‘Alzheimer’s Stole Her’: Changing Our Narrative About Dementia

My grandmother lived with Alzheimer’s disease for years. And for years, my family and I would say things like: “Alzheimer’s stole her from us.” “She’s not herself now.” “She’s a shell of who she was.” That’s our cultural narrative about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia — that it’s the aggressor. It has power over us, we say. It can take away our loved ones right before our eyes. If we’re lucky, we might catch a glimpse of them …

Will I Get Alzheimer’s? 6 Ways to Reduce the Risk

When I tell people I’m caring for my 91-year-old dad who has Alzheimer’s disease, they look at me sympathetically and say, “I don’t know how you do it.” When they learn that I also cared for my grandmother when she had Alzheimer’s, they gingerly ask, “Are you afraid of getting it yourself?” Well, yes, actually. I’m terrified. With World Alzheimer’s Day this month (Sept. 21), it’s on my mind  more than usual. No one wants to get Alzheimer’s, but when …

Dealing With Dad’s Difficult Alzheimer’s Behaviors

It’s the moodiness that gets to me. And the irritability and all the yelling. Is this really my sweet, kind father? Unfortunately, it is. As a recent study found, many who have Alzheimer’s disease will experience depression, anxiety and other behavioral changes long before memory slips or other cognitive deficits occur. This is a topic I know all too well as my dad battles the disease and I see his happy, sweet disposition erode. In particular, the study found that …

How to Choose a Car to Make Aging Easier

The last time I bought a new car I was 20 years younger and I wanted something that fit me at the time — classy, sexy and fast! Twenty years later, my priorities have taken a U-turn. Now practicality is my top priority. A new car must not only meet my needs as I age but also be suitable for driving around my 91-year-old dad (who lives with me and has Alzheimer’s) and his service dog, Mr. Jackson. Nearly six …

Restaurateur B. Smith Urges More Funding for Alzheimer’s Research

Former model and restaurateur B. Smith, who revealed last June that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, urged senators on Wednesday to “make a difference” for the millions like her and approve more funding for research into the debilitating brain condition. Smith, 65, testified before the Senate Special Committee on Aging, along with medical and research experts from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Mayo Clinic and other centers. Fighting back tears, Smith told the committee …

Oscar Night Fun for the 50-Plus Crowd

The Oscar gods were good to artists over 50 on Sunday with Birdman director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Whiplash star J.K. Simmons and Julianne Moore of Still Alice taking home top awards, plus a surprise appearance by 79-year-old acting icon Julie Andrews brought the star-studded audience to its feet. J.K. Simmons, who looked hip in a black fedora as he walked the red carpet, ended the long awards season with the one that had been predicted throughout, best supporting actor, and he was as eloquent as he was dapper while giving a loving …