Moments That Keep Caregivers Strong

This week, like so many others, I was deeply touched by a precious moment — captured on video — between Georgia resident Kelly Gunderson and her 87-year-old mother, Daphne, who suffers with Alzheimer’s disease. As mother and daughter converse, lying side by side in what appears to be a hospital bed, Daphne recognizes her daughter — for the first time in a long while. Having been a family caregiver myself, I know moments like this keep us strong and help …

Jackson on the Job: Service Dog Plays Crucial Role in Caregiving Team

At less than a foot tall and under 25 pounds, Mr. Jackson might not seem like the powerhouse that he is in our family. His floppy ears and big brown eyes make him adorable, but it’s the intelligence and sensitivity that are apparent through those eyes that have made him my constant, loyal and vital partner in caregiving for my parents over the past five years. As caregivers, we all need to build a caregiving team - no one can do …

Dementia Caregivers Especially Stressed, Report Finds

Family caregivers who are caring for loved ones with cognitive and behavioral health conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease and depression, face particularly demanding challenges, according to a new report from AARP and the United Hospital Fund. As a result of all the demands on them, a majority of these caregivers say they feel stressed much of the time as they try to juggle their caregiving responsibilities with other work or family obligations. As primary caregiver for my dad, who has Alzheimer’s disease, I can …

Rx for Brain: Baked or Broiled Fish Every Week

Here’s an easy way to boost your brain health, especially if you’re worried about memory loss or dementia: Eat any kind of fish – as long as it isn’t fried – at least once a week. That’s the surprising result of a new study looking at simple lifestyle changes a person could make to help protect against Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline. By looking at MRI brain scans of healthy older adults enrolled in a 10-year study, the researchers found that …

Low Vitamin D May Double Risk of Dementia

As with so many other perplexing questions about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, researchers are unsure why there seems to be a link between low vitamin D levels and a higher risk of developing these brain diseases. Now one of the largest studies yet finds that link is even more worrisome: Too little of the vitamin may, in fact, double the risk of developing the devastating conditions. The new research, which followed nearly 1,700 adults over the age of 65 for …

‘Alive Inside’: Music + Alzheimer’s = Miracle

  When you speak, you’re mainly using the left hemisphere of your brain. When you look at a painting, it’s the rear of your brain that perceives what you’re seeing. But the brain has no precise center for music. When you listen to music you love, all your gray matter gets into the act: Do a scan of a brain listening to music and virtually the entire thing starts to glow, like embers in a warm hearth. That brain-wide embrace of music …