Friday, 30 September 2011

(SUN)02OCT11 JOBADA Commemorating World Alzheimer's Day in Johor Baru

Dear Caregivers / Members / Volunteers / Friends,

JOBADA, ADFM Johor Baru AD Caregivers Support Group, is commemorating WORLD ALZHEIMER’S DAY on:

Date : Sunday, 2 October 2011

Time : 2.00pm to 5.00pm

Venue : The Zon Mall (Atrium Level 1) JB


Program includes:

  1. Memory screening for people aged 60++ above
  2. Exercise by Az friends, Family and Volunteers
  3. Laughter Yoga
  4. Talk by caregivers of their experiences
  5. Line dancing
  6. Refreshment

The event will be graced by YB Dato Shahrir Bin Abdul Samad and YB Mok Chek Hou.

Organized By: Supported By:

From: The National Caregivers Group

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

(SAT) 15OCT11 Caregivers Sharing Session - "Caregiving Sharing" By Guest Speaker, Assoc. Prof. Dr Andrew Charles Gomez at ADFM PJ Daycare Centre

Dear Fellow Caregivers / Members,

Kindly be informed that Caregivers Sharing Session and Talk by Guest Speaker, Assoc. Prof. Dr Andrew Charles Gomez has been changed to 15 October 2011 at 2:30pm due to unforeseen circumstances (This notice supersedes our earlier announcements).

Assoc. Prof. Dr Andrew Charles Gomez whose late Mom suffered from Alzheimers, and looked after her medication & nutrition, will be sharing his experiences with our caregivers and members in his talk on :

Day / Date : Saturday, 15 October 2011
Venue : ADFM PJ Daycare Centre, No. 6, Jalan 11/8E, Section 11, 46200 Petaling Jaya

2:00pm : Registration of Attendance
2:30pm : Welcome Address & announcement of our MEMORY WALK on 23 October 2011
2:45pm : "A Caregiver's Perspective on Caregiving" by Guest Sepaker, Dr Andrew Charles Gomez from Perdana University
3:45pm : Q & A
4:15pm : Refreshment

Kindly register early with:
1. ADFM Secretariat : Email to / Tel: 03 - 7956 2008 / 7958 3008 / SMS 016 - 608 2513.
2. Christine at Tel : 03 - 2260 3158



From: ADFM KL-PJ Caregivers Support Group

Dementia is not part of normal ageing! A person with dementia often feel vulnerable and in need of reassurance & support. Caregivers need an avenue to ventilate their feelings of anger, frustration, guilt & anxiety - JOIN THE NATIONAL CAREGIVERS GROUP IN MALAYSIA

Friday, 23 September 2011


Dear Caregivers, Members, Well Wishers and Supporters,

Memory Walk held in 2010

SEPTEMBER Each Year Is World Alzheimer’s Month.

To help raise awareness and funds in aid of Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM), The Rotary Club of Shah Alam, supported by Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam, jointly with Taipei TCM and ADFM is organizing The ANNUAL MEMORY WALK on 23 OCTOBER 2011, Senior Citizen Health Awareness Program and FREE Screening, for our Caregivers/ Members participating in the walk.

Our Guest of Honor, Menteri Besar of Selangor, together with the Mayor of Shah Alam, will be officiating and participating in the Memory Walk.

Day / Date : Sunday, 23 October 2011
Time : 7:30am - 2:00pm

Venue : Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam, Jalan Oncidium, Kota Kemuning, Selangor


07:30am - 08:00am : Limbo Exercise / ADFM Song

08:10am - 08:45am : Memory Walk (5 KM) - Flag-off by Menteri Besar, Selangor

Programs at MBSA Hall :

08:45am-02:00pm : Senior Health Screening

10:00am-10:20am : Talk “What Is Alzheimer’s?” By Dr Yau Weng Keong, HKL

10:30am-10:40am : Talk “I Am Losing My Memory - What Shall I Do?” By Dr Lee Fatt Soon, HKL

11:00am-11:20am : Health Talk By Columbia Hospital Specialist

Senior Health Screenings:

Dementia Test (Mini Mental State Examination–using MMSE scale)

Blood Pressure / Cardiovascular Risk Assessment

Fasting Glucose Blood Test - Diabetes Test

Blood Analysis - Cholesterol Levels Screening

Diabetes / Nutrition Consultation

Height / Weight / Body Mass Index

Eye Exam - Glaucoma Testing & Cataract Detection

Visual Acuity & Internal Pressure / Glaucoma

Auditory, Hearing Consultation

Bone Density Scan

TCM - Treatment

The costs are being funded through the generous donations from:

1. Columbia Medical Centre

2. Taipei Medical Centre

3. Kota Kemuning Residents Association

4. Majlis Bandaraya Shah Alam (MBSA)

5. Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia (ADFM)

6. Rotary Club of Shah Alam & Private Donations from Individuals


Caregivers, members and the public come join us by participating in the walk to show our full support and care. We count on you to circulate this information by broadcast in your Facebook or via email to your family members, friends, co-workers, associations/community and any one you come into contact.

SIGN-UP NOW, please CLICK AT => Registration Form, print-out and return the completed form to ADFM, BEFORE 15 OCTOBER 2011.

Each Participant will receive a T-Shirt, Cap and Vouchers for Food & Drinks.

For more information, kindly contact ADFM:

1. Jenny at Tel : 03 - 7956 2008 / 7958 3008 or 016 - 608 2513 or email to:

2. Christine at Tel : 03 – 2260 3158


We from ADFM will be arranging for a few representations from Caregivers with their loved ones afflicted with the disease, in wheel-chairs, to participate together in the walk.

Caregivers kindly get in touch with:

1. Jade, Nurse Manager, PJ Daycare Centre at Tel : 03 - 7956 2008

2. Christine, Nurse Manager, Taman Seputeh at Tel : 03 - 2260 3158

3. Jenny at Tel : 03 - 7956 2008 / 7958 3008 or Mobile : 016 - 608 2513 or email to “”


From: ADFM National Caregivers Group

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

National Caregivers Group - "Sharing To Make A Difference"

Dear Caregivers,

In conjunction with World Alzheimer’s Day 2011, we are launching the National Caregivers Group in Malaysia. The primary objective of the group is to unite and get together all caregivers in the country on one platform so that they can help each other to give our loved ones a reasonably good quality of life.

Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia is taking this initiative because we know that there are many caregivers who need our help and assistance, and we sincerely want to reach out to them. We hope you can help us achieve our objective by getting fellow caregivers to sign up with us just by sending their email address to us at

We all know that caring for a loved one afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease is never easy, but have you ever pause and ponder to assess what you really want to do for your loved ones. The answer is very straight forward – we all want to give the Alzheimer’s sufferer the highest quality of life possible. The typical Alzheimer’s caregiver through their actions and their constant search for tips, advice, and insights is on a mission. They want to identify everything and anything that can help them improve daily life. I know many of you do not view what you have achieved as vision and mission, and you don’t really think about this consciously. Are you, the caregivers, consciously articulating your vision and mission? You should be.

Many caregivers often feel that they are not doing enough, but what is good enough? In my opinion, if you are trying your best to provide the best quality of life possible for someone suffering from Alzheimer’s or the other types of dementia – that is good enough! Never perfect, nonetheless good enough.

We understand that the realization of this vision and mission is often obscured by the sinister nature of the disease. Alzheimer’s often confuses us, disconcerts, frustrates us and tries to stop us from achieving our intended current purpose. But the highest quality of life is possible, with help.

We believe that if you are doing the best you can, that is good enough. But together, as a united group of caregivers, we can discover new ways to do even more. We know we can, and we know we will.

But right now, we just want to ask yourself a simple question, are you trying to provide your loved one with the best life possible under the circumstances? Good enough.

Over the next few months, we will be sharing with all of you, articles and news items that will be of interest to you. We welcome any caregivers who want to contribute any ideas and advice to their fellow caregivers to just send in their views, news and articles for sharing. Be a regular contributor - sharing is caring. Just email what you have to We hope the more experienced caregivers will come forward to do their bit for our community because their experience is the greatest asset to other caregivers. Remember this platform should be interactive and we depend on contributions from you!

Best wishes,

Ong Eng Joo

for Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation Malaysia

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

08OCT11 Penang - Free Public Talk "Faces of Dementia" Organized by ADFM Penang Alzheimer's Support Group

Dear Caregivers/Members,

To commemorate World Alzheimer's Day on 21 September each year, ADFM Penang AD Support Group, sponsored by Lundbeck Malaysia under its community project, is holding a FREE Public Talk on "Faces of Dementia"on:

Day/Date : Saturday, 8 October 2011

Venue : Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang (Penang Caring Society Complex), Jalan Utama Pulau Pinang


3.30pm : Registration of attendance

4.00pm : Welcome Address by Mr Tan Yeow Joo, Chairman ADFM Penang AD Support Group

4.05pm :
Introduction by Dr P Srinivas MBBS (Mysore) FRCP (Ire) FCCP (USA) AM, Consultant Geriatrician & Advisor Penang AD Support Group

4.15pm : "Faces of Dementia" by Dr Lee Fatt Soon, MBB(UM), MRCP(UK), CMIA, Consultant Physician and Geriatrician / Head of Geriatric Unit, Department of Medicine Hospital Kuala Lumpur

5.00pm : Q & A

5.30pm : Refreshment

For more information, kindly contact:
Tel: +604 - 656 4537 Fax: +604 - 657 3202
Email to "" (Mr Tan YJ)
Mobile: +6017 - 457 7868 (Ms Ruby Eu)


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

What Is Someone With Dementia Thinking?

Source : By Paula Spencer Scott, Senior Editor,

Image by h.koppdelaney used under the creative commons attribution no derivs license.

Parents are known to gaze into their babies' eyes and wonder, What's going on in there? Those of us who are caring for loved ones who have Alzheimer's disease or another dementia do the same thing.

I know, because I found myself wondering about my own dad's self awareness just the other day. A recent stroke left him wheelchair-bound. This is a big change for someone who was in a bowling league 'til this spring, at 87. But the stroke also seemed to worsen his dementia. He's living in a rehabilitation facility for now, and when I visit and find him lined up with other wheelchair-bound elders in the dementia unit, watching TV, I can't help thinking that he's doing exactly what he swore he never would: "sit around with a bunch of old people who don't know any better." Thing is, he doesn't seem to mind it.

As Alzheimer's, a progressive disease, worsens, it robs the ability to have conscious awareness. What does that mean for caregivers?

In Early/Mid Stages of Alzheimer's:

Most people are aware of initial cognitive changes in themselves (whether they say anything about it or not)
Self awareness doesn't disappear overnight. Research has shown that many people are relieved by a diagnosis of Alzheimer's, rather than upset, because they finally have a logical explanation for something unnerving that's dogged at them.

What helps: Taking action - Take expressed concerns about memory loss or other mental-functioning changes seriously. Recommend an evaluation, given that early interventions can help slow Alzheimer's progress. With someone already diagnosed, press the importance of making decisions regarding the future handling of health and legal affairs while the person is still able to express preferences.

The sense of self struggles to understand the changes, at first
Some people try to explain it away: "I guess I'm getting old" or, "I never did have a good memory for detail." Some people wilfully ignore changes, to the point where they don't seem bothered by them at all. Others actively and pragmatically work around failures of memory or cognition. They write notes, cede tasks that are too difficult, work crosswords or buy computer games to stimulate their brains.

What helps: Empathy and understanding
- Don't pooh-pooh such observations. Look for ways to support the person's shortcomings: More clocks, a notebook in every room for keeping track of things, multiple pairs of sunglasses or tissue packs, or whatever seems to get misplaced often.

Awareness of the Dementia Effects can come and go
Like my dad, one day, the person may seem quite out of it, but the next be more engaged and "like his old self." Sometimes he used to catch himself, as if he realized this was the fifth retelling of an anecdote (though then he'd tell it anyway!).

What helps: Knowing these fluctuations are normal - Just because the person had clarity one moment, doesn't mean it will persist. Although the disease is progressive, it brings good days and bad days, a graph that would look more bumpier than slanted down a bit more each day.

In Later Stages of Alzheimer's:

● The person is often or always oblivious to their condition
The excuses or justifications fade away as self awareness fades. This can be a dangerous thing (as in the person who continues driving) or a blessing (as in the case of someone like my dad, who would be far more distressed about the extent of his condition if he were conscious of it)

What helps: Trust your gut
- If the person seems content and uncomplaining, he or she may indeed be content, living in the moment. If the person is oblivious to the dementia but a threat to himself or others, you can't wait for clarity to kick in; you have to take action.

Emotional responses flatten or become misplaced – but remain
I blogged recently about the amazing strength and importance of emotions in those who suffer with Alzheimer's, even for people deep into the disease process. You don't have to be aware of your limitations to be depressed or frustrated by them.

What Helps: Physical Contact
- Touch is a messenger of reassurance and love. Offer a hug. Touch the person on the back or knee before you speak to avoid alarming them. Advanced Alzheimer's patients often find it soothing to stroke a tactile stuffed animal or hold a blanket.

Social skills and inhibitions fade as the social self unravels
As a growing child learns what's socially appropriate, he shows fewer problem behaviours, like stripping off clothes on a whim or saying whatever pops into one's head. For someone who has Alzheimer's or, in particular, frontotemporal dementia, the opposite occurs. The social self unravels. A sense of what's appropriate or other sensibilities one once believed disappear, causing the person to say or do things that distress (hypersexual behaviour, accusations of stealing, etc).

What helps: An ongoing social life - Even when it gets trying because of social inappropriateness, maintaining a social life (visits with relatives, conversation, and companionship of a pet) is important. Many researchers believe social connections help slows the disease process. It's not a cure, obviously, but like hugs and understanding, it never hurts.

Donepezil (Aricept) Price Falls By 90 Percent

Dear Fellow Caregivers / Members,

Donepezil (Aricept) Price Falls by 90 Percent

Donepezil is marketed under the brand name Aricept by its developer Eisai (TSE) and partner Pfizer (PFE).

When you go into the pharmacy looking for the lowest price generic Aricept available you want to ask for Donepezil. This will take all of the guess work out of the equation.

You can now buy a one year supply of Donepezil for less than RM$500.00.

This time last year you might have expected to pay RM $10,000.00 or more for a one year supply. Imagine.

Lower generic Donepezil prices are bad news for the pharmaceutical companies, but this is wonderful news for persons that are being diagnosed with Alzheimer's prescribed with this medication.

Pharmaceuticals companies are often vilified for their high prices; however, when patents expire consumers get to enjoy the benefits from the drugs, and often at a 90 percent lower price. Everyone wins in the long run.

These new lower prices from Donepezil will also allow more Alzheimer's patients to afford the combination of Aricept and Namenda (Memantine). This is good news for those in the Alzheimer's community that find this combination treatment effective.

Thanks to the growing number of generic drugs that are effective.

PLEASE SPREAD THIS NEWS to your fellow caregivers or to someone you might know has been touched by Alzheimer’s, or even to your community and support groups. They may not know this information.

(Source: By Bob DeMarco, Alzheimer's Reading Room)

Sunday, 4 September 2011

5 Ways To Save Your Kids From Alzheimer's Now

Alzheimer's isn't just a disease that starts in old age. What happens to your child's brain seems to have a dramatic impact on his or her likelihood of Alzheimer's many decades later.

Here are five things you can do now to help save your child from Alzheimer's and memory loss later in life, according to the latest research.

1. Prevent Head Blows: Insist your child wear a helmet during biking, skating, skiing, baseball, football, hockey, and all contact sports. A major blow as well as tiny repetitive unnoticed concussions can cause damage, leading to memory loss and Alzheimer's years later.

2. Encourage Language Skills: A teenage girl who is a superior writer is eight times more likely to escape Alzheimer's in late life than a teen with poor linguistic skills. Teaching young children to be fluent in two or more languages makes them less vulnerable to Alzheimer's.

3. Insist Your Child Go To College: Education is a powerful Alzheimer's deterrent. The more years of formal schooling, the lower the odds. Most Alzheimer's prone: teenage drop outs. For each year of education, your risk of dementia drops 11%, says a recent University of Cambridge study.

4. Provide Stimulation: Keep your child's brain busy with physical, mental and social activities and novel experiences. All these contribute to a bigger,
better functioning brain with more so-called 'cognitive reserve.' High cognitive reserve protects against memory decline and Alzheimer's.

5. SpareThe Junk Food: Lab animals raised on berries, spinach and high omega-3 fish have great memories in old age. Those overfed sugar, especially high fructose in soft drinks, saturated fat and trans fats become overweight and diabetic, with smaller brains and impaired memories as they age, a prelude to Alzheimer's.

Alzheimer's - Avoidable

“The idea that Alzheimer's is entirely genetic and unpreventable is perhaps the greatest misconception about the disease,” says Gary Small, M.D., Director of the UCLA Center on Aging. Researchers now know that Alzheimer's, like heart disease and cancer, develops over decades and can be influenced by lifestyle factors including cholesterol, blood pressure, obesity, depression, education, nutrition, sleep and mental, physical and social activity.

The big news - Mountains of research reveals that simple things you do every day might cut your odds of losing your mind to Alzheimer's.

In search of scientific ways to delay and outlive Alzheimer's and other dementias, I tracked down thousands of studies and interviewed dozens of experts. The results in a new book: 100 Simple Things You Can Do to Prevent Alzheimer's and Age-Related Memory Loss.

Here are 10 Strategies I found most surprising:

1. Have coffee - In an amazing flip-flop, coffee is the new brain tonic. A large European study showed that drinking three to five cups of coffee a day in midlife cut Alzheimer's risk 65% in late life. University of South Florida Researcher, Gary Arendash credits caffeine. He says it reduces dementia-causing amyloid in animal brains. Others credit coffee's antioxidants. So drink up, Arendash advises, unless your doctor says you shouldn't.

2. Floss - Oddly, the health of your teeth and gums can help predict dementia. University of Southern California research found that having periodontal disease before age 35 quadrupled the odds of dementia years later. Older people with tooth and gum disease score lower on memory and cognition tests, other studies show. Experts speculate that inflammation in diseased mouths migrates to the brain.

3. Google - Doing an online search can stimulate your aging brain even more than reading a book, says UCLA's Gary Small, who used brain MRIs to prove it. The biggest surprise - Novice Internet surfers, ages 55 to 78, activated key memory and learning centers in the brain after only a week of Web surfing for an hour a day.

4. Grow New Brain Cells - Impossible, scientists used to say. Now it's believed that thousands of brain cells are born daily. The trick is to keep the newborns alive. What works - aerobic exercise (such as a brisk 30-minute walk every day), strenuous mental activity, eating salmon and other fatty fish, and avoiding obesity, chronic stress, sleep deprivation, heavy drinking and vitamin B deficiency.

5. Drink Apple Juice - Apple juice can push production of the “memory chemical” acetylcholine; that's the way the popular Alzheimer's drug Aricept works, says Thomas Shea, Ph.D., of the University of Massachusetts. He was surprised that old mice given apple juice did better on learning and memory tests than mice that received water. A dose for humans - 16 ounces, or two to three apples a day.

6. Protect Your Head - Blows to the head, even mild ones early in life, increase odds of dementia years later. Pro football players have 19 times the typical rate of memory-related diseases. Alzheimer's is four times more common in elderly who suffer a head injury, Columbia University finds. Accidental falls doubled an older person's odds of dementia five years later in another study. Wear seat belts and helmets, fall-proof your house, and don't take risks.

7. Meditate - Brain scans show that people who meditate regularly have less cognitive decline and brain shrinkage - a classic sign of Alzheimer's - as they age. Andrew Newberg of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine says Yoga Meditation of 12 minutes a day for two months improved blood flow and cognitive functioning in seniors with memory problems.

8. Take D. A “severe deficiency” of vitamin D boosts older Americans' risk of cognitive impairment 394%, an alarming study by England's University of Exeter finds. And most Americans lack vitamin D. Experts recommend a daily dose of 800 IU to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3.

9. Fill Your Brain - It 's called “cognitive reserve.” A rich accumulation of life experiences - education, marriage, socializing, a stimulating job, language skills, having a purpose in life, physical activity and mentally demanding leisure activities - makes your brain better able to tolerate plaques and tangles. You can even have significant Alzheimer's pathology and no symptoms of dementia if you have high cognitive reserve, says David Bennett, M.D., of Chicago's Rush University Medical Center.

10. Avoid Infection - Astonishing new evidence ties Alzheimer's to cold sores, gastric ulcers, Lyme disease, pneumonia and the flu. Ruth Itzhaki, Ph.D., of the University of Manchester in England estimates the cold-sore herpes simplex virus is incriminated in 60% of Alzheimer's cases. The theory - Infections trigger excessive beta amyloid “gunk” that kills brain cells. The proof is still lacking but why not avoid common infections and take appropriate vaccines, antibiotics and antiviral agents?

What to Drink for Good Memory

A great way to keep your aging memory sharp and avoid Alzheimer's is to drink the right stuff.

a. Juice - A glass of any fruit or vegetable juice three times a week slashed Alzheimer's odds 76% in Vanderbilt University research. Especially protective - blueberry, grape and apple juice, say other studies.

b. Tea - Only a cup of black or green tea a week cut rates of cognitive decline in older people by 37%, reports the Alzheimer's Association. Only brewed tea works. Skip bottled tea, which is devoid of antioxidants.

c. Caffeine Beverages - Surprisingly, caffeine fights memory loss and Alzheimer's, suggest dozens of studies. Best sources - coffee (one Alzheimer's researcher drinks five cups a day), tea and chocolate. Beware caffeine if you are pregnant, have high blood pressure, insomnia or anxiety.

d. Red Wine - If you drink alcohol, a little red wine is most apt to benefit your aging brain. It's high in antioxidants. Limit it to one daily glass for women, two for men. Excessive alcohol, notably binge drinking, brings on Alzheimer's.

e. Two To Avoid - Sugary soft drinks, especially those sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. They make lab animals dumb. Water with high copper content also can up your odds of Alzheimer's. Use a water filter that removes excess minerals.


By A Caregiver

Taking care of an aging parent can cause fatigue, stress, even depression. But you can find help - if you know where to look.

Ten years ago, Margo Aparicio rescued her widowed mother, Genevieve, from near death because of a neglectful aide. Although she did it out of love, Aparicio never imagined the toll caregiving would take on her health and emotions.

Genevieve suffered not only from diabetes, incontinence, and dementia but also severe emotional problems. She needed to know that someone cared. So Aparicio relocated her mother from 150 miles away into an apartment above her own in San Francisco. For four years, Aparicio bathed her mother, fed her and cleaned up after her, while also working full time. Then depression descended - without warning. "I would wake up realizing my day was going to be non-stop horrific with no relief in sight," said Aparicio, 45. Soon, Aparicio grew so depressed she became isolated and angry. "When I found myself screaming at my mother and blaming her, I realized I needed help."

Aparicio is not alone. A new survey from the National Family Caregivers Association showed that the number of persons who provided care for an elderly, disabled, or chronically ill friend or relative during the past year is more than twice as large as had been previously thought. Survey results indicated 26.6% of the adult population was involved in caregiving during the past 12 months. That translates to more than 54 million people.

Most caregivers are women, many of whom also juggle work and child care. Some do the occasional grocery shopping for their aging parents; others provide round-the-clock care. And although most of these women have taken on this role willingly, the unrelenting demands exert a high toll. Some 60% of caregivers say they experience depression, according to an earlier survey by the National Family Caregivers Association. The rate is even higher - up to 76% - among those caring for loved ones with dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease.

The price of such depression and burnout is high both for the caregivers and their aging parents. Caregivers suffer more stress-related illness than others their age, according to the association. And, ironically, burnout is the leading reason caregivers say they eventually put their loved ones in nursing homes.

But there is good news. Experts say family caregivers can often protect themselves from depression if they recognize the signs and seek support.

The greatest danger to health is in ignoring the warning signs of depression, says the National Mental Health Association. Their experts advise caregivers to watch for feelings of persistent sadness, anxiety, or fatigue. People suffering depression often feel guilty or worthless and have difficulty concentrating.

The key to prevention is realizing that you are not alone and you should not try to take on this responsibility alone. "This is the other mid-life crisis, but there's a lot of good help out there," says geriatric social worker Joan Booty. "There are community resources and support groups - people have a huge ability to help one another."

Booty recommends caregivers call their County's Area Agency on Aging for information and referrals to local programs, such as Meals-On-Wheels, adult day care centers, in-home health aides and transportation assistance. Some programs will even help caregivers with home repairs or offer friendly visitors who stop by occasionally. Hospital discharge planners, doctors, and nurses can also refer caregivers to helpful programs. And, of course, caregivers should look for counseling and support groups for themselves, as well. If you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your aging parent or spouse.

Experts Recommend the Following Six (6) Tips for Warding Off Depression:

1. Accept that you may need help from others, including family, friends, neighbours, community programs, medical societies, and religious and fraternal groups.

2. Talk regularly with family, friends, or mental health professionals. Find a support group, locally or on the Internet, so you can share your feelings before they escalate into problems.

3. Set limits. It is OK to say "No" to taking on more than you can handle - physically and emotionally.

4. Eat nutritiously, exercise regularly, and get enough sleep.

5. Let go of unrealistic expectations and demands, including martyrdom.

6. Keep a sense of humor.

Looking back, Aparicio realizes that she lost emotional balance in those first years she cared for her mother. "I was taking care of somebody else and their problems, and had little time for my own," she said. "It was a vicious cycle. I was angry and under constant tension." Eventually, she became disabled with chronic back pain and had to stop working for a while.

But now, a decade later, both she and her mother are doing well. Genevieve recently turned 83. They employ home health care aides while Aparicio is at work, and Genevieve attends an adult day care center three times a week. Aparicio has returned to work and participates in an Internet support group with other caregivers who share the best and worst of stories.

"It took years to get to this point," Aparicio said ruefully. "It's so important to get outside support. The reward is seeing my mother live as fully as she is capable - there's vibrancy, there's laughter. You can't give up; we should never underestimate the power of love to heal the body as well as the soul."

This article originally appeared in "Family Circle" April 2000 - Beth Witrogen McLeod is an author, journalist, speaker and consultant on caregiving, end-of-life issues and renewal at midlife, especially for women. She is a double Pulitzer Prize nominee, and has won many national and regional awards for her work. She has written for Good Housekeeping, SELF, Family Circle, and The Wall Street Journal, among others. Her latest book is Caregiving: The Spiritual Journey of Love, Loss, and Renewal - www.Witrogen.Com

Her expertise grew out of personal experience caring for her parents who were simultaneously terminally ill 1,200 miles away. With a father dying of a rare form of cancer and a mother with Lou Gehrig's disease and dementia, McLeod learnt first-hand about the traumas and blessings of this mid-life rite of passage. She turned her experiences into a passion for public service, first writing and producing an award-winning newspaper series, "The Caregivers," for The San Francisco Examiner in 1995. It was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. She developed a weekly column for The Examiner that often appeared on the New York Times Syndicate Web site. Honors for the series included National Hospice Organization, Pew Charitable Trusts, American Legion Auxiliary, Society of Professional Journalists, and many regional and local social service organizations.