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January 2009

Hormone Replacement Therapy Could Contribute to Dementia

For decades, hormone replacement therapy was considered the best treatment for menopausal symptoms. At one time, aside from the intended effect of mitigating the uncomfortable hot flashes and other menopausal irritations, it was considered good for the heart, brain and bones. Many women were placed on it, at least for a time, during their menopausal journey.

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Many of us are looking for answers to caregiving needs. Take a survey to help find solutions:

Site Makes Hunt for Local Caregiving Services Easy

Finding qualified caregiving services in an area where you live is hard enough. Finding these care services in an area where your parents live, but you don’t, is even harder. That is the task of the long-distance caregiver. I am so often asked to help people with this dilemma that I finally started an active search for a way to match caregiver’s needs with agencies that can help them. The criteria I used in making a selection to recommend was that the service be free to caregivers, that it had good testimonials from caregiver who have used it and that it had different types of services from many areas of the country.

I found what I wanted, and am now partnering with Eldercarelink.com.  This site allows the person looking for help to narrow down the area where the elder lives and the kind of help needed. I’m impressed with the results I’ve seen. Filling out the form is easy, though the more you want to narrow the service choices, the more you can choose to fill out.

Elder care, or for that matter, care for anyone needing it, is available almost anywhere. But finding the right agency is not always easy. Eldercarelink.com can make this search much less stressful by matching your needs to caregiving agencies that can help you.

Every caregiver can use stress relief. This may be your answer.

Economy Can’t Recover Without Health Care Reform

As our nation begins a new era with this new president and redefined Congress, most of us are hoping that answers to the problems our nation faces will quickly emerge. Few of us are so naïve as to think there will be easy answers, or even a quick turnaround. But change can bring hope, and I doubt that, whatever side of the political aisle a person leans toward, many would deny that our nation faces significant problems. We all hope for a better future for our country.

Read more about health care reform and the economy:

Many of us are looking for answers to caregiving needs. Take a survey to help find solutions:

Buying Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Marlo Sollitto, editor at Agingcare.com, for whom I moderate a forum and also write, has produced a fine article on the ins and outs of Medicare Supplemental Insurance in an article titled, "Take the Confusion Out of Buying Medicare Supplemental Insurance." I think you'll find the full article informative. It begins:

"Medigap, Medicare Advantage, Plans A through L…Choosing a Medicare supplement insurance plan can be overwhelming and confusing. Here’s a primer to help take the mystery out of Medicare supplemental insurance. What is it? Medicare supplemental insurance picks up where Medicare leaves off, paying for medical expenses that Medicare does not cover."

Read more about supplemental insurance on Agingcare.com:

Getting Help When Considering Assisted Living Recommended

When my mother and I toured assisted living centers together to see if she wanted to move from her apartment, I saw the wide range of offerings in my area. A couple of centers were so great I'd love to have moved in myself, if I could afford it. It seemed a great way to get pampered and not have to go out in horrible weather. Well, she couldn't afford those any more than I could. But we did find one that suited her. It was very nice, if more modest. It was still expensive compared to her apartment, and she ended up backing out of a pre-agreement. She had me to do for her what she needed, and she liked her apartment better. She had a personal alarm to call me if she fell. So, she stayed in her apartment until she needed a nursing home.

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Increased Blood Flow to the Brain May Help Stave Off Alzheimer’s

Well, it's the New Year, so it's time I say it again. I need to start getting some aerobic exercise. My son has made good use of our basement bicycle, but I pass it by, albeit with a twinge of guilt. Too hard to adjust. No time. I do my yoga. My weight is not a problem. Blah, blah, blah. I know that getting the blood moving is something that is good for my heart and brain and it's time I start doing something about it. Now, there's more information to give me a kick. The article, "Brain starvation as we age appears to trigger Alzheimer's," tells of a study written about in the Dec. 26 issue of the journal Neuron. Robert Vassar, lead study author and a professor of cell and molecular biology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, discovered during the study that a key brain protein is altered when the brain has a deficient supply of energy. Vassar is quoted in the article as saying, "This finding is significant because it suggests that improving blood flow to the brain might be an effective therapeutic approach to prevent or treat Alzheimer's."

Read more about increased blood flow and Alzheimer's:

Wii Game System and Dementia

My colleague at ouralzheimers.com wrote a wonderful tribute to games (see my game post from Monday). Leah is an expert - she already has vascular dementia, and is a terrific resource and educator in making the best of the situation. Below is Leah's testament to the game system Wii.

Wii...What a Success!

"I knew I needed to get more exercise, but I got a real wake up call when my Wii Fitnesscalled me 'Unbalanced' and a 'Couch Potato' over and over again…  Whoa…I don’t need an electronic game to call me names—or do I?  Is this the psychological impetus behind the success of this game?  Competition either against one’s self or other opponents?  I suppose that works for the competitive types, which I am one.  As far as Wii Sports and Wii Fitness are concerned, the Nintendo company has a big success!"

Read more about Leah, games and Wii:

Use It or Lose It: Games Help Keep the Brain Healthy

If I were only a game player, I'd probably be the smartest one around. As a writer on subjects such as aging and Alzheimer's disease, my name comes up in searches and I get offers to try out any number of games, each of which claims to be the best at keeping one's brain in peak operating condition, or even improving brain function. I'm not saying I couldn't use the brain work. I'm just put together to prefer a good book to a game, so I haven't taken many of them up on the offers.  According to these new brain game developers, that attitude could come back to bite me. So, I decided to give some attention to two such games, though a quick Web search will bring up many other choices.

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Dementia – There Ought to Be a Law

I'm proud to say that the legislature of my home state of North Dakota will, during this session, be looking at a bill concerning Alzheimer's that, if passed, could become a model for the rest of the country. In a letter to the editor published in The Forum and on their Web site In-forum titled, "Landmark proposal for Alzheimer's care," Krista Headland, western N.D. regional director for the Alzheimer's Association and Gretchen Dobervich, eastern N.D. regional director for the Alzheimer's Association Minnesota-North Dakota Chapter urged North Dakotans to contact their legislators and tell them they want this bill passed.

Read more on in-forum.com:

Can An Oil From the Coconut Tree Help Alzheimer’s?

Dr. Mary Newport, who has spent her practice taking care of babies, is also the wife of a man with early-onset Alzheimer's. Newport contacted me and asked if she could send me an article, along with some links to newspaper stories, about an oil found in the coconut tree and its effects on Alzheimer's disease. I said sure. I'm always happy to learn about new ideas in development. When the article arrived, I was impressed by how promising this sounds and excited that there may be one more product, already available, that could protect brains and even help the quality of life of those with Alzheimer's disease.

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