ElderCarelink Blog

The process of dying: when to say “enough”

by Judy Kirkwood
September 23rd, 2011 at 2:05 pm

When my dad was hanging on for years, a friend in the eldercare profession would often ask why we were prolonging his life and, by implication, his misery. He was legally blind, although because of his dementia he didn’t know it so he never complained about it. He forgot he couldn’t read or walk without assistance.

My mother managed dad’s diabetes so well that my ex-husband, a physician, used to refer to dad as “the oldest living male diabetic.” He was amazingly stable, even if he was having a number of mini-crises related to blood sugar. He had Alzheimer’s disease and sometimes didn’t recognize us and–on rare occasions–became so confused he was combative. But most of the time he was a gentleman, even if in his mind we were strangers. Read more »

Would you divorce a spouse who developed Alzheimer’s?

by Carol Bursack
September 21st, 2011 at 9:32 am

According to a CBS News report, Pat Robertson, a conservative religious leader, founder of the 700 Club and chairman of the Christian Broadcasting Network, has stirred up some controversy with his comments over Alzheimer’s and divorce. Responding to a viewer’s question, Robertson noted divorcing a spouse with Alzheimer’s is justifiable because having the disease is “a kind of death.”

Robertson noted he wouldn’t “put a guilt trip” on anyone who divorces a spouse with Alzheimer’s, but clarified, “Get some ethicist besides me to give you the answer.”

In response, the story quoted Beth Kallmyer, director of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association: “Divorce is uncommon among couples where one partner is suffering from Alzheimer’s.”

From the reading I’ve done, and the questions I’ve received, I’d agree with Kallmyer.

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Never travel without an itinerary, Part 2

by Judy Kirkwood
September 20th, 2011 at 1:00 pm

This post is Part II of Never Travel Without an Itinerary

Once ticketed at the airport in Genoa, Italy–in a rush to get home, not knowing if my mother was alive or dead after suffering a serious stroke–I ran to security, in a panic to make my connection in Berlin to Chicago’s O’Hare airport. But I was stopped for having too much luggage since I didn’t have time to check it.

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9/21: Wear purple for World Alzheimer’s Day

by Carol Bursack
September 20th, 2011 at 9:00 am

The Alzheimer’s Association is highlighting World Alzheimer’s Day by asking everyone to wear purple on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Purple is the worldwide color designated for Alzheimer’s awareness. From the Alzheimer’s Association site, you can change your Facebook icon to an Alzheimer’s awareness graphic or purchase awareness products. You can also join sponsored walks to raise both money and awareness. If you are inclined to become locally active, you can coordinate your own Alzheimer’s fundraiser by joining forces with your local Alzheimer’s organization.

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Ask Leeza Gibbons about Alzheimer’s Disease

by Judy Kirkwood
September 19th, 2011 at 10:02 am

I have had the pleasure of interviewing Leeza Gibbons–former Entertainment Tonight host and current co-host of a new syndicated news magazine, America Now–several times. Prompted by her mother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease when she was only 63 (she passed away at age 72 in 2008), Gibbons was galvanized to become a passionate activist, co-authoring Take Your Oxygen First: Protecting Your Health and Happiness While Caring for a Loved One with Memory Loss.

On Tuesday, September 20, 2011, you can ask Leeza and Alzheimer’s expert Dr. James Galvin questions during Conversations in Caregiving, a live 90-minute webcast beginning at 8 PM ET (5 PM PT) or submit questions earlier at AlzheimersDisease.com.

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