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Observations and commentary on aging, caregiving, and the complex journey through the second half of life.

Second-Half of Life Blog

Memory’s Departure

Posted by on Sep 3, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Memory’s Departure

Try as we might, memory is built like a cat, seeming tamed and committed only to turn and be inexplicability gone, maybe for good. Billy Collins’ brilliant poem “Forgetfulness” gives metaphoric voice to this unraveling that ties us in cerebral knots looking for clues… Forgetfulness Billy Collins The name of the author is the first to go followed obediently by the title, the plot, the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel which suddenly becomes one you have never read, never even heard of, as if, one by one, the...

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Legacy Pearls: Uncovering the Secret Stuff

Posted by on Sep 2, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Legacy Pearls: Uncovering the Secret Stuff

Legacy coaches™ want to know the secret stuff, emotional material that contains the values to be threaded through the person’s legacy quilt. Sometimes our efforts will meet with a resounding thud at best, hostility or dogma at worst. Expect setbacks, but don’t give up. In order to get to the “secret stuff ”—the value-laden material—we sometimes need to start in the safety of the conversational suburbs and work in toward the core of the person’s experience. Sometimes this strategy requires nothing more than our ability to remain silent and...

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Caregivers of Spouses with Dementia

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Caregiver | Comments Off on Caregivers of Spouses with Dementia

The Psychological and Health Consequences of Caring for a Spouse With Dementia: A Critical Comparison of Husbands and Wives This study compares outcomes, based on gender, of caregivers of at home spouses with dementia. It also looks at how the premorbid relationship between caregiver and care recipient may serve as an indicator of the degree of burden associated with the onset of dementia. “Caring for someone with dementia can be demanding, particularly for spouses living with the care recipient. The main goal of this study was to...

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Mitigating Memory Loss

Posted by on Aug 10, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Alzheimer’s Disease: Mitigating Memory Loss

This is not a new topic in the pursuit of ways to reduce memory loss in Alzheimer patients, but one that remains enticing and begs further investigation. Intranasal Insulin Could Treat Alzheimer’s Related Memory Loss Neuroscience News “Researchers have made a promising discovery that insulin delivered high up in the nasal cavity goes to affected areas of brain with lasting results in improving memory…” View original...

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Alzheimer’s and Agitation: A Surprising New Medication?

Posted by on Jul 27, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Alzheimer’s and Agitation: A Surprising New Medication?

This intriguing article from NBC News suggest that a combination drug of dextromethorphan – a cough suppressant – and the anti-arrhythmic drug quinidine may markedly reduce agitation in some Alzheimer’s patients. If this proves true, it could help address one of the most vexing and disturbing symptoms of dementia. The combination drug is already approved to treat uncontrollable laughing, crying or other outbursts caused by head injuries and degenerative disease such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, better known as ALS or...

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Aging Parents: Time To Move?

Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Aging Parents: Time To Move?

Helping aging parents consider a change in living accommodations is a delicate process. Before offering unwanted advice about where to live, adult children should first undertake a compassionate assessment of the losses and potential gains of this emotional transition. There is a deep fear of loss of control that must be appreciated and accommodated. That is why we created the What Do You Value Mind Map. The What Do You Value Mind Map offers families a one page diagram of the values that represent and sustain control in living accommodations....

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Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 6

Posted by on Jul 5, 2015 in Aging Parents, Poetry | Comments Off on Poetry and Aging Parents, Part 6

We grant the old a special courage to weather the slings and arrows of aging, but we forget their older brains are rewired for contemplation, a benefit that goes far beyond facilitating life review. This unique capacity of second half minds brings with it new reservoirs of creativity and compassion. Freya Manfred’s poem Imagine This honors older lives whose “narrowing choices” yield deeds of kindness and gratitude. Imagine This by Freya Manfred When you’re young, and in good health, you can imagine living in New York City,...

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Caregiver Decision Fatigue

Posted by on Jul 1, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Caregiver Decision Fatigue

Caring for aging parents brings with it a new kind of exhaustion called decision fatigue. While its cause has a number of contributing factors, two in particular stand out as primary sources: • Sustained engagement with dilemmas • Decision volatility in family systems Although demanding and stressful, the problems of aging can be contained or eliminated. Lost prescriptions can be refilled. Unsafe staircases can be modified. Transportation for an unscheduled medical testing can be arranged. Solving problems means eliminating uncertainty and...

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Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Posted by on Jun 15, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Poetry and Adult Children, Part 3

Below the perpetual buzz of our busy caregiving lives is another channel, softer in tone and kinder in character. We sense it in vertical moments where rushing and worrying get sidetracked, the chance second where life sparks back a fragment of wonder and joy. Annie Lightheart’s wonderful poem The Second Music captures the mood and impact of this restorative melody. It is a poem that should be read every morning before we are so easily swept away… The Second Music by Annie Lighthart Now I understand that there are two melodies playing,...

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Clinical Frailty Scale

Posted by on Jun 9, 2015 in Aging Parents | Comments Off on Clinical Frailty Scale

(Click on graphic to enlarge) Frailty occurs by degrees. It is helpful to have system to quantify it for the patient, caregivers, and health care professionals. The Clinical Frailty Scale found in the 2008 Canadian Study on Health & Aging is an excellent frailty assessment tool. It is also useful in identifying which older patients pose a higher risk for post-hospital...

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