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dementia

Post image for How Can I Manage Anger and Protect My Brain?

I’m looking at every option for keeping my brain healthy now and for the long-term.  In Tuesday’s post, I examined chronic anger and how it, along with the resulting stress, adversely affects the body and the brain.  It isn’t practical to think anger can, or ever should, be completely eliminated.  However, there must be some […]

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Post image for How Does Anger Affect the Brain?

Irate people seem to be everywhere these days, on airplanes, in cars, at school, at sporting events, on social media and at political rallies across the country.  It makes me wonder, has anger reached a new high in America?  If so, how is it affecting the human body, and more specifically how does anger affect […]

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Post image for Alzheimer’s Caregiver Burnout

Many times in my blog, I’ve written about being a caregiver for my mother who had Alzheimer’s disease.  People sometimes ask me about caregiver burnout and did I go through that experience. Yes, I absolutely did experience burnout. I was consumed by providing perfect care, which, of course, wasn’t feasible.  It was difficult to see […]

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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 Time Magazine Features New, Innovative Alzheimer’s Research. Is a Cure in Sight?

Time magazine arrived in my mailbox on Saturday.  The cover art features an outline of a woman taking a bright blue pill along with the headline, “The Alzheimer’s Pill.”  The Time article, penned by Alice Park, features the subhead, “A radical new drug could change old age,” and it highlights new Alzheimer’s research. My knees […]

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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 Can You Catch Alzheimer’s Disease?

Alzheimer’s Media Coverage “Is Alzheimer’s Contagious?”  The recent online headline made my blood pressure rise.  inflammatory, inaccurate headlines about Alzheimer’s abound, and it drives me batty.  You probably saw the same headlines. Most media stories are serious, well-researched and grounded in reality. However, there is also plenty of media coverage that consists of attention-grabbing headlines […]

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Post image for Tips for Managing Caregiver Stress

Many caregivers fall into the trap of believing they have to do everything by themselves. This can be a recipe for diaster.  If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care-give for someone else. Juggling a Job and Caregiving Duties Two-thirds of caregivers work outside of the home. Juggling work responsibilities […]

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Post image for Alzheimer’s Cure! No, It’s Not Pot

A sincere “Thank You” to David Shenk and Rudy Tanzi.  A few days ago, I read your opinion piece, “Misplaced Hopes for Curing Alzheimer’s,” in The Wall Street Journal.  If you missed it, you can read it at this link. The essay is aimed at the “wishers” and “dreamers” (I’ll add scammers) who promote miracle […]

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Post image for What to Buy for Father’s Day When Dad Has Alzheimer’s?

Father’s Day is on June 21.  There’s not much time to pick out the perfect gift for Dad.  Will it be a new tie?  A shirt?  Perhaps a round of golf?  How about a book or a gift card for his favorite restaurant? Maybe even a cool, new tech device? These are all great ideas, […]

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Post image for President Reagan & Alzheimer’s, Part 2

Did Ronald Reagan Have Alzheimer’s During His Presidency? Recently, I wrote a post about Ronald Reagan and Alzheimer’s disease.  After publishing this post, I came across a link to an interesting article in Mother Jones magazine.  I had saved the link several years ago, but couldn’t locate it when I was compiling the initial post. […]

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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 Association Advocates for Research Monies and The HOPE Act

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

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

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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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 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 TED Ed: Alzheimer’s Tutorial

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

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

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

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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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 Alzheimer’s – A Worldwide Epidemic?

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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Post image for Alzheimer’s Frustrates Physicians

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

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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Post image for What I’ve Learned About Alzheimer’s Disease

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

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

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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Post image for Alzheimer’s Disease and When to Have the Driving Conversation

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

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

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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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 Third Annual World Alzheimer’s Month

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

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

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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Post image for When Dementia Symptoms Are Not Alzheimer’s Disease

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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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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