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aging parents

Post image for Fear of Dying Alone: People Dread a Lonely Death

In 2014, in the middle of a hot New York City summer, George Bell, a 73-year-old man died alone in his Queens, New York apartment. About a week later, one of his neighbors noticed an odor and alerted the authorities, otherwise his body may have lingered there for much longer.  George Bell’s death and its […]

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Post image for Alzheimer’s Association Helpline Operates 24/7

Did you know the Alzheimer’s Association has a telephone helpline that you can call any time of the day or night?  And, that their helpline is especially busy the first few months of every year. Here’s why. Today’s families are scattered far and wide, which means many adult children don’t see their parents and other […]

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Post image for Aging Parents and Alzheimer’s Disease

What do Bruce Springsteen, Princess Jasmine Aga Kahn, Rick Steves and Candy Crowley have in common? Each has either an aging parent who is currently living with Alzheimer’s or a parent who died from the disease. Alzheimer’s and Aging Parents Rock icon Bruce Springsteen has talked movingly about what he and family members are going […]

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Post image for Alzheimer’s Caregiving Stress, The Checklist

Mary assists her aging mother two evenings a week and almost all day on Saturday.  Her mother, who will soon turn 85, needs help with a growing list of tasks, including shopping for groceries, paying bills, doing laundry going to the pharmacy and preparing meals. During a recent conversation with Mary, I called her a […]

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Post image for Capturing the Alzheimer’s Person’s History

My sisters and I made a big mistake when my father began showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s: We didn’t take the time to capture Dad’s recollections about his childhood. When he died in 1999, after living with Alzheimer’s for the better part of a decade, Dad’s six siblings were also dead.  This meant there […]

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Post image for Sandwich Generation? Lee Woodruff Says Panini Generation Is More Accurate

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

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

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

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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Thankful for Mummy

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 26, 2014

Post image for Thankful for Mummy

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

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

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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Post image for A Modern Dilemma: Can Society Require Adult Children to Visit Aging Parents?

When my mom was still alive, my sister and I often visited her in assisted living and later in memory care.  Many times, we would be the only outside visitor. In fact, there were many residents whose family didn’t visit them.  Sitting hour-after-hour in the lobby, these aging seniors would watch the front entrance intently.  […]

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One week ago. I wake with a start.  It’s dark and quiet.  Too quiet.  I leap out of bed and cross the hall to where my mother is sleeping.  Is this the end?  Is she still alive?  I gingerly reach out to touch her arm.  It is cool to the touch.  Her mouth is open. […]

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Post image for Moving Mummy, Again.  And, Again

So much has happened since my last update about my mother.  If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you know my mom, whom we affectionately call Mummy, has Alzheimer’s disease. You may also remember that late last summer my sister and I moved Mummy to an assisted living facility in our small hometown […]

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Post image for Dear God, My Mother Has Alzheimer’s Disease, Please Help Her Die

Dear Readers: This Blog Post Was First Published in 2013 When My Mother Was in the Latter Stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  Mom Died in November 2013. I am not a religious person.  I don’t even believe in a higher power, let alone one true God.  Even so, for the past several years I often find […]

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The clock is ticking.  According to the latest Alzheimer’s Association statistics, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 68 seconds. Currently, more than 5.2 million Americans are living Alzheimer’s disease and it is our nation’s sixth leading cause of death.  One in three seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia.  Since […]

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When I think of sandwich, I usually conjure up an image of a corned beef on rye or a tuna salad on whole wheat.  When you add generation to it, then I envision the baby boomers (of which I am one) eating sandwiches made of Wonder Bread. Of course, Sandwich Generation has taken on a […]

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The Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on June 27, 2013

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My mother has reached a cognitive plateau that is not uncommon in people with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.  Friends often ask me how she is and I answer, “basically status quo.”  She doesn’t seem any worse, and, of course, there is no chance of improvement. While life moves ahead, Mummy, as we call her, […]

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My mother is trying to communicate.  I’ve been with her for almost two hours on this bright spring morning, and during my visit she keeps trying to tell me something.  She’s unable to find the words. Often I can guess what she wants to convey, but today I’m coming up empty handed. Mummy, as we […]

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This morning I read an article in USA Today about the legacy of Margaret Thatcher, who died last week at age 87.  Written by Michael Wolff, the excellent opinion piece is not about the prime minister’s long-term political and economic contributions, but rather about the last dozen or so years of her life when she […]

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The Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on March 12, 2013

Friends and followers have been asking me for the latest news about my 92-year-old mother, whom we affectionately call Mummy. Mummy has shown signs of dementia for about five years and is in beginnings of severe Alzheimer’s disease. After moving into assisted living last fall, Mummy’s symptoms worsened significantly and she continues in a downward […]

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As the old saying goes: A picture is worth a thousand words.  If that is true, then moving pictures are worth an entire library. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly a fan of words and images.  As you can imagine, I spend a good part of my day online, either writing or reading what others […]

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Alzheimer’s disease is the pits.  Yet, even in the midst of all the pain, frustration and anger, there is sometimes the funny. Oh sure, the humor isn’t the hilarious, laugh-out-loud kind, but it certainly can make you smile or relieve the mundane that is so much of a caregiver’s world. It’s okay to find the […]

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This post was written by Nancy Wurtzel.  It was first published on the website MariaShriver.com.  Please take a minute to visit the Maria Shriver website and see all of the great information and writing for yourself. When you are caring for someone with memory loss, the days all run together.  Indeed, it may often seem […]

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This post was originally published last week in The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, which was voted #1 in Alzheimer’s blogs in 2012 by Healthline. If you have not checked out The Alzheimer’s Reading Room, you need to do so today! Helpless.  That’s what I often feel when I’m dealing with my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease.  […]

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Welcome to the blog carnival featuring some of the blogosphere’s most eloquent writers. We’ll be highlighting the work of 8 women who write about what it feels like to be a primary caregiver to someone who depends on you — whether you’re on vacation, it’s a holiday, it’s an emergency at three in the morning, […]

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Deep down, we knew it would happen, but we didn’t really have any other choice.  It was just not safe for my mother to continue to live in her senior apartment.  She needed more care, more activities, more everything. My sister and I were exhausted and we’d reached that tipping point, where if you don’t […]

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The Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 5, 2012

Mummy has moved.  Well, actually my sister and I did all the moving, but my mom told us she was ready and agreed on an assisted living facility in our hometown. It wasn’t an emergency situation, but we had definitely reached the tipping point.  The bottom line was that it was no longer safe for […]

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More Females Are Caregivers When I conjure an image of a caregiver, I picture a woman.  I know I’m being sexist but I always think female.  Why? First, I don’t personally know many male caregivers.  In fact, I can only think of one or two.  Also, in my family, the women did all the traditional […]

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Evelyn, one of my dad’s sisters, was truly a world-class complainer. Long before I was born, someone in the family bestowed on her the unlikely nickname, “Auntie Honey,” and somehow the name stuck. Growing up, I remember Auntie Honey harping constantly about almost everything.  Her most bitter comments were about her mother — my grandmother […]

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Dementia doesn’t discriminate.  It doesn’t give a rats ass who you are, what you have accomplished in life or how much money you have accumulated. You could be a homemaker, a file clerk, a dentist, a teacher or even a former President of the United States.  Dementia could still find you.  In fact, if you […]

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Is It Alzheimer’s Disease? Looks can be deceiving.  Mary, a slight, sweet woman, moved into my mother’s independent living home about six months ago.  Mummy can’t remember her name and instead calls her “the little young gal.” Mary’s actually 83, so while she is no spring chicken, she might be considered young by many of […]

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Dementia Sucks.  This is my new mantra. I say those two words out loud when I’m alone.  On a really bad day, I might even scream them in the car.  Online, I discuss dementia with people I’ve never met and I write about it endlessly.  I talk to my sister by phone and we sometimes […]

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Post image for What Makes Me Angry? Dementia.

I first noticed signs of my mother’s dementia symptoms during a trip home to Minnesota about four years ago.  I remember feeling panicked.  You see, my dad had Alzheimer’s disease and needed full-time care for years.  That long, awful journey took a terrible toll on him as well as my mom, who was his primary […]

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I overslept this morning and just like that all of my grand New Year’s resolutions went out the window.  You see, my plan for 2012 was to get up early, meditate, stretch, deep breathe, eat a healthy breakfast and then dutifully blog over a cup of fresh brewed coffee.  This would be my new morning […]

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Last weekend I took my Mom to dinner at the only local restaurant — a sports bar with a dining room off to the side — that is really any good.  We were having a nice chicken meal with starchy fixins when Mummy suddenly said, “Say…I think I’m ready to die.”  Die?  We’d just been […]

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My Mom called me this morning.  However, this is what we refer to in the Midwest as a mixed blessing.  It was encouraging because Mummy has a very difficult time using the phone for outgoing calls and it often takes her several attempts to reach the person she wants to speak with.  On the other […]

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I am here, no longer there.  The long drive from California to Minnesota seems like it happened months ago.  For the past five days, I’ve been unpacking the boxes which were shipped ahead and everything I had squeezed into my Camry Hybrid — and I do mean squeezed. When my college friend, Camille, met me […]

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