The idea that some people can stay positive after receiving a dementia diagnosis seems surprising to many, yet when faced with adversity we have only two choices — make the best of what is in front of us, or live with negativity. No one is suggesting that living with a positive outlook after being given a diagnosis for any serious disease is easy, but negative thinking is risky for your overall health, while positive thinking has health benefits. Read more →


Dear Carol: My Dad cared for Mom for seven years until she died from Alzheimer’s. Now, Dad needs a little help. He knows how hard caregiving can be, and with my working full time, he's worried that I’ll burn out or get sick if I take on his care. He has money to pay for some hired help at home which is where he wants to stay. He has a personal alarm and is safety conscious. I live with depression, though I’m treated. Still, I have kids at home so I do have limits in what I can do for Dad. When I read about caregiver burnout I worry about that happening to me. I don’t want to get so that I hate spending time with Dad or taking care of his needs but I know that this is possible if I’m not careful. What can I do so that this doesn’t happen? OP Read more →


The type of heat exhaustion or mild dehydration that a middle-aged caregiver may feel during a heat wave is uncomfortable, but the same occurrence could be deadly for an elder. Because of the seriousness of overheating, some older people take a prescription drug that helps increase blood flow to the skin which in turn helps them cool off. Read more →


In the age of cyber sophistication, scammers and others can wreak havoc with our lives if we even momentarily let down our guard. For older adults who may not be technologically savvy, the threat is even greater. For them, like for someone speaking a second language, red flags might go unnoticed. People living with dementia may be at even more risk because of changes in the brain that can cause confusion. Here are tips for us all, including people living with dementia. Read more →


Caregiving is a continual learning process and no two situations are identical. But, becoming as organized as possible and consistently trying to stay that way can help us relieve stress and use our time more efficiently. It might seem overwhelming to maintain order in such a hectic situation, but a reasonably small amount of effort applied regularly will prove to be far easier than frantically trying to handle everyday mishaps and especially larger emergencies. Read more →


“Elder orphan” is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, “Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population,” Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues**,** sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole. Read more →


Would you prefer a hot dog or hamburger? Ketchup, mustard, relish? Chips, salad, dessert? All were available during the annual barbecue picnic at the nursing home where my parents, my uncle and my mother-in-law lived at different times. While people also enjoyed the monthly birthday dinners and holiday festivities hosted by the nursing home, the summer barbecue was one of the most anticipated events of the year. Read more →


Think about the personality of your ailing elders and consider excursions or entertainment that they may enjoy. A short outing of some type can leave a lasting memory, or it can simply mean that there were some enjoyable moments, but either way, you’ve done something positive for them. Remember to take into account the fact that heat can be dangerous to elders, so prepare for outside activities by educating yourself about how to keep elders safe in the heat.  Read more →


Dear Carol: Because of repeated strokes my mother couldn't live alone so I moved her in with me. As years went by I struggled to transfer her from her wheelchair to her bed or commode so I tried in-home help. That didn’t work so I had to place her in a nursing home. The facility was excellent and I was deeply involved yet I still feel guilty for not being able to keep Mom in my home until her death. Intellectually, I know that I wasn’t capable of providing what she needed, but when I read about abuse and neglect of elders in nursing homes I feel like I’m being directly criticized. Do people ever get over the guilt from nursing home placement? – HE Read more →


Many caregivers ask how to respond to siblings who, after being directly and distinctly asked for help, either skirt responsibility with excuses or react nastily to the request. The proper response will depend entirely on the sibling and the nature of the family relationship. Let’s look at a few examples and contemplate responses. Read more →