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Raising Grandchildren to Dream and Learn

By Flora Umukoro, 9:22 am on September 10, 2018

Are you one of the 2.7 million Americans raising your grandkids? Or do you just want to inspire your grandkids to learn and dream? Follow these tested tips, research and real-life stories to make your life easier and joyful. Be a Good Role Model John and I hope our family history, and the life skills we taught the twins, will help them in later years. We also hope the twins see us as role models. Susan Adcox writes about being a role model in her article, “10 Ways to be a Good Role Model for Grandkids,” posted on The Spruce website. Below are her tips and comments from my experience. 10 Tips to Be a …

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Maria Shriver Kicked My Butt, and I Couldn’t Be Happier

By Flora Umukoro, 12:50 pm on September 5, 2018

I Have Every Reason Not to Exercise Two years ago, I was at the climbing gym working on a “problem,” (V5 at Ironworks for you climbers) flinging my body up the wall to grab a left hand hold that was just out of reach. I backed off and attempted an easier climb. As I begun this climb, on the first move, everyone around me heard a loud “pop,” the sound of my ring finger tendon popping. Over the next two years, this hand injury cascaded into a sprained ankle (rolled on a treadmill), a burning knee (steep descent running) and a painful frozen shoulder (overhead luggage bin). I had every mental excuse not to attend …

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Can Eating Sugar Cause Dementia? A Plain-English Explanation

By Flora Umukoro, 1:16 pm on August 31, 2018

Eating sugary foods could give you dementia. This is bad news if you’re a sweet tooth. The good news is that changing what you eat can improve your brain health. Age and genetics are risk factors for dementia that you have no control over. You can change your diet to increase energy in the short-term, and brain health in the long-term. Recently, research has been looking at how blood sugar affects brain health. People with high blood sugar levels have higher rates of Alzheimer’s disease. Why is Alzheimer’s Called Type 3 Diabetes? Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes results in high blood sugar levels. Studies have shown that, compared to the general population, aging people …

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Joyful Summer Travel with Elderly Parents

By Flora Umukoro, 10:06 am on August 13, 2018

Can you vacation with your aging parents? Yes! When Mom had Parkinson’s and Leukemia, and Dad had early-stage Alzheimer’s, we took a family vacation to Mount Rainier. We visited the highest mountain in the Pacific Northwest. Mom had always loved Mt. Rainier and wanted to see it another time. Thanks to careful planning and creative thinking by my sisters and me, our family trip went well. We shared love and laughter. If you are considering your own family trip, what are you waiting for? Choosing the Destination Where you and your family will go will be your choice! There are many destinations to enjoy. You can make your choice based on a previous family vacation. …

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Day 1 With a New Caregiver in Your Home

By Flora Umukoro, 1:10 pm on August 6, 2018

You’ve done the interviews and chosen an in-home caregiver that seems right for your parent or loved one. Now it’s time for him or her to arrive for their first day on the job. It’s normal for everyone—you, your loved one and the caregiver—to have butterflies and questions. To start everyone on the right foot, I sought advice from a professional care advisor, Sarena Virani, of Home Care Assistance. Setting the Stage For a New Caregiver “Do as much as possible in the days or weeks before the caregiver arrives. It’s so important to discuss the new caregiver, care goals and expectations with your loved one as soon as possible.” Bring the caregiver alive as …

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Try This Instead of Antipsychotic Drugs for Paranoia in Dementia

By Flora Umukoro, 12:14 pm on July 23, 2018

Brain changes from dementia can cause hallucinations, delusions or paranoia. “Paranoia, or having false beliefs, is a common trait of later stage dementia,” says Jared Heathman, MD, a Houston psychiatrist. “However, it can occur in all stages of dementia.” Paranoia in dementia feels very real for the person living with it. So says Susan London, LMSW, Director of Social Work at Shore View Nursing and Rehabilitation. “There is often no evidence that will convince them otherwise.” As a caregiver, do not attempt to present “proof” a belief is false. Nor should you deny that the evidence is real. Both approaches could create an intense unfavorable emotional reaction from your loved one. “Take the example of …

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Love With The Proper Senior

By Flora Umukoro, 2:05 pm on July 16, 2018

You’re Never Too Old for Love Birds do it. Bees do it. Even educated seniors do it. “It” is falling in love. But in the case of our parents, “it” is maintaining the love in their relationships over many decades. Enjoying Romantic Love in Older Age Romance is still a big part of most peoples’ lives and it doesn’t stop at any age. Whether with their original spouses or remarried, our parents are used to sharing their lives with someone for companionship and true love during their golden years. In fact, recent studies of romance among older Americans may surprise you: A National Poll on Aging from the University of Michigan found that 72% of …

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5 Practical Methods for Calming Agitation in Older Adults with Dementia

By Flora Umukoro, 11:29 am on July 9, 2018

Research-based tips for reducing agitation and aggression due to dementia in a mindful way Caring for a loved one with dementia can feel like a daily battle. You are dealing with the loss of the person you once knew but at the same time you still love them despite this change and new episodes of agitation and aggression. And you may find it difficult to predict which behaviors will arise. The challenges of dementia caregiving can break your heart on a regular basis. Executing simple tasks and scheduling events for a loved one can turn into a disaster. Dementia is cruel to both the person with dementia and to the caregiver but there are strategies …

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Fit at 50? Dementia Risk Low Among Very Fit Women

By Flora Umukoro, 12:06 pm on July 2, 2018

Only 5% of Highly Fit Women Got Dementia That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that 25% of women with average fitness developed dementia. These statistics come from a new report in Neurology journal by Helena Hörder, Lena Johansson, XinXn Guo and others. Their research concluded that it’s important for women to stay fit to reduce the risk of developing dementia later in life. In 1968, Swedish scientists began a 44 year study of 1,462 women. A smaller, representative group of 191 of these women were tested for cardiovascular fitness. This test was given once to the women during mid-life. Some women were 38, and some were 60, but the average age at the …

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How Employers can Help us Balance Work and Caregiving

By Flora Umukoro, 9:58 am on June 25, 2018

Tips to Balance Work and Caregiving Family caregivers are all around us, but they are often hidden. At least 44 million people are unpaid caregivers in the US. Double Responsibilities At Work Three quarters of these family caregivers have jobs but struggle to balance work and caregiving responsibilities. Caregivers help family members with bathing, dressing, medications, doctors’ appointments and more. Being a dedicated employee and a supporting caregiver is a double responsibility. Some suffer from depression, anxiety and not being able to enjoy life. Bearing this double responsibility can decrease your employee’s productivity by 18.5%. Chances are higher that your employee will feel it is necessary to quit. Often, out of necessity to care for …

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