In Search of My Veteran Dad’s WWII Memories

As my dad’s memories fade due to Alzheimer’s disease, the list of things that still stick with him gets increasingly shorter. My mom’s name is frequently on his lips, even though she passed on a year ago. His service dog, Mr. Jackson, is still his key companion and, even when he can’t remember his name, he looks for “the dog.” And he still knows the 10th Mountain Division, with whom he served in World War II as they drove the Nazis and Mussolini …

Robin Williams’ Suicide Triggered by Type of Dementia?

A gossip website has attributed actor Robin Williams’ suicide to Lewy body dementia, a devastating disease that affects an estimated 1.4 million Americans, most of them men over age 60. Sources told TMZ that Williams’ doctors agree that the dementia was a “key factor” that drove him to suicide, though neither the diagnosis nor the doctors’ statements have been confirmed. >> Famous People We’ve Lost in 2014 Lewy body dementia is the second or third most common type of progressive dementia, according …

When the World Disappears

A few years ago, I wrote about a lawyer in his 40s who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. We met for lunch at an oceanside restaurant  and watched a restless surge of waves breaking in eternal conversation with the man about to lose his history. “It’s all fading away,” he said to me. And indeed it was. Names and faces were vanishing in what he described as a blue mist that was ever deepening around him, allowing …

Financial Planning for People With Dementia

As boomers move into their late 60s and beyond, the country is likely to experience a growing number of individuals with dementia who have difficulty managing their financial affairs. This means financial advisers must be trained to recognize the early signs of cognitive impairment among clients and then plan for deteriorating mental health that may occur over many years. In addition, policymakers must bolster protections against financial exploitation to protect older consumers with dementia. >> 10 Items Where Coupons Save …

Hot Times: How Summer Heat Affects Caregiving

The dog days of summer can complicate caregiving. For my 90-year-old dad, whose progressing Alzheimer’s disease makes him sensitive to extremes in temperature, the typical 110-degree Phoenix weather is too hot to go outside, but an overly air-conditioned room is too cold. The result for my father is low motivation, appetite and activity levels that aren’t good for his health. Here are some of the creative ways I use to keep up with my dad’s health care, socialization and exercise …

Building Family: How Guardianship Can Create Community

The Post-it note on the box said, “Little things. Wanna look?” I found it in my grandparents’ dining room, tucked alongside the candles and platters they used on special occasions. At that point, my grandmother, whom I called Dibi, had lived with Alzheimer’s disease for a few years. Ever the charmer, Dibi could hide it well, but those of us who knew her knew the battle was just beginning. I love to think about that box and imagine what was …