Caregiver Blog, News Feeds, Video Feeds, Useful Links

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Traveling Caregiver - Slide Show of World Famous Monterey Aquarium

My caregiver career began a new chapter recently with the addition of travel up the west coast. The Monterey Aquarium was the first sightseeing stop, and I took a slide show of photos you can see below. The salt water tanks, some several stories tall and as large as buildings, let us stand at the level of the bottom and look upward through the water and kelp forest as the fish floated by above us. Sharks, several octopi (plural for octupus), and incredible jellyfish trailing their colorful tentacles were part of the show. Enjoy the slideshow.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Study: Alzheimer's Symptoms Markedly Improved Within Minutes of Treatment With Therapeutic Molecule

At Medical News Today an article titled "Reversal of Alzheimer's Symptoms Within Minutes" says "improvement within minutes following delivery of perispinal etanercept which is etanercept given by injection in the spine." The article is dated January 10, 2008, and the lead author of the study is Edward Tobinick MD, of the University of California, Los Angeles and the Institute for Neurological Research.

The article said patients with mild to severe Alzheimer's have been given the treatment, and "all have shown marked sustained improvement."

This is the first time, according to the article, that improvement like this has resulted from treatment of Alzheimer's. It is the beginning of a new era.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Senior's Life Story Telling - Ask "Where Were You on This Day in History?"

Life story telling gives seniors a chance to chronologically show a timeline of their lives, and these dates can be related to historical events that took place at the same time. Today, people in their 70's, 80's or 90's can give priceless information about experiences in the first half of the 20th century or later. For instance, you can ask an octogenarian, an 80 year old, what he or she was doing when World War II ended, or when the first launches in the space program took place. The details of everyday life, the feelings of people during historical events, and their reactions can be a family treasure.

Memoirs, life story writing, or journals can be used to record seniors' life histories for later generations of the family to enjoy. If writing is no longer possible for a frail senior, a recording or video can be made of the storytelling.

Since the times of videos many families have recorded events, but prior to that we need to rely on old fashioned storytelling to preserve the memories.

Life before television, before home video entertainment, and before high tech is something that the generations born more recently cannot imagine. For instance, the days when telephones were on a party line were such a different experience. When you picked up the phone your neighbor might be in the middle of a conversation with a relative, you might say hello, and all of you might visit for a moment before you hung up to try again later for an open line. Also, since you never knew if someone might have picked up the phone without your hearing it people were careful what they said on the phone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Study Shows Therapy Pets Sooth Alzheimer's Agitation

An article at the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation titled "Therapy Pets Prove Soothing to People with Alzheimer's" says "Studies at the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing show that even a short-term visit by a therapy dog to a nursing home can ease agitation in people with Alzheimer's." The article said that during the sundowner time of day, early evening, the effects of pet therapy seem to be most obvious.

Additionally, a study of Alzheimer's patients living in a Special Care Unit in a midwest Veterans Home showed that a visit from a therapy pet improved social behaviors, including "smiles, laughs, looks, leans, touches, and verbalizations."

Studies have also proved that "petting or stroking a pet can be very relaxing, slowing heart rates and lowering blood pressure."

As one might expect, dogs were especially useful for getting people to move away from the couch and television and get some exercise walking.

Seniors with dogs, according to the article, were more able to perform the activities of daily living.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Inspirational Video For A Caregiver's Uplift "There's An Eager Audience Waiting for You and Your Life's Work"

This inspirational video with terrific photos seemed just right for an uplifting message for caregivers. The caregiving life often leads to a feeling that your hopes and dreams are washing away. The inspirational video below reminds us that in life "the hardships, joys, travel, hard work, and love" are all part of what goes into "making you very special." Relax, and enjoy! Kristi

Sunday, January 6, 2008

American Heart Association Free Caregiver's Self-Care Journal Says "You Are Here For A Reason" and more

At the American Heart Association the free Caregiver's Journal starts with a quotation for caregivers by Carolyn Joy Adams. "You are here for a reason...perhaps the very specific challenges faces you right noware truly invitations to expand your capacity to be patient, courageous, flexible, forgiving, to make wise choices...and to become more fully...the beautiful soul you are meant to be."

The Caregiver's Journal also includes pages for the following.

"Caregiver's Rights
Caregiver Health Checklist
Be Realistic, Think Positive
Refresh Yourself
Replenish Your Body and Mind
Reach Out
Handy Charts
How to Cope with Change"

The American Heart Association Caregiver's Journal is a place for caregivers to keep track of their health and needs. Caregivers often forget about looking after their self-care when they are focused on the needs of a loved one or friend who is suffering. After awhile thoughts of self occur less and less frequently until the caregiver's needs keep getting put off, perhaps forever.

Caregiver's are used to keeping charts and journals for someone whom they are assisting. Now the need for a journal for caregivers is recognized as important, too. Doctor's often call the caregiver the "hidden patient" because in caring for another the caregiver's own health may suffer.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Cold and Flu Viruses - Don't Take Over the Counter Medications When Someone Has Thyroid Disease or High Blood Pressure

The American Lung Association reminds us that antibiotics treat bacterial infections, but there are no antiviral medications invented yet to treat viruses. Additionally, the American Lung Association says "certain people such as those with thyroid disease or high blood pressure should not take decongestants -- check with your doctor. There are many over the counter remedies that contain these ingredients."

Seniors who have a viral cold or flu can be at risk, especially if they already have multiple chronic health conditions. Check with a doctor before taking any over the counter medications if there is a risk that they are not recommended with a health condition or with other medications someone takes.

Many people mistakenly believe that when you get a cold you go to the doctor for antibiotics, but as the American Lung Association explains, virus infections do not respond to treatment with antibiotics, only bacterial infections respond.

Drinking plenty of water and juices is recommended for keeping the nose and throat from drying out. Keep your mouth covered with a tissue when coughing to avoid spreading the virus to others, and wash your hands frequently.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Diabetes "Etiquette Cards" Say "Don't Offer Unsolicited Advice" and More

Award winning Diabetes Mine Blog by Amy Tenderich describes the "Etiquette Cards" by the Behavioral Diabetes Institute which advise others who don't have diabetes on appropriate behavior. The first tip is "Don't offer unsolicited advice about my eating or other aspects of diabetes." Being helpful or supportive without being annoying is often a challenge and the tips give some concrete guidance. The "etiquette" includes advice not to tell "horror stories" about others whom you have known who had diabetes, and don't offer the wrong type of reassurances, such as saying "it could be worse, you could have cancer."

The privacy of a diabetic's blood sugar, and the request for others to avoid looking "horrified" when a diabetic checks blood sugar or administers an injection are other tips on the list.

When someone lives with any chronic condition there can be a sense of "being different" or "isolated" from others. When people try to help in the wrong way this can make it worse.

Being supportive, asking how you can help, or offering love and encouragement are some more tips for "etiquette" that can apply to interacting with anyone who has a chronic condition.

Completely ignoring the condition might make someone feel you did not care, and sincerely asking how you can help is always appreciated.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Award Winning Stroke Awareness Video From National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, produced this stroke awareness video featuring symptoms, treatment, risk factors, medical experts, stroke patients and their families. Many people have a general knowledge of strokes, but do not know how to recognize if someone is having a stroke. Sometimes people wait to see if the condition seems to be getting worse or better, but since even minutes make a difference it's important to call 911 immediately.