Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode:

Expert Tips for Finding Senior Living with a Mental Health Condition - with Candy Cohn

Listen To My Latest Podcast Episode: Expert Tips for Finding Senior Living with a Mental Health Condition - with Candy Cohn

Dementia Communication Tips with Alzheimer's Poetry Project's Gary Glazner

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In my work with people caring for loved ones with dementia, I often hear comments like: "they've become a stranger to me" or "I don't even recognize them anymore".

Dementia is a devastating illness that often robs families of the opportunity to connect and experience joy.  Because of this, it's essential that we find a way to share connecting moments, enjoy one another, and see a little piece of the person eclipsed by the shadow of this devastating illness.

And, I have just the person to help us with this!

In this week's episode, I interview Gary Glazner, the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. In this interview, Gary generously shares with us strategies facilitating communication and connection with our loved ones with dementia and even shares about his own experience bringing poetry to his mom at the end of her life.

 

 

 Here’s a sneak peek at what...

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How to Talk About End of Life Wishes - with Patty Webster, The Conversation Project

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Have you had an end of life conversation with a loved one? What feelings came up for when you read this? Fear? Sadness? Longing? Remorse?

 

Naturally, when we experience these feelings, we often want to run from them, rather than toward them. 

 

But, did you know that when we actually pursue end of life conversations with our loved ones, it actually does more good than harm. 

 

Research shows that end-of-life conversations lead to improved mental health and better-quality of life for both patients and caregivers. Here's how:

  • The person dying reports relief and less distress after talking with their loved ones about end of life wishes
  • When there is a meaningful conversation about end-of-life choices, survivors report feeling less guilt and less depression and having an easier process of grieving. 

 

Now that you know end of life conversations can be helpful, in this podcast episode, I...

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Caregiving During COVID-19: 5 Self-Care Strategies for Caregivers

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November is National Caregiver Month, but I really think this entire year should be dedicated to caregivers for all that they have been through during COVID.

 

In today’s episode, I share statistics about the toll of caregiving during COVID and 5 self-care strategies for caregivers during COVID. 


Family caregivers during COVID are more stressed and overwhelmed than ever before and here are some reasons why:

  • Approximately 61% of caregivers are employed while caregiving. Of these caregivers, 60% work 40 or more hours a week and another 15% work 30-39 hours per week. 
  • Caregiving resources during COVID have been limited. Many resources that caregivers rely on like senior centers and adult day programs have been (and remain closed) for several months.
  • Caregivers may not be comfortable with home health aides coming into the home for fear of exposure to COVID, so have cancelled home health aide assistance,...
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When Caregivers Have Chronic Medical Illness of Their Own with Dr. Kandi Schmidt

 

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As a society, we have so many unrealistic expectations for caregivers. As much as you hate to admit it, you may have even caught yourself thinking I can't believe that she moved her father into a nursing home, or I would never have made THAT decision.

 

We have so many judgments about the way caregivers "should" go about providing care. This, in turn, makes caregivers less likely to ask for help and more likely to shoulder the demands of caregiving all on their own.  This leaves caregivers feeling invisible and as if their needs are less important than everyone else's. Can you relate?

 

What if the caregiver has chronic and life threatening illnesses of their own? How does this change the caregiving dynamic?

 

To help answer this question, I invited my dear friend, Dr. Kandi Schmidt on the podcast to share her wisdom about this complex situation of caring for an older loved one when you yourself have...

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5 Facts You Should Know About Dementia Caregiving

caregiving dementia podcast Aug 18, 2020

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I hear from caregivers pretty regularly that"nobody really understands how hard caring for a loved one with dementia is!"

So, I decided to share some facts about dementia caregivers in the hopes that it will provide some understanding and support for the dementia caregiver's journey!

 

 

If you're caring for somebody with dementia, I see you and I value what you're doing. Please, please, please take care of yourself because we know that depression and anxiety and stress and strain will not only affect your, your sense of self and well-being, it will affect your health.

 

 At the end of this episode (and at the bottom of this page), I share some resources for self-care. So, read (or listen) until the end!

 

Here's a peak inside the episode:

  • [01:35] Fact #1: 48% of all caregivers (of any condition) provide care for a loved one with dementia.
  • [02:13] Fact #2: The majority of people living with dementia live with a...
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7 Benefits of Early Diagnosis of Dementia

 

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Witnessing memory problems in your loved one can be really scary. You may wonder what's causing the memory problems and you might find yourself fearing the worst.
 
Over the past 17 years working with older adults and their families, I've seen many individuals and families put off getting an evaluation when there are memory concerns for three common reasons:
 
  1. You might see memory problems and think, "well, my loved one is aging, it's normal to have memory problems." (Hear me when I say that there are some minor changes that happen in the brain with age, but significant memory loss and dementia are NOT normal aspects of aging.)
  2. There is a lot of uncertainty, fear, and grief that happens when we're diagnosed with a serious, chronic, and terminal illness, which dementia is. As a result, you may want to avoid that pain by NOT pursuing an evaluation for a dementia diagnosis.
  3. I often hear people say, "...
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Know the 10 Memory Loss Warning Signs

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It's normal for an older adult to forget where they put their keys, look all over their glasses then realize they're wearing them or have trouble remembering someone's name. But there comes a time when memory loss can be really scary and concerning.

 

In today's episode of the Psychology of Aging Podcast, I share 10 Memory Loss Warning Signs to let you know that you might want to start the conversation with your loved one about memory loss and make an appointment with their doctor for further evaluation. 

 

Let me start by saying that there are common changes in the brain that come with age and growing older. And then there are changes with the brain that are not common and are more concerning.


I'll discuss the difference between normal changes in the brain that happen with age versus when to be concerned about memory loss. I'll also review the 10 memory loss warning signs to be looking out for with the older adults in...

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The Unique Needs of LGTBQ Caregivers with SAGE's Tim Johnston, PhD

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If you're a caregiver, you know that caregiving can be rewarding and incredibly challenging, all at the same time. If you're an LGBTQ caregiver, you'll have some unique challenges that straight caregivers don't typically have. Some of these being that LGTBQ Caregivers experience more isolation while caregiving and have poorer mental and physical health in the long run. 

Here's the good news... we can improve this. This episode will share many resources and tips for helping LGTBQ caregivers reduce isolation and improve outcomes for the caregiver and the person they are caring for!

 

I want you to have the most up to date information on LGTBQ caregivers, so today, we go straight to the source and interview SAGE's, Senior Director of National Projects, Dr. Tim Johnston.

 

SAGE is a national advocacy and services organization that's been looking out for LGBT elders since 1978. SAGE builds welcoming communities and keeps...

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Grief and Loss During COVID (Part 1): Anticipatory Grief and Ambiguous Loss - Ep #005

 

 

 

 

Has your older loved one been in the hospital since the Coronavirus Pandemic and not allowed to have family by their side to comfort and advocate for them? 

 

This experience is incredibly upsetting for families... because in times of suffering and illness, it's healthy to reach to others for closeness. In fact, being physically close with our loved ones when we're sick actually provides comfort and helps us to heal.

 

This is a cruel irony indeed. On one hand, physical comfort is healing and protective... and on the other hand, with COVID, physical closeness can cause us harm. Social distancing while our loved ones are sick, has taken away one of our healthiest coping and soothing strategies.

 

Here are just a couple of statements I've heard from the people I work with. Can you relate?

 

"My aging parent needs me. They're not going to have anybody there to advocate for them in the hospital."

 

"I've been married 60 years!...

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Support Resources for Caregivers

 

If you’re caring for an older adult and you’ve had to change your routine in the last few weeks with senior centers, doctors' offices, and adult day programs closing due to COVID-19, you might find yourself experiencing more caregiver stress and burnout.

 

Last week, I met with a caregiver who was teleworking from home and whose husband with dementia was unexpectedly home at the same time. Before the Coronavirus Pandemic, his home health aide would come to his home 3 days a week and he would attend an adult day program 5 days a week. These resources would help his wife (the caregiver) to continue to work and have a break from caregiving, so that she wouldn't have to give up her whole life in exchange for caregiving. But, since the Coronavirus Pandemic has started, his adult day program has closed, and his home health aide has been sick. As a result, the caregiver is experiencing lots of stress and overwhelm trying to figure out how to work and caregive...

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COVID-19 Wellness Guide for Older Adults

You'll get tips for staying mentally and physically well during the Coronavirus Pandemic.