Fitness and Aging Well Go Hand In Hand
How vital is fitness to aging well? Very. A recent study of participants in the 2015 National Senior Games, also known as the Senior Olympics, revealed that the typical participant had a fitness age of more than 20 years younger than his or her chronological age. According to the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, fitness age is determined by a measure of cardiovascular endurance and is a better predictor of longevity than chronological age. I asked Robert Drapkin, MD FACP, to help us understand ... Read more on HealthCentral about how fitness and aging well connect: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Cente...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 18, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Marking the Journey: The Importance of Ceremony
Photo credit Ahim D. Silva Birth, graduations, marriage, anniversaries, death - important moments in our lives are often celebrated by some type of ceremony. In our middle to late years, we are often encouraged to plan the type of funeral we'd like, even pre-paying so our loved ones won't have to juggle business and grief. Everyone has different ideas about when a ceremony is appropriate, however, I've learned about a new ceremony that I find very appealing.   It's the "Walking You Home" program and it offers a dignified touch and family support immediately after the death of a loved one. Read the full ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 17, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Doing Too Much: Caregivers Can Deminish Dignity by Overdoing the Help
Photo credit iStock My friend and neighbor, Joe, was in his 80s. His wife, who had been his ears since he lost his hearing in his 30s, had died. The natural thing for me was to basically adopt Joe. I became his ears and his helper. My young sons joined me in helping out. Now grown, they've got many "Joe stories" that pop up during our casual conversations. The fact that Joe needed help was obvious. However, he was my first care receiver, other than my grandmother who lived with us when I was a teenager... Read the full article on HealthCentral about how pushing too much help can take away your loved one's dignity...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 16, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

When Your Loved One Has Dementia: Dealing With Embarrassment
Dear Candid Caregiver: My dad enjoys going to the park and watching kids play. Since I try hard to give him the best life he can have considering that he has Alzheimer’s disease, I find this a positive experience. The problem is that there are times when Dad is glaringly inappropriate and I don’t know how to handle these moments. As an example, last week, he saw a child in the park dipping his toes in a pond. Dad began lecturing the child about not “falling in.”  Read the full article on HealthCentral about embarrassing situations with loved ones who live with dementia: Carol Bradley Bursa...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 15, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How to Reduce the Risk of Winter Falls for Aging Adults
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), falls are the leading cause of death from injury among older adults. Thom Disch has a passion for this topic and has been compiling statistics and stories related to this healthcare crisis for over a decade. Thom owns HandiProducts, a web-based business that showcases the dozens of products that he has developed specifically for preventing slips and falls. He also wrote “Stop the Slip,” which is packed with practical tips. Read the full article on HealthCentral for tips and leads to products to reduce falls: Carol Bradley Bursack is the Candid Caregiver Medi...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 14, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Dad's Decision Not To Be Treated for Cancer Upsets Daughter
Photo credit Matteo Vistocco Dear Carol: There’s probably no right answer to what I’m asking but I felt the need to write, just for comfort. My mother died when I was in my teens so Dad has been the only parent that I’ve had for more than 20 years. I have no siblings. Dad’s now in his seventies and has been diagnosed with prostate cancer. He’s beaten both melanoma and lung cancer in the past, but he tells me that this cancer should be slow growing and that he’ll probably die before it’s a problem so he doesn’t want to treat it. I want him to go full-on with eve...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 13, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Understanding Hospice Care: It's About Refocusing Priorities
Our culture is steeped in language that makes accepting the terminal diagnosis of ourselves or a loved one more difficult to accept than it needs to be. Doctors say, “I’m sorry, there’s nothing more we can do. You might want to look into hospice care.” Patients tell their doctors that they want “aggressive treatment,” until there is nothing else that can be done, then they will go on hospice care. The crux of these conversations is that medicine will do everything possible and then when you give up you will go on hospice care. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how viewing...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 12, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How Music Therapy Can Increase Quality of Life for Those in Hospice
For many, music from certain eras can bring back memories of better times. For others, music soothes anxiety or gets them pumped up for a workout. When it comes to people living with dementia, music can help in all of those ways, but it can also help cognition. Hospice organizations are keenly aware of the soothing power of music. Sometimes the music may be used casually, by the facility or the family, knowing that this is a type of music that the person who is in the dying process had always enjoyed. Increasingly, though, employing trained music therapists has been favored. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 11, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Helping an Elder Leave Behind Their Pet
Dear Candid Caregiver: As far back as I can remember my grandmother has had a dog. For the last 10 years, this dog has been Tippy, a small, male, mixed-breed that has been an ideal companion. The problem is that Grandma is getting less able to care for herself — let alone Tippy — and she is going to need to move to an assisted living facility (ALF). I’ve checked around, and while some local ALFs will let people bring their cats, none locally will allow them to keep a dog because dogs need to be let outside, among other excuses. Read the full article on HealthCentral about pets and how difficult it ca...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 10, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Is It Wise For Your Elderly Loved One to Move in with You?
Photo credit Alex Pavloff Decades ago, having grandparents move in with you was fairly common, and it often worked well. It did for my family. My parents built a new house that could accommodate all the different generations and afforded some privacy for all. Grandma moved in, and the arrangement worked. My mom did not work outside the home, so there was nearly always someone home with Grandma. I was also a born caregiver and gladly did what I could to help with both my toddler sister and my grandmother. Read the full article on Agingcare about the wisdom of having your parents move in with you: MedicareFAQ – Medicar...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 9, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Discover the Differences Between Palliative Care and Hospice
Many people have heard of hospice care but they mistakenly think that it’s just a way to help cancer patients be more comfortable at the end of their lives. Fewer people have heard of palliative care, and they may have no idea what it is. The truth is that hospice and palliative care are related but used for different reasons at different times, and everyone should be well-versed in what they offer. Here, we’ll clarify some points of confusion. View the slideshow on HealthCentral for added clarity about the differences between palliative care and hospice: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center Support a c...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 8, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Group Singing Can Be An Enormous Boost for People Living with Dementia
I've written 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. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how helpful it was for people to perform in group singin...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 7, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Grandma's Refusal To Wear Hearing Aids Upsets Family
Photo credit William Krause Dear Carol: My 93-year-old grandma has hearing aids but she refuses to wear them. Her hearing without them is poor, and while she's taught herself to read lips that only works if I'm standing right in front of her. My husband's so frustrated that he stood in front of her the other morning and said, “I am not going to talk to you until you put your hearing aids in your ears.” I understand his frustration but his response doesn't seem right, either. Could there be some logical reason why Grandma won't wear her hearing aids?  – WS Read the full column on Inforu...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 6, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Try to Avoid These Mistakes 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.” Read the full article on HealthCentral to learn more about mistakes to avoid when caring for a person  who is living with dementia: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Re...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 5, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Veteran Caregiver for Multiple Elders Explains Complications
It's been nearly a decade since I began sharing my personal caregiving stories with the public, first via the book "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories" and later through a newspaper column, on my own blog and then contributing to major websites such as Healthcentral.com. When I first started sharing my stories and looking for others who had similar tales to tell, people tended to be reticent about speaking up. Now, sharing caregiver "in the trenches" stories has become a major part of caregiver self-care and even survival. Read the full article on HealthCentral about h...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 4, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Comforting People Who Are Grieving Can Be Tricky Territory
It's difficult to know exactly what to say to someone suffering from grief since words or actions that comfort one person can feel like a slap in the face to another. Yet most of us want to offer comfort when a person whom we care about is grieving the imminent death of a loved one, or after such a death has occurred. Following are tips that may help you find the right words, or at least some passable words, as well as advice from caregivers and spouses who’ve been through tough times. View slideshow on HealthCentral about the minefield of offering comfort to those who grieve.  MedicareFAQ – Medicare R...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 3, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregivers Can Improve Their New Year: Here's How
It's a 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 full slideshow on HealthCentral to find tips on how caregivers can improve their New Year: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center 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 - January 2, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

A New Year Calls for a New Attitude Toward Caregiving
If you haven’t been making yourself a priority over the last year, you’re not alone. Most caregivers face countless mental, financial and logistical hurdles when it comes to participating in self-care. But, the new year is upon us, which is the perfect time for us to take inventory of our lives, pinpoint some changes we want to make and adjust our attitudes to help us see these things through. Changing how you approach your caregiving responsibilities doesn’t mean that you love the person you are caring for any less. To the contrary, changing your mindset can actually be a clear indication of the depth of...
Source: Minding Our Elders - January 1, 2019 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Journaling: Rediscover Yourself and Reclaim Your Life
Photo credit Aaron Burden ...Sadly, new beginnings for caregivers are far easier to suggest than to accomplish, especially since they tend to come after significant endings. Yet, with some effort, you can still find small ways to refresh your life if you are willing to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.  One route of exploring new possibilities and rediscovering yourself is journaling. Writing in a journal can be a useful exercise for examining where you were before you took on the caregiving role, where you are now and how you envision your life in the future. Read the full article on Agingcare for a guide t...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 31, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

First Dementia Diagnosis Might Take Time
Photo credit Raw Pixel Dear Carol: When my husband started having some rather bizarre behavioral episodes he made an appointment for a checkup. After an exam didn’t show problems, the doctor referred him to a neurologist who conducted some tests and diagnosed him with Alzheimer’s. Because my husband didn’t have memory problems that are unusual for his age, I wasn’t satisfied, so we saw another neurologist. She diagnosed my husband with mixed dementia with signs of Alzheimer’s, but also vascular dementia. This diagnosis seems odd to me, too. Aren’t memory problems the hallmark of Alz...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 30, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiver Burnout a Real Possibility for Many
Dear Candid Caregiver: My mom passed two years ago and my dad hasn’t done well since. Recently he had a stroke. My sister, who lives 1,000 miles away, came out for mom’s funeral, and she also visited for a few days after dad’s stroke, but she has a job and a family and couldn’t stay long. Now, dad’s been diagnosed with vascular dementia. Realistically, I’m the sole caregiver. I have two teenaged children, a husband who is, so far, supportive, and a job. I’m already beginning to feel burned out after just a few months. What can I do to help myself get through this and still tak...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 29, 2018 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 staging Alzheimer's and how caregivers fit into those stages: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resour...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 28, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiving: Could Your Body Language Be Making Your Loved One Anxious?
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...Dear Sad but Tense: I’m so sorry about what’s happened, not only to your dad but to your whole family. Generally, when I hear about ruined retirement plans, the letter comes from a spouse, so you provide an observant perspective that we c...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 27, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Anniversary of Loved One's Death Particularly Hard During Holidays
Photo credit Tim Doerfler Dear Carol: This January marks one year since my mother died. My dad adored her, as we all did, but he's having a harder time adjusting than we kids, which I suppose is to be expected. Mom had cancer but her treatments proved to be ineffective so she eventually went on hospice care. With hospice helping, Mom was coherent during the holidays last year. We got through it, and Dad did admirably well, considering the circumstances. I think he kept up a front for Mom's sake. Once she died, which was mid-month, he fell apart and had only marginally recovered before this year's holidays approached. The f...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 26, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

It ’s Christmas Day: Are You Enjoying It?
Dear Readers: I'm re-running some thoughts about Christmas as a caregiver. Some may apply to your circumstances, some may not. That's how life is. We take what works and leave the rest. Holiday blessings to all of my readers. - Carol Many people are celebrating Christmas Day, today, December 25th. Caregivers may find the word celebrating a little over the top, but try not to be too dismissive. If you are caring for a parent or spouse who doesn’t recognize you for who you are, that doesn’t mean your efforts are unappreciated. Know that on some level, your love is understood. Celebrate that. If you have rushed ar...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 25, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Now That Christmas Is Here Remember: Our Best Is Good Enough
Photo credit Aaron Burden Will the Christmas tree bring Mom happy memories of past Christmas pleasures or will it remind her of the Christmas tree fire in her home when she was a five-year-old child? Will the gathering of loving relatives bring her a feeling of being loved and cared for or will she suffer from horrible anxiety because of all of these people who have become strangers? Is it better to leave Dad, who now lives in a memory unit at a wonderful assisted living facility, to your home for the family gathering or should you let him have a quieter Christmas and visit him in his new home - the memory center? Rea...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 24, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Holiday Spirit Gone After Loss of Loved Ones
Photo credit Annie Spratt Dear Carol: Last year was a tough one for my family. Dad had never recovered from a massive stroke that he suffered two years ago and Mom, who’d been his caregiver, discovered shortly after his death that she had advanced breast cancer. They were both 79. Mom was peaceful with the fact that the cancer was too advanced for her to fight and said that she was ready to join dad. We realize that since she was beyond treatment when she was diagnosed she was showing a healthy attitude, but my sister and I are still feeling traumatized by the year. Our parents loved Christmas and spent weeks de...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 23, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How Caregivers Can Have a Realistic and Positive Holiday Experience
Photo credit Raw Pixel There’s an image of holiday perfection that our culture encourages. Starting with Thanksgiving, we are inundated with images of families happily enjoying each other’s company during a holiday meal. Most of us have memories from our childhood that feed this desire for Norman Rockwell-esque celebrations. Even those who didn’t have these picture-perfect experiences growing up often strive to create them with their own families.  However, few of us can measure up to the fantasy—caregivers least of all. The vast majority of advertisements, music and blockbuster movies sug...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 22, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Self-Care For Caregivers: The Most Challenging Task
A study from the Family Caregiving Alliance found that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their lifespan shortened by four to eight years. Caregivers could conceivably alter these statistics if they practice reasonable self-care. View slideshow on HealthCentral with tips on how to approach caregiver self-care - at times a nearly impossible task: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center 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 21, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

There Is Life After a Dementia Diagnosis: Live It
Photo credit Matteo Vistocco For most anyone who has been diagnosed with dementia, or has loved someone with a type of dementia, the formal diagnosis was a moment frozen in time. A moment where the thought of possibly having a brain-destroying disease became a confirmed reality. That pivotal moment is life-changing, however, people can move beyond that moment in time and learn to live with dementia. For our family, that moment arrived after my dad came out of a surgery that was supposed to repair damage caused by a World War II brain injury.  MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center Support a caregiver o...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 20, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiving Humor: If We Don't Laugh We'll Cry
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... Read the full ar...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 19, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Living With Dementia: People Can Have a Positive Outlook Despite the Diagnosis
The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how it's possible to live with a positive attitude even after a dementia diagnosis: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 18, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

What To Avoid When Caregiving for Someone Living With Alzheimer's
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. View slideshow on HealthCentral with tips on mistakes that you can avoid when you're caring for someone who lives with dementia: Medi...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 17, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Daughter Shouldn ’t Let Dad’s Post-Stroke Communication Problems Keep Her Away
Photo credit Damir Bosnjak Dear Carol:  About six months ago my dad had a stroke that’s left him struggling to get out his words. Since he was always so eloquent, this is extra hard on him. I dread visiting him at the nursing home because my visits seem to cause him more frustration than pleasure. I know he wants me to visit, but maybe the fact that we’d always had fun debating ideas makes it harder on him since I bring back memories of better days. I love him and want to spend as much time with him as I can, but how do I do this without causing him grief?  – RE Read Carol's answer to the r...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 16, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

There's No Way Around Grief Other Than Working Through It
HealthCentral: In reading “The Only Way Out,” I was especially taken with your advice about saying goodbye to your old life and letting go of what was before you can move on. This is a complicated process, and your book takes this on in depth, but could you give us a few brief tips that people can hold on to? Dr. Gail Gross: When an injury, such as death occurs in your life, it signals the end of one phase of your life and a transition into something new. The initial response is to run back to the familiar, even though the set that held your personality has cracked open. Read the full interview with Dr. Ga...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 15, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

How We Celebrate Christmas While Dealing With Dementia
Once dementia is part of the family, it will be part of the holidays. The person with dementia will have good days and bad days and will change as the disease progresses. One thing we can count on, though, is that a loved one with dementia will need special consideration. How does a caregiver realistically cope with the holidays? View the slideshow on HealthCentral for tips on celebrating Christmas when someone lives with dementia:   MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center 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 14, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Caregiving: Mom Goes Berserk if I Date!
Dear Candid Caregiver: I’m a divorced, middle-aged woman who’d very much enjoy a relationship but I can’t even date because my mother gets mad when I do. I thought that I’d left this behind after high school but I’m obviously wrong. Mom had a stroke two years ago and recovered as well as can be expected. Other than having a slight limp, there’s little physical sign of what she went through. The problem is that six months after her stroke, she was diagnosed with a combination of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia. I moved her in with me so that I could provide care when...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 13, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

'Kick-Ass Kinda Girl:' Caregiving During Middle Age Inspired Author to Help Caregivers in Need
When people think about caregiving spouses, they often think of older adults. We only have to look at a young mother diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a young husband diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), or in this case, a woman who’s healthy husband had a sudden, massive stroke, to know differently. Care partners come in all ages. Kathi Koll, author of “Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Caregiving” knows the drill. She and her husband, Don, lived a life of glitz and glamour, working and playing alongside friends who were celebrities and politicians. Read the ...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 12, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Elder Law Attorney Helps You Understand End-of-Life Document Needs
An ongoing concern for many older adults, as well as their adult children, is whether they really need to pay for the services of an attorney when planning for their finances and health care in old age. This is a valid question, and people of modest means often feel that they can’t afford an attorney. However, the reality is that many elder care problems faced by families can be avoided by consulting an attorney before their loved one needs any form of care. Read the full article on HealthCentral about the ins and outs of obtaining Powers of Attorney and other necessary documents for your loved one's welfare: Ca...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 11, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

A Family Caregiver's Tips For Choosing a Nursing Home
Photo credit John Mark Kusnietosov  As a family caregiver of multiple elders, I needed a facility where more than one of my elders could live while I cared for others in various locations. My family was fortunate to find an excellent nursing home just a few blocks from my home. During the 15 years that my loved ones (different people at different times) lived in this facility, I learned a great deal about what makes a good nursing home tick. I interviewed a licensed nursing home administrator for her tips on selecting a nursing home not long ago, but as a family member, I’d like to add a few more idea...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 10, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

People With Dementia Still Sensitive To Body Language
Photo credit  Bruno Aguirre Dear Carol: My sister is the primary caregiver for our dad who is in a nursing home because of Alzheimer’s disease. She lives in his community and I live over 100 miles away. I try to visit every other weekend to give my sister a much-deserved break and often we’ll meet at the nursing home. I do understand her stress. She has a husband, a job, middle-school-aged kids with all that goes with raising kids, plus the primary responsibility of our dad. The problem is that her stress shows in her body language when she's helping Dad. I know that I'm not always as soothing and gen...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 9, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Important to Note: Alzheimer's Is Only One Type of Dementia
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 Alzheimer's, dementia, and what the terms are so confusing: Carol Bradley Bursack is the Candid Caregiver MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center Support a caregive...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 8, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

12 Tips to Help Spousal Caregivers Through Hard Times
While family members providing care for loved ones share many issues, there’s a different emotional dynamic for spousal caregivers than adult children caring for a parent. Betsy E. Wurzel, spousal caregiver for her husband Matt Sloan, can attest to this. Matt was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD), at age 56. View slideshow about spousal caregivers are about on HealthCentral: Carol Bradley Bursack is the Candid Caregiver MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center Support a caregiver or jump-start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elder...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 7, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

The Reality of Many Caregivers: Juggling the Needs of Multiple Elders
...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 the full article on H...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 6, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Medicare Late Penalties That Will Cost You
This article is part of an ongoing series of informative Medicare guest posts written by MedicareFAQ. I'd suggest reading this article closely before you decide to put off signing up for some parts of Medicare coverage so you don't end up with an unexpected - and costly - penalty. - Carol Medicare coverage choices can be confusing and there’s a ton of information, as well as misinformation, out there that add to the confusion. What many new beneficiaries do not realize is that there are penalties that can lighten your wallet if you elect not to take certain coverages. Not to mention, if you do not pick up certain pa...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 5, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

You Are Not Alone When You Have Caregivers Like This Who Share Their Experiences
...Thankfully, during this past decade, because of technology along with other awareness efforts, caregiver support has exploded with resources and professional help. Still, caregivers long to connect personally with each other and share, on an intimate level, what they’ve learned. The stories below are examples of that sharing spirit. Caregiving will change your life both positively and negatively, but these caregivers make it clear that you don’t have to go through it alone. Read the full article on HealthCentral about how caregivers can help each other: Carol Bradley Bursack is the Candid Caregiver MedicareF...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 4, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Making Holidays Special for Your Older Adults …No Matter Where They Live
Photo credit Tyler Delgoto Even though holidays can be fraught with stress because of societal expectations that they be happy no matter what our circumstances, most of us have happy memories of celebrations when we were young. Our parents were in charge, and kids were the focus. As our parents age and can no longer be in charge of celebrations, the duties tend to fall to adult children. Our heart's desire is to provide a way for our aging parents to enjoy the holidays, but their circumstances can make that challenging. First and foremost, however, remember that it's your presence that is the most important thing. Tha...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 3, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Sibling Caregiving Criticism Ramped Up Over Holiday Visits
Photo credit Sharon McCutchen Dear Carol: My 93-year-old mother lives in a nursing home and I visit her several times during the work week, more over the weekends. She seems as content as she is capable of being and she’s getting excellent care. My two siblings only visit Mom for the holidays. I understand this since they are each on different coasts and traveling is both time-consuming and expensive. What’s hard to handle is their pressure to have me take Mom into my home. They seem unable to grasp the idea that I can’t give her the care that she needs while I’m working, and we don’t hav...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 2, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

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 drifted 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! Read the full article on H...
Source: Minding Our Elders - December 1, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs

Here's How To Have More Fun While Caregiving
Many dementia caregivers feel as though they are treading water just to avoid sinking under the often exhausting pressures associated with dementia care. But consciously changing your attitude can, with practice, significantly change how your days, and those of your loved one, unfold. Here are some tips to get started. View this slideshow on HealthCentral to discover some ideas for having more fun as a caregiver: MedicareFAQ – Medicare Resource Center 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 - November 30, 2018 Category: Geriatrics Authors: Carol Bradley Bursack Source Type: blogs