Blog

Dementia Diagnostics: Identifying the Enemy

My recent social media posts have revolved around signs and symptoms of early-stage dementia. Frequently after I’ve given a talk at a conference or a workshop for caregivers, people will ask me if I think certain behaviors they’ve noticed in their loved one are indicative of dementia. I find myself wanting to be able to…
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Sundowning: Basic Strategies for the Caregiver

In January 2021, my in-laws were packing to move so they could be closer to us in Texas. They’d lived in their house since 2003, and now they were downsizing into an apartment in an independent living community. Chris, Faith and I had gone to Memphis to help with the packing. We knew my father-in-law…
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Estate Planning: What Do I Really Need?

It became obvious that my grandparents needed my help after they had wandered two hours from their home and had to be brought back by the sheriff. What followed was a devastating diagnosis of dementia—Grandma with Alzheimer’s, and my grandfather with an unspecified dementia type. Dozens of questions swirled around in my mind, but the…
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Options vs. Resources: Elder Care Choices & Their Costs

More than any other aspect of elder care, the area of financial preparation seems to be one of the most difficult to grasp. One reason is because the laws which govern Medicare and Medicaid vary from state to state; they are also subject to frequent change. Often a family’s “ideal” care solution may not be…
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The Patient-Caregiver-Practitioner Partnership

“’I’m sorry she’s not being cooperative,’ I said…’All I can tell you is that she has Alzheimer’s and she just doesn’t understand what’s going on.’ ‘Oh,’ the nurse responded in a puzzled tone, ‘she has Alzheimer’s?’ Her question left me absolutely speechless. This nurse, who had been assigned to take care of my grandmother for…
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The Grief Alteration

Those who’ve experienced it might be inclined to call it an emotional bloodletting. It’s agonizing, excruciating, and it’s vastly different to go through it than if you just imagine it or observe its effect on someone else. Of course I refer to the devastating emotion of grief, and your inevitable encounter with it may leave…
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Searching for Dr. “Right”

“Chris glanced down at the doctor’s pocket. He saw the top of a book sticking out. ‘Are you studying Spanish?’ [he] asked. …‘Yeah,’ [Dr. Weston] said. ‘So many of our patients who come in here are native Spanish speakers. I just thought I should learn how to communicate with them.’” Excerpt from Goodnight, Sweet: A…
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First Responders & Dementia Patients: A Training Gap

First responders are some of the most authentic heroes I know. Their job pressures are both physically demanding and emotionally exhausting. They have to quickly gather facts while feeling the pressure to make right decisions in each situation, and they must maintain constant awareness of possible danger to themselves or the people they’re trying to…
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Fully Protected: The Importance of Long-term Care Insurance

I remember being in my 20s and hearing people talk about the importance of saving for retirement. I recall how far, far away retirement seemed when I was in my 20s—so far away that it felt strange to even talk about such a thing! Now, like so many of my middle-aged contemporaries, I find myself…
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Decision Time: What is the Long-term Care Solution?

The Initial Problem: Dad is really getting forgetful! We had to remind him that we saw him and Mom just last weekend. But maybe it’s not that bad? Even if it’s bad, maybe we can just ride it out…maybe he’ll get better when the weather warms up and the days get a little longer. The…
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