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 …

Friend, Caregiver, Fighter: One Woman’s Story

As National Women’s History Month comes to a close, I’d like to share the story of my friend Audrey — a woman whose compassion, perseverance, strength and resilience certainly merit an honorable mention in the Women’s Hall of Fame. I met Audrey more than 30 years ago, when she was preparing to leave her own home to move in to care for her father. Like millions of American women do every day, she balanced working full time with family caregiving. …

States Cut Red Tape to Give Nurse Practitioners More Authority

This month, Gov. Pete Ricketts and the Nebraska state legislature made a smart move to remove the barrier that had prevented nurse practitioners from providing complete primary care for their patients. By cutting through the red tape, these elected officials have made more primary care clinicians available for Nebraskans in a variety of settings such as at home and in the community, medical offices, businesses like Walgreens, Target and CVS, and some workplaces. Nineteen other states have similar laws in …

5 Questions I Wish I Had Asked Before They Died

I’m a caregiving expert, with more than 30 years of experience in the field of aging, so you’d think I’d be fully prepared for a loved one’s death, especially when that person is older or has been battling illness. Yet even for me, death caught me by surprise. My mom died a year and a half ago; my oldest sister, Karen, just a few months ago. I’ve had my hands full with caregiving for many years, but there are so many …

Elizabeth Dole Receives Andrus Award, AARP’s Highest Honor

Elizabeth Dole has received the 2014 Ethel Percy Andrus Award, AARP’s highest honor, for her support of military family caregivers. The leader of the Elizabeth Dole Foundation and former U.S. senator, Cabinet member and president of the American Red Cross accepted the award at a dinner March 11 in Washington. Dole’s foundation aims to strengthen services for those caregivers — the nation’s “hidden heroes,” she calls them — through innovation, evidence-based research and partnerships across all sectors. In presenting the …