Adult children with a parent experiencing memory issues may want to listen to this July 2011 TED Talk, A Map of the Brain, by Allan Jones, the head of the Allen Institute for Brain Research. The lecture explores the brain’s structure, they way different parts function, and current research, and it and includes some amazing images.
I wrote more about the Institute in my March 2012 post, Paul Allen Donates Another $300 Mil to Brain Research. Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft and not a noted philanthropist, was the primary founder and funder of the Allen Institute, and he continues to support its work. Allen’s mother had Alzheimer’s.
The Mission of the Allen Institute for Brain Research
Our mission is to accelerate the understanding of how the human brain works in health and disease. Using a big science approach, we generate useful public resources, drive technological and analytical advances, and discover fundamental brain properties through integration of experiments modeling and theory.
Check out the post Exploring Green House Core Values: Real Home over at the Changing Aging blog.
Rachel Scher of The Green House Project describes how Green House movement founder, Dr. Bill Thomas, envisions homes where residents create a community together — supported by staff members (shabazz) who are trained not only to provide care but also to provide and encourage the home-creating process.
In her post Scher makes the distinction between creating “home-like homes”versus making real homes.At the end of the post watch a great video that celebrates ten years of the Green House Movement.
In this picture Dr. Bill Thomas speaks at the dedication of the new Woodland Park Green House Homes at Virginia Mennonite Retirement Community early in January 2013.
Check out the Washington Post article, Caregiving is Especially Complicated When the Patient is Your Spouse, an article originally published in the January 14, 2013 online edition.
Written for the Consumer’s Union but appearing in the Post, the piece describes a book, The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook, by Diana Denholm, a licensed professional therapist who provided extensive care to her husband. Below are the topics that appeared in the article, but the book is far more comprehensive. The reviews on the Amazon website characterize the book as useful for any person who is providing care to a family member.
Topics in the Article
- How does caring for a spouse differ for caring for a parent?
- What’s the most important advice you offer to caregivers?
- What are other pitfalls to know about?
- When should a caregiver seek outside assistance?
Check Out this Easy-to-Use Guide
from the National Institute on Aging (NIA)
If one of your family members or a friend receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this book, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, offers an enormous amount of information and support. It’s organized well, overs a range of resources, and even uses an easy-to-read typeface.
From the NIA Website
This comprehensive, 104-page handbook offers easy-to-understand information and advice for at-home caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It addresses all aspects of care, from bathing and eating to visiting the doctor and getting respite care. And it’s filled with resources.
Examples of the Information Provided in Caring for a Person With Alzheimer’s
- Learn more about caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s with advice on everything from memory issues to holidays to travel to coping strategies
- Get more specifics about the medical facts.
- Learn how to seek and find additional help for you and your family member.
- Find out how to help a caregiver remain healthy and strong.
- Explore a range of safety tips.
- Get information about the progression of the disease and the last states of Alzheimer’s disease.
Michael Lindenmayer interviews former First Lady Rosalyn Carter in a January 17, 2013 piece at Forbes. Mrs. Carter speaks about family caregivers in the United States, noting the important role this group plays in the United States health care system. Family caregivers, she points out, provide much of the daily life support to family members with significant chronic illnesses as well as aging parents.
The Rosalyn Carter Institute for Caregiving, founded by Mrs. Carter, “… is the only national institute to integrate both professional and family caregiver issues in research, education and advocacy agenda.” It’s mission is to educate the public about the critical role that caregivers, and especially family member caregivers play in our nation’s long term health care system, identify the risks associated with serving in that role, and create ways to help and support people who are working as caregivers.
Family caregivers represent one of this nation’s most significant yet underappreciated assets in our health delivery system. They are the backbone of our country’s long term, home-based, and community-based care system. The approximately 65 million family caregivers in the United States provide $450 billion worth of unpaid services each year.
If you find yourself forgetting things (and taking more time to remember them than you want), read Dr. Bill Thomas’ post, Tip of the Tongue, over at his Changing Aging blog. He writes about the brain and presents a broad range of research findings that address memory, forgetting, remembering, age, and ageism. As we grow older and despite forgetting, Dr. Bill emphasizes, most of the information is still in our brain as we move toward elderhood, though we are a bit less efficient at retrieving it quickly.
Best Quote from this Changing Aging Blog Post
It turns out that younger brains are good at quickly recalling bits of information (like a name or where you put your car keys) because they have a relatively straightforward filing system. Older people, by dint of long experience, “store” memories within a more diffuse network of brain systems.
At least once a day I have a tip-of-the-tongue experience, and almost always, the thought that I was trying so hard to remember pops into my head sometime later in the day. My parents, age 89 and 85, have the same experience. I do not worry about it, and I encourage them not to worry too much about it, because we almost always remember the information in a relatively short time (or we know where to go to find it).
I stopped worrying about forgetting after I attended a parents’ weekend lecture some years ago at Brown University — in a large lecture hall, standing room only. The lecturer, a professor and brain researcher whose class my daughter was taking (and whose name I cannot remember just now), shared some interesting and reassuring facts using a metaphor of old-fashioned library card catalog.
Important Lecture Points With Some of My Editorial Notes Read more »
It appears that seniors are receiving phone calls that attempt to scare them into making personal safety device purchases with a credit card, and it feels like a scam. I received one yesterday on my mobile phone.
An urgent voice asks for a senior citizen noting that break-ins, robbers, medical emergencies or falls are scary and a free solution will make them safer. Moreover, the voice offers a solution that’s supported or endorsed by the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and the National Institute on Aging — three well-known and reputable organizations. To learn how to protect myself from all of these terrible problems the voice asks me to hit a number on my phone.
Well I am not a senior — yet — but I know a fair amount about media literacy, and I’ve spent countless hours telling my parents, my husband’s parents, and various other family members and friends, to hang up when they receive these urgent telephone calls asking them to make a purchase. However … I didn’t hang up because I was too intrigued. I pressed number one.
Next a reassuring woman’s voice explains that the Senior Emergency Care company – with a AAA rating from the Better Business Bureau and endorsements from all of the above organizations — is offering me free equipment and free registration and shipping — equipment that will help me avoid or prevent scary life situations such as crime and health emergencies. The personal safety device that she is selling would, she told me, can be worn around my neck and will make me feel and be safer. Read more »