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Sally Abrahms


I’m a long-time contributor to AARP with both a personal and professional interest in caregiving. For the last twelve years, I have cared for my father, then my mother and now my 94-year-old mother-in-law. I cover aging and boomers and have written for TIME, Newsweek, the New York Times, USA Today and the Huffington Post, among others.

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Sally Abrahms'sPosts

Report Shows Rampant Patient Harm in Skilled Nursing Facilities

Posted on 03/4/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin Today | CaregivingIf ever there were a statistic to make your heart stop, this is it: 1 out of every 3 patients who went to skilled nursing facilities after a hospital stay was harmed by his or her treatment. A study released this week by the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that this harm included infections and medication errors. The report looked at 653 Medicare patients from more than 600 skilled nursing facilities who had been …

Becoming a Better Caregiver With Help From Actors

Posted on 02/26/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin Today | CaregivingTraining medical students to do a better job by using actors to play patients is not new. But at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, actors are faking dementia and Parkinson’s disease to help family caregivers be more effective — and that’s downright novel. Last month, 16 caregiver spouses gathered at the hospital’s simulation center to boost their communication skills with a loved one. These husbands and wives were dealing with challenging behaviors and wanted help solving real-life issues. In the process, …

Living With Dementia and Caregivers: So Many Unmet Needs

Posted on 02/20/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin Today | CaregivingCall me naive, but I didn’t realize that as many as 70 percent of the 5.4 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are cared for by family and friends. A four-year Johns Hopkins School of Medicine study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society examined the unmet needs of people with dementia (PWD) living in the community (as opposed to long-term care) and their family caregivers. Researchers wanted to determine if there were a lot of unmet needs (an …

Goodbye Ageism! Shifting an Old Stereotype

Posted on 02/12/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin TodayI’m positive: You couldn’t pick a better place to have an International Conference on Positive Aging this week (or any week). It isn’t just because it’s in Florida, but also because it’s specifically in Sarasota County, which happens to have the highest percentage of people age 85-plus in the nation. The event’s host, the Sarasota  non-profit foundation Institute for the Ages, recruits and engages older people and organizations to conduct research on aging issues, connecting companies with their target audience, Sarasota …

New Study Looks at Caregiving and Twins

Posted on 02/4/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin Today | CaregivingDoes caregiving cause stress? Most research shows that it does — in spades.  But a small study on a limited sample suggests how family caregivers handle distress is influenced more by their genes and family history than by the difficulty of the caregiving role. Those are the findings of Peter Vitaliano, a professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Washington, and his colleagues after studying more than a thousand female twins, some of whom were caregivers. According to Vitaliano, how your parents …

Report Shows Americans Don’t Worry About Aging Population

Posted on 01/30/2014 by | Caregiving | Comments

Bulletin Today | Caregiving“What? Me worry?” Those famous words of Mad Magazine’s fictitious Alfred E. Neuman seem to sum up the attitude Americans have about whether aging is a problem in this country. A just-released Pew Research Center global aging report asked residents of 21 countries if they thought the burgeoning number of older people was a “major problem” for their country and for themselves. In fact, the United States ranked No. 19, or two places from the lowest. Japanese and South Koreans, who …