Dimensions of Dementia

The Problem of Denial

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway Recently one of my friends stopped me in a parking lot. She needed advice about her mother’s memory loss and subsequent denial of the problem. “It’s so hard,” my friend said, “because my mother won’t go to day care or a support group, and her care is all on me.” I commiserated, sharing a similar ... Read More »

Family’s Early Onset Alzheimer’s Helps Research

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway Perhaps you are part of a large family with siblings. You keep in touch: phone calls, emails, Facebook pictures, and maybe get together for family vacations or reunions. You enjoy each other’s company most of the time. They’re family. They are there for you when you need someone to talk with. They have your back. ... Read More »

Clinical Trials – Hope for a Cure

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway Alzheimer’s disease is probably high on our list of something we don’t want to experience for ourselves or for a loved one. Yet some of us are or have been caregivers. Some of us may have memory loss and are worried about getting worse. Whatever our situation, if past midlife, you’re probably hoping for a ... Read More »

Start Planning Today for Future Care

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway The beginning of a new year is a good time to think about getting organized in the legal and financial areas. So when looking for a program for our Alzheimer’s Association memory loss/caregiver support group on Marco Island, I thought about elder law. As a long-distance caregiver for my mother with Alzheimer’s in the late ... Read More »

Before I Forget: Love, Hope, Help, and Acceptance

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway Have you ever read a really interesting book on Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving that is also a couple’s love story? I’ve just finished one, “Before I Forget,” by B. Smith and Dan Gasby, a 2016 publication. They tell us what frustrates them, why they get angry and where they find joy. It feels as though ... Read More »

Give the Ultimate Gift – Your Brain

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway The giving of gifts is something many of us think about in December, whether we celebrate St. Nicholas Day, Hanukkah, or Christmas. We might make lists: jewelry for daughters, grand-daughters, wives, T-shirts or socks for our sons, grandsons, husbands, and books for parents, aunts, and uncles. For year-end giving to our favorite charity we might ... Read More »

Dimensions of Dementia: The Role of Art and Music

Shirley Woolaway Thank goodness for music and art. Try to imagine a world without them and it is too difficult to contemplate, for they give us beauty and take us to places we’ve never been or send us back to experiences from the past. Important to most of us, music and art are especially so for those with dementia. Recently ... Read More »

Exercise to Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

DIMENSIONS OF DEMENTIA Shirley Woolaway My 17-year-old granddaughter ran two half-marathons this summer, each 13.6 miles. Back in school she’s running three to five miles daily with her cross country team. She’s getting plenty of exercise. By contrast, this summer I walked up to two miles four or five times weekly and also swam occasionally. Because of traveling I seldom found ... Read More »

Research is Cautiously Hopeful

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway In my experience, most of us know someone with dementia, either a family member, a friend, or a neighbor. So, it is not surprising to learn that in Florida there are 510,000 people with Alzheimer’s in 2016, just one of the many dementia diseases, but the most common. That figure will rise to 720,000 by ... Read More »

Dementia with Lewy Bodies or is it Parkinson’s?

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway If you’ve not heard of a Dementia with Lewy Bodies, or DLB, you’re in good company. In my experience many have never heard of it, or if they have, know little about it. First of all, it has a funny name and second, its symptoms are varied, not always well defined, and can come and ... Read More »

Where to Find Help

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway If you or someone in your family has been newly diagnosed as having dementia, you may be feeling overwhelmed and wondering where you can go for help. That’s how I felt back in 2000 when I was trying to find out about my mother’s dementia and didn’t know where to turn. Now, you don’t need ... Read More »

Risk Factors and Recommendations

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway After hearing about Alzheimer’s disease from family, friends, or the media, we all might start to wonder about our own memory. Several years ago, I visited Bill Beckwith, a neuropsychologist then in Naples, to find out whether my brain was showing any signs of decline. After an initial visit, I was evaluated during two sessions ... Read More »

Diagnosis by a Specialist

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway Perhaps you’re concerned about a family member or friend’s memory loss, perhaps your own. One way to find out whether it is memory loss or normal aging is to seek out a physician. A family doctor or internist could be your starting place and might use a brief test for memory. But you may be ... Read More »

Is it Alzheimer’s, Dementia?

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway My experience with dementia is close up and personal, very personal, since both my husband and my mother had dementia. I traveled the journey with them as wife, daughter and caregiver. It was not an easy journey but it did have its rewards including spending quality time together in the early years. Maybe you’re not ... Read More »

A Caregiver’s Burden

Dimensions of Dementia Shirley Woolaway I never thought dementia would play such a large part in my life, but it did, and it started with my mother. As an active 70-year-old, after dad died, she moved from her home in Pennsylvania to Phoenix to be near her sisters. For a few years all was well, until on a visit, I ... Read More »