Return to a good night’s sleep

If your older loved one snores loudly, he or she likely has sleep apnea: A collapsing of the airways while sleeping that results in mini-suffocations 5–30 times an hour. And, left untreated, this serious condition is a strong contributor to heart-related deaths, type 2 diabetes, dementia, depression, and car accidents. It’s also a huge problem... Read More

Hallucinations in later life

“I don’t like that bear on my bed!” A visual hallucination such as this can occur in the later stages of dementia or near the end of life. Some people also have auditory hallucinations—hearing things that others don’t—or feel things that aren’t there, such as string in their mouth or ants on their arm. These... Read More

Doctors and advance directives

If your loved one and family have had the conversation about end-of-life wishes, kudos to you! In addition to writing down those wishes in an advance directive, your relative should also share them with his or her health care team. Even if your family member is in perfect health now, that could change at a... Read More

Are you pushing against reality?

We all quarrel with reality from time to time and wish things were different than they are. Especially now, when life seems unfair. All flights have been cancelled due to the coronavirus and you won’t be able to be with your Dad on his 80th birthday…. Your mom is in an assisted living facility that... Read More

Are generic drugs inferior?

If your relative is taking brand-name prescription drugs, a switch to generic could provide significant savings. Why are brand-name drugs so expensive? It takes a lot of money and time to develop a new drug. In particular, it must be tested to show it works and is safe for humans. Patent laws give an innovator... Read More

Keep calm and stay in balance

This is a time of great uncertainty. It’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions, including fear, anxiety, confusion, or loneliness. It is also a time to take extra care to address your feelings and keep them from paralyzing or overwhelming you. Get the facts. Our emotional responses come from the part of our... Read More

Does Dad “saw logs” all night?

If your loved one snores, this may be a sign of “sleep apnea.” All snoring jokes aside, sleep apnea is a serious condition that deprives the brain of oxygen. A person with sleep apnea goes without oxygen for at least 10 seconds, five to 30 (or more) times an hour. It happens because the soft... Read More

Caring for a loved one with COVID-19?

What we know so far is that COVID-19 is spread much like the regular flu—through coughs and sneezes that put droplets in the air and on surfaces. It may be 2–14 days after exposure before a person has symptoms. That means people can spread the virus without knowing it. And many have symptoms that seem... Read More

Dad can’t brush his teeth

Is dementia making oral care difficult? Unfortunately, this isn’t a task to let go. Poor mouth care leads to cavities and gum disease, and then to toothaches, sore gums, and a disinterest in food. It can also contribute to a deadly infection, “aspiration pneumonia.” Even if the person you care for is no longer eating,... Read More

The myth of self-reliance

As a society, we value independence. The self-sufficient super-achiever. When it comes to family caregiving, however, this mind-set can backfire, resulting in stress and burnout for you, not to mention greater risk for your relative. (Imagine if something happened to you and no one else has really been part of the team, sharing the tasks!)... Read More