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Posts From Joan Jackson

Geneva Smith: Working Late

Geneva Smith: Working Late

At 85, Tuolumne County’s oldest employee works full time as a housekeeper. But at the end of each shift, Geneva Smith’s day is just getting started.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Put a Stop to ‘Brain Chatter’

Caregivers’ Corner: Put a Stop to ‘Brain Chatter’

What do you do when your brain just won’t shut up?

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Caregivers’ Corner: ‘Tis the Season to Check Parents’ Safety

Caregivers’ Corner: ‘Tis the Season to Check Parents’ Safety

We are known as the Sandwich Generation. Many of us are blessed to have one or both of our parents still alive. We can also enjoy our maturing children and delight, if we’re lucky, in our grandchildren. We are at

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Finding Hope After Stroke

Finding Hope After Stroke

The brain is amazing, and the strength and resilience of the human psyche are equally amazing.
— Anne Burleigh Jacobs, Highs, Lows, and Plateaus: A Path to Recovery from Stroke

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A Stroke Survivor’s Story

A Stroke Survivor’s Story

As Charlie stepped out of the bathroom on that July morning four and a half years ago, she suddenly fell backward. She had suffered an ischemic stroke; a clot had blocked a blood vessel in her brain.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Simple Strategies for Happier Trips

Caregivers’ Corner: Simple Strategies for Happier Trips

Whether it’s a trip to visit family, a beach getaway or a trek to a distant medical appointment, being on the road with an ailing loved one can be problematic.

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Finding Love After 60: Jeanne Rittenhouse and Bob Myers

Finding Love After 60: Jeanne Rittenhouse and Bob Myers

Newlyweds Jeanne Rittenhouse, 67, and Bob Myers, 77, sit next to each other on the sofa, glance at each other and grin as they recount their courtship. “We met on the internet,” says Jeanne, looking over at Bob. “And we laugh a lot.”

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Caregivers’ Corner: Strategies for Coping With Hearing Loss

Caregivers’ Corner: Strategies for Coping With Hearing Loss

By the time we turn 70, two-thirds of us will have some measure of hearing loss. For many it happens much earlier.

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Could it Be Dementia? 10 Quick Questions

Could it Be Dementia? 10 Quick Questions

This story appeared in FAN’s Spring 2016 issue along with Dr. James Galvin’s “Quick Dementia Rating System (QDRS)”. It may begin with puzzling changes in behavior: odd lapses in memory, too many forgotten words, skipped showers, difficulty writing checks or

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Caregivers’ Corner: The Challenge for Weary Caregivers

Caregivers’ Corner: The Challenge for Weary Caregivers

Making your own health a priority while caring for a loved one.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Helping Children Understand Dementia

Caregivers’ Corner: Helping Children Understand Dementia

When grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s the repercussions slam through the entire family. Grandpa may respond with fear, denial, grief, sadness, depression, confusion, embarrassment, resignation or a shifting kaleidoscope of emotions. With this he’s also dealing with memory loss, confusion,

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Preventing Medication Mishaps

Preventing Medication Mishaps

Most of us will eventually take prescription medication for one or more health problems. The good news? You can dramatically improve the odds that those drugs will help you instead of hurt or kill you.

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High-Tech Grandparents Connect from Afar

High-Tech Grandparents Connect from Afar

More and more grandparents are firing up desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones to bridge the gap.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Take Time to Care for the Caregiver

Caregivers’ Corner: Take Time to Care for the Caregiver

Finding ways to get even small amounts of much-needed exercise will lift your mood, support your health and help you feel better about yourself.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Surviving Family Celebrations

Caregivers’ Corner: Surviving Family Celebrations

Make sure you have a plan for making it through those sometimes exhausting family celebrations.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Legal Documents Make Choices Clear

Caregivers’ Corner: Legal Documents Make Choices Clear

Our world changes and so do our options and choices as illness and age push us toward the end of life. Many of us would rather not think about it. But having some control over those choices and being treated

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Plan Ahead to Outsmart the Bad Guys

Plan Ahead to Outsmart the Bad Guys

A 28-year law enforcement veteran who has dealt with thousands of criminals shares tips on staying safe at home and on the road.

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Caregivers’ Corner: The Scary Topic of Dementia and Guns

She was afraid to get up at night to go to the bathroom. Her husband, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and exhibiting symptoms of paranoia, had recently recovered his favorite pistol from his son and stashed it in their bedside nightstand. He

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Groveland Weighs Village Concept

Groveland Weighs Village Concept

Grovelander Al Brizard, 83, confesses that he’s a “stubborn old man” – who now needs help changing that light bulb high in the ceiling. Some 130 miles to the west, 75-year-old Marcia Freedman of Berkeley notes firmly that she doesn’t

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Caregivers’ Corner: Serious Illness Alters Family Roles

Caregivers’ Corner: Serious Illness Alters Family Roles

“My husband is supposed to take care of the bills and I keep telling him he has to do it. I’m already doing too much.” “My wife yells at me when I try to mow the lawn. She says it’s

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Caregivers’ Corner: Learning to say no

Caregivers’ Corner: Learning to say no

I’
I’m just a girl who cain’t say no. I’m in a terrible fix. I always say, Come on, let’s go! Jist when I orta say nix…
– Ado Annie – “Oklahoma!”

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Caregivers’ Corner: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep

Trying to function on too little sleep is the pits. It plays havoc with memory and focus, exacerbates pain, makes us cranky and negative, and diminishes our ability to react lovingly. Sleepless nights set us up for depression, anxiety, weight

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Hiring a Caregiver: Tips on Finding In-home Help with Safety in Mind

Hiring a Caregiver: Tips on Finding In-home Help with Safety in Mind

  As illness and frailty take their toll on an elderly family member, bringing a caregiver into the home a few hours a day may be the ticket to keeping your loved one living independently and safely. “Everyone wants to

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Caregivers’ Corner: Managing Medications

Is mom’s illness simply getting worse, or could her medications be making her sicker? One of the challenges of being a caregiver is to help your mom, dad, husband or wife manage medications effectively. As bodies get older they often

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Caregivers’ Corner: How to Handle That Sneaky Stress

Stress is sneaky. It tightens your shoulders and tries to hitch them to your ear lobes. It sends blood racing to the center of your body, upsetting your tummy and leaving your hands and feet cold. Your muscles clench, temples

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Caregivers’ Corner: Reaching for Compassion

Caregivers’ Corner: Reaching for Compassion

“I have the right to take care of myself. This is not an act of selfishness. It will enable me to take better care of my loved one.” The man reading these first lines of the “Caregiver’s Bill of Rights”

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For Relay Walkers, It’s Personal

For Relay Walkers, It’s Personal

Love and loss are prime motivators for thousands of Mother Lode residents joining a step-by-step fight against cancer.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Tricks to Tame Anxious Thoughts

Caregivers’ Corner: Tricks to Tame Anxious Thoughts

When your brain careens around the block for the 39th time, worrying the same worry or making the same list, it’s time to make it stop. Stress and anxiety can send our brains into hyper-drive, causing thoughts to loop over

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An Expert’s Advice on Coping with Grief

An Expert’s Advice on Coping with Grief

Don’t put a time limit on the grieving process, advises Dr. Patrick Arbore: “It takes as long as it takes.”

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Caregiver’s Corner: Stages of Grief

 I know God will not give me anything I can’t handle. I just wish that He didn’t trust me so much. ~ Mother Teresa We all face the five stages of grief when a loved one dies, but it can be shocking

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Managing Life’s Losses: Journeys Through Grief

Managing Life’s Losses: Journeys Through Grief

Two women reveal their difficult and very different journeys through grief and loss.

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Caregivers’ Corner: Dealing with Dementia

Caregivers’ Corner: Dealing with Dementia

By Joan Jackson When a loved one slides into dementia, the progression is not straight line. What they were able to do last month, last week, or even yesterday may suddenly no longer be possible. We often hear caregivers describe

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Living with Parkinson’s

Living with Parkinson’s

Parkinson’s disease took Sarah Johnson by surprise. As a result, others diagnosed with the disease now have easier access to information and support.

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Gabriella Kagay: A Bright Future Reclaimed

Gabriella Kagay: A Bright Future Reclaimed

Respect, appreciation and deep gratitude punctuate Deborah Kagay’s sentences as she talks about her family’s experiences with the Shriners Hospital for Children in Sacramento. The hospital, one of 22 supported by Shrine clubs in the United States, Canada and Mexico,

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Shriners: Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

Shriners: Who Will Fill Their Shoes?

Like many aging fraternal orders, the Shriners’ numbers are dwindling. This is no mere clown shortage. Instead, it affects a network of children’s hospitals that, in the past five years alone, has provided free medical care to nearly 1,000 local youngsters.

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From the Trail of Tears to the Mother Lode

From the Trail of Tears to the Mother Lode

It was called “nu na hi du na tlo hi lu I” or the “Trail Where They Cried.” In 1838, the U.S. government forced nearly 20,000 Cherokees from their homes in Tennessee, Georgia, the Carolinas and several other states under

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Cherokee Wolves Share Native Traditions and Culture

Cherokee Wolves Share Native Traditions and Culture

“When I was a little girl my mother would not allow me to tell anyone I was Cherokee because people would look down on you,” says red-headed, blue-eyed Millie Batchelor. “But,” she adds, “I’ve been proud of it all my

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Real-Life Retirement: Advice and Surprises

Real-Life Retirement: Advice and Surprises

The reward for decades of hard work? A highway mirage that gets further away as you approach? Or, because of the economy, illness or other unexpected developments, nothing like you thought it would be? Retirement is many things to many

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Caregivers’ Corner: The Beauty of Lower Standards

Caregivers’ Corner: The Beauty of Lower Standards

Always live up to your standards – by lowering them, if necessary. ~ Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook When “Bad Girls” fold towels, the corners don’t line up and they’ve learned not to worry about it. In fact, their

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Caregivers’ Corner: Nutrition, Hygiene, and Safety

Caregivers’ Corner: Nutrition, Hygiene, and Safety

Does your aging mom complain that her raspberries don’t taste right anymore? Is your husband pouring so much salt in his soup that you’re seriously worried about his hypertension? Do you notice yourself adding extra sugar to your chai latte?

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Sex and the Savvy Senior

Sex and the Savvy Senior

Remember “that talk” your folks had with you when you entered the teen years and started dating? If you are over 50 and considering a new relationship or about to embark on the dating scene after a long time out,

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Love After 50: Stories of the Heart

Love After 50: Stories of the Heart

For Judd and Jan Mangin, it started with the gift of carrot salad. For old friends Pat Dean and Paul Girard, a shared lunch opened the door to something deeper. Mary and Lee Heinen found each other online, and Frank

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Top Tips for Online Dating Safety

Technology and online dating sites have opened up a great means for mature singles in the Mother Lode to connect with someone special, and more men and women are turning to the Internet to meet new people. However, Tuolumne County

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Great Neighbors: Jim and Dorothy Brown

Great Neighbors: Jim and Dorothy Brown

In 1983, 26 storefronts stood empty on Washington Street, Sonora’s main thoroughfare. Dorothy Brown pondered the situation. She and her husband, Jim, owned Gold Rush Printing on nearby Stewart Street, and realized the downtown needed help. Then Dorothy remembered a

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Caregivers’ Corner: Sensory Changes

Caregivers’ Corner: Sensory Changes

I have a precious friend, now in her late 80s, who is tough, bright and energetic (she still takes tap-dance lessons). She has survived a massive stroke and the loss of her husband and many of her friends, and through

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Caregivers’ Corner: Loss of Inhibitions

Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias can rob your dignified, bright and gracious wife, husband, mother or father of a lifetime of social manners and skills. As the disease progresses, your loved one’s loss of cultural norms can create some of

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Caregivers’ Corner: Self-Care is Essential

Caregivers’ Corner: Self-Care is Essential

“What happened to me?” While some of the losses and demands of caregiving are large and immediate, many of the changes are more subtle, chipping away at your life one small piece at a time. Hobbies are set aside for

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Caregivers’ Corner: Home Safety for Alzheimer’s

When our two-year-old grandson comes to visit, we always do a room-by-room sweep – removing breakables, fastening cabinets, checking baby plugs and securing the stairs – trying to use eyes of a detective to make sure our home is safe

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Caregivers’ Corner: Tips to Reduce Stress

In an airplane, if cabin pressure plummets and the little yellow breathing cups drop down from overhead, the rule is that you always put your oxygen mask on first and help your loved ones next. Most of us know this

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Caregivers’ Corner: Conscious Breathing

Caregiving is physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually draining. The loved one you care for can be agitated and angry one moment, confused and helpless the next, and loving and appreciative a few moments later. Your work is often 24 hours

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