December 2014 Support For Caregivers and Seniors
Minding Our Elders® Acceptance of Change Important in Alzheimer's Caregiving

Carol Bradley Bursack

Dear Friends,

We in the north have had the expected amounts of snow so far this winter, although my sympathies go out to you on the east coast who've had far more than your share. But you cope. That's the way of life - and caregiving. We handle what we're given the best way that we know how. We muddle through. We help each other when we can. Then we move on.

Whether or not to continue the Minding Our Elders newsletter has been a struggle for me over the last two years, and I've handled it the same way that I've handled other decisions in my life. I've thought it through and made a decision that I'll have to live with. After nearly a decade, I'm closing out the newsletter.

We now have so many other ways to communicate through blogs and social media that the newsletter seems to be falling by the wayside for many companies. With some sadness, I feel it's time for me, as well. I'll miss this bit of communication with you. I'll miss seeing the numbers of subscribers climb. However, time is an issue for me as it is for you. Below I'm giving you a heads-up on methods that you can use to keep up with Minding Our Elders without needing the newsletter.

The easiest way is to subscribe to the blog through Feedblitz or just simply bookmark the site.

The main website will provide other information as well as lead you to the blog.

After the first of 2015, you will be able to subscribe to my work for under my profile on that site.

You can also follow Minding Our Elders on Facebook at Facebook: I'd appreciate a "like" when you get there :)

On Twitter, my handle is @mindingourelder and on LinkedIn I'm under Carol Bradley Bursack.

So, my friends, I have no doubt that we'll meet again. I hope we meet regularly.

Wishing you Happy Holidays and a fantastic 2015. Carol

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Welcome to Minding Our Elders! Our hope is to break the isolation that caregivers often feel. We'd also like to share information and ideas that will help and comfort you along your caregiving journey. Thanks for reading.

Acceptance of Change Important in Alzheimer's Caregiving

My dad went into surgery with a smile and hope. He came out with severe dementia. Something unexplainable at the time had happened and Dad became a statistic - one of those "poor outcomes" we hear about. My head knew this tragedy was permanent, but my heart wanted my "real" dad back.

The kind, loving, intelligent man whose love for me was steadfast. I wanted him back. Unfortunately, my family and I had to learn to accept the fact that Dad would never be the same.

Are You a Caregiver? Coping with Holiday Stress

While many of us have spent years as family caregivers, some caregivers are new to this challenge. So new, in fact, that they have yet to realize that they are caregivers. So new that they haven't had time to even consider the stress that they are under - stress that will likely increase, rather than decrease, if they don't begin to develop some self-care strategies early on.

According to AARP and other resources, more than 42 million Americans are faced with the challenge of providing care to their older family members and/or friends. Caregiving can take a tremendous toll on the caregiver's personal health and overall wellbeing, and yet, according to the organization, many caregivers don't think of themselves as caregivers and can be reluctant to ask for help.

Is Poor Dental Health Linked to Alzheimer's?

Dr. Joseph Banker is a veteran cosmetic dentist who has contributed to several media outlets including Newsweek, Shape Magazine and DentalTown. He studied at the prestigious University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and trained at The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the Rosenthal Institute of New York University.

When I learned that Dr. Banker was interested in the relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer's I requested an interview with him. Below are Dr. Banker's answers to my questions on the relationship between oral health and Alzheimer's disease.

Unearned Guilt Intrinsic to Most Caregiving

If ever there's a group of people who suffer deeply from unearned guilt it's caregivers. Whether you're the parent of a vulnerable adult, an adult child of aging parents or the spouse of a vulnerable adult, you are bound to have your "if only" times where you are sucked into the quicksand of guilt.

The reality is that most things you could have done differently wouldn't have made a huge difference overall. Even if another approach would have made a difference, you can't go back. Staying mired in guilt is counterproductive for you as well as your care receiver.

7 Suggestions for Caregivers' Self Care

A recent study found that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their life span shortened by four to eight years. Caregivers could conceivably alter these statistics if they practice reasonable self-care.

Photo Albums and Memory Books Helpful When Visiting Elders

Many people are reluctant to visit elders, whether they are in their homes or a facility, mainly because they wonder what they'll talk about. While this reluctance is more of a worry if the elder has memory problems from dementia, it's often a problem even when memory isn't an issue. Since elders by definition have many decades of life to their credit, they will likely enjoy looking back on the past.

About Carol

Caregiving expert Carol Bradley Bursack, Author, speaker, consultant and columnist, presents a collection of articles, stories, news and research for you to browse. Please check the blog and Web site links for more information and feel free to email Carol at to chat or ask questions. Minding Our Elders is a registered trademark.

If your group or organization would like to buy "Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories" in bulk, please email for information. Bulk rates are available.