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Jane Eckels is the Clinical Services Director. She can be reached at or by calling 1.800.272.3900.

August 2013

When is it time to say, “I need help”?

The answer is, anytime you ask yourself the question.

So many times care partners keep putting one foot in front of the other thinking that they are moving forward when many times, they are not going forward! They are really going backwards!

As a care partner, one tends to take on too much, and sometimes then, don’t realize when the task is too much.  .  . until it is too late.  If you find yourself asking the above question, or know someone who has asked you that question, it is time to look at the danger signs.  Care partnering is not a healthy situation if the care partner is not taking time to care for themselves.

The list below includes some signs that could be warning signs or signs of care partner overload.

D Demanding tasks that even when accomplished, do not feel like enough,
A All alone and one feels like they are doing it all by themselves,
N No more happy times,
G Gatherings for family events/relationships with friends are breaking down,
Employment/job is suffering,
R Refuse to think of oneself or take time for oneself,
O Only person in the world who is feeling like this, is felt by the care partner,
U You time – time for yourself – does not happen,
Social life is non-existent.

The symptoms spell out the word DANGEROUS for a reason!  The above symptoms are dangerous for the care partner. 

The care partner role is sometimes unclear, but the role encompasses a lot of people.  Yes, it includes everyone who cares for a person both professionally and personally.  The amount of time spent giving care and the distance between care partner and person being cared for does not matter.  The stress, pressure, confusion, and need for support are the same.  The stress can cause you physical pain and affect your health.  It is important to get help immediately if you see one or more of the symptoms listed above in either yourself or a friend or family member.

Where to turn for help:.

The first place to go for help is to the family doctor.  Whether the symptoms above are an issue for you or not, it is important that the primary care physician be aware of your care partner role.  Many health concerns and conditions may be brought about by care partner stress.  Your physician is the person who can help you sort it out.

August 2013

The Care Partner tip for this month will be a little different from what one may have been expecting.  The tip will explain how the Miami Valley Chapter is here to help you from our new location and extend an invitation to visit us during our open house. 

When people travel out of their hometown for a break or to get away, it is called a vacation.  If people take that vacation close to home, some call it a ‘staycation’.  I am inviting you to come to a ‘staycation’.  This will be an opportunity for you and your loved one to get away, have a break, be close to home and attend the open house at our new location.

Your getaway staycation will be held at 31 W. Whip, Dayton, Ohio 45459, our new office location!!  The date is Thursday August 22 from 12:00pm to 7:00pm.  This is the date and time for the open house of our new location!  We want our open house to be a fun break for you.  We will help you to get connected with our information, education and assistance. We will share our mission, to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, to provide and enhance care and support to all affected, and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

Our new location was selected and set up to assist the caregiver and person with dementia.  The office is located in an easy to find, accessible location.  The floor plan is all on one level.  The building is easy to enter, with parking almost in front of the door!
As one enters the building, they are greeted by bright light and friendly faces.  Terri, our receptionist has informational brochures and coffee available to everyone who drops in.  The new office includes a spacious conference room/training center that can offer state of the art media presentations. 

There are two conference rooms for individual private care consultations with a social worker.  The two private consult rooms will allow social workers to meet with individual family members or the entire family in a closed door session with an appointment.  Having an appointment with a care consultant will assure that the family can have the undivided, uninterrupted time of the social worker.  During the family meetings, the social worker and the family can develop a plan as needed. 

Our walk staff and development staff have a huge work area to plan, and engage people in our mission and to support our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s.  Walk Central now has the space to store the huge banners, tents, etc that we use every year for the five walks.

Communication and speakers bureau have areas to lay out projects and store all the equipment needed for community presentations.  We have a new special area with lots of shelving for all of our brochures handouts, evaluation forms, etc.  Everything has a place and the storage is not in the hallway!!

Helpline offers information about a wide range of resources both through our chapter and resources available in the area for various care partner needs.  Helpline is usually the first contact one has with the chapter and we want it to be both positive and helpful for all who contact us.  We have lots of students from area colleges who intern with us, as well as a host of dedicated volunteers. Each of them will have their own work space with a phone and computer.

The open house will end with fun and refreshments!  This is one vacation/staycation that will be of fun and educational, as it will allow you to know about us and all of the services we offer to you and your loved ones. 

We thank you, the community, for allowing us to expand and grow, with your gifts of time and treasure.    We know that we can provide education, information and support to those facing this disease.  Help us now to serve the next generation.  You are the key.  Donations to our Move Campaign may be made by calling 1-800-272-3900.  THANK YOU.  For more information about our Move Campaign, visit page 3 from the Summer Newsletter.

Our chapter phone numbers remain the same.
Call us at 1-800-272-3900 or fax us 937-291-0463

Please come to our open house, Aug 22, from 12:00 Noon until 7:00 pm, at our new location, 31 West Whipp, Dayton, Ohio 45459.

July, 2013

Have you or someone you love been a victim of a scam?

Scam artists frequently prey on older community members.  The Caregiver Topic this month is about the financial exploitation of older Americans.  Exploitation and scams are on the rise.  We all need to be educated about it as it is a form of abuse.  Abuse can take on many forms and financial abuse in particular is underreported.  Statistics indicate that only one in six incidents of physical abuse is reported and only one in twenty-five incidents of financial abuse are reported.   One report stated that financial scams targeting seniors have become so prevalent that they are now considered ‘the crime of the twenty-first century’.

Even though financial scams are devastating to many older adults, to the criminals, these crimes are considered a ‘low-risk’ crime due to the crime historically not being reported and because they can be difficult to prosecute. 

Don’t think for a minute that only wealthy seniors are targeted.  Everyone, no matter what the financial situation is, can be a target for financial abuse.  One fact to keep in mind as you read this is that over ninety percent of all reported elder abuse is committed by an older person’s own family members, most often their adult children, followed by grandchildren, nieces and nephews, and others.

Included below is a list of the top ten scams targeting seniors.  The belief is that through awareness, everyone can be informed to know when they may be presented with a scam, from a stranger or even from someone they may know.  This toolkit below is from the Savvy Saving Seniors.

1) Health Care/Medicare/Health Insurance Fraud  In this type of scam, the person may pose as a Medicare representative to get the older person to give out their personal information such as Medicare number or bank account number. 

2) Counterfeit Prescription Drugs These scams most frequently operate on the internet.  The danger is that a victim may purchase unsafe substances that can inflict even more harm than just losing money.  This scam could affect the person’s health and their money, causing them to lose both.

3) Funeral and Cemetery Scams There are two types of this fraud.  The first targets the grieving widow or widower through newspaper obituary notices.  They call the grieving person and claim the deceased had an outstanding debt with them.  The second is that disreputable funeral homes may add unnecessary charges to the bill.

4) Fraudulent Anti-Aging Products A company in Arizona sold fake Botox that earned the criminals 1.5 million dollars in a year!!

5) Telemarketing As a group, older people make twice as many purchases over the phone than the national average.  The problem with these scams is that they are hard to trace.  Unfortunately once your private information is given over the phone to a criminal; it is very easy for them to continue to defraud the person.

6) Internet Fraud One example of this is the email/phishing scam whereby a person receives an email message that appears to be from a legitimate company asking them to update their personal information.  The problem is that the email is not from a legitimate company but from a criminal.

7) Investment Schemes Think of pyramid schemes like Bernie Madoff’s that targeted people to invest with others.
8) Homeowner/Reverse Mortgage Scams Both of these scams can have property owners losing their homes. Reverse mortgage scams have increased in recent years.

9) Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams In this scam the criminals inform a person that they have won a lottery of some kind and need to make some sort of payment to get the prize.  Some people may be asked to send a check or give a bank account number to access their account.  With your bank information, criminals can quickly relieve you of a lifetime of savings.

10) The Grandparent Scam  In this scam, the criminal pretends to be someone the person knows, such as saying “I am your grandchild and need money for car repairs, etc”. They may also ask you not to tell anyone that they called.  Western Union and Money Gram do not always require identification to collect so it is difficult to catch the thief.

The Council on Aging offers some tips on how to avoid becoming a victim:
1) Pay only for services rendered.  For example, do not pay in advance for home repairs.
2) Do not allow someone to write checks for you unless you have formally authorized them to do so.
3) Do not lend money or belongings to someone working for you.
4) Never accept free medical equipment or services in exchange for your Medicare number.
5) Services that are truly free do not need your Medicare number or bank account number.
6) Be aware of anyone who wants to come into your life, using the front door, the mail, the phone, the internet.  We have been taught not to be rude, but the criminals know that and will take advantage of the situation.  Hang up if on the phone, do not let people you do not know into your home.  If it is too good to be true – be aware. 
7) Protect yourself and others by talking about what is going on and how others may become a victim.
8) If you think you have been the victim of a scam, or someone has contacted you that you are not so sure they are legit, call the police.  Call 911 and let the authorities know.  Do not be embarrassed.  If you were a victim, chances are someone else may become a victim too.  Prevent it right away by calling the police.

We want you and your loved ones to be safe and happy.  If you have questions or concerns about memory loss or dementia, please call us.  We are here for you.  Contact us at or 1-800-272-3900.  We will be moving effective July 1, 2013.  Our new address will be 31 W. Whipp Rd., Dayton Ohio 45459.  Our phone numbers and email addresses will remain the same.  Please come visit us in our new location!

June 2013

Summer time is here and it is time to start thinking about The Four E’s.  The four E’s will keep one happy, healthy and socialized.  Each of the four E’s is important for each and every one to do every day.

Physical use of the muscles promotes blood flow; it promotes range of movement and a feel-good mood.  Physical activity helps us to continue to do the things we enjoy and it allows us to stay independent.  Regular exercise has been found to reduce the risk of developing some diseases such as high blood pressure, balance problems or difficulty walking.  It has been an effective treatment for other diseases such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes.  One can be physically active in so many ways.  Exercise can be done in short spurts of time throughout the day or it can be done at specific times of the day Exercise can even be done whenever the opportunity arises. There are many opportunities each day for exercise, for example taking the stairs or walking, or gardening and walking a pet.  The good thing is all the health benefits from an investment of little time and little to no cost. 

Try to:
• Be active every day
• Enjoy doing your physical activity
• Try to get into a routine of doing physical activity

Exercise for the mind creates new brain cell connections.  Not only your body, but your mind needs to be exercised.  Learn new things.  While it may not seem important at first, each time you play Sudoku or a cross word puzzle, a jig saw puzzle, a game of cards or Yahtze, you are building brain cell connections.  Read a book about something that interests you but also read a book about something you know nothing about.  It may surprise you to find out, after learning the new information that it is now a new interest for you.  There are all sorts of possibilities.  One idea might be to put out a bird feeder or plant some flowers that are a new variety for you.  Later, try to look up or get a book on bird or flower identification.  Another idea might be to try a new food dish at your favorite restaurant.

Try to:
• Do something each day that uses your brain
• Do new things
• Get into the habit of being open to new possibilities

Wellness includes doing something you like to do.  Having fun is good for you and laughter releases endorphins that are those feel good chemicals in your brain.  What makes you laugh?  Funny movies, a funny story, a child makes some people laugh out loud.  Laughter truly does make us feel better.  Everyone’s funny bone is a little different, so what is funny to one person, may not be funny to another.  Find something that makes you happy.  Every day we should do at least one thing that we enjoy or appreciate.  Pleasant events are all around us and when we are sad or feeling down it can be difficult to pursue pleasurable activities.  When you do things for yourself or pursue pleasant events, it is not being selfish; it is taking care of “you”.  You do not think it is selfish in the winter to take the time to put on your hat and gloves to keep yourself warm and potentially free of feeling sick.  So it is with pleasant events. 

Try to:
• Find an activity or event that makes you laugh out loud
• Do pleasant events every day
• Take charge of your own enjoyment

Staying socially engaged is critical for well-being.  Look for ways to have conversations with others.  Care giving sometimes isolates us and we need socialization because we are social beings.  Get out, walk around the block, meet the neighbors and talk to them.  The interesting thing you will find is that the neighbors may feel just as isolated as you.  Getting out and meeting them may actually cheer them up as well as yourself!  There are times when it is not possible to get out, but one still needs to socialize.  Talk on the phone, communicate via your computer or iPod. . . but communicate.  Talking helps our thinking ability and is enjoyable.  Enjoy your friends.  If there is someone you haven’t heard from for a while, call or email them.  They will probably appreciate that you made the first move to reconnect.

Try to:
• Talk to people you enjoy
• Reconnect with old friends
• Get into the habit of talking with someone each day

The Alzheimer’s Association Miami Valley Chapter, has a program that meets all of the criteria of exercise, education, enjoyment and engagement.  The program is called Group RDAD (Reducing Disability in Alzheimer’s Disease).  The program teaches people with memory problems some simple exercise to improve their health.  It teaches the family about symptoms and care for a person with memory problems.  The person with memory problems and the caregiver come together in a safe environment to learn exercise, new skills, coping mechanisms that are done in a small group of ten to twelve people.  The atmosphere is relaxed and the conversation is encouraging.  The group shares moments of friendship and laughter.  There is always food!

The program helps to build communication between families.  Pleasant events are practiced in each session and strongly encouraged between sessions.  Families learn to solve difficult situations by learning new problem-solving skills.  Games, both physical and mental, are done to maintain skills. And of course everyone learns the simple exercises that are the basis of the program. 

The Group RDAD program is free to all participants as it is supported by a grant from the Ohio Department on Aging.  There are fifteen sessions over a six month time period.  Sessions are ninety minutes in length.

Group RDAD programs will be held in the Fall of 2013 and Spring of 2014.  If you or someone you know may benefit from this valuable resource.  Please call.

All summer and all year, we are here for you.  Connect with us 1-800-272-3900 or

April 2013

How to Handle Difficulties with the Familiar Task of Eating

Nutrition is very important for overall health and vitality.  Your loved one with memory loss should try to maintain their ideal body weight.  When looking at nutrition and food intake, there are several things that one should consider.

One area to consider is weight.  This should be discussed with the physician at each office visit.  Significant weight gain or loss is defined as a change in weight of five percent over one month or ten percent over six months.  Keep a written record of the weight each month so that you are aware of any changes in weight or patterns of weight.  This will also help you to understand the normal range of the person’s weight.  Most of us do not weigh the same each day and may fluctuate five to seven pounds, this is usually fine.  If the weight fluctuates more than five to seven pounds, it should be something that is discussed with the physician at the next visit.

Another area to consider with nutrition is hydration.  As a general rule, most dieticians state that we do not drink enough water.  Some estimates range from forty to sixty ounces of water should be consumed each day.  This again should be a discussion with the physician.  Water is very important in our overall health.  It hydrates our skin and organs.  It helps our balance and helps to prevent infections.  It also helps the medications that we take, to dissolve and get to the areas of the body that they need to get to, to do the greatest amount of good.  Talk to your doctor about what the right amount of water should be for you.

One area often overlooked in nutrition is the mouth and teeth.  If your loved one is not eating well, it may be due to sores in the mouth or on the gums.  It could also be due to infected teeth, if they have their natural teeth.  Regular trips to a dentist are important – even for people with dementia.  Many times it is difficult for people with dementia to be able to identify where it hurts.  If there has been significant weight gain or loss, dentures may not be fitting properly and this can cause irritation and sores in the mouth. 

Sometimes medications can interfere with nutrition as some are bitter and can leave a bitter aftertaste.  Drinking extra water when taking meds can sometimes help to wash that taste away.  It is also important to read the label on the medication, as some cannot be cut in half or crushed.  If your loved one has difficulty swallowing pills or taking meds, this should definitely be a discussion with the doctor.  Some medications come in liquid form and are much easier to take.  Some medications may have a side effect of suppressing appetite and some have a side effect of increasing appetite.  So, if there are changes in weight, ask the doctor if it could be a side effect of one of the medications.

Persons with dementia feel most comfortable and safe with routine.  This extends to meal times as well.  The meals should be at approximately the same time each day.  The routine for the person with memory loss may help them to anticipate eating a meal and thus help them to be hungry at meal time.  Knowing that mealtime is coming soon may also help to avoid snacking between meals. 

If your loved one has difficulty swallowing, you must notify the physician about it.  There are swallowing evaluations that can be done that could help to determine why there is a problem.  It may mean that you will need to offer softer foods or foods that are of a thicker consistency to prevent choking.  These issues are serious and it is important that they be addressed, so that your loved one can get the nutrition they need.

Sometimes what is needed is a little more awareness on our part as the caregiver.  For example, instead of offering a knife, fork and spoon at each meal, just set the table with a fork or spoon.  One utensil is much simpler and they will not get stressed trying to decide which one to use.  Cut up large pieces of food for them.  If your loved one is embarrassed by this, cut the food up on the plate before taking the plate to the table.  Try to mash up some foods that can be mashed.  Be sure to add salt, pepper, and seasoning to the food before giving it to them.  Some meats and other similar foods are difficult to chew at times.  Be sure they are cut up in small or smaller than bite size pieces, especially if your loved one has a habit of putting too much food in their mouth.  If your loved one is overwhelmed by the food, try just giving them one food at a time.  Scientists tell us that our sense of taste for sweets stays strong.  Perhaps with physician approval, adding honey or syrup on foods may help to improve consumption.

If your loved one lives alone, there are home delivered meals in most areas.  Some home health agencies also offer home delivered meals.  This may be an option for people who get so tired by the cooking and meal prep that they cannot eat after they have the meal cooked.

If you have questions about nutrition and need assistance with any of the items discussed above, talk to your physician, or ask your doctor for a referral to a dietician.  These are people especially trained to help you to benefit the most from the food you eat.

If you have questions about dementia or memory loss, please contact us at the Alzheimer’s Association.  We have people especially trained to help you to benefit the most from the education, information and assistance so that you can be empowered to live the best life possible.

Contact us day or night
1-800-272-3900 or

March 2013

Gardening May Improve Your Caregiver Skills

Even though the above sentence may cause you to pause, it may be true.  In a book entitled, A Calendar Year of Horticultural Therapy, How Tending To Your Garden Can Tend To Your Soul, the author, Janice Hoetker Doherty offers many tips that have the benefit of helping persons with dementia and their caregivers.  She writes that horticultural activities can play a major role in improving coordination, mobility, endurance and conditioning.  Later she argues that working with plants or looking at a garden from one’s room  adds to the general positive, relaxed attitude of a patient.   Ms. Doherty has worked as a horticultural therapist.  Don’t let the word scare you.  She explains in her book, a “horticulturist” tends to the needs of plants and has as its main focus the health of that plant.  The focus of a “horticultural therapist” is one who focuses on the well-being of the participant performing those acts of watering, feeding or re-potting a plant.

Horticultural Therapy is used as a therapeutic tool for:
Social development as it encourages interaction in a non-threatening environment
Psychological development as it improves self-esteem and stimulates the senses
Physical improvements such as to help maintain coordination
Cognitive development such as the use of simple directions for project completion and cognition
Visual stimulation encouraged looking at brightly colored flowers or pictures of flowers
Tension and Stress relief as demonstrated by lowering of blood pressure and heart rates
Joy by experiencing different textures and reminiscing about pleasant memories those fragrances bring to mind

Janice Hoetker Doherty notes in her book that, “Although the Alzheimer patient may have difficulty expressing their thoughts in the spoken word, they can communicate in many other ways through their love of gardening”.  She believes that activities when gardening can involve listening to the birds, watching the butterflies etc., so that the spoken word does not need to dominate the visit.  The quietness has less stress for the person with dementia and their visitor or caregiver. 

Some people lack enthusiasm for physical therapy but by using plants, can achieve the same motor skill or muscle rehabilitation, according to Ms Doherty.  The colors, textures and fragrances of plants and flowers are used for stimulation.  Herbs and flowers provide all three of these elements.  She also states that smell is directly related to memory and specific smells immediately take patients back to their gardens or their mother’s gardens.  It is the sharing of these stories and the laughter that often follows that aid in socialization.

In the book, she offers lots of ideas for gardening and for activities that use plants.  Most of the projects can be done at home with a minimal cost of around one dollar.  March is a great time to think about gardening and growing plants.  The Dayton Home and Garden Show may be an ideal outing for caregivers and their loved one to come and see all the ideas offered by so many groups and companies in the Montgomery County area.

Janice Hoetker Doherty will be at the Home and Garden Show in Dayton on Sunday March 24 at the Dayton Convention Center.  She will be speaking at 11:00am-11:30am and 4:00pm-5:00pm about her work and horticultural therapy.  Please plan to join us for this exciting event.  Details can be found in the Program Guide. 

The Dayton Home and Garden Show will be held on March 22- 24 at the Dayton Convention Center.  One of the speakers at that event will be Janice Hoetker Doherty.  Please call the chapter office for information and a flier for two dollars off admission. One dollar of each ticket purchased with our coupon will go to the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter.  We are participating in many ways at the Home and Garden Show.  Please come join us.

February 2013

Early Detection Matters!

Do you want a free T-shirt?? 

Why should I have my family member get tested for Alzheimer’s?  There is nothing that can be done for them.  The medications don’t cure it.

The above is an interesting question.  We live in the information age.  At any time we have access to all kinds of information on our computers, televisions, phones, ipads, etc.  We constantly seek information about the world around us.  We even have a rover on Mars to send us information every day!

What about information concerning ourselves?  What about information concerning our loved ones?  We are certainly more important to our loved ones than any information from Mars!

Someone once said that knowledge is power.  Certainly knowledge about ourselves gives us power to make accurate, good, and healthy long-range decisions for ourselves and our loved ones.  Physicians can make a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s based on medical and family histories, physical exams, evaluations, scans, etc.  The tests are important because there are other conditions whose symptoms are similar to Alzheimer’s.  Dr. Douglas Scharre Director of the Division of Cognitive Neurology of Ohio State University stated in a recent article,  “A big problem in Alzheimer’s disease and research is that we’re not catching people early enough. . . the symptoms are there, but they’re not going in and telling their doctor about it”.

Early diagnosis has several positive outcomes.
1) Early diagnosis allows a person to prepare.  This can mean making legal arrangements such as a living will, power of attorney for health care and finances and advanced directives.  The information can also allow a person time to plan for one’s future care and living needs.  Directly connecting with the Alzheimer’s Association is most effective with the early-stage patient as they may need more support due to the immense long-term impact.  We are here to provide and enhance care and support. 

2) Early diagnosis allows a person to participate in Early Stage programming.  The Alzheimer’s Association of the Miami Valley offers early stage programming several times a month in the areas of education and support.  We believe that with the right amount of information, education, and support we can empower all affected to live the best lives possible.

3) Early diagnosis allows a person to participate in research. According to Dr. Pugar, a neurologist with the Dayton Center for Neurological Disorders, “it gives a patient the opportunity to participate in research trials”.  Trial Match is a service offered by the Alzheimer’s Association that is free and easy to use.  The service connects individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, caregivers, healthy volunteers and physicians with current studies.  There are approximately one hundred and thirty Alzheimer’s clinical trials that include both pharmacological (drug) and non-pharmacological (non-drug) studies being conducted at five hundred trial sites across the country.  This is a way to not just hope for a cure but help us find a cure.

Early diagnosis is important.  We are here for you and we are here to help.  Our vision is a world without Alzheimer’s disease.  Call us at 1-800-272-3900 or find us at

I have a limited number of T-shirts and sizes. . . .but, just for reading this Caregiver Tip you could win one of the T-shirts.  Be one of the first six callers to call 1-800-272-3900 and ask for your free shirt from Jane.  I look forward to giving you a T-shirt !!

January 2013

Chase Those Blues Away!

A recent news article stated that the three weeks before the winter solstice, which is Dec. 21 and the three weeks after, can be hazardous to your health.  The article stated that these six weeks are particularly troublesome for people who are sensitive to Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder is, according to WebMD, a type of depression that affects a person during the same season each year.  If you get depressed in the winter but feel much better in spring and summer, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).  Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they think it may be caused by a lack of sunlight.  Some of the symptoms of SAD include feeling sad, grumpy, moody or anxious.  It may cause a person to lose interest in usual activities.  Some people report that they want to eat more carbohydrates, such as bread and pasta. Others report sleeping more and feeling drowsy during the day.  It seems to occur more often in women than in men.  People who live in places with long winter nights are at greater risk for SAD.

If you notice sadness or depression during the winter moths in yourself or a loved one, it may be caused by SAD.  Any time of the year that you notice sadness or depression, it should be reported to the physician.  There are medications and talk therapy that can help with sadness and depression.  That is why it is always important to notify the physician first.  The prognosis is usually good with treatment.  Always get help right away if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or anyone else.

There are some things you can do to manage depressive symptoms at home, such as getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, exercising and looking for activities that make you happy.  Do something you enjoy.  When it is dark outside and you are penned up inside, it can be hard to think of happy things  --  do it anyway!

What do you enjoy doing?  Close your eyes and ask yourself, when the last time was that you smiled? What was it that caused you to smile? When was the last time you laughed? What caused you to laugh and be happy?  Make a list of those things and try to do at least one of them each day.

Some people enjoy reading.  Some enjoy looking at family pictures.  Have you thought about talking to a friend?  Can you reach outside the door and grab a handful of snow? How far can you throw the snow?  Think back.  What did you do as a child when left at home on a snow day?  Call a grandchild or friend and tell them your memory.  Take some time to write down your stories.

Usually people feel better when they do something for someone else.  Could you bake some cookies for a friend or neighbor?  Our first responders may enjoy a post holiday plate of good things to eat.  Could you call someone who is alone? Could you donate some gently used hats and gloves that are clean to a local school?

If you are struggling with depression, talk to someone about how you are feeling.  Try to be around people who are caring and positive.  Get involved in life and activity. You get the idea.  In fact there is a song that says “Forget you troubles and just get happy. . .chase those blues away”.  Sometimes it is not as easy as singing a song, but when we do pleasant activities, it helps to make us feel better.  Do something each day that brings you pleasure.  It really does help us then, to forget the ‘troubles’, even for a short time.

Writing this article, the Caregiver Tip, brings me pleasure and I hope it helps you in some way.  I welcome your thoughts or ideas for future tips. 

For the past thirty years and for this New Year 2013, we are here for you.  Please contact us at 1-800-272-3900 or


Alzheimer's Association

Our vision: A world without Alzheimer's disease®.
Formed in 1980, the Alzheimer's Association is the world's leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research.