Archive for April, 2010

Understanding Memory Loss in San Diego, California

Here is a great article for anyone who is struggling with memory loss, or the memory loss of an aging loved one.  Visit us at for information and assistance with home care for seniors in the San Diego CA area.

Understanding Memory Loss

What is memory loss?

Memory loss is something we all experience in life. We forget familiar names, we cannot remember where we left our wallets and purses the previous evening, and we can’t remember everything needed at the grocery store without having a list. This type of memory loss is perfectly normal and as we age, such mild forgetfulness may start happening more and more.

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Dementia Caregiving in San Diego, California

Here is a great article for anyone who is struggling while caring for an aging loved one with dementia.  Visit for information and assistance with home care in the San Diego CA area.

Dementia Caregiving: When Nobody Appreciates You, What Can You Do?

What’s worse –- the many challenging dimensions of dementia caregiving, like losing your privacy, worrying, assisting with daily living, filling the long hours, coping with new expenses, the anticipatory grief of watching someone you love change, and family-work stress (to name, oh, a few) –- or the thanklessness of it all?

Feeling taken for granted as a caregiver is incredibly common. Surveys indicate that more than half of all caregivers do. And yes, these understandable feelings are a stressor. What also adds stress: Feeling sheepish when you want to complain about this.

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Learn What It’s Like for Your San Diego, CA Loved One With Dementia

Here is a great article I wanted to share for those who are experiencing the effects of dementia with an aging loved one.  Visit for information and assistance with home care in the San Diego, CA area.

What’s it Like Have Dementia?

By Frena Gray-Davidson

If you have a parent or a spouse with dementia, you probably wonder what people inside the disease feel. One thing that’s always okay is to ask them.

Dementia can be a very isolating condition. It can really affect how well people can communicate. Of course, as we all know, it certainly affects memory. It can be hard for people to even find the words or hold the thoughts they have. It makes it very hard to follow through a whole explanation about anything.

You won’t hurt a person with dementia by asking what you want to know. In fact, it might help them feel less lonely. Because of their condition, they might not be able to find you the answer you want. But that’s okay. Trying is good enough for both of you feel closer.

Five Questions People Ask About Dementia:

1. Does it hurt to have dementia?

Dementia is not a physically painful condition. It is emotionally painful, for family and for the person who has it. If you know someone with dementia who is also having head pains or other pain, it is essential to get them to a doctor for help and relief of their pain.

2. What do people with dementia think about?

Having dementia makes clear and flowing thought difficult. It is hard to be logical and rational with dementia because brain deterioration blocks the channels for clear thought.

That said, they think about their past, their family, their wants, their needs and maybe sometimes nothing much at all.

3. Do they lose all memory?

Not necessarily. Studies show that, while short-term memory becomes catastrophically bad, longterm memory may be anything from surprisingly good to very mediocre.

So a person who doesn’t remember anything about this morning may be able to tell in detail all about being young and living with their parents.

4. What does it feel like to have dementia?

From my 20 years with people with dementia, I’d say it feels frightening, lonely, confusing and full of bewilderment.

But also, just like us, they feel loving, angry, sad, anxious, grateful and add your own adjectives.

5. How can I help?

By using the qualities of patience, love, tolerance, understanding — and honesty. The best thing you can do is to be a fairly nice version of yourself and also truthful. You can say things like:

- “I hate this illness you have!”

- “I wish you were well again!”

- “It’s just not fair!”

- “I’m scared!”

You won’t hurt a person with dementia by being honest about how you feel. In fact, it might help them a lot. It might bring you back closer together. Because what you feel about their illness might well be just what they feel. Maybe they can’t find the words and you being honest might help them talk about it.

Remember, people with dementia are ill, but not necessarily fragile and breakable. So you can talk to them as if they could understand an adult conversation. You’ll soon find out if they understand or not. If they don’t understand today, they may understand tomorrow.

And it’s really okay to experiment and find what works. If you can make them laugh, you will notice that they function at a much higher thinking level for anything from about half an hour to maybe two hours.

It’s the miracle of endorphins. Use and enjoy!

Frena Gray-Davidson is a longterm Alzheimer’s caregiver and her latest book is “Alzheimer’s 911: Hope, Help and Healing for Caregivers”, available from Frena presents dementia seminars nationally and internationally. Go to her website at and sign up for her free monthly online newsletter for caregivers.

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April is National Parkinson’s Disease Month-Learn More in San Diego, California

April is National Parkinson’s Disease Month!

Parkinson’s disease is a disorder of the brain that affects the transmission of messages to the muscles. It is characterized by tremor, stiffness of the muscles, and difficulty in initiating movements. Over one million Americans have Parkinson’s disease. It occurs most often in later life, but can also affect younger people. Men face almost twice the risk of developing the condition.

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disease, which means that it normally worsens over time. It usually, but not always, develops slowly. No one knows what causes Parkinson’s disease. Certain “Parkinson-like symptoms” can result from the side effects of some drug therapies, or can be caused by conditions such as a brain tumor, arterial disease, viral encephalitis, stroke, or head injury.

What are the Symptoms?

Tremor or involuntary movements-One or both hands or limbs may exhibit an involuntary trembling, which lessens when the person is using the affected part. Involuntary movements of the hand are common, and the person may seem to be “rolling” something between the fingers.

  • Rigidity of muscles; slowness of body movement-Posture may be stiff or stooped, with diminished movement of the arms and legs.
  • Shuffling gait-The person may take small, cautious steps, or may alternate slow steps with rapid ones.
  • Loss of facial mobility-The person’s face may seem to be expressionless.
  • Speech difficulties-Speech may be slow and expressionless, and the voice a low-pitched monotone.
  • Impaired balance-The person may have difficulty balancing or sitting up straight.
  • Deteriorating handwriting-The person’s writing becomes cramped, smaller and more difficult to read.

How Is Parkinson’s Disease Diagnosed?

At present, there are no laboratory tests that can confirm the diagnosis of

Parkinson’s disease. In order to arrive at a diagnosis, the physician takes a family and health history from the person, and performs a thorough physical and neurological examination, observing the person’s movements and muscle function.  The physician will also rule out other disorders that can cause similar symptoms. Early diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease is important so that appropriate treatment can begin.

Managing Parkinson’s Disease

For now, there is no cure for Parkinson’s disease. But with early diagnosis and an effective plan of treatment, the symptoms of the disease can often be controlled or lessened. Treatment varies widely for each individual, and may include:

Medication therapy-A number of drugs can help control the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. The choice of correct drug or drugs, the dosage, the method of taking medication, and the risk of side effects of drugs vary from person to person, requiring careful physician supervision.

Rehabilitative therapy-Physical, occupational and speech therapists can assess the person’s abilities and needs, and provide exercises to help maintain the highest possible range of motion, muscle tone, balance and flexibility, and communication ability.

Lifestyle alterations-Exercise helps maintain muscle tone and strength. Diet is important for nutrition, for maintaining an appropriate weight, and because protein level may be a factor in the person’s condition. Rest and stress reduction are also important.

Support groups and counseling are available to help the person and family members deal with the social and emotional impact of Parkinson’s disease.

Find more information at

Visit for help with an aging loved one in the Dan Diego CA area.

Caring For Aging Parents and Children in San Diego, California

Here is a great article for those who are caring for aging parents from  If you need help for a loved one in the area, visit

Caring for Parents Versus Caring for Children: 10 Ways They Differ

by Marlo Sollitto

Nearly 10 million boomers are now raising kids while at the same time, caring for at least one aging parent, according to the Pew Research Center reports. The term “Sandwich Generation” is used to describe this demographic – and lots has been written on it.

But what is not as frequently discussed, is that the strategies and techniques that are effective when caring for parents are very different from those that work well with children.

Here are 10 ways that caring for parents differs from caring for children:

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