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Alzheimer’s disease

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 What If a U.S. President Got Alzheimer’s?

Have you ever thought of the complications and possible outcomes that would arise if a U.S. sitting president and leader of the free world developed Alzheimer’s disease? Well, it may surprise you to know we’ve been through this situation already with our nation’s 40th president, Ronald Reagan. A fascinating new study published last month in […]

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Post image for Alzheimer’s Keeps Me Awake at Night

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

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

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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Post image for The Mini-Cog, A Memory Assessment Tool

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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Post image for Five New Trials Target Alzheimer’s Disease

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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Post image for Is it Alzheimer’s? When Memory Loss Signs Are Not the Obvious, Classic Symptoms

My mom, who died late last year from Alzheimer’s disease, began to show the first signs of memory loss about a decade ago.  During these very early stage of the disease, I didn’t fully comprehend what was happening. I already had some experience with Alzheimer’s, since my father had the disease during the final six […]

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Post image for Caregiver Quandry: What to Buy for Mother’s Day When Mom Has Alzheimer’s Disease?

What to Buy When Mom Has Alzheimer’s? Mother’s Day, always the second Sunday in May in the U.S., falls on May 11th this year.  This means you have a little more than a month to pick out that perfect piece of jewelry or perhaps the ideal perfume.  It’s estimated Americans will spend upwards of $2.6 […]

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Post image for What’s the Difference Between Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia?

About eight years ago my mom began to demonstrate personality changes and memory issues.  Mummy, as we affectionately called her, was repeating herself, having difficulty communicating and had begun hoarding — plastic bags, Kleenex, pennies and even little pats of butter. Looking for answers, my sister took Mummy to see her family doctor, calling ahead […]

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Post image for Contact Congress and Use Your Voice to Pass Additional Alzheimer’s Funding

Update on this post: Congress passed the funding. The wheels of Alzheimer’s research and support seem to move slowly.  However, there is hopefully a bright spot that was brought to my attention by the Alzheimer’s Association earlier this week. Congress is currently debating the 2014 fiscal budget and the latest funding bill, which has received […]

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The End of the Journey

by Nancy Wurtzel on November 26, 2013

Post image for The End of the Journey

My mom reached the end of her time on earth at 3 pm today. Rest In Peace: Helen Katherine Finnie Ogle. Born December 31, 1920 – Died November 26, 2013

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Post image for Planning for Your Own Funeral

Today, when I was looking for a document among my mom’s files, I came across a small piece of note paper. In my mom’s scratchy handwriting, she had written: “When I die, contact the VFW. I’ve been a member for 62 years and have a $1,000 life insurance policy.”  The note is is signed, Mom […]

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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 Six Alzheimer’s Myths Debunked. Hint: No One is Immune but Wine is Helpful

The media is saturated with coverage of Alzheimer’s disease.  Yet, even with 10 million news stories that show up in a simple Google search, there is still an incredible amount of confusion surrounding the disease. Why?  Here’s my opinion. Many people are afraid of Alzheimer’s disease and consequently avoid news coverage on the topic.  Alzheimer’s […]

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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 Mummy Update

by Nancy Wurtzel on June 27, 2013

Post image for The Mummy Update

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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Post image for Baby Doll Therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease

Those of us who are Alzheimer’s caregivers are used to seeing abilities ebb away.  My mom — whom we call Mummy — was once a highly social person who always had to stay busy.  Cooking and baking were her passions, and so were endless games of cards with family and friends. However, those days are […]

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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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It’s worse than we thought.  Without a cure or an effective way of slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, our nation will face staggering consequences, according to a widely-circulated study published recently by the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging. The study tracked 10,802 seniors, aged 65 or older, from 1993 to 2011.  Every three years […]

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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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Yes, you read the headline correctly.  The Star-Tribune, our excellent daily newspaper in the Twin Cities, ran a front-page story yesterday about James W. Smith of Hermantown, Minnesota. Smith, a local Alzheimer’s activist who also claimed he had early onset dementia, is going to jail for faking his illness and bilking taxpayers and his insurance […]

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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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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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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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When you think about bad things that could happen in your life, what frightens you most?  For me, it is quite a short list  1) My daughter is seriously harmed.  2) I will have a bad accident and not be able to care for myself.  3) I will get dementia. It seems as though I […]

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