings won't help. When we have one parent who has this disease, it is hard. When we have two, it is often nearly un...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 24, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Long-term Caregiving Will Change Your Life
Most caregivers go into caregiving mode with full hearts and wonderful intentions. They rarely stop to think, "Hmm, this could go on for years. I'd better plan it out. If I move to part-time at work, have more child care and spend mornings caring for my parents' needs, it will be difficult, but possible. If I continue to work full time, I'll have more for retirement, but I can't do it all. I have to plan this out." No. We just jump in. Dad has a stroke, so of course we are there to help. He survives but needs a great deal of care. Mom can't handle the hard physical work of caring for Dad. And she's getting f...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 23, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Long-term Caregiving Will ChangeYour Life
Most caregivers go into caregiving mode with full hearts and wonderful intentions. They rarely stop to think, "Hmm, this could go on for years. I'd better plan it out. If I move to part-time at work, have more child care and spend mornings caring for my parents' needs, it will be difficult, but possible. If I continue to work full time, I'll have more for retirement, but I can't do it all. I have to plan this out." No. We just jump in. Dad has a stroke, so of course we are there to help. He survives but needs a great deal of care. Mom can't handle the hard physical work of caring for Dad. And she's getting f...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 23, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How to Communicate When Your Elderly Parent Can No Longer Speak
A video I recently stumbled upon remains vivid in my mind. An elderly couple who had spent a lifetime devoted to one another was coping with the wife's Alzheimer's disease. At this point, the wife was in a nursing home. She was unhappy, aggressive and even combative with the staff. No one knew what to do with her. On instinct, the husband decided he would do what he'd always done. He climbed into her bed with her and held her. He cuddled with her. He stroked her face and told her he loved her. He spent hours just snuggling and holding her. Slowly, the wife responded. This once angry, difficult woman became easy f...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 22, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Is Our Youth-Obsessed Culture Making You Old Before Your Time?
Look young Feel young! Think young! The constant barrage of information about how being forever young is the only desirable way to live is enough to make even a young person feel old. Now researchers have shown that this ageism is potentially harmful to one’s cognitive abilities over the long term. A study led by Becca R. Levy, PhD of Yale University and her colleagues has shown that our memory is actually shaped by age stereotypes. In other words, if you are ageist in your thinking, adhering to stereotypical images of older people as bumbling, forgetful, annoying people who are going “downhill,&...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 21, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Incontinence Embarrassment Shouldn ’t Block People from Seeking Medical Help
Dear Carol: My mom is smart, stylish, and trim. She was very social but now that’s changed. Occasional, minor urinary incontinence has become a problem and she’s acting like her life is over. I’ve told her that women who’ve had babies often have this issue and that there are products that she can use. Of course, she knows this, but she says that’s not an option. Meanwhile, she is becoming reclusive which is not like her. I’ve told her that her doctor may have some ideas but she says that talking to her doctor about this is humiliating. How do I convince her that this one issue doesn...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 20, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning
Many people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior: Rea...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 19, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Dementia Death: Conflicting Emotions Are Normal for Caregivers After a Loved One Dies
“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head slumped to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy?...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 18, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships with Friends when Dementia Takes a Seat
Memory loss can be one of the first symptoms a person experiences with Alzheimer’s, and those living with Lewy body dementia may also become easily confused. These varied symptoms can make maintaining relationships more difficult, but friendships are no less important for people with dementia than for the rest of us. Maintaining relationships, however, especially among friends who are not pressured to continue involvement because of a new sense of duty over a person with dementia, can take work. This guide discusses how caregivers can help by educating willing visitors who want to be helpful but simply don&...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 17, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How to Cope with An Elder Who Loves to Complain
You've taken your mom to the doctor and she's upset with you because the doctor's office was cold. You've helped your dad with the yard and he's annoyed that you didn't mow the grass in the right pattern. Why do many elders complain about everything you do? Much depends on the parents' personalities throughout life. If your parents were the bickering type and were always negative, this complaining may be the only way they know how to communicate. They may not even be aware how their attitude affects others. Since you grew up in their household you can ask yourself, "Is this how they always acted?" Read ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 16, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Is Forgetfulness A Precursor of Alzheimer's or Are There Other Signs?
...While these statistics are scary, you shouldn’t let them cloud the reality that many of us will age normally and will not develop AD, or any other type of dementia. Certainly, we will have some memory changes as we age. Improvements in our lifestyle may help mitigate some of those. Other changes we’ll just have to live with. So what is normal memory loss and when should we worry? What if you momentarily forgot an old friend’s name? What if it routinely takes time to remember where you left your car keys, or your glasses? Are these glitches something to be worried about? In most cases, no. Rea...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 15, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Optimistic Thinking May Help Preserve Memory and Judgement
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 judgement. Both of those traits bode well for staving off, if  not preventing, Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by the University of Michigan has linked an optimistic outlook to taking better care of ourselves overall, which may explain the effect that optimism has on Alz...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 14, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Helping in an Emergency Shouldn ’t Tag Neighbor as Full-time Caregiver
Dear Carol: I own a condominium in a building where two elderly sisters live. Though we didn’t spend time together we’d always been friendly and they seemed to have plenty of other friends, though no family. Three months ago, the youngest sister fell and needed to go to the emergency room. The older sister asked for my help so I called 9-1-1 and accompanied them.  I was happy to help, but now that the younger sister is home they have both grabbed on to me as their savior. They want rides to medical appointments, help with their checkbook, and even cleaning. I telecommute with work so, while I am home ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 13, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Convincing Elders That It's Time for Assisted Living
Conventional wisdom says that we all want to stay in our own homes for as long as we can. That is likely how most of our elders feel; however, it's not always in their best interest to do so. How do we talk with them about the realities and dangers of staying at home once their health is failing, and how do we convince them that a move to an assisted living center could be a very good – and positive option? I believe that part of the problem with convincing elders, and many younger people for that matter, is that people haven't been inside a modern assisted living center. Deep inside their gut, they harbor the outdat...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 12, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Needs of 'Elder Orphans' a Growing Concern in Aging Population
“Elder Orphan” is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, “Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population,” Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole. Read full art...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 11, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Pain Management as We Age: An Interview With Denis Patterson, D.O.
Pain management can be a problem for aging bodies. With the current focus on removing opioids as a go-to solution, doctors are working hard to provide alternatives for their patients. Denis Patterson, D.O., is a Board Certified Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation physician. He is also the founder and owner of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in Reno, Nevada. I’ve had questions for some time about what doctors suggest for pain management of aging bodies, regardless of whether the pain stems from old injuries or a current issue such as severe arthritis. So I asked Dr. Patterson if he would be...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 10, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Understanding Your Elder's Personality Can Help You Understand Possible Need for Intervention
Aging can bring unique joys, but for many it also brings the loss of physical and, for some, cognitive abilities that they feel once defined them. These losses can usually be absorbed if the elders stay connected to the greater community in some way and/or they enjoy engrossing hobbies. But many become isolated, either because they don’t feel like making the effort to stay connected or they lack the opportunity. Those who do become socially isolated will often succumb to disease or early death. View full slideshow on HealthCentral about knowing your elders will help you understand when intervention is needed: Support...
Source: Minding Our Elders - August 9, 2017 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs