If You Don't Know to Ask for Palliative Care, Will the Doctor Offer It to Your Loved One?

In 2011 and 2019, the Center to Advance Palliative Care (CAPC) conducted research about awareness, perceptions, and attitudes towards palliative care among adults, patients with a serious illness, caregivers, and physicians. A top concern among patients and caregivers is that doctors may not provide them with all the treatment options available. It seems that these concerns may be valid. Cardiologists and primary care physicians report being less comfortable with palliative care than other specialties. This post explores what caregivers, patients, and the medical profession can do.

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Loneliness and Seniors: Can Redefining What Independence Looks Like Help?

Longevity seems like a recipe for social isolation and loneliness. The negative health effects associated with loneliness are profound. Yet, many older people cling to concepts of independence that may contribute to their isolation. What can caregivers and the community do to help?

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Dementia, Emotional Contagion, and the "Caregiver's Mask"

Emotional contagion occurs when people mimic the emotions that they see in others. Researchers have found that emotional contagion is increased in individuals with mild cognitive impairment, as well as Alzheimer's disease. In this post, we’ll explore the "caregiver's mask" — this is a useful tool to prevent agitation in family members, but it can also take a personal toll on caregivers.

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Age-Friendly Health Systems: A Welcome Innovation for Older Patients & Caregivers

If you accompany your parent or family member to doctor's appointments, you may have felt at times like the healthcare system simply isn't optimized for the needs of older patients. Fortunately, times are changing. The age-friendly health systems movement is gaining momentum. This post explores the what, who, why, and how of this emerging trend that will deliver more tailored care to older patients, as well as benefits for caregivers.

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Comprehensive Dementia Care Programs: Caregivers Are an Essential Part of the Equation

Unpaid caregivers provide 83% of total care to individuals with dementia. In 2018 alone, 18.5 billion hours of care valued at $234 billion were provided by family, friends, and other unpaid caregivers. Fortunately, healthcare systems and various not-for-profit foundations and advocacy organizations are exploring more comprehensive approaches to dementia care which provide resources for caregivers that can reduce their stress.

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Could Serving Customers with Dementia & Alzheimer's Be a Competitive Differentiator?

With Americans in the 65+ age group expected to grow to 88 million by 2050, we can expect that the number of individuals with Alzheimer's and dementia will increase by at least 50%. At most consumer-oriented companies, ears would perk up in response to a customer segment comprised of millions of potential buyers. Could serving individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's be a competitive differentiator for companies?

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When the Doctor Has Ordered Lab Tests and Your Parent Has Dementia…

This blog post may tread into the territory of TMI (too much information). However, if your parent has dementia or Alzheimer’s, helping them with lab tests can quickly become a challenge. While caring for my Dad, I adopted five techniques to help both of us through the trauma of routine lab tests. It’s my hope that these may help others out there too.

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Mom (or Dad) Seems Forgetful…Should I Be Worried?

I was recently speaking with a friend whose mother is in her early 80s. She lives across the country from her Mom and is starting to become concerned about changes that she's detected in her mother's behavior. It begs the question, if your Mom or Dad seems forgetful, should you be worried about dementia? In this blog post, we’ll discuss potential next steps if your family member doesn’t fit the profile for “normal,” aging-related forgetfulness.

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If the Doctor Recommends Surgery for Your Elderly Parent, Should They Say Yes?

Let's say that your elderly family member is of advanced age and perhaps they are already suffering from various health issues. If the doctor recommends surgery, what do you do? The reflexive response may be "yes," since we assume that doctors know best. But is it as simple as that? We’ll explore that question in this post

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Collaborative Problem Solving: Can We Expand the Lens to Include Both Children and Individuals with Dementia and Alzheimer's?

Parents of children with behavioral challenges may be familiar with two experts in the field of collaborative problem solving: Dr. J. Stuart Ablon (Director of Think:Kids) and Dr. Ross Greene (Founding Director of Lives in the Balance). In this post, we’ll explore how the collaborative problem solving techniques and “Plan B” approach recommended for children could also be used productively by adult children interacting with parents suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's.

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Family Centered Hospital Communications: Not Just for Pediatric Patients

Its seems that many approaches to child care can be applied productively to other vulnerable populations, such as individuals with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Yet, it seems like multi-generational, "cross-pollination" of best practices hasn’t occurred widely. The I-PASS study at Boston Children's Hospital focuses on family-centered hospital rounding processes. If family-centered communications can reduce medical errors for children, why not for older patients too?

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Mental Health Care: Too Often an Afterthought with Dementia and Alzheimer's Patients

Mental health care seems to be afterthought or downright ignored in our healthcare system. Yet, mental health services and expertise are essential components in a care plan for patients with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Caregivers often find themselves at a loss, trying to identify the mental health services that their family members need….

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Delirium: When the Hospital Doesn't Agree with Your Elderly Parent

When an elderly parent is hospitalized, whether planned or unplanned, it's a stressful time for caregivers. Add hospital delirium to the mix and things can get overwhelming fast. Fortunately, awareness about delirium is on the rise in the medical community and there are things that both clinicians and families can do to reduce the likelihood of delirium developing.

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Do You Need a Geriatric Care Manager?

Caring for an elderly parent often feels similar to parenting. It can be a lot of routine appointments and tasks to ensure that your family member is safe, healthy, and cared for. But, what happens when you encounter critical situations where you just don't know where to turn? It might be beneficial to hire a geriatric care manager. In this post, we’ll explore when and why you might use this type of resource.

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Researching Nursing Homes

Many elderly insist that they "never want to go to a nursing home." Although adult children can do their very best to keep parents at home, it's still possible that a skilled nursing facility may be the best alternative for providing the level of care that is needed. This week, I’m offering five recommendations if you need to research skilled nursing facilities.

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Researching Memory Care Facilities

As your family members grow older, their health may deteriorate to a degree that it's no longer safe or practical for them to live at home, even with in-home care. For most people, 24x7 private care is not an affordable alternative. In this post, I'll be discussing memory care facilities and eight things you may want to keep in mind as you explore this care alternative.

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