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Creative Tips for Talking With Your Loved One With Dementia (Ep #033)

 

In my work with people caring for loved ones with dementia, I often hear that it can be hard to connect with a loved one as the illness progresses. 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 of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I interview Gary Glazner, the founder and Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project. In this interview, Gary generously shares with us four strategies for using poetry to enhance connection with our loved ones with dementia and he even shares about his own experience bringing poetry to his mom at the end of her...

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Life, Love, and Alzheimer's: Interview with Lauren Dykovitz (Ep #032)

 

In this episode of the Caring for Aging Parents Show, I interview Lauren Dykovitz, author of Learning to Weather the Storm: A Story of Life, Love, and Alzheimer's about:

  • Her journey as a caregiver over the past 10 years
  • The challenges of being 25 when her mom was diagnosed with dementia
  • Tips for young caregivers
  • What she’s learned about her mom and herself since her mom has been diagnosed with dementia
  • Ways to find gratitude in the midst of loss.

 

Watch this episode, now!

 

 

Lauren Dykovitz is a blogger and author. She lives with her husband and two black labs. Her mom, Jerie, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2010 at age 62. Lauren was only 25 years old at the time. Jerie is still living with late-stage Alzheimer's. Lauren writes about her experience on her blog, Life, Love, and Alzheimer’s. She has also been a contributing writer for several other Alzheimer’s blogs and websites. Lauren self-published her first book, ...

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Older Adults & Psychiatric Inpatient Units. Interview with Dr. Lisa Frank - Part 3 (Ep #030)

 

Caring for an aging parent who has been hospitalized on a psychiatric inpatient unit is incredibly challenging.

 

Older adults who end up needing psychiatric inpatient care may have a longstanding mental health condition, a new mental health condition, a mental health condition with medical problems, like dementia,  and countless other scenarios.

 

If it happens that your aging  parent needs psychiatric hospitalization, not only are you likely to be scared and confused, so too is your aging parent. It's incredibly upsetting to see our aging parents suffer. When we witness them struggle with mental health concerns and we see that they are suffering not only in their body, but in their psyche and their soul, it is incredibly painful thing to witness.

 

If you find yourself in this situation, I want you to know that you’re not alone. I'm here to help by sharing some information and resources.

 

This is exactly why I am devoting an episode to...

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Hallucinations, Delusions, & Antipsychotic Medications. Interview with Dr. Lisa Frank- Part 2 (Ep #029)

 

One of the most common questions y'all send to me and that I'm also asked frequently in my own practice with families are questions surrounding hallucinations, delusions, and psychosis.

 

So, today, Psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Frank, helps us understand psychosis, hallucinations, delusions, and antipsychotic medications!

 

Some of you have written to me saying:

 

 

AND

 

 

 

In this interview, Dr. Frank answers these questions and so much more about hallucinations, delusions, and antipsychotic medications in the context of dementia disorders! This is the second of a 3-part interview with Psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Frank.

 

Watch the interview now!

 

Read transcript here!

 

Lisa Frank, MD is a board certified psychiatrist with special interests in geriatric psychiatry, trauma, and mood disorders. Dr. Frank has practiced in a variety of clinical settings, including inpatient psychiatry units, partial hospitalization programs, and...

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Dementia, Delirium & When to Seek Medical Care. Interview with Dr. Lisa Frank- Part 1 (Ep #028)

 

One of the most complicated situations families that I work with are faced with has to do with older adults with dementia developing a delirium.

 

Is the dementia worsening? Or is it a delirium? It's so hard to tell.

 
In this week’s episode, I am delighted to interview my best friend, Dr. Lisa Frank to talk with us about dementia, delirium, and when to seek medical care.
 
 
This is the first of a 3-part interview with Psychiatrist, Dr. Lisa Frank. 

 

In this interview, Dr. Frank explains the difference between dementia and delirium and talks about the signs that you should be aware of that would indicate that your loved one needs medical care. She also gives an overview of what to expect in the Emergency Room with your loved one with dementia, who may also have delirium. And, we talk about the important role that families play.

 

Watch the interview now!

Read transcript here!

 

Lisa Frank, MD is a board certified...

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Dementia Can Be Beautiful with MJ Grant and Her Mom. Interview with MJ Grant! Part 1 (Ep #026)

In this first of a two-part interview,  I have the incredible honor of interviewing Mary Jane, "MJ", Grant about her experiences with caring for her mom with dementia.

You may remember MJ Grant's video that went viral, called "Dementia Can Be Beautiful". It's had more than 2.2 million views (on Facebook alone!) and shows MJ and her mom sitting silently in a car signing with each other.
 
In the video, MJ's mom, Carmen (Wiggins) Grant, who is deaf and has dementia, doesn't remember that MJ is her daughter. During the conversation, MJ's mom comes to discover MJ and they share a warm embrace. The level of love and connection in this video is a sight to behold!
 
I start my interview with MJ Grant talking about the "Dementia Can Be Beautiful" video, including how and why she made it, and what makes it so special.

 

[Read transcript here!]

 

In this interview, MJ also opens up about her mom's history of depression and anxiety, her mom's dreams of...
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Dementia is NOT a Normal Part of Aging! (Ep #024)

 

You’ve heard people say “she’s doing great! She’s old, but she’s all there!” or “he’s 90 and still so sharp!”

 

These statements about older adults make the assumption that with aging comes serious cognitive problems, like dementia! But, these ideas are actually not supported by science and in fact, are a myth and a direct result of ageism, which includes bias and stereotypes based on age, and affects older adults more than any other group. 

 

In today’s episode, I want to share an important message that DEMENTIA IS NOT A NORMAL PART OF AGING!

 

 [Read transcript here!]

 

There is a big myth out there that with age comes dementia. And while, with age the risk for dementia does in fact increase, it’s important to know that Dementia is NOT a normal part of aging!! 

 

What is dementia?!

Dementia is a general term that we use to describe a certain type of brain condition...

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Worried Your Aging Parent Has Memory Loss? (Ep #002)

 

Worried Your Aging Parent Has Memory Loss?

 

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

 

Here are 5 tips for for helping your aging parent when you're concerned they may have memory loss

Watch, read, or do both! You choose

 

1. Write down what you observe.

If you're noticing changes in your parent's memory, or changes in cognitive function (this is a fancy term for the way the brain thinks, remembers, processes information, etc), it is really important that you keep track of specific examples that you notice.

 

For example, My mom got lost the other day driving home from a store that she's been going to for years. Or, My dad’s been leaving the stove on and burning food. Or, my mom has been rummaging through drawers and can never find...

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