Hoping ‘Still Alice’ inspires action

still alice 2Movies about human afflictions make for juicy acting roles and great returns at the box office; but movies about disease can sometimes do an amazing job of changing the national conversation. Tom Hanks’ character in the movie “Philadelphia” gave us a window into the social stigma of living with AIDS. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond in “Rain Man” highlighted a time when institutionalization was common for those with autism. Eddie Redmayne’s portrayal of Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” painted a vivid picture of the physical and emotional struggles of those living with ALS. In advance media and the press following each movie, there was heightened awareness of the disorders showcased. Whether it was around the water cooler, at the dinner table or in the halls of Congress, dialogue ensued and consciousness was raised. Those of us that work in the field of dementia care are hoping “Still Alice” (out in general release since Jan. 16) will do the same. The movie is...

The expanding role of pharmacies for family caregivers

pharmacyAs a family caregiver, my local pharmacy has been a great resource for me in the care of my aging loved ones. Besides stocking a cornucopia of items I never thought I’d be searching for—liners for adult diapers, oral rinse for dry mouth, compression stockings—my pharmacy offers a valuable service I never knew existed. While caring for my dad, my mother and I took advantage of CVS’s “brown bag” review of prescription medications. At one time, my father was taking 13 different medications at eight different times during the day. We gathered all of his prescriptions as well as his over-the-counter medications and brought them to his CVS pharmacist. She reviewed the prescriptions and doses and checked for any possible interactions. Since my father has a chronic health condition (Parkinson’s), is being treated by more than one physician and takes over-the-counter medications, it was really helpful to have all of his medications reviewed as a whole. For example, we learned one of the...

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