Holiday Hints For Dementia Caregivers

Holidays are exciting times of the year, but they can be very stressful and fraught with many pitfalls if you don’t plan carefully beforehand. When planning for those special events you must take into consideration how far into the dementia your loved-one is, how much help they will need, how quickly they become overstimulated, how much rest they require, and how much recuperation time they must have after the event is over.

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A Taste Of Dementia

The other night I had a dream, really a nightmare I guess. It was one of the most emotional and anxiety producing dreams I have ever had. The setting wasn’t clear, but I think I was in a high school classroom, and we were taking a test. It wasn’t all written. Some questions you had to answer on paper, some were multiple choice, but others were a test of following through with the directions and completing a finished product.

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How Do Dementia Drugs Work?

Most of the dementia drugs presently prescribed are cholinesterase inhibitors. To understand how this works in the brain, we have to learn how the neurons function. We have over 100 billion neurons in our brain. Neurons are the message relaying cells. They consist of a cell body that houses the nucleus , mitochondria, and other important systems that keep the neuron alive. Each neuron also has an axon, which is a long “conducting” tube that extends from the cell body. At the end of the axon are the dendrites or “small branches” that extend into the space between the dendrites of the next neuron. The neurons don’t physically touch each other, so how does the electronic message get from one neuron to the other?

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What Happens When The Caregiver Needs A Caregiver?

Too often the caregiver doesn’t think about this scenario of becoming ill until it happens. At that time it’s really too late and way too stressful to deal with arrangements that need to be made. Caregivers need to think about the possibilities when they can think clearly, weigh their options, and plan with less stress. Here are some pointers in making plans in case such a scenario/sickness/incapacitation comes your way!

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Being The Odd Man Out

Dealing with the Alzheimer’s diagnosis is always challenging. Although we were “glad” to have the diagnosis because it meant that Jim and I weren’t “nuts” noticing all the changes that Jim was going through, the diagnosis certainly singled us out. Being a person with early-onset or the caregiver of one brought with it special circumstances that made me feel like “the odd man out”.

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Finding Out Who You Are

Depending on your personal experience of whether you lived independently before the relationship with your loved one, you may have to figure out who you are now. I had never lived on my own before marriage. I went from attending college to marriage, and had no experience in living all by myself. You must figure out what you want out of life as an independent person, and possibly how to go about whatever that is. I am still figuring that out. I used to think while I was caregiving, that when it was all over I would want to be with another person to spend the rest of my life. Now that six years have gone by, I’m not so sure I do. It would take a very special person to urge me to marry again. On the one hand, I just don’t want to go through being a caregiver again! After 19 years, I want some “me” time.

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See What Is New In Dementia Research

Periodically I will search the web for newly publicized results of trials and will post them here. So far, no “magic bullets” have been discovered and many scientists are focusing on present healthy populations to see what lifestyle differences may benefit/protect the participants as they age.
It’s a multi-year study so we won’t be hearing what they have learned for a while!

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