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 …

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 …

One More Thing to Stress About: Midlife Stress and Your Brain

After the alarm goes off at 5:45 a.m., each day brings a new set of challenges: deadlines and responsibility at work, AP history homework, French quizzes, soccer carpools, meetings at school, dogs that need to be walked and a hardworking husband who is rarely home before 8 p.m. My mother died in February after a difficult illness, and still I sometimes wake in the middle of the night in grief and panic. Add to that list a new study to …

Troubled Boy: What if He Were Your Grandson?

A heartfelt, searing blog post by a 40-year-old mother about her mentally ill son has made many parents and grandparents wonder how they would handle a child with frighteningly violent outbursts. Idaho mother Liza Long, who writes The Anarchist Soccer Mom blog, published her painfully honest post about her 13-year-old son soon after the horrific shooting of schoolchildren by Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Her post – with the provocative phrase “I am Adam Lanza’s …

Thomas Szasz: The Rebel Who Changed Psychiatry

Dr. Thomas Szasz wasn’t a popular figure in his chosen specialty of psychiatry, in part because he denounced his colleagues as little more than quacks and questioned whether the disorders they were diagnosing even existed. Indeed, Szasz’s controversial 1961 book, The Myth of Mental Illness, contained the mental health equivalent of the 95 Theses that Martin Luther nailed to a church door in Wittenberg. Szasz, who died on Sept. 8 at age 92 at his home near Syracuse, N.Y.,  charged that there …

Takeaway: Parents in the Wake of the Colorado Shooting

This is a guest post by AARP’s Mary C. Hickey. As a parent of young adult children, my thoughts immediately turned to all the heartbroken mothers and fathers of similarly aged kids left in the wake of Friday’s brutal shooting in Colorado: The parents who lost sons and daughters in the senseless tragedy, of course. But also the parents of James Holmes, the alleged shooter. How unspeakably awful it must be to realize that the child you raised is capable of such …