Help prevent choking

Swallowing involves the coordination of many muscles in the mouth and throat. The action pushes chewed food down toward the stomach. At the same time, the throat needs to close off the windpipe to the lungs. Between 15% and 20% of older adults…

How to beat "decision fatigue"

Caring for an ill family member often requires taking on the role of “decision maker.” Sometimes it’s multiple mundane decisions (Should you ask your sister to do the shopping? Is this a good day to shower Mom? Now or after lunch?). And…

Osteoporosis: What you can do

If you are concerned about a loved one's osteoporosis—brittle bones—it's a good idea to bring this up with the doctor. He or she will likely discuss various medicines that can help. In addition, changes in daily life outlined below can go…

What's in an Alzheimer's test?

When symptoms of memory loss or confused thinking arise, it's natural to wonder: Is it Alzheimer's? There is no specific test for Alzheimer's disease. To achieve a diagnosis, doctors typically order a variety of tests. Most of the tests are…

The importance of staying connected

Staying connected is extremely important. Isolation and loneliness are not just sad situations. They have been shown to increase the likelihood of dementia, depression, and heart disease in older adults. Even early death. As a family caregiver,…

Talking with children about serious illness

Children are like sponges. They soak up whatever is around them. If Grandpa is sick, or Grandma has dementia, they’ll pick up on your emotional responses. If no one has explained the situation, they’ll make up their own ideas about what’s…

Is twice a night too much?

Many older adults complain of having to get up several times in the night to pee. Some of this is a normal part of aging. Our bladder capacity gets smaller, so we need to void more often. But frequent trips to the toilet can have a serious…

Cooling down to make a decision

Our fight-flight-or-freeze reactions are deeply embedded in our body and brain. In intense situations, they take over. As a family caregiver, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the many decisions that must be made. And the responsibility. This…

Coronavirus scams

Scammers thrive in crises. The Federal Trade Commission is reporting a surge in fraud complaints. Bad actors are leveraging fear and shortages to bilk consumers out of millions and to harvest information for identity fraud. Help your loved…