New AARP Report Shows Why Older Americans Act Must Be Reauthorized Now

When I became a caregiver for my dad’s parents, Grandmother Genevieve had dementia and Granddaddy C.V., 10 years her senior, was struggling to care for her. I remember realizing they were getting by on a meager breakfast at home and a single meal at a cafeteria. Getting Grandmother into the car and Granddaddy driving her to the cafeteria were becoming scary, so I contacted the local Area Agency on Aging and arranged for delivery of Meals on Wheels to their …

Sleep Disorder Linked to Brain Disease

Thrashing about while you’re asleep may be a sign of something more troubling than mere restlessness: It could be a predictor of brain disease. A new study suggests that 80 to 90 percent of people who suffer from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder will eventually develop Parkinson’s or another brain disease. What’s REM sleep behavior disorder? It’s a condition that causes people to act out vivid, intense, even violent dreams. People who have it often yell, punch and kick …

Talking (and Listening) to People With Dementia

I talk with my friend Arthur twice a week, and each conversation starts the same way. “Hi Arthur, it’s Laura.” “Laura, dawling. Whe-ah are you?” “I’m in Ohio.” “You’re still the-ah?” It’s been almost 10 months since my boyfriend, Joe, and I left New York. “Yep, still here! Grad school is going really well, and it’s great to be close to family. It’s hard being far from friends, though. I wish we were tasting olives together right now.” >> Sign up …

Grandmas Stay Sharp by Babysitting – But Don’t Overdo It

Babysitting the grandkids can help boost Grandma’s brainpower, but doing it too much may have the opposite effect – possibly because Grandma is feeling resentful, new research finds. The study of 120 Australian grandmothers, ages 57 to 68, wanted to determine whether minding grandchildren played a role in helping postmenopausal women stay sharp as they aged. Previous research had shown that staying involved in social activities with friends or relatives helps improve cognitive function in older adults. >> Sign up …

She Was His North Star

His shoulders slump and his head bows as if his very life force has been suddenly drawn out of him. His face reflects the pain and confusion that his mind and heart are toiling with, struggling to grasp a wisp of reality and understand that the impossible has indeed happened. “I just can’t believe it; I can’t fathom it,” he says. “Are you telling me the truth? She’s not available anymore?” This happens every time my dad asks about my …

Adult Day Care Benefits Caregivers, Study Shows

If Mom or Dad has dementia, using adult day services (ADS) just twice a week can reap surprising psychological and physical benefits for family caregivers. Yes, caregivers. According to a new Pennsylvania State University study, ADS can reduce caregivers’ emotional distress and may even protect against illness. It turns out that a hormone in the body produced by the adrenal gland, DHEA-S, gets depleted when you’re under chronic stress – and caregiving is unquestionably stressful.  The study suggests that ADS probably gives …