Sarah Jane is a freelance writer/researcher and part-time caregiver for her mother Eleanor* who has dementia and lives at a rest home nearby. Sarah and her mother spend Saturdays enjoying each other’s company, pottering about and having the occasional adventure. Sarah lives in New Zealand where she writes and speaks about dementia-related issues.

Articles

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Both dementia patients and their caregivers experience an ever-changing roller coaster of emotions. The key is being able to appreciate the good times and helping to guide each other through the bad.

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People with Alzheimer's and dementia often experience difficulty with recalling the names and faces of their family, friends, and professional care team. In some cases, though, all they need is a little help to mentally connect the dots.

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Helping a loved one with dementia find activities that match their interests and physical and mental abilities can be trying. Adapting old hobbies to be simpler and more immediately rewarding can help patients engage and find their "flow."

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For individuals living with dementia, music has a powerful effect. Music has the incredible ability to transport us back in time, reduce stress, help us escape the present and make us more mindful of our emotions.

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Telling another family member when a loved one passes away is always difficult, but dementia can make the task even more challenging.

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Younger generations are surprisingly insightful when it comes to handling their elders’ dementia-related behaviors. See what techniques this teenager uses while visiting his grandmother, who has Alzheimer’s disease.

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I could tell Mum was nervous, but with her new bathing suit and some gentle encouragement, her confidence grew. Surprisingly, a day at the pool left her feeling marvelous.

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For the last ten years, Mum and I have been navigating a different kind of relationship. Things turn into a kind of dance with dementia, and sometimes it’s awfully hard.

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As Mum’s memory fades, the realities of her everyday life seem to go as well. It’s like acting in a strange play with half of the cues missing.

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Christmas has come and gone, but in Mum’s mind the planning has just begun. When her anxiety returns and her questions become repetitive, white lies are what alleviate her worries.

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As a dementia caregiver, I see Mum fading in and out of reality, sometimes recognizing the severity of her illness and other times not even realizing something is wrong. All I can do is go through the motions with her.

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Although Mom didn’t remember the details of our picture-perfect day together, she was very happy. With dementia, the memories may not stick anymore, but the feelings and emotions attached to them still linger.

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We may eventually have to consider transitioning our loved ones to independent or assisted living, nursing care, or even memory care. Of course, many of us have visited these places, but do we truly know what living there is like?

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Mum hasn’t been herself lately, and it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. Perhaps something is wrong with her medication regimen, or it could be what I dread most: her Alzheimer’s disease is progressing.

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Memory problems and changes in behavior due to dementia can get you into some sticky situations. As a caregiver, I’ve discovered a simple solution to make outings more successful.

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Mom can still enjoy the comics section of the newspaper, but her granddaughter found a new way to appeal to her sense of humor. Surprisingly, a mix of classic art and snarky internet trends brought these two generations together through laughter.

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Both Mum’s memory and physical stamina seem to evade her these days. As a dementia caregiver, it’s my job to find something to help both her mood and mobility.

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I had heard the benefits of personally meaningful music in dementia care. Last Saturday, I brought headphones and an iPod loaded with old music to the rest home for Mum. The results were astounding.

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Like many other dementia patients, my mother repeatedly asks a handful of complex and emotionally charged questions. This is how I try to set her mind at ease.

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Caregiver's need respite, but as our departure date got closer, I became increasingly worried about spending the time away. Based on the success of our experience, I came up with five tips for dementia caregivers who are planning a holiday.