When It’s Time To Face The Facts About Alzheimer’s And Where To Turn

Amy Aquino first encountered dementia when she was a kid. “I had 11 aunts and uncles on my father’s side, and about half of them had Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, so it became part of my life early on,” said the TV, screen and stage actress.

Amy’s Aunt Rose, who taught her how to garden, was “smart, curious, interested and active, like all dad’s siblings,” but started acting a little strangely when she was in her late 50s.  Her odd behavior continued for about five years, when the family began to see big changes. “She lived alone, and we’d get calls from one of her daughters that she was missing. My father would jump in the car to look for her,” Amy remembers vividly.

Aunt Rose was too young to be considered “senile,” the term that was used back in the 70s when our grandparents would become forgetful. “Everyone was completely bewildered and struggling to find out what was going on. Aunt Rose was perfectly healthy, perfectly smart, and never suffered mental illness. But, she was acting like a mentally ill person,” Amy says. Rose’s behavior, however,  didn’t have a name at the time, and her family tried everything to help her, from changing her diet to hiring a caregiver. “They were afraid she was going to get hurt,” Amy explains. “It was difficult to comprehend and accept. It was very, very painful.  Watching Aunt Rose lose her life was shocking and difficult to accept.”

Later on, Amy’s uncle Mike developed memory and cognitive issues in his early 70s, but by then his condition had a name: Alzheimer’s Disease.  “Uncle Mike was a physically healthy man who had traveled all over the world. His brain simply stopped functioning the way it should. He could no longer perform daily tasks. He didn’t recognize people,” Amy says.

When Aunt Florence, a third sibling of Amy’s dad, developed Alzheimer’s in her 80s, she never accepted that her brain wasn’t functioning properly, and she fought it. “It became extremely painful for my cousin Katherine, who was Florence’s caregiver,” Amy recalls.  Eventually, Florence had to “be tricked” into being moved to a facility that could properly care for her.

After witnessing Alzheimer’s rob the identities from her loved ones, Amy partnered with the Alzheimer’s Association, during Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, to help advance the national conversation about this horrific disease and give patients and caregivers tools for them to better deal with it.

“A stigma still is associated with Alzheimer’s, so although it’s a big challenge to put it out there and start talking about the disease and it’s signs, it’s also one of the biggest contributions the Alzheimer’s Association can make,” Amy explains. “As long as it’s stigmatized, you don’t want to say it’s happening to you, as you would with other physical illnesses. But, it’s important to recognize it is, and to make plans. After Glen Campbell was diagnosed with the disease, for example, he told us he wanted to cut his last album because he knew he wasn’t going to be able to do it forever.
“Every time my sister and I forget something, we say: ‘Is this the beginning?’ It’s terrifying because you don’t want to be helpless and a terrible burden to those around you. Your caregivers are devastated because they lose you, and yet you’re there.  They have to worry about you all the time.”

But unlike decades ago, we now have the Alzheimer’s Association to give us directions.  It’s funding and promoting the research that gives us the paths to help stave off the disease as long as possible, Amy reports. Everything is on its website, including 10 Ways to Love Your Brain, “Your brain acuity can be improved with certain activities, like exercising to get your blood flowing; making sure you stay social, so you don’t isolate yourself; pushing your mind to do something it hasn’t done, such as learning a new language. My husband got his pilot’s license, for example,” Amy adds. “Keeping your body healthy will decrease your risk of cognitive decline.”

Learn as much as you can,  the actress advises. “Call the Alzheimer’s Association 24-hour helpline –1.800.272.3900. Start having the conversation there. It can be your partner and give you direction.  Make sure you’re doing everything you can, because once it hits, there’s nothing you can do.”

Rather than guess or worry that you or a loved one has the disease, contact the Alzheimer’s Association and check these 10 Early Warning Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s.  The association tries to distinguish between typical and atypical age-related changes, such as “sometimes” forgetting names or appointments, versus consistently having to rely on aids or others to remember them. Early detection and diagnosis can be beneficial because they allow you and your loved ones to plan ahead and include the Alzheimer’s patient in the process, which also takes the stress off the caregiver.

And, by all means see a doctor if you believe your concerns are real.  “Start to have a gentle, honest conversation about the signs you’re seeing,” Amy says. “You’ll want to rule out things like a brain tumor or other life threatening issue.” The person you suspect of having Alzheimer’s might instead have something as simple as hearing problems. “If you don’t accept that your hearing is going, you will become isolated and stop being engaged,” Amy adds. “That hurts your cognition.”

It’s also crucial for the caregiver to “accept for herself that the Alzheimer’s patient has a different reality,” Amy emphasizes.

“When you don’t accept this basic fact, it can make you crazy, which is transmitted to the person receiving the care,” she wisely explains.”The worst thing you can say to someone you suspect has Alzheimer’s is, ‘Come on, you remember i just told you that. We just talked about this.’  You should try to be in their world and make them comfortable. You never want to make them feel bad about what they’re doing because they can’t help it,” Amy says.”If you make them feel good, they’re more likely to function a little better.

“Just change the subject if you feel you’re going around and around in circles with someone. It won’t matter to the person.  As long as she’s safe and seems happy, that’s what counts.”

The Exciting Supplement That’s Improving My Bone Density

This is a “sponsored post.” AlgaeCal compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

My new house has “good bones,” but I’m afraid I can’t say the same for the bones in my body.lead

Like my mother, I have osteoporosis. Thankfully, I’ve never broken a bone, but I surely wasn’t going to take any chances, so I saw an endocrinologist, who prescribed a drug to increase my bone density, as well as an over-the-counter calcium supplement. Turns out that’s not such a great solution! (more…)

A Mother’s Devastating Story Of Her Daughter’s Tragic Life, And Death

Olga Martin fell into “a million pieces” at the end of 2015, after the body of her 22-year-old daughter, Zoie, was found stuffed into a trashcan in a Denver alley, acid splashed over her entire body. “Her fingerprints had been erased by the acid. When we saw her in the coffin, her hands had been placed at her sides and she was covered,” her mother remembers of this unimaginable moment.  

Zoie was a heroin addict, and had been released from jail only days before, after serving a five-month sentence. The investigation of her death is ongoing. “They’re saying Zoie overdosed (she had heroin in her system when she died), but according to word on the street, she was murdered because she ratted out someone,”  Olga says. “Money that she was responsible for also was missing. It’s staggering how disposable life is. She didn’t pay someone back, so they killed her.”

After running from her home, and never turning back (“I was so despondent, I didn’t care if I lost everything”), Olga is starting to grapple with Zoie’s death, and wants to help save other families from the horrific impact of drugs.


My Daughter-In-Law Said “You’ll Go To Heaven For This”

When someone is struggling to accomplish something that’s important to him or her, but doesn’t have all the resources to get there, I’ve sometimes stepped in to help. Here are two examples:

EXAMPLE #1: Rouddy owns a taxi in Turks & Caicos, an island in the Caribbean where I’ve vacationed a number of times. David and I became friendly with him on one trip many years ago, when he transported us from place to place.  On the way to the airport at the end of the vacation, Rouddy’s  van was intensely hot because the air conditioner was on the fritz. He explained that he was negotiating  to get a new van but didn’t have the entire down payment. When I asked him how much he needed, he said $1,500.  I wrote him a check, explaining it was a gift, not a loan!

On our next few visits to T&C, Rouddy chauffeured us, gratis, in his cool new van (literally and figuratively).  We also met his wife and little son.  I haven’t been to the island in years, but Rouddy makes sure to stay in touch, wishing us happy holidays, and asking how David and I are doing.

EXAMPLE #2: When Laura was released from prison after 16 years, around 2004,  I interviewed her for a magazine article about her transition into society,  and took an immediate liking to her.  We developed a friendship, and I subsequently bought Laura a new wardrobe, helped her get a rent-subsidized apartment, and guided her as she searched for a job.  After you’ve spent almost two decades in prison, it’s a struggle to be accepted by, and live in, the “outside world.”

Laura and I also have been in touch over the years. I was invited to the ceremony when she married her long-time boyfriend about two years ago, and I’ve recently helped her launch her own cleaning service.  She continues to work hard to make something of herself, although it hasn’t been a cake walk.

I am not rich, but I’ve worked hard all my adult life and earned a decent living, and I’ve  never laid awake at night wishing I had a mansion,  a swimming pool, gigantic diamonds or handbags named after Grace Kelly.  Although I do wish I could have bought Rouddy  the van outright, I’m lucky I’ve been able to help people like him and Laura, even modestly.

But doing kind things for others doesn’t always require cold hard cash. (more…)

Note To All Mean People: Take Your Anger Elsewhere!

Why do people turn everything into a way to insult someone?commented astute Charlotte G. on one of our recent Facebook posts. She was referring to a number of nasty comments on this post:

Comments like this: “Gag me, can’t believe you even included the despicable Obamas.” And this: “Get the Obamas off this page!!! Losers!!”   (more…)

These Are A “Few” Of My Favorite Things

Don’t you just love to share your discoveries, whether it’s a cool boutique you’ve found, a restaurant with the best burritos in town, or something as basic as a new kitchen sponge that cleans like no sponge you’ve ever owned before? I do, so I thought, Why not spread the word on FabOverFifty about products I adore?

I’m starting today with kitchen tools, one of my passions. As an editor and publisher in the home furnishings business for decades, I wrote about pots, pans, electric housewares, gadgets, tabletop and more, so I’m pretty picky when it comes to the quality and performance of the products I use for cooking and serving.

I’m not being paid a penny to write about the products in this new column. It’s just fun to tell you about them. We’ve linked each item to the amazon.com shop, which seems to sell just about everything these days.  

Muscleman Or Real Softie

“You have to get this sponge, Maz!” gushed my daughter when we recently went shopping together. She was right! The little guy works on everything from dishes and glassware to cast iron and stainless steel pans; from bathroom walls to the car’s exterior. He stiffens up in cold water, and softens in warm water, depending on whether you want to wash normally or seriously scrub. He doesn’t scratch, and he won’t become smelly after he’s had lots of tough workouts. The perfect man to have around the house. Shark Tank loved him. So will you! (more…)

Could You Fall For A Man 25 Years Younger?

If you’ve been following international news, you undoubtedly know that the president-elect of France is 39 and his wife is 64.

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron met when he was 15, and she was his literature and drama teacher at a private school. Emmanuel’s parents, a physician and a professor of neurology, were not happy as their son’s relationship intensified, and so they sent him to another school for his senior year, hoping the ‘friendship’ would dissipate. It obviously did not. Brigitte and Emmanuel married in 2007.

“He often refers to his wife as his intellectual soul mate and confidante,” related an article in The Telegraph, a UK newspaper. “Mr. Macron says he will govern more effectively if he is happy — and that means having Brigitte at his side.” Apparently, Brigitte “mentored, coached and advised him during the campaign,” the article explained.


Recovering And Rediscovering After Loss

When Janis Clark Johnston was 52, her husband “dropped dead of a sudden heart attack” while he was mowing their front yard. He was 54. Their son had recently graduated college and their daughter had left for her freshman year of college.

“It was shattering,” remembers Janis, now 70, who earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Boston University, and has spent her entire career as a therapist for children, adolescents, and adults, in schools, mental health centers, businesses, and in her own practice. Her first book, It Takes a Child to Raise a Parent: Stories of Evolving Child and Parent Development, was published in 2013.

Janis’s new book, Midlife Maze, A Map to Recovery and Rediscovery After Loss, explores the “geography of loss in midlife, the way it can affect us, and what we can do to get back on track or redirect ourselves.” (more…)

At Last, ‘Anti-Aging’ For My Body

This is a “sponsored post.” Crepe Erase compensated FOF with an advertising sponsorship to write it. Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we believe will be helpful for our readers. All insights and expressed opinions are our own. —Geri Brin

While I’ve been pampering my face with some of the most effective ‘anti-aging’ serums and creams on the market, the skin on the rest of my body steadily slid downhill. Figuratively and literally. My elbows and knees were just plain dry, flaky and droopy. (Whoever thought knees could droop!) My legs resembled sandpaper;  my underarms moved like Jell-O!  Even my decolletage looked crepey. Definitely not a good look.

Sure, it’s totally natural for aging skin to become thin, dry and lax as it loses its wonderful foundation of collagen and elastin, but it certainly would be nice to give my problem areas a pick-me-up,  especially now that I’m starting to wear shorter sleeves and pants. Unfortunately, drugstore body lotions only fleetingly hydrate and soften my skin, and don’t do a thing for the crepiness. I’ve tried dozens of them over the years, so I can speak from experience.

As editor of a popular website, I’m often invited to try out all kinds of beauty products. One brand–Crepe Erasejumped out at me because I remembered seeing the actress, Jane Seymour, talk about it on TV. She looks sensational, at 66, and has been using Crepe Erase for years, a fine endorsement right there! It’s also a big big seller on QVC, where they call it “anti-aging for your body.”  That definitely got my attention.

The formula features TruFirm Complex, an exclusive blend that includes three plant extracts, to help reinforce our skin’s netting, so the skin can appear tighter and firmer, and looks like it did when we were younger. Crepe Erase also contains seven powerful hydrators, including coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, beeswax, cassava and Vitamin E, which absorb quickly and work to visibly soothe and renew the skin.

Crepe Erase is the #1 system to treat crepey skin, and the Essentials Kit only includes
two simple steps:

I use Exfoliating Body Polish when I shower, to lift away dead, rough surface cells and make my skin look smoother and more radiant. After the shower, I massage the Intensive Body Repair Treatment, with the TruFirm Complex, into the crepey skin around my neck, chest, arms and legs. The Body Polish has a beautiful, fresh scent and the Repair Treatment absorbs quickly and isn’t one bit greasy.

I can report back that the skin on my body hasn’t felt this smooth and hydrated in many years, and I’ve only been using Crepe Erase for three weeks. Plus, if I’ve learned one thing about skin care products, it’s that the more consistently you use them, the better the results.  

Crepe Erase isn’t a glorified body lotion. Trust me, it feels like I’ve tried them ALL.  If my word isn’t enough, look at these impressive results from a 4-and 8-week Crepe Erase clinical study, not to mention the incredible before-and-after images they revealed on QVC.

98% experienced improvement in evenness of skin tone on their décolleté.

90% showed improvement in the look of skin firmness on their arms.

88% of women experienced an improvement in the look of skin roughness on their legs and knees.

{Based on average results of a 49 person evaluation by an expert clinical grader}

97% saw an improvement in the smoothness and softness of their skin.

95% experienced a lifted appearance of their skin.

 91% of women showed improvement in the look of crepey skin.

{Based on average results of a 49 person evaluation by an expert clinical grader measuring décolleté, arms, knees & legs}

Results will vary.

Crepe Erase is so confident that you’ll love its products, it invites you to use them for 60 days, and, if you’re not satisfied, you can return the tubes–EVEN EMPTY–for a full refund, less s&h! This offer even gives me more confidence that these are quality beauty products. Plus, the line is incredibly reasonable in the first place!

and save on Crepe Erase + get FREE SHIPPING today!

Thoroughly Modern Marge

The moment Marge walked into the birthday celebration for my former husband, Douglas, she got my attention.

Petite and slender, she wore red slacks that perfectly matched her bright lipstick, which looked smart with her lacy-sleeved white shirt, triple-strand pearl choker, pearl earrings, and nicely coiffed short, silvery gray hair. It’s easy to tell that Marge is meticulous about the way she looks.