Incontinence Embarrassment Shouldn’t Block People from Seeking Medical Help

DoctorWomanDear Carol: My mom is smart, stylish, and trim. She was very social but now that’s changed. Occasional, minor urinary incontinence has become a problem and she’s acting like her life is over. I’ve told her that women who’ve had babies often have this issue and that there are products that she can use. Of course, she knows this, but she says that’s not an option. Meanwhile, she is becoming reclusive which is not like her. I’ve told her that her doctor may have some ideas but she says that talking to her doctor about this is humiliating. How do I convince her that this one issue doesn’t need to ruin her otherwise exceptional life? – Kate

Read full column on Inforum about incontinence and aging:

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10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning

NightskyMany people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior:

Read full article on HealthCentral about how to better handle sundowning in people living with Alzheimer's:

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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Dementia Death: Conflicting Emotions Are Normal for Caregivers After a Loved One Dies

Funeral“Carol!” The hospice nurse’s voice was quiet but urgent. I instinctively knew what was happening. She had been shifting Dad’s position so that he wouldn’t develop bed sores, but as she was laying him back on the bed, something changed in his respiration. This was it. His body was preparing for him to take his last breath. I slid back in my spot beside Dad and took him in my arms. His head slumped to my shoulder and that last, gentle breath slipped by unnoticed by me. What I felt was the positive force of Dad’s spirit leaving his body. And then — joy! Did I just write joy? Yes, I did. What I knew was this. Dad was finally released from the cage that had trapped his spirit over this last decade. 

Read the full article on HealthCentral about the emotional turmoil a caregiver can endure after the death of a loved one from dementia (or any long illness):

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards 

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5 Tips for Maintaining Relationships with Friends when Dementia Takes a Seat

Hands10Memory loss can be one of the first symptoms a person experiences with Alzheimer’s, and those living with Lewy body dementia may also become easily confused. These varied symptoms can make maintaining relationships more difficult, but friendships are no less important for people with dementia than for the rest of us. Maintaining relationships, however, especially among friends who are not pressured to continue involvement because of a new sense of duty over a person with dementia, can take work. This guide discusses how caregivers can help by educating willing visitors who want to be helpful but simply don’t know how to make a visit tolerable, let alone, meaningful.

Read full article on HealthCentral about maintaining friendships when dementia is a big part of life:

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How to Cope with An Elder Who Loves to Complain

Anxiety1You've taken your mom to the doctor and she's upset with you because the doctor's office was cold. You've helped your dad with the yard and he's annoyed that you didn't mow the grass in the right pattern. Why do many elders complain about everything you do? Much depends on the parents' personalities throughout life. If your parents were the bickering type and were always negative, this complaining may be the only way they know how to communicate. They may not even be aware how their attitude affects others. Since you grew up in their household you can ask yourself, "Is this how they always acted?"

Read full article on Agingcare about coping with an elder who loves to complain:

A Virtual Conference to Help You Thrive As a Caregiver – Check this out!

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders of Minding Our Elders e-mail Carol