Did My Friend Just Tell Me She Has Cancer?

The other day I was going along happily checking my Facebook in between commercials when I read something that pissed me off. I mean flaming mad. One of my sorority sisters from my college days just asked (via status update) for some positive energy. She needed it, because she has cancer. And nothing makes me more angry than someone I care about getting cancer....more

Grandmas who care for grandkids one day each week stay sharp

If you watch your grandkids one day a week, there's good news. If you watch them five days a week, the news is not so good.New research from the Women's Healthy Aging Project study found that women who spent one day a week caring for their grandchildren performed the best on 2 of 3 tests of mental sharpness (ie. working memory and  processing speed). Those who took care of their grandkids for 5 or more days in a week did "significantly worse" on the tests....more

Joining Forces and The Elizabeth Dole Foundation to Focus on Military Caregivers in 2014

Yesterday I learned some sobering statistics about military caregivers from Joining Forces. 5.5 million Americans are caring for ill or wounded service members and veterans. Of those 5.5 million, 1.1 million of those spouses, parents, and friends are providing care to a US veteran who served since 9/11....more

Down Syndrome and Alzheimer's

I ran across this article about the connection between white matter and cognitive health. But what really fascinated me was the part about how people with Down syndrome are at "extremely high risk" for developing Alzheimer's after 40.The researchers did a study using 3 groups:1. people with Down syndrome but no dementia2. people with Down syndrome and dementia3. a healthy control groupThey used MRIs to study the brains of all three gouprs and found that:...more

Recognizing the Signs of a Heart Attack

Our family and friends recently descended on our parents’ house like a pack of swarming bees. Within a week, mom and dad were host to eleven adults, five dogs and one very spoiled grandson.  Between visits from Santa (who had to use a door vs. the roof), the cutthroat games of Scrabble and the amazing smells coming non-stop from the kitchen, we were fortunate to notice that something wasn’t right with dad....more

New blood test predicts Alzheimer's and dementia with 90% accuracy

It's finally here. A novel blood test developed at Georgetown University Medical Center can predict with 90% accuracy if a healthy person will develop Alzheimer's or dementia within three years.Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer's, most scientists agree that the sooner it can be detected, the better the chances of treating it before symptoms progress....more

Snow Shoveling

Ahhh, if we get any more snow this year, I might just up and move to Florida, or maybe the Bahamas, or Jamaica.  Okay probably not, but I am very tired of shoveling. ...more

Two Years

My Mom left me two years ago today.There is not a day that goes by that I don’t miss her and/or think of her. Perhaps it’s because my Brother Bob and I took care of her for close to five years after she slipped into dementia.There is so much I know she experiences from a higher vantage point: her children, her Philadelphia grandsons,her sister, her family,her church.I am sad because she never got down here with Jim and me,but am taking some comfort she’s up there,watching with my Dad....more

Why dementia causes learning and memory problems, poor navigation and trouble planning

A Duke grad student just figured out something interesting.The posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), which is one of the first regions of the brain to deteriorate with Alzheimer's, is relatively quiet when the brain is performing well, but steps in to help out when the brain needs help with performance.Since it's one of the first areas to go with dementia, it makes sense that the person would start to have problems planning, learning, remembering and navigating (gets lost)....more

When Visiting Elderly Parents This Thanksgiving, Take Time for THANKS

As we gather together to give thanks this week, don’t miss the opportunity to check in on elderly loved ones. While phone calls throughout the year are important, seeing mom and dad in person can be the best way to assess physical and mental issues.Give thanks this year by assessing how your mom and dad’s needs are being met:...more