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Alzheimer’s Association Advocates for Research Monies and The HOPE Act

April 16, 2015
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Last week, I wrote a post about my experience attending the Alzheimer’s Advocacy Forum in Washington, D.C. The forum takes place annually.  This year it brought 1,100 people to our nation’s capitol to advocate on behalf of Alzheimer’s disease. The 2015 forum goal was twofold.  First, to ask for an additional $300 million in Alzheimer’s […]

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The Alzheimer Association’s Annual Washington, D.C. Forum

April 14, 2015
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Last month I went to Washington, D.C. to attend the Alzheimer’s Association Forum, an annual event that brings together advocates from all across the country. Launched more than two decades ago, the forum’s goal is to educate regular folks, like myself, about the workings of government.  The goal is to enlighten Congress and apply pressure so we […]

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Alzheimer’s Advocates to Congress: “Enough Talk. Show Us the Money.”

April 9, 2015
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About a dozen years ago my mother first showed signs of memory loss.  I remember that awful sinking feeling you get when you can no longer ignore the warning signs. Mom lived in the same small, rural town in central Minnesota that had been her home for more than 50 years.  I was glad when […]

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Alzheimer’s Keeps Me Awake at Night

April 7, 2015
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In the dark, I toss and turn, practicing deep-breathing techniques and willing myself to think positive thoughts. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t. In the quiet of the night, there is an endless loop of questions running through my brain.  Will I get Alzheimer’s?  Could I already have it?  Would I know if I did […]

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Sandwich Generation? Lee Woodruff Says Panini Generation Is More Accurate

April 2, 2015
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Rethinking The Sandwich Generation For decades we were dubbed “The Sandwich Generation,” adult children, mainly baby boomers, stuffed between their aging parents and their own offspring or grandchildren. Sandwiched myself for many years, I recall feeling life was a continual tug of war that never ended.  I couldn’t help thinking I was always letting someone […]

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TED Ed: Alzheimer’s Tutorial

March 25, 2015
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I’m a big fan all things TED-related.  TED talks, videos and tutorials tap into my inner geek.  I’ve got a thirst for knowledge, yet I also want information imparted in a manner I can understand and easily share. Yesterday, I came across a TED Ed animated video from 2014.  Created by Ivan Seah Yu Jun […]

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Alive Inside, A Documentary About Memory Loss & Music is Nothing Short of Remarkable

March 17, 2015
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Watching the documentary, Alive Inside, I couldn’t help but think: What a simple idea, and why didn’t I think of that? Filmmaker Michael Rossato-Bennett chronicles individuals with memory loss who are revitalized through music. It’s an idea that costs very little but makes a huge difference for people those with Alzheimer’s or other progressive brain […]

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Famed Fantasy Writer Terry Pratchett Dies From Early Onset Alzheimer’s

March 13, 2015
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Sir Terry Pratchett died yesterday at his home in England.  Author of more than 70 novels, Pratchett penned the hugely popular fantasy novel series Discworld.  Pratchett, 66, had Alzheimer’s disease. Two years ago, I wrote a post recommending several Alzheimer’s documentaries but my favorite film was “Choosing to Die” about Pratchett’s advocacy for assisted dying. […]

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New Study Reveals: Amyloid Found in the Brains of Young People

March 11, 2015
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If there was ever a convincing argument for donating your brain to Alzheimer’s research, this is it.  “It” is a small, but surprising research study with results revealed last week.  Published in Brain, a neurology journal, you can read about the findings in Time magazine. Here is the lowdown: Researchers autopsied the brains of 48 […]

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How to Have Those Difficult Conversations When Someone Has Alzheimer’s Disease

March 9, 2015
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Aging Parents and Difficult Conversations If I could change one aspect of my Alzheimer’s caregiving journey, it would be how I handled difficult conversations. Both of my parents had Alzheimer’s disease, first my dad and then a decade later my mother.  As you can imagine  there were plenty of difficult conversations over the years.  These […]

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Alzheimer’s – A Worldwide Epidemic?

March 4, 2015
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Alzheimer’s disease affects people in every corner of the world. The global estimates are 35.5 million people now living with Alzheimer’s, with the largest number in Asia (15.9 million) and the lowest numbers in Africa (1.8 million).  Europe has just under 10 million living with Alzheimer’s while North/South America has 7.8. Latest Alzheimer’s Statistics These […]

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Alzheimer’s Frustrates Physicians

February 24, 2015
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Alzheimer’s and other progressive diseases of the brain are devastating. They are also profoundly frustrating for those living with the disease, their family and caregivers.  The healthcare professionals who treat those patients are also frustrated. Recently, I came across a New York Times essay by Dr. Danielle Ofri.  “The Silence of Doctors Around Alzheimer’s” focuses […]

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Japan Struggles With the Challenges of an Aging Population and Declining Birthrate

February 18, 2015
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In every corner of the world, countries and their citizens are struggling to care for their elders.  But no where is it more apparent than in Japan. Japan currently has an estimated 8 million who are living with Alzheimer’s disease, from individuals with mild symptoms to the most advanced stages.  This translates into a full […]

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We’re Living Longer. Is That Good?

February 10, 2015
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Life Expectancy in the U.S. is Rising Americans are living longer.  Life expectancy in the U.S. has risen to 78.8 years for those born in 2012 or after, according to a story in USA Today and other online sources.   Traditionally, women live longer than men and these latest projections are no exception with women’s […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease Researchers Identify PART, Primary Age-Related Tauopathy

February 2, 2015
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A scientific team announced late last year it has identified yet another type of neurological disease.  It’s called PART or primary age-related tauopathy.  While PART mimics Alzheimer’s, it follows a significantly different brain pathology. The Alzheimer’s brain shows the classic combination of tangles comprised of a protein called tau and plaques, which are the result […]

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What I’ve Learned About Alzheimer’s Disease

January 28, 2015
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The more I learn about Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases of the brain, the more angry I become.  Some days, I feel ready to explode or implode — I can’t say which — but a “plode” would be involved. This post is really nothing more than a rant.  Thanks for indulging me. What I’ve learned […]

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Aging Relatives and Memory Loss: The Holiday Eye-Opener for Adult Children

January 20, 2015
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During the month of January, the phone lines are always busier than usual at the Alzheimer’s Association. The holidays are over and adult children have returned to their own homes after visiting aging parents and other relatives. During these visits, these middle-aged kids have often experienced an unwelcome eye-opener: Their elderly relatives are showing signs […]

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What Julianne Moore Didn’t Mention in her Golden Globes Acceptance Speech

January 13, 2015
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I was rooting for Julianne Moore to take home a Golden Globe on Sunday night and cheered when she did just that.  Moore stars in Still Alice, a film based on the best-selling book of the same name by Lisa Genova. The movie has gotten great reviews and I can’t wait to see it.  For […]

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Are We Forcing Those With Memory Loss to Relinquish Driving Too Soon?

December 16, 2014
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Last week I wrote about memory loss and driving.  When researching this topic, I learned there are no national policies or even guidelines in place regarding cognitive loss and driving.  However, a handful of states, including California, Oregon, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have instituted mandatory reporting laws. In those states, when a physician determines a person […]

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Alzheimer’s Disease and When to Have the Driving Conversation

December 10, 2014
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Imagine how you would feel if you could no longer drive. The ability to get in your vehicle and go where you want, when you want is no longer available. Your freedom, autonomy and mobility are gone, and suddenly you must count on others for all your transportation needs. As an Alzheimer’s caregiver, I went […]

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Thankful for Mummy

November 26, 2014
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My mother died one year ago today.  In some ways it seems as though she left this world decades ago and at other times it feels like yesterday.  Death takes a long time to process, even if the person has been fading away for years. My relationship with Mom wasn’t an easy one.  We often […]

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The Human Brain: A Three-Pound Wonder

November 20, 2014
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The human brain.  It weighs just over three pounds and is made up of more than 100 billion neurons.  It’s often called the control center, engine or computer of the body. Whatever name you give it, the brain calls the shots. Until very recent years, the human brain was largely a mystery, but within the […]

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What to Buy for Christmas When Mom, Dad or Someone You Love Has Dementia

November 12, 2014
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Holiday Shopping for Someone With Dementia What if someone in your family has Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia?  What if he or she can no longer enjoy a book, clothes, gift card or the latest gadget?  What do you buy for the person with memory loss when the old standby gifts are no […]

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Glen Campbell’s Legacy: “I’ll Be Me”

November 10, 2014
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I love documentaries, and often pick one over a regular movie.  Even so, I wasn’t so sure about seeing “I’ll Be Me,” the Glen Campbell documentary showing in theaters now. The film chronicles Glen’s 2011 Alzheimer’s diagnosis and his “Goodbye Tour,” which lasted almost 18 months and featured 151 sold out shows.  In spite of […]

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Alzheimer’s Abuse Caught on Tape in Winter Haven, Florida Nursing Home

November 4, 2014
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Captured on video: Two nursing assistants at Palm Gardens Nursing Home in Winter Haven, Florida repeatedly hitting and abusing a 76-year-old man who is in the latter stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  The man, unable to communicate and requiring help with the most basic of functions is seen being slapped, kicked and taunted during three separate […]

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Atypical Types of Dementia: Hippocampal Sparing Alzheimer’s Disease

October 23, 2014
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Earlier this year I began reading about a variant type of dementia called hippocampal sparing Alzheimer’s disease, which results in symptoms far different than Alzheimer’s disease.  Those affected are mainly men and they often begin to show symptoms at a younger age. Hippocampal sparing AD usually advances quickly and it presents initially as bizarre behaviors.  […]

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Alzheimer’s Awareness and Support Goes Local. What’s Happening in Minnesota

October 13, 2014
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As our population ages and no cure or effective treatments for Alzheimer’s are in sight, it is apparent we have to do more to accommodate those living with the disease and their caregivers. The challenge is how to build awareness and understanding and then take action? What’s happening in my native Minnesota is a great example […]

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Aging Parents and Adult Children: When a Health Crisis Changes Everything

October 8, 2014
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Fall housekeeping in the upper Midwest doesn’t just mean cleaning out the gutters, raking leaves and getting ready for winter.  For some reason, when the weather starts cool, I always feel the need to also clean up my digital life as well. Organizing bookmarks was on my agenda yesterday.  Wading through the hundreds of sites […]

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A Global Perspective: The Financial Cost of Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

September 29, 2014
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Yesterday, I wrote about the Third Annual Worldwide Alzheimer’s month.  Now, I’m sharing information about the significant financial devastation for both individuals and nations around the globe. To understand the massive economic consequences of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI) has complied some sobering international figures.  This major report was published in […]

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Third Annual World Alzheimer’s Month

September 28, 2014
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World Alzheimer’s Month™, a global campaign aimed at bringing awareness and advocacy of the disease, is ending in two days.  For the month of September, Alzheimer’s organizations around the world have been raising money and awareness through memory walks, screenings, social activities and other events. In Dating Dementia, I often cite U.S. statistics, but the […]

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Short Tales From the Dog Park

September 24, 2014

Overheard at the dog park: “I thought Emma would calm down a little after I got her the kitten.” The attractive, professional-looking woman, standing next to a small pack of canines, was not referring to a child named Emma.  Instead, she was talking about her frisky, four-legged, Sheltie-mix named Emma.  That’s right, earlier this year, […]

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Teen Steps Up With His Invention to Help Those Living With Alzheimer’s

September 22, 2014
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Sometimes the mother of invention isn’t necessity, it’s a 15-year old boy scout. Kenneth Shinozuka wants to become a neuroscientist and find a cure for Alzheimer’s, a disease that has nearly incapacitated his grandfather.  Someday, he may well accomplish this goal, but right now Shinozuka is still in high school, and instead of a cure, […]

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Do I Long to Be a Grandmother? This Baby Boomer Says, ‘No, Thank You’

September 3, 2014
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Sunday, Sept. 7 is National Grandparents Day. I thought about this day of recognition when my best friend told me she and her husband will soon have another grandchild, their sixth. My friend is excited, and she can’t wait to learn if it is boy or girl and what name the parents will choose. When […]

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In Retrospect: Five Lessons I Learned From My Years as an Alzheimer’s Caregiver

August 12, 2014
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Why is life so much clearer in retrospect? With the passage of time, it is easy to look back, see the big picture and think: “If I’d only known then, what I know now.” I often hear caregivers voice this sentiment. And, as a long-time Alzheimer’s caregiver myself (for my mother, father and other relatives […]

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Can a Person Ever Be Fully Prepared to Care For Someone with Alzheimer’s?

August 5, 2014
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Earlier this year, I attended a caregivers conference at the University of Minnesota.  The morning keynote speaker was absolutely terrific — an engaging, informed speaker who was also funny and self-deprecating. The speaker’s bio was also impressive.  He was a physician, a teacher, an author as well as a long-time caregiver for his mother who […]

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When Dementia Symptoms Are Not Alzheimer’s Disease

July 30, 2014
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Although it was years ago, I clearly remember the phone ringing on a hot California morning.  My mother was calling from Minnesota and she sounded a bit frantic.  Earlier that morning, she had taken my dad to the emergency room.  Dad was having a “spell” as she described it, exhibiting confusion, irregular heart rate, muscle […]

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The Mini-Cog, A Memory Assessment Tool

July 24, 2014
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Have you heard of the “Mini-Cog”?  I had read about it several years ago but a recent front page feature in the Star Tribune, our major daily newspaper in the Twin Cities, piqued my interest.  The story focused on Dr. Michael Rosenbloom, clinical director of the HealthPartners Center for  Memory and Aging, in St. Paul, […]

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Mayo Clinic Identifies New Brain Protein That May Cause Dementia Symptoms

July 22, 2014
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Mayo Clinic Has Clue to Dementia Symptoms Another day, another Alzheimer’s announcement.  This news was announced by a team from the Mayo Clinic at the recent Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Copenhagen.  Could it be a big discovery?  The Mayo team seemed to think the answer is yes.  They have a new clue about what […]

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Five New Trials Target Alzheimer’s Disease

July 17, 2014
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Last night I noticed a tweet from TIME magazine about some new research trials focusing on Alzheimer’s disease.  Intrigued, I visited their website to learn more.  You can read a very brief overview of each trial by going to the TIME website and reading, “5 Groundbreaking Trials are Testing Ways to Prevent Alzheimer’s.” The headline […]

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Childhood Memories of the Sixties Remixed. Saturday, June 28 is Paul Bunyan Day

June 24, 2014

The first time I met Paul Bunyan I wet my pants. In my defense, I was only four years old — a skinny, sickly kid who was scared of most everything.  That summer our family had traveled to Brainerd, Minnesota to spend the day at Paul Bunyan Land, a small amusement park that had recently […]

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