Memory, Forgetfulness, and Aging: What’s Normal and What’s Not?

Many older adults worry about their memory and other thinking abilities. For example, they might be concerned about taking longer than before to learn new things, or they may sometimes forget to pay a bill. These changes are usually signs of mild forgetfulness — often a normal part of aging — not serious memory problems….

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Home therapeutic activities for individuals living with Alzheimer’s Disease

“As the Coronavirus pandemic forces many families to stay confined at home, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is providing families affected by Alzheimer’s disease with information about simple therapeutic activities they can do to keep their loved one engaged and active while at home.

“Stimulating the brain is beneficial both for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. Staying active and engaged can help improve mood, reduce stress and avoid caregiver burnout, and it’s even more important at a time when people are staying indoors for prolonged periods,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., AFA’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “There are many fun activities caregivers can do with their loved ones to help exercise their minds together, using things they already have at home.”

Here are a number of simple activities that can be done at home and their potential benefits:”

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Alzheimer’s: Tips to make holidays more enjoyable

The holiday season can cause mixed feelings for a family affected by Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.

While typically a time for celebration, families may experience a sense of loss for the way things used to be. For caregivers, the holidays may create added work. You’ll also have to consider the needs of the person with dementia during holiday decorating and gatherings.

By adjusting your expectations and modifying some traditions, you may find meaningful ways to celebrate holidays.

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Today Show: Should seniors take extra precautions against COVID-19 this fall? Experts weigh in.

By Kerry Breen

As the coronavirus pandemic continues and flu season begins, leading to concerns of a “twindemic” in the United States, health experts are urging those who are high-risk for either or both illnesses to limit their social bubbles to stay healthy.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country, said on Sept. 10 that people needed to prepare to “hunker down and get through this fall and winter.”

“We’ve been through this before,” Fauci said. “Don’t ever, ever underestimate the potential of the pandemic. And don’t try and look at the rosy side of things.”……….

Coronavirus concerns show increased need, demand for home care, experts say

By Daniella Silva

For people recovering from COVID-19, home care can be both essential and elaborate, involving a health care professional who provides additional oxygen, monitors vital signs, administers medication and helps with daily tasks such as eating, bathing and getting in and out of bed.

Home care professionals and nurses said the coronavirus pandemic shows how crucial the industry is. It provides life-saving services to people who are vulnerable while keeping them safe in their own homes.

“It’s been quite a dramatic challenge for all of us and certainly the public health challenge of our lifetime,” said Dr. Steven Landers, president and CEO of the Visiting Nurse Association Health Group, which serves New Jersey and Ohio.

“Nurses, therapists, home health aides, they have really shown up to help fragile, medically vulnerable people stay home and also help people come home from hospitals and nursing homes, which have been under incredible stress,” he said.

Landers said his organization has helped more than 500 patients in New Jersey with home services get out of hospitals and emergency rooms. The workers have adapted to the pandemic, learning new protocols and infection control regimens and wearing new types of protective equipment, he said…….

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Driving Safely as We Age

Driving is one of the first things that we equate with our independence. It’s only natural that we want to hold on to our ability to drive for as long as possible. But, as we age, our driving abilities begin to change. Everyone ages differently, so there is no arbitrary cutoff as to when we should stop driving, and assessing a person’s driving ability should never be based on age alone. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. However, we should pay attention to warning signs that age is interfering with driving safely.

Many studies have shown that older adults are more likely to receive traffic citations and get into accidents than younger drivers. In fact, fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70. What causes this increase? As we age, factors such as decreased vision, impaired hearing, slowed motor reflexes, and chronic diseases that affect our physical health, may become a problem.

Aging tends to result in a reduction of strength, coordination and flexibility, which can have a major impact on the ability to safely control a vehicle. For example:

  • Pain or stiffness in the neck can make it harder to look over your shoulder to change lanes or back up, or look left and right at intersections to check for other traffic or pedestrians
  • Leg, hip and back pain can make it difficult to move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal
  • Diminished arm strength can make it hard to turn the steering wheel quickly and effectively
  • As reaction times slow with age, you may be slower to spot vehicles emerging from side streets and driveways, or to realize that a vehicle in front of you has slowed or stopped
  • Maintaining focus becomes increasingly difficult as you lose the ability to effectively divide your attention between multiple activities (signs, signals, other traffic, pedestrians)

If you find yourself in the position of talking to an older family member or friend about their driving, remember the following:

  • Be respectful. For many seniors, driving is an integral part of independence. Many older adults have fond memories of getting a driver’s license. At the same time, don’t be intimidated or back down if you have a true concern.
  • Give specific examples. It’s easier to tune out generalizations like “You just can’t drive safely anymore.” Outline concerns that you have noticed, such as “You have a harder time turning your head than you used to,” or “You braked suddenly at stop signs three times the last time we drove.”
  • Find strength in numbers. If more than one family member or close friend has noticed, it’s less likely to be taken as nagging. A loved one may also listen to a more impartial party, such as a doctor or minister.

There are many self-assessments available to you and your loved one to help evaluate driving capabilities. The Caregivers Library has a driving assessment checklist to help you determine if it is safe for you or a loved one to continue driving. AAA has a useful website that provides information about senior driving, written and interactive driving assessments, choosing the right car, and access to senior driving refresher courses. Just visit The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has produced an e-book, Driving Safely While Aging Gracefully, which provides information that can help you recognize physical changes that may pose safety problems, as well as recommendations for alternative forms of transportation.

Sometimes an older driver has to be stopped from driving over their objections. It might feel very difficult for you to make this call, especially if the senior is a parent or close friend. However, their safety and the safety of others must come first. An unsafe driver can seriously injure or kill themselves and others.

When you speak with a loved one about their driving, it is helpful to have a list of alternative transportation modes for them to access. Having these resources available can help them feel more in control of their independence and help them overcome the fear of being isolated. Transportation services, such as those provided by Lifeline Homecare, can be a great alternative for loved ones who are still able to shop, go to church, and visit friends, but who just need help with transportation.

If no amount of rational discussion has convinced your loved one to hand over their car keys, then you may make an anonymous report to your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles or talk to the person’s physician about your concerns. In some cases, there is a need to take further actions such as taking away the car keys, selling or disabling the car, enlisting local law enforcement to explain the importance of driving safely and the legal implications of unsafe driving.

For more information about how Lifeline Homecare can help care for you or a loved one, and for a free in-home assessment, call us 1-844-LIFELINE (1-844-543-3545) or email