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elderly

Post image for Have You Heard About the Powerful and Amazing ‘No One Dies Alone’ Program?

It was a rainy night in Eugene, Oregon and Sandra Clarke, a bedside nurse at Sacred Heart Medical Center was busy making her initial rounds. One of Sandra’s seven patients that evening was a man she describes as frail, pale, old and tremulous.  In a voice barely audible the man asked, “Will you stay with […]

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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 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 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 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 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 We’re Living Longer. Is That Good?

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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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 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 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 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 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 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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My father died 14 years ago today.  I had a hunch Mummy might pick this day to make her exit, but it appears today will not be the day.  She is not ready.  There are people coming to see her. My sister called this morning — the one who lives in California.  She’s flying in […]

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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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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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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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purple woman brain

Nobody wants to talk about dementia.  Bring up Alzheimer’s in a social setting and watch the reaction.  People squirm, they become uncomfortable, their gaze wanders, they stop making eye contact and finally they clam up like a librarian at a strip club. Dementia affects almost everyone these days, and you would be hard pressed to find […]

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