BANANA WAVE Bananamilk an ‘A-peeling’ Non-Dairy Option

Written and Contributed By Merilee Kern, ‘The Luxe List’ Executive Editor 

Banana Wave Bananamilk.  Photography Courtesy of Banana Wave Fresh Start Beverage Company.

Banana Wave Bananamilk. Photography Courtesy of Banana Wave Fresh Start Beverage Company.

Move over almond, soy, coconut and other non-dairy milk alternatives….there’s a new and decidedly tasty milk substitute in the supermarket aisle:  BANANA WAVE bananamilk. This natural, plant-based, non-dairy beverage is perfect for those people who dislike—or are just bored—with the standard milk alternatives on the market. It’s also a particularly excellent choice for anyone who cannot drink, or simply doesn’t like, non-dairy milks derived from nuts or for anyone looking for a delicious drink that’s purely vegetarian and vegan.

Indeed, aside from its tropical fruit-driven deliciousness, the newly-introduced BANANA WAVE bananamilk is a nutrient powerhouse created with nature’s superfoods: fruit, grains and seeds. Each 8-ounce antioxidant and fiber-rich serving contains 330 milligrams of potassium (as much one small banana) as well as 29 vitamins and minerals and 1200 milligrams of heart-healthy Omega-3s. What’s more, BANANA WAVE bananamilk is gluten-free, certified GMO-free by Greenleaf Non-GMO, and Kosher. It’s also no surprise that there are no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Beyond its bevy of health benefits, BANANA WAVE bananamilk tastes really, really, really good. It’s smooth, creamy texture and naturally sweet flavor is derived from an ancient multi-generational African recipe ultimately passed down to the brand founder, Neter Alkebulan, by his own Grandmother.

Not only is this dairy-free bananamilk delightful and refreshing on its own as a snack or meal replacement, but it is also great in smoothies, on cereal and as a secret ingredient in cooking and baking. Plus, it is a nice option for anyone with an on-the-go lifestyle, active kids, athletic lifestyle and, of course, for those who are bonkers for bananas.

So give those traditional nut-based milk subs the slip and hop on the banana boat. You’re likely to love the new BANANA WAVE bananamilk a bunch!


Merilee Kern

Merilee Kern

As the Executive Editor and Producer of “The Luxe List,” Merilee Kern is an internationally-regarded consumer product trends expert and hospitality industry voice of authority—a travel, dining, leisure and lifestyle expert who spotlights noteworthy marketplace innovations, change makers, movers and shakers. She reports on exemplary travel destinations and experiences, extraordinary events and newsworthy products and services across all categories. Reach her online at, on Twitter at, on Facebook at and on Instagram at 

***Some or all of the accommodations(s), experience(s), item(s) and/or service(s) detailed above may have been provided or sponsored at no cost to accommodate this review, but all opinions expressed are entirely those of Merilee Kern and have not been influenced in any way.***

The Sacramento Dentistry Group Replies: Can You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

Patients ask if there is such a thing as brushing too much. The truth is that even a good thing can be done to excess. Various factors are involved in deciding how much is too much, and these are discussed in this article.

Brushing your teeth every day is recommended by the dentists at the Sacramento Dentistry Group. But can you brush your teeth too much? The answer is yes, excessive brushing does damage the teeth.

I Can Brush Too Much?

Excessive tooth brushing creates at least two common complications. First, overbrushing leads to irritated gums. Irritated gums get inflamed and then recede. This eventually leads to root exposure, decay and tooth loss. Secondly, almost all toothpastes contain some abrasives to encourage plaque and stain removal. But even mild abrasives start to wear away significant portions of enamel if they are applied too often throughout the day. Add in the use of an electric toothbrush and enamel can quickly be worn away beyond the body’s ability to replace it.

How Much is Too Much?

The question of when a person is going overboard depends in part on two things: 1) how abrasive is the toothpaste and 2) is the toothbrush manual or electric? Whitening toothpastes are especially abrasive and should probably not be used beyond twice a day. The less abrasive the toothpaste, the more it can be used without damage. As for toothbrushes, while an electric toothbrush is recommended for ordinary usage, combine it with obsessive toothbrushing and the hundreds of RPM far exceed what can be done by hand. With toothbrushing, there simply comes a point when a patient is no longer cleaning, but actually destroying.

So How Often Should I Brush?

The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time. Flossing is recommended once per day, usually before going to bed. Additional brushing and flossing after meals is fine, but beyond this becomes excessive. Also, brushing immediately after drinking or eating acidic beverages and foods is guaranteed to damage the teeth by etching them with acid. Simply rinsing the mouth with water or chewing sugarless gum after consuming such things is sufficient until the saliva has neutralized the acid, usually after twenty to thirty minutes.

During semi-annual visits to the dentist, it is readily apparent if a patient is overbrushing. Always follow the recommendations of health professionals if they suggest reducing the amount of daily brushing. For most people, that would be a welcome change in their routine!

Preparing for Baby

4 tips for choosing the right car seat 

As a parent, one of the most important decisions you will make is choosing an infant car seat. The process of purchasing and correctly installing a car seat can often feel like an overwhelming task.

To help give parents that extra layer of confidence they need before baby’s first car ride home from the hospital, the safety experts at Car Seats for the Littles offer these tips for proper car seat installation and car seat use.

Keep Children 2 Years and Younger Rear-Facing

Babies have heavy heads and fragile necks. The neck bones are flexible and the ligaments are loose to allow for growth. When a child rides rear-facing, his or her whole body is cradled by the back of the safety seat in the event of a crash, which is why you want to keep your child rear-facing for as long as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends keeping your baby rear-facing until at least 2 years old. 

Ensure Correct Car Seat Installation

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that 49 percent of infant car seats are installed incorrectly. Faulty installation can result in preventable injuries, so it’s important the infant car seat is properly installed. First, ensure the car seat you purchase works in your vehicle and read the manufacturer’s instruction manual. A car seat with a simple installation process, like the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 DLX Infant Car Seat, can help eliminate some of the installation guesswork. The base offers hassle-free installation using either the vehicle’s seat belt or a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system. In three simple steps, parents will hear an audible “click” and feel confident the car seat has been securely installed. This seat also features a four-position, one-hand adjustable recline with an easy-to-read bubble level indicator to determine the proper recline level. Find more information at 

Properly Position Newborns in Car Seats

Be sure the newborn’s bottom is all the way back with no space behind him or her and that the child isn’t slouching. Additionally, check to make sure the seat is sufficiently reclined to prevent the baby’s head from falling to his or her chest and potentially blocking the airway.

Test for Proper Installation and Security

Before placing baby in a car seat, perform the “1-inch test.” Give the seat a firm shake at the belt path with your non-dominant hand. If the seat or base moves less than 1 inch, the installation is secure. Once baby is properly positioned in the seat, make sure the harness straps are properly tightened using the pinch test. With the chest clip placed at armpit level, pinch the strap at your child’s shoulder. If you are unable to pinch any excess webbing, your child is properly secured.

One of the most cautious drives you’ll ever take is the first one home from the hospital, but with the right infant car seat, proper research and installation practice, you can feel more confident from the moment you leave the hospital and every drive after. (Family Features)

Breathe Easier: 7 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Indoor Air Quality

Help children avoid asthma attacks by improving home indoor air quality


More than 6 million American children — nearly 9 percent of all kids in the U.S. — have asthma, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Each year, asthma attacks send more than a million people to emergency rooms, including approximately 24,000 children younger than 15, the CDC reports. Yet health experts agree many of those asthma attacks could be avoided through a range of tactics, including by improving air quality inside homes.

“Most people can control their asthma and live symptom-free,” the CDC reports. Knowing how to reduce or eliminate exposure to allergens and irritants inside the home could help people avoid at least some asthma attacks.

Asthma and kids

More than 47 percent of all asthma attacks occur in children, according to CDC data. says asthma is the leading cause of chronic absence from school, and the chronic illness that sends kids to the emergency room most often.

Many factors can trigger allergy attacks, including exposure to allergens inside the home. As the weather warms and parents open windows to bring fresh air into their homes, the breeze that enters can be full of pollen, mold spores and other airborne irritants. What’s more, irritants already inside the home such as pet dander, dust mites, smoke, bacteria and viruses can contribute to asthma symptoms.

Improving indoor air quality

Your home’s heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems play a critical role in the air quality inside your home. HVAC manufacturer Coleman, which makes ventilator systems, air cleaners and ultraviolet irradiation systems to support indoor air quality, offers some tips for ensuring your HVAC system works to clean the air inside your home:

* Have your HVAC system serviced regularly to ensure all components are working efficiently. A well-maintained system can dramatically improve air quality.

* Change air filters regularly, and choose a filter with a higher MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating. The higher the rating, the better the filter will be at capturing airborne particles. Clogged or low-MERV filters may not effectively remove particles from the air, leaving them for your HVAC system to recirculate. In fact, HVAC systems can recirculate contaminants an average of five to seven times per day, according to the National Air Duct Cleaners Association.

* Vent bathrooms and laundry rooms directly outside the home, and ensure vent fans are always working well.

* Any equipment that creates combustion and exhaust, such as fireplaces, heaters, stoves, range tops and furnaces should also vent outside to keep harmful fumes from re-entering your home’s HVAC system.

* When you vacuum, turn on your home’s HVAC system. Vacuuming stirs particles into the air, and your running HVAC system can catch those particles and filter them from the air.

* Monitor and control the humidity in your home. Bacteria and viruses, which can contribute to asthma symptoms, thrive in very dry environments. Consider adding a whole-home humidifier, like Luxaire’s Acclimate Whole-Home Humidifiers, to your HVAC system. Through the use of natural evaporation, the humidifiers help maintain optimum humidity throughout the entire house, without the limitations of portable humidifiers that can only affect a single room.

* Air cleaners can support your HVAC system in removing irritants from the air. Like single-room humidifiers, however, portable air cleaners have limited effect. Consider incorporating a whole-home air cleaner that operates as part of your existing HVAC system.

Visit to learn more about products available to improve the indoor air quality in your home, and to find a local contractor. You can also follow the company on Twitter at @ColemanHVAC.

Studies show the number of people with asthma is growing worldwide. Health experts from the CDC to the National Institutes of Health agree that controlling indoor air quality in homes could benefit children with asthma, as well as asthma sufferers of all ages. (BPT)


5 Healthier, Dad-Friendly Snack Ideas

He may always ensure his kids have access to fresh fruits, lean protein and plenty of water, but Dad’s personal snacking habits might not be so healthy. If so, he’s not alone; chips are the snack food of choice for 63 percent of Americans, and 91 percent of us snack daily, according to a Nielsen report.

“Many dads who are diligent about providing healthy food options for their families could stand to do better for themselves,” says Dr. Michael Roussell, a nutrition consultant and nutrition adviser to Men’s Health magazine. “Good health is not a given for American fathers. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men, and the American Heart Association says nearly 10 million have been diagnosed with diabetes. The National Institutes of Health estimate three out of every four American men are overweight or obese.”

Unfortunately, many of Dad’s favorite snacks may be unhealthy, from chips and cookies to nachos and wings. Families can work together to help everyone ditch bad snacking habits and replace them with healthier choices that are still Dad-friendly, Roussell suggests.

Here are five better-for-Dad (and everyone) snack options that still offer the flavor, satisfaction and convenience fathers love:

Pistachios — “Pistachios should be a go-to delicious snack for your father,” says Roussell. “He might already snack on pistachios while watching the big game, but you should encourage him to add them as an everyday snack in lieu of traditional snack foods like cookies and chips.” Pistachios contain healthy fat, fiber and protein that contribute to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction between meals. Snacking on pistachios can also reduce risk factors for heart disease, according to research from Penn State University.

Jerky — Here’s a snack that might already be on Dad’s list of favorites. Beef jerky clocks in at 80-100 calories for a 1-ounce serving and also provides double-digit grams of protein. However, some types can have much higher sugar and sodium levels, so be sure to read labels.

Alternative chips — Traditional fried potato chips aren’t a great snack choice. Fortunately, better options are now available, allowing Dad to get his chip fix with a better nutritional profile. For example, baked potato chips can have significantly lower fat content than fried. Black bean or lentil chips can provide more protein and fiber. Plus, a better-for-you chip provides the same satisfying crunch as the fat- and calorie-filled varieties do.

Frozen Greek yogurt — Hey, it’s summer, and a man sometimes needs a frozen treat after yardwork or a workout. Rather than loading up on the fat and calories of ice cream, or the high sugar content of other frozen treats, look to frozen Greek yogurt for a more healthful cold snack. When frozen, Greek yogurt can compete with ice cream for creaminess, plus it’s rich in protein, calcium and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Many frozen yogurt makers now offer Greek yogurt versions of popular flavors.

Dark chocolate — It’s high time to set aside the stereotype of dark chocolate as a treat for moms. Dads can love it, too. While dark chocolate can be higher in calories and fat than some other snacks, it also has nutrients that have been linked to better heart health. You wouldn’t want him to eat a bar of dark chocolate after every meal, but a 1-ounce bar every now and then could help support Dad’s heart health — and the mental benefits of eating chocolate are a bonus! (BPT)

Tips for Managing Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men other than skin cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that 1 in 7 men will have prostate cancer detected during their lifetime. The disease can strike any man at any time; men who are over the age of 60, have a family history of prostate cancer, are African-Americans, or were exposed to Agent Orange have an increased risk for diagnosis.

“Hearing the words ‘you have prostate cancer’ can be devastating and the treatment options overwhelming. Men need to learn about and fully evaluate their options with their treatment team,” says Jamie Bearse, CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. “Our organization provides an extensive number of tools men and their loved ones can use to help them understand what a diagnosis means and navigate the treatment journey, including website content covering screening to survivorship and our case management patient support and navigation program, ZERO360.”

Many people find it helpful to bring someone with them to their doctor appointments to take notes or record the session. It can be difficult to focus during conversations about the diagnosis, so having caring partners in the room can be advantageous when later trying to recall.

Tips to consider for managing prostate cancer:

P: Prepare a list of questions for your doctor. Anything and everything is okay to ask.

R: Reach out to others and learn from their experiences.

O: Outline a schedule to stay on top of your treatments.

S: Share your news with family and friends. Don’t go it alone.

T: Take time to process the news, then take action.

A: Act as your own advocate throughout your treatment process.

T: Tap into activities that will help you to maintain a positive outlook.

E: Explore treatment options and act now. Innovations in care have changed the way prostate cancer is managed.

In many respects, Scott Silver was like other retired men his age. He spent time fishing, golfing and teaching, and had an annual prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. When his PSA level rose to 3.68 (low risk) and a biopsy revealed he had prostate cancer, Scott decided to explore his options.

Says Scott, “It was important to me to identify a treatment that I believed would eliminate my cancer and minimize my chance of developing complications such as impotence or incontinence. After conducting extensive research and speaking with family and friends, I had a conversation with my doctor. Together, we decided that treatment with CyberKnife(R) was the right option for me. It’s been 11 years since my treatment and I continue to do well. And while each person’s experience is different, I’ve had no complications or side effects from treatment.”

Prostate cancer treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or active monitoring. Each man should consult his physician regarding his specific diagnosis and treatment options. Among the considerations that a doctor will factor into a treatment recommendation is the man’s prostate cancer classification, often referred to as his “risk” profile. One of the more innovative radiation treatments is stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT), which the American Society for Radiation Oncology supports as an option for low- to intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

SBRT is a radiation treatment that combines a high degree of targeting accuracy with very high doses of extremely precise, externally delivered radiation, thereby maximizing the cell-killing effect on the tumor while sparing healthy surrounding tissue. Prostate SBRT is generally five treatments delivered over one or two weeks.

The CyberKnife(R) System is a radiation therapy device designed to deliver SBRT. The system’s unique ability to continually track and automatically correct for movement of the prostate in real time throughout the entire treatment session provides distinct advantages when treating a tumor, which can move as much as 10 mm in as little as 30 seconds. Visit for more information.

Two CyberKnife System prostate SBRT studies have recently reported on long-term (five-year) outcomes. These are the largest prospective multi-institution studies conducted to date and provide robust clinical data supporting the safety and efficacy of the system for men like Scott with low- or intermediate-risk prostate cancer.

For Important Safety Information, please visit

Helpful Hints for Men’s Health Month

The month of June means more than just dusting off the patio furniture and planning for summer activities. It is also Men’s Health Month, created to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early disease detection among men and boys.

Heart disease and stroke are the nation’s leading causes of death in men. An estimated 935,000 heart attacks and 795,000 strokes occur each year, yet according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they are among the most preventable.

Experts agree diet and exercise are keys to leading a healthy lifestyle and avoiding health problems such as heart disease and prostate cancer.

Merrill Moses, a three-time United States Olympian and medal winner in water polo, is an advocate for men’s health topics. In 2016, Moses celebrated his 20th year as a member of the U.S. water polo men’s national team. Still Olympic strong in his 40s, Moses shares his diet and exercise tips for superb men’s health, particularly later in life:

  • Exercise 30 minutes each day – no excuses. Don’t forget to stretch before each workout, and when you wake up every morning.
  • Try new workouts that you find fun and enjoyable. Swimming is a great exercise because it’s non-weight bearing and easy on the body. Other exercises like pilates improve your core, keep you flexible and don’t put added stress on the body.
  • Drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day and stay away from soda, sports drinks and added sugar.
  • Rely on healthy snacks to get you through the day. Moses snacks on pistachios to not only avoid being hungry but also because they’re a tasty way to add certain nutrients to his diet and stay energized throughout the day.

A number of nutrition experts agree with Moses’s recommendation of pistachios as a beneficial snack, including noted dietitian Becci Twombley, director of sports nutrition at the University of Southern California. Twombley, who coaches nutrition to 650 Trojan athletes and acts as sports nutrition consultant to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim baseball team, sees a variety of health advantages linked to pistachios.

“Pistachios have a wealth of nutrients and bioactive substances that are important for a healthy heart, including fiber, potassium, phytosterols and antioxidants,” Twombley said. “So they’re definitely a great low-calorie food for anyone looking to improve his health.”

Pistachios have also been linked to a number of additional health benefits according to clinical trials and medical journals. The phytosterols found in pistachios have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels, improve urinary tract symptoms and contribute to a healthy prostate. In addition, research shows that potassium-rich pistachios may help lower blood pressure and preserve muscle in older adults.

For more information about Men’s Health Month, visit To learn more about the health benefits of pistachios, visit (Family Features)

IAG Miami Richard Rodriguez Celebrity Trainer Talks About How to Confirm the Validity of a Product You Buy?

​​Richard Rodriguez is an iconic and legendary figure within the fitness community. His companies span all across the globe and have dominated the peptides, transdermal, hormone and contest prep market. He possesses over 25 years of experience in diet plans, contest prep and personal training. He is also an expert in transdermal, peptides and hormone optimization. This is the site for all your transdermal, peptides and contest prep needs.

​When you consider any pharmaceutical preparation, including those obtained from the most reliable sources, it’s pretty much a given that even the most astute consumer has no idea how to confirm the validity of the product in hand. How do you know that what’s stated on the product label is actually in the product you are about to introduce into you body? What assurances do you have that this product you are about to use contains the actual content and dosage strength indicated on the label?

The best and most respected means, among the the medical community at large, to confirm the validity of medications is a testing protocol known as  high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Formerly referred to as high-pressure liquid chromatography, this technique is used in analytical chemistry to separate, identify, and quantify each component in a mixture.  Products that meet the expectations of practitioners have had HPLC testing completed and the results confirm the label claims. Most, if not all, pharmaceutical items available worldwide achieve that standard through HPLC confirmation.

However, in today’s ever evolving global pharmaceutical industry, small “boutique” laboratories are becoming popular among the anti-aging and hormone replacement medical establishment because they can formulate the exact prescription desired by the practitioner without being bound by standard dosing limitations of giant pharmaceutical labs. While a great many of these outlets provide HPLC data for their products, the process can sometimes exceed the financial capabilities of a small independent compounding laboratory. That’s not to say these products aren’t first rate, they very well could, and may times do, contain active ingredients that even exceed the label claim. Unfortunately, as in any industry, there exists the unscrupulous few who will set out to take advantage of the consumer’s ignorance and introduce inferior product into the market. Short of HPLC testing, how can the consumer validate their products?

There are several key factors to look for in the medicines you buy. The first major factor is price. While it’s always attractive to get the best deal possible, products can actually be priced too low. So low in fact, that it would be financially impossible to contain the label claim. The price of raw material varies greatly – several thousand percent – from compound to compound. Any product that carries a price drastically lower than the accepted market norm is probably short on active ingredient, especially those notoriously the most expensive. The price can literally be too good to be true.

The next best means of assessing validity is to look at the overall apparent quality of the product. First and foremost, it should look professionally made and it’s packaging quality appear to be on par with any other commercial pharmaceutical product. For an injectable preparation, presented in a multi use vial, the first place to look is under the crimp ring. The crimping should look like it was done by machine, not by hand with the edge of a spoon. A nice smooth crimp is an indication of automation. Automation indicates a professional operation. Another sign of automation in a liquid preparation is noted in the consistency of the fill volume. This can be checked by lining up a half dozen or so vials of a product and comparing their fill lines. They should be absolutely identical, because they were filled by machine.  While the bottles are lined up, also look at the label application. The labels should all line up and be identically placed on the vial.  This would also indicate the vials are being labeled by machine and not by hand.

The label should also contains several other characteristics that are required in a commercially available pharmaceutical product.  The most apparent: a drug product label must have rounded corners and be made of a specific “glassine” paper with the varnish left off over the section which contains space for the lot number and expiration date.  These data cannot be printed at the same time the label was printed. In order to represent an accurate lot number and date of expiration, this information can only be applied to the label at the time of labeling. Wet your finger and rub it over the lot number and expiration date.  If it was printed at the time of labeling it should smudge.

The label must also contain a “statement of identity” and dosage, a declaration of the “net quantity of contents,” and several other content requirements that, at a minimum, meet European Article Number/Uniform Code Council (EAN.UCC), the Health Industry Business Communications Council (HIBCC) standards, not to mention those contained in the the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Chances are, if your product has made it this far down the list, the rest is probably also on point and you have a legit product.

Do these few characteristics make up for real HPLC testing? of course not, however the chances are that if a lab is paying enough attention to compliance and manufacturing automation then its probably not skimping on active ingredients. Products that appear to have been made in someone’s kitchen are the ones suspect. A well made, standard compliant product should stand right up to an HPLC test and pass with flying colors.

Interested in Richard Rodriguez taking you to transforming your physique? Schedule your Free 30 Minute Consultation now or fill out an application for consideration.

Look out in July for the Richard Rodriguez documentary release that he has been working on extensively with YouTube Sensation JonnyBravoTV. This will absolutely bring light on the events that people are unsure of since they only see or hear what was revealed

Tips to Help Families Cope with Alzheimer’s, Mitigate Tensions, and Relieve Stress

Receiving an Alzheimer’s diagnosis is never easy — it’s life changing, not only for the person receiving the diagnosis but for their family members as well. The disease can exact a devastating toll on family relationships unless everyone pitches in to support caregivers and take steps to secure the financial future of the person with Alzheimer’s. These are a few important takeaways from a new survey by the Alzheimer’s Association.

The survey of more than 1,500 American adults, including current and former caregivers for someone with Alzheimer’s, found that while 91 percent agreed caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia should be a team effort, too many caregivers feel they’re not getting the support they need. Eight-four percent of caregivers said they would like more support, particularly from family, and 64 percent felt isolated and alone. 

Family Stresses

“Caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s can be overwhelming and too much for one person to shoulder alone,” says Beth Kallmyer, vice president of constituent services for the Alzheimer’s Association. “Without help, caregivers can end up feeling isolated, undervalued and lacking support from the people they want to be able to turn to for help.”

The survey found relationships between siblings to be the most strained, stemming from not having enough support in providing care (61 percent) as well as the overall burden of caregiving (53 percent). Among all caregivers who experienced strain in their relationships, many felt like their efforts were undervalued by their family (43 percent) or the person with the disease (41 percent). Contributing to the stress were a lack of communication and planning; 20 percent of survey respondents said they had not discussed their wishes with a spouse or other family member, and only 24 percent had made financial plans to support themselves post-diagnosis. 

Tips to Help Families Navigate Alzheimer’s

Despite its seriousness, some families grew closer following an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, according to the survey. More than a third of those surveyed said caregiving actually strengthened their family relationships, and two out of three said they felt the experience gave them a better perspective on life. Relationships between spouses/partners benefited the most.

The Alzheimer’s Association online Caregiver Center offers wide-ranging resources to help families navigate the many challenges associated with the disease. During June — Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month — the Association is offering tips to help mitigate family tensions and relieve caregiver stress, including:

  • Communicate openly — Establishing and maintaining good communication not only helps families better care for their loved one with Alzheimer’s, it can relieve stress and simplify life for caregivers, too. Families should discuss how they will care for the person with Alzheimer’s, whether the current care plan is meeting the person’s needs, and any modifications that may be warranted.
  • Plan ahead — In addition to having a care plan for how to cope as the disease progresses, it’s important to have a financial plan as well. The survey found 70 percent of people fear being unable to care for themselves or support themselves financially, but only 24 percent have made financial plans for their future caregiving needs. Nearly three-quarters said they would prefer a paid caregiver, but just 15 percent had planned for one, even though Alzheimer’s is one of the costliest diseases affecting seniors. Enlisting the the help of qualified financial and legal advisers can help families better understand their options.
  • Listen to each other — Dealing with a progressive disease such as Alzheimer’s can be stressful and not everyone reacts the same way. Give each family member an opportunity to share their opinion. Avoid blaming or attacking each other, which can only cause more stress and emotional harm.
  • Cooperate and conquer — Make a list of responsibilities and estimate how much time, money and effort each will require. Talk through how best to divide these tasks among family members, based on each person’s preferences and abilities. If you need help coordinating the division of work, the Alzheimer Association’s online Care Team Calendar can help.
  • Seek outside support — Families can benefit from an outside perspective. Connect with others who are dealing with similar situations. Find an Alzheimer’s Association support group in your area or join the ALZConnected online community. You can also get around-the-clock help from the Alzheimer’s Association Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

“Having the support of family is everything when you’re dealt a devastating diagnosis such as Alzheimer’s,” says Jeff Borghoff, 53, a Forked River, New Jersey, resident who has lived with younger-onset Alzheimer’s for two years. “My wife, Kim, has been my rock as we navigate the challenges of Alzheimer’s. It’s easy to want to shut down following a diagnosis, but that’s the time when communication within families is needed most.” (BPT)

Featuring Contributing Writer Kathryn “Celeste” Durham, MD in the May / June Issue of InFluential Magazine

Kathryn Celeste Durham, MD

Kathryn Celeste Durham, MD

Kathryn “Celeste” Durham, MD, enjoys working with patients of all ages from her U.S. Dermatology Partners location in Fort Worth, Texas. Her particular interests include atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and skin cancer, and she is passionate about helping patients improve their quality of life with good skin care. Dr. Durham graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Science in biology. She earned her Doctorate of Medicine at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Durham then completed her dermatology residency training at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. Dr. Durham is board certified by the American Board of Dermatology, and has been published in a number of journals, including the prestigious Journal of American Academy of Dermatology.

We invite you to read Dr. Durham’s informative health & wellness article titled The Ugly Truth About “Base Tans” published in our May / June Issue of InFluential Magazine.