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Martha Stettinius
Editor, Writer, Author, Speaker
Editor, Writer, Author, Speaker
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Martha's posts

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Thank you, Susan Macauley of the blog "My Alzheimer's Story," for this lovely write-up of my book's special promotion through April 30th--now an Amazon best seller! 

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What if person of sound mind were to decide that, if they developed advanced Alzheimer's disease or another dementia, they would want to hasten their death by having their loved ones withhold food and drink? In The New Old Age blog today Paula Span tackles this question, interviewing people who are seriously contemplating just such an advanced directive. In my own blog post, below, I link to her post and add my own thoughts as a former caregiving daughter who spoon-fed my mother while watching my mother enjoy many moments of life in a way my mother probably would never have imagined. I write, "Quality of life is slippery. What would never suffice one day, one year, is more than enough the next. And even a person living with advanced dementia is still "in there" sometimes, in some moments...." Whatever your view of this issue, Paula's post, "Complexities of Choosing an End Game for Dementia," is well worth reading.

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As many of you know, NPR just ran a 3-part series this week on the overuse of antipsychotic drugs in nursing homes, particularly among people living with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. In this post for ChangingAging.org, Dr. Al Power, author of the book "Dementia Beyond Drugs," looks at what NPR did well in this report, and at what they missed. The over-prescription of antipsychotic drugs to people living with dementia happens everywhere, not just in nursing homes. And it will be hard to eliminate their use if caregivers (paid and "informal") are not adequately supported in their efforts to deal with so-called "problem" behavior without resorting to drugs.

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So honored to have participated in this NPR panel discussion on elder care issues with Dr. Bill Thomas, Dr. Karl Pillemer and host Lorraine Rapp of radio station WRVO. In this post for ChangingAging I summarize our discussion, including the questions we were asked by the live audience. If you are concerned about elder care--for yourself in the future or for someone you love--check out the podcast. 

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In honor of National Family Caregivers Month, here are three new books for caregivers that would make excellent holiday gifts. The first is a beautiful hardcover memoir in cartoon form that I’m giving away in a drawing.

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Has your life been affected by Alzheimer's disease or another dementia? Please take 2 minutes to complete this super-short survey from the WomenAgainstAlzheimer's Network about their Alzheimer's awareness campaign called the "Shadow Box Memory Project." They are trying to gauge caregiver interest in seeing this fledgling project expand nationwide to become the Alzheimer's equivalent of the AIDS Memorial Quilt.

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Here's a moving article about a pioneer in dementia care, an article that you won't find anywhere else on the Internet because it was published in this month's MORE magazine, and I scanned it today:  "What She Couldn't Do for Her Mother:  Dementia turned her mom's last years into a living hell. So Judy Berry created a program that is saving others from a similar fate." All about how one daughter created a leading example of compassionate dementia care:  the Lakeview Ranch model.

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Today is my 50th birthday, and I'm thinking a lot about my mom, Judy, who passed away almost two years ago. Eight years at Mom's side as her care partner taught me to appreciate simple moments of tenderness, the way her love for me--and mine for her--endured even if she couldn't remember or say my name.

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Even though Alzheimer’s disease is a growing epidemic, affecting one in eight people over age 65, there exists no national campaign in the U.S. equivalent to the AIDS Memorial Quilt to raise awareness. It’s time to change that!

The newly-formed WomenAgainstAlzheimer’s Network would like to start a national awareness campaign for Alzheimer’s, and you can help today by taking a short survey, below.  http://www.caregivers.com/dementia-and-alzheimers/raise-alzheimers-awareness-survey/

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Can elders with Alzheimer's disease or another dementia also have depression at the same time?

And how do you diagnose depression in a person with dementia when the symptoms are often quite similar?

As a consultant for eCareDiary.com, I've written a post to guide care partners through these questions.
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