She raised her son and daughter right. Now, they're taking care of her.
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Ad Council + AARP

At age 92, Lulu Lancaster has lost most of her short-term memory.

Her children, Patty and Justin, have become her caregivers, and as Patty says, "We've had to kind of become her memory."

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GIF via Ad Council/YouTube.

Caregiving for adults with Alzheimer's and other dementias is increasingly something that adults who have aging parents are faced with.

Some of the numbers, from the Alzheimer's Association:

  • 5.3 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer's disease in 2015, most of them are 65 or older.
  • Almost 2/3 of Americans with Alzheimer's are women.
  • In 2014, friends and family of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care, which is estimated to be worth $217.7 billion. That's almost eight times the total revenue of McDonald's in 2013.
  • About 40% of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers suffer from depression

As a caregiver or concerned family member, what should you look for if you suspect Alzheimer's or other dementia?

Alzheimer's actually starts in the brain before there are any signs, so detecting it usually happens in the early or moderate stages. You can find some additional screening questions by visiting the Alzheimer's Association and AARP.

Here is some useful information on the various stages:

Early-stage

  • Not being able to come up with some words or names
  • Increasingly losing objects that are needed to function: keys, wallet, etc.
  • Trouble planning or organizing things, trouble thinking ahead
  • Forgetting the month or year

Moderate

Typically the longest stage, it can last years. Some of the signs are:

  • Confusing words, getting frustrated or angry, and refusing to perform routine tasks, such as bathing.
  • Withdrawing from social situations because they're overwhelming
  • Being unable to decide where they are or what day it is
  • Increased risk of wandering off or getting lost
  • Personality changes, like becoming suspicious, having delusions, becoming compulsive
  • Inability to recall their phone number or address

Late-stage (Severe)

  • Inability to react or respond to their environment
  • Losing the capability to carry on a conversation
  • Eventually, an inability to control even muscular movements, such as those required to walk, sit, swallow, etc.
  • At this stage, susceptibility to infection increases dramatically

People with late-stage Alzheimer's can even get confused about what time of day it is, sleeping during the day and being awake at night.

This is the stage that requires full-time care, 24/7, and that's why Patty and Justin became Lulu's caregivers.

However, this stage is also when family members can no longer be the primary caregivers, especially if they have their own familial demands or a job that doesn't allow time off.

It's also the time when caregiver burnout is a high risk; the emotional and physical toll can be too much.

Frequently, this is the time when the loved one must be moved to full-time care, such as a nursing home or a facility for memory care or alzheimer's.

For someone like Lulu, having her son and daughter around to help navigate this time in her life is priceless.

The bond that she shares with her children is becoming ever more solid as they go through it with her. Listen to their story:

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels
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Increasingly customers are looking for more conscious shopping options. According to a Nielsen survey in 2018, nearly half (48%) of U.S. consumers say they would definitely or probably change their consumption habits to reduce their impact on the environment.

But while many consumers are interested in spending their money on products that are more sustainable, few actually follow through. An article in the 2019 issue of Harvard Business Review revealed that 65% of consumers said they want to buy purpose-driven brands that advocate sustainability, but only about 26% actually do so. It's unclear where this intention gap comes from, but thankfully it's getting more convenient to shop sustainably from many of the retailers you already support.

Amazon recently introduced Climate Pledge Friendly, "a new program to help make it easy for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products." When you're browsing Amazon, a Climate Pledge Friendly label will appear on more than 45,000 products to signify they have one or more different sustainability certifications which "help preserve the natural world, reducing the carbon footprint of shipments to customers," according to the online retailer.

Amazon

In order to distinguish more sustainable products, the program partnered with a wide range of external certifications, including governmental agencies, non-profits, and independent laboratories, all of which have a focus on preserving the natural world.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.