Dementia or “Normal Aging?” Many Caregivers Can’t Tell

One of the biggest misconceptions about dementia is that it’s part of the normal course of aging. Alarmingly, that’s a belief shared by many caregivers for older adults. A new survey of relatives and friends caring for people now diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementia found two-thirds mistook early symptoms for normal cognitive wear and tear. In doing so, they may have delayed proper diagnosis and early treatment for their loved ones.

Older Fathers Pass On More Mutations for Autism, Schizophrenia

A new study looking at the link between genetic mutations and parental age has turned a long-standing assumption on its head: It’s the father’s age, not the mother’s, that raises the risk for new genetic mutations in their children, including autism and schizophrenia. Older fathers transmit more new DNA variations than younger fathers, researchers found. The mother’s age has no bearing on the risk for these disorders. The findings may explain why childhood autism rates are rising, scientists said Wednesday. …

Wonder Dog Reminds Me What’s Important

Some days, amid the stress and demands of caregiving, I get so overwhelmed that I forget about the important things. Fortunately, life has a way of jerking me back into focus. One day not too long ago, my Dad had an endoscopy, which consumed a big chunk of his – and my – time. I took him to the medical center, waited nervously while the procedure took place, then, relieved he was okay, brought him home. Next on the agenda …