ElderCarelink Blog

Nobody talks about toileting

by Judy Kirkwood
August 24th, 2011 at 9:00 am

When I asked my sister what was the hardest part of taking care of mom and dad, she promptly said “toileting.”

Caregivers don’t often complain. And, if they complain, it’s even less often that they focus on the obvious–the elimination of food and fluids from our bodies that happens a number of times on a daily basis. In fact, the whole subject is kind of taboo, as if it doesn’t exist. Which when you are taking care of an elderly or disabled person who can’t toilet themselves, you kind of wish it didn’t.

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Basketball legend Pat Summitt diagnosed with early onset dementia

by Carol Bursack
August 23rd, 2011 at 2:18 pm

A combination of intelligence, drive, competitiveness and leadership, all in a homespun Southern voice that took women’s basketball (and women’s sports in general) from forgotten to the forefront.

These words, written by Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, beautifully describe Tennessee Lady Vols’ basketball coach, Pat Summitt, who–at age 59–has been diagnosed with early “onset dementia, Alzheimer’s type.” Summitt had experienced months of what she labeled “erratic behavior” before she scheduled an examination at the Mayo Clinic last May. This type of diagnosis is life changing at any age, but at age 59, the effect is even more unnerving.

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What day is it? Keeping elders oriented

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP
August 23rd, 2011 at 9:00 am

Older adults frequently get annoyed when asked the typical questions for orientation by healthcare professionals, but it can be very significant when the person is providing a month when it usually snows in their area and the temperature outside is in the 80’s. Staying oriented to the time, date and year is important. When an elder doesn’t know that information–even when prompted with hints–further observation is warranted to ensure other aging-related issues aren’t coming to the surface.

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Young meets old: children and aging family members

by Judy Kirkwood
August 22nd, 2011 at 10:24 am

My mother was not aware of her last visit from her great granddaughters. She had already slipped into a long sleep. But I was aware. It was interesting how the 12-year-old asked so many good questions about my mother’s physical and spiritual being, and was concerned about how I was feeling.

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Art therapy: improv for Alzheimer’s

by Carol Bursack
August 16th, 2011 at 2:22 pm

Considering the shock, grief and anxiety an Alzheimer’s diagnosis can bring to the person and his or her family, it’s sad that there often seems little we can do to help them other than say “I’m sorry.” However, NPR.org reports that Chicago’s Tony Award winning Lookingglass Theater Company has found a way to do more than say “I’m sorry.” They are offering an improv, an in-the-moment theater program for people with early Alzheimer’s disease.

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