What is “mindfulness,” anyway?

Many people confuse mindfulness with meditation and Eastern religions. Mindfulness is a skill gained by training your mind to observe life situations in a less emotionally charged way. It is a mental skill that gives you a less-cluttered perspective. It lowers daily stress and is particularly helpful when making important decisions under duress. Mindfulness is... Read More

Nonverbal signs of pain

Dementia itself does not cause physical pain. But people with dementia still encounter pain, just like anyone else: headaches, arthritis, tummy aches. They just can’t describe it. They might even deny having pain when you ask because they don’t understand the question. Learn the nonverbal signs of pain so your loved one doesn’t suffer. (Your... Read More

BPH: Weighing surgical options

Ever wondered why older men seem to need to urinate frequently? An enlarged prostate gland is likely to blame. The condition, benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is so common that it affects 90% of men by age 80. The prostate gland is roughly donut shaped and is located below the bladder. The urethra, the “tube”... Read More

Getting the most from doctor visits

Time with a doctor is precious—and that creates pressure to make the most of each visit. Whether your loved one’s next appointment is in person or through telehealth, a little preplanning will go a long way to making it a productive session. Here are some helpful tips: Identify the goal. Are you seeking a diagnosis... Read More

“But I wasn’t there when she died”

Many of us hold unconscious covenants with our kin. Among the most poignant, perhaps, is a commitment to “be there” when death is near. As adults, we may feel an obligation, and an honor, to be with our parents as they leave, just as they helped us enter. With our spouses, the ultimate commitment—’til death... Read More

Caregiving as a team

Millennials and Gen Xers are using strategies that might benefit family caregivers of all ages. Nearly half (47%) of adults in their 40s and 50s now find themselves “in the sandwich.” They serve as primary support people for an aging parent. Plus, they have children who are still at home or at least financially dependent.... Read More

Repetitive questions

“When are we going out?” A reasonable question under normal circumstances. But if the person you care for has dementia, you may get this question multiple times in an hour. Aargh! Indeed, repetitive questions are one of the top irritants mentioned by family caregivers whose loved one has dementia. The repetitive questioning isn’t done intentionally,... Read More

Help prevent choking

Swallowing involves the coordination of many muscles in the mouth and throat. The action pushes chewed food down toward the stomach. At the same time, the throat needs to close off the windpipe to the lungs. Between 15% and 20% of older adults have trouble swallowing. Choking while eating or drinking is the fourth-leading cause... Read More

How to beat “decision fatigue”

Caring for an ill family member often requires taking on the role of “decision maker.” Sometimes it’s multiple mundane decisions (Should you ask your sister to do the shopping? Is this a good day to shower Mom? Now or after lunch?). And sometimes it’s several important health decisions, all in a short period of time.... Read More

Osteoporosis: What you can do

If you are concerned about a loved one’s osteoporosis—brittle bones—it’s a good idea to bring this up with the doctor. He or she will likely discuss various medicines that can help. In addition, changes in daily life outlined below can go a long way to making stronger bones. Consider: Diet: There are two key nutrients.... Read More