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 …

5 Hard Lessons I’ve Learned Hiring Caregivers

For more than five years I’ve been hiring paid caregivers to help care for my parents. They have run the gamut from top-notch to terrible. Along the way, I’ve learned some hard but valuable lessons: It’s time-consuming. While paid caregivers give me the ability to step away and handle other caregiving tasks, go to work and take care of myself, they also require a great deal of my time to coordinate, monitor and train — even when I’ve used an agency. Don’t fear …

Glen Campbell’s Last Film an Inspiration to Caregivers

We’ve known singer, guitar player and actor Glen Campbell as a superstar for almost six decades, but it’s his last film that may be his most precious gift — especially to those of us watching Alzheimer’s steal away our loved ones. In I’ll Be Me, Campbell shares not only his talents but also his struggle with Alzheimer’s as it eats away at his memory, his ability to reason and all the things that make him unique. The film documents Campbell’s last …

Love and Alzheimer’s: It’s Complicated

Valentine’s Day is coming up, but I have to admit, Alzheimer’s complicates loving someone who is struggling to cope with the confusion of an ever-changing world. Dad has always been very affectionate and supportive to me. When I was a child, he was my role model and comforter. When I became an adult, he showed his love by asking about my work or my car. He would even send me Valentine’s Day chocolates every year. Now he often expresses anger and frustration toward …

Losing Myself in Caregiving

After I moved across the country to care for my parents, more than five years ago, I put my heart and soul — to say nothing of my energy and time — into my role as a caregiver. As many of you know, it’s an all-consuming responsibility, one that can soon overwhelm your sense of self. For me, I felt my identity slipping away. I feared I’d lost myself in caregiving. So I thought about who I really am and why …