Spouses of Alzheimer’s disease patients often struggle with depression while caregiving and are desperate for support. Some have started new relationships while their loved one is still alive but no longer recognizes them. Acceptance of such infidelity is highly individual. Experts and a woman involved in such a relationship discuss how it can benefit even the incapacitated spouse, as long as families find it acceptable.
Dr. William Uffner, board certified geriatric psychiatrist, Friends Hospital, Philadelphia and Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Drexel University
Sharon B. Shaw, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Group Psychotherapist, New York
Tammi Reeves, author, Bleeding Hearts: A True Story of Alzheimer’s, Family, and the Other Woman
Researchers have found that severe emotional trauma in childhood triggers physical disease later in life, and has a cumulative effect. An award-winning science writer who has researched the topic discusses findings.
Donna Jackson Nakazawa, author, Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal
Aging is something that ultimately we all have to face. Everybody reaches a point when they’re not quite as sharp mentally, and physically they may need some assistance. In most cases, before we have to deal with our own aging, we face the aging of our loved ones. Dr. Melanie Merriman is a hospice consultant with a focus on the system of healthcare in relation to illness and growing old.
Dr. Merriman likens the process of her own mother aging to clenching a net beneath a balancing tightrope walker, waiting for the inevitable fall. Her memoir, Holding the Net, details the pitfalls of caring for her defiant mother, as her independence is challenged by the aging process. She says that most people wait too long to have conversations about growing old. Instead of being proactive, most wait to discuss the need for assistance or the move to a nursing home until it’s time to make those tough decisions. She also adds, it’s important for both parents and children to discuss what they expect from each other as the aging process progresses.
Joy Loverde, author of Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?, adds to the discussion by asking the question; What do you want for yourself when you grow old? She stresses that relationships constantly evolve. Friends, and even family, come and go. It’s up to you to envision and plan for your own retirement and aging. Of course, a lot of it comes down to financials. Even if you’re on your own, many services and care options are available for the right price.
For many, independence is an idea entangled in pride and the fear of not being able to control the future. Dr. Merriman says dependence on others as you age is not weakness. The hardest part of planning is getting started, but a simple Google search for aging agencies in your area is a great place to start.
Melanie Merriman, author, Holding the Net: Caring For My Mother On the Tightrope of Aging
Joy Loverde, author, Who Will Take Care of Me When I’m Old?
We all tell a ‘white lie’ every now and then. Most of the time the motive is to be more polite or friendly. This is what Matthew Lupoli, social scientist at University of California, refers to as a prosocial lie. A recent study by Lupoli concluded that compassion plays a large role in prosocial lying. When it came to giving feedback to others, subjects feeling compassion were more likely to tell a prosocial lie and the extent to which they lie increased. Lupoli adds that there are situations where prosocial lying can cause damage. Sometimes people need to hear honest criticism to improve.
Lupoli also asserts that people weigh honesty and kindness when making the decision of whether or not to lie. Another factor is the potential uncomfortableness of being completely honest, as well as the cost of getting caught in a lie.
Dr. Paul Eckman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at the University of California San Francisco, says most people aren’t very good at recognizing lies, partially because they don’t want to go through the conflict of exposing a lie. In addition, Dr. Eckman asserts that in many situations people don’t really want to know the truth. He offers the example of a teenage son lying about not using drugs. Most parents don’t want to believe their kids are using drugs, so it’s easy to convince themselves it’s true.
Dr. Eckman also explains micro-facial expressions, very brief expression that occur when feeling a strong emotion. When it comes to detecting lies, he says polygraphs are about as successful as blind chance, but by observing micro-facial expressions Dr. Eckman claims a 95% success rate.
Matthew Lupoli, social scientists, University of California, San Diego
Dr. Paul Eckman, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, University of California, San Francisco
Some hospital units have set up handshake bans because too few healthcare workers wash hands well enough to keep from spreading germs. The general public is even worse at washing hands, which has caused spread of serious disease. Some experts say handshakes foster important human connections and oppose bans. Experts discuss and describe what it takes to wash hands well enough to be “clean.”
Dr. Mark Sklansky, Professor and Chief, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine
Donna Cardillo, registered nurse and inspirational speaker, “The Inspirational Nurse”
Dr. Pam Marquess, Atlanta pharmacist
Dr. Wilma Wooten, Public Health Officer, County of San Diego (CA)
Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are making crops grow bigger & faster. However, researchers have found that these crops contain significantly lower levels of protein, iron, zinc, and other important nutrients, potentially endangering nutrition for hundreds of millions of people. Experts explain the effect will get worse as CO2 levels continue to rise, and what might be done to combat the problem.
Dr. Sam Myers, Principal Research Scientist and Director, Planetary Health Alliance, Harvard University
Dr. Kristie Ebi, Director, Center for Health and the Global Environment, Univ. of Washington