Senior Moments, or Alzheimer’s?

Elderly LadyOur memory is a big part of what makes us human. One of the biggest fears many people have as they get older is the possibility of developing Alzheimer’s or some other dementia. And it’s not only the impact on memory directly, but on one’s ability to remain independent, to interact with loved ones, and to enjoy even the simple things that give our lives meaning.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in this country. One in 3 seniors die with Alzheimer’s or some other dementia. Direct costs of Alzheimer’s disease in the United States will top $203 billion this year. And the value of care given by unpaid caregivers is estimated at over another $200 billion each year. Clearly this is a big problem. And it’s getting bigger. For more facts and figures, check this Alzheimer’s Association summary.

But these numbers don’t really touch on the personal cost of dementia. Many of both the patients and family members affected feel like Alzheimer’s steals what should be some of the most meaningful years of one’s life. Family members put careers on hold. Financial savings are wiped out. And the physical and emotional toll of caregiving becomes overwhelming.

Medical science has made some intriguing inroads into the world of brain science and dementia, but there are still no truly effective treatments to cure, delay, or stop the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. We need some scientific breakthroughs to stop the personal and economic cost of this life-altering tragedy.

Continue reading...
Single: When You Live Alone

Single: When You Live Alone

Single Person Walking AloneThe rates of marriage may be going down in our society. But for most, you expect to grow up, find a man or woman to join your life with, create a family, and live happily ever after. There may be bumps in the road, but you probably expected to be married, and married for a long time.

Your mental life plan, conscious or unconscious, probably did not include being single. But for every one of us there is a significant part of life where you are living without a spouse. There are of course the years prior to getting married. And what if those years stretch into your thirties, forties, or fifties? What if you never get married? At least for some, marriage will never happen.

And then the truth is that marriage is temporary. Every marriage has an end. Your spouse dies, or your marriage ends in divorce, and you face being single again. Whether never married or newly single, the single life has special challenges.

I know what it’s like to be single: I was single for 48 years. The extra freedom you have as a single person may seem like small comfort when the waves of loneliness roll over you.

Continue reading...

Getting Your Spouse To Change

Upset CoupleMarriage is risky! When a starry-eyed young woman and a totally smitten young man decide to say “I DO,” perhaps there should be some huge yellow CAUTION light that starts blinking, and a warning siren that begins blaring. Expectations that everything will be rosy are almost certain to be dashed. Is the risk worth it?

One big source of trouble comes when one of them thinks, “Once we get married, I’ll be able to get him or her to change. He’ll stop drinking and watching pornography. She’ll learn to be a better cook. He’ll come around to wanting children. She’ll learn to get along with my mother.” Those expectations may not happen. Then what?

Expecting or demanding change from your spouse is likely to result in profound disappointment. People can and do change. But your role in someone else’s change, especially your spouse’s, is a different matter entirely.

Think for a moment about how God deals with us. He requires a lot of us. In fact He requires everything! He demands our perfection in body, mind, and soul. It’s a high standard.

But that requirement is step 2. It comes after step 1.

Continue reading...

Taking Charge of Your Health and Your Healthcare

Man filling out healthcare formsIt’s the best of times, and the worst of times to be healthy.

On the upside, for the most part we’re living longer than ever before. Medical and scientific discoveries have made it possible to enjoy an unprecedented level of high-tech and even personalized treatment for almost any medical condition. Medical information is available to anyone easily on the internet. We know much about the lifestyle factors that lead to health and longevity.

But on the downside, even though we’re living longer, we’re not living healthier. Chronic diseases and disability continue to increase. How healthcare is delivered is undergoing a great deal of controversy, and change. The large volume of medical information available is of uneven quality. And healthy lifestyle behaviors are in some ways even more challenging in our modern world.

With all of this, it’s easy for many people to just throw up their hands and leave both their health and their healthcare up to anyone – their doctor, the government, or some nebulous wish and hope.

But it shouldn’t be that way. Remember this: Nobody has a greater stake in your health than YOU do!

Continue reading...

When Arms Are Empty: Infertility

Infertile CoupleMany of us watched this week as Kate Middleton and Prince William left St Mary’s Hospital in London, England, and gave the world its first glimpse of His Royal Highness Prince George, heir to the British throne. There’s something intimate and beautiful about new parents holding their newborn baby in their arms.

But sadly, many couples do not have an opportunity to experience that joy, and do not have a baby to hold in their arms. Over ten percent of couples are unable to achieve a pregnancy within one year of trying. That’s over 7 million couples in this country. And that leads to the sometimes rocky journey of infertility and its treatment.

The miracle of new life still holds many mysteries. But we do know a number of things that must happen, and happen just right. A mature healthy egg must release from a woman’s ovary. Healthy sperm must find its way to the egg. The fertilized embryo must find its way to a healthy uterine landing place, and develop a connection with mother’s blood supply in order to continue to grow. Problems at any point along the way may keep pregnancy from happening.

The more we learn about the miracle of pregnancy and new life, the more amazed I am at how often pregnancy normally does happen. It really IS a miracle.

For couples facing infertility the emotional and relationship cost is high.

Continue reading...