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October 2013

Bringing Back Memories Isn't Only About Nostalgia

Old movies via DVDs, as well as CDs of big band music or other favorites of our elders’ generation have long been used as a diversionary tactic. Now, Artists for Alzheimer’s (ARTZ) is spotlighting a new way that movies can be used to enhance the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease. ARTZ is a nonprofit based in Woburn, Mass. that creates cultural opportunities for people with dementia and their caregivers.

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Poor Dental Hygiene Linked to Brain Tissue Degeneration

Dentist3The strongest evidence to date that poor dental hygiene is linked to brain degeneration has emerged from a recent study at the University of Florida Dental College. While cardiologists have long known that the bacteria that causes gingivitis (gum disease) may enter the blood stream adding to  heart issues, there had been fewer studies to link Alzheimer’s or other dementia to oral health.

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Guilt In Not Meeting Dad's Dying Wishes

Dear Carol: My dad was paralyzed from a series of strokes. Additionally, during the last months of his life, he was on a ventilator and struggled with kidney and liver problems. Dad said he was sick of treatments and that he wanted to die. We were in the process of setting up hospice care to keep him comfortable when he had an emergency that Mom and I couldn’t deal with so we called 9-1-1. Dad was confused when the paramedics came and he fought against them. Of course they hospitalized him, though he was quickly moved into a palliative care unit. Even though family, friends and our priest were there with him at the hospital, Mom and I both feel guilty for not following his wish to die at home. Neither of us can seem to get past this. Were we wrong to call for help? Kenny

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Protein Produced During Exercise May Prevent Alzheimer's

Researchers from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School have reported that they have isolated a protein called irisin that is produced in the brain during endurance exercise. The scientists introduced the protein to sedentary mice who were then tested for changes in how their brains functioned. What they found is that the protein activated the genes that promote brain health and encourage the growth of new nerves involved in learning and memory.

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Tips On Helping Parents Downsize for Move to Assisted Living

...Downsizing – the term often used for weaning ourselves from long-time possessions – can be hard for anyone. When it's more or less forced upon someone because of age or infirmity, the process becomes even tougher.My parents had moved from a fairly large family home to a smaller house, and eventually to an apartment, before my mom and I looked at assisted living facilities for her. By then, Dad was in a nursing home.

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Chronic Inflammation Links to Alzheimer's

Acute inflammation is the body's natural response to tissue damage. Its purpose is to defend the body against harmful substances, dispose of dead or dying tissue and to promote the renewal of normal tissue. Therefore, inflammation is normal if we are ill from a virus or bacterial infection or we injure ourselves.  However, chronic inflammation is different. Chronic inflammation is involved in many autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and even some cancers. Mounting evidence is now showing that chronic inflammation is also likely part of the Alzheimer’s puzzle.

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Remembering the Positive Moments of Caregiving

...I’m assuming that most of you, if you think about it, have had some lighter moments while caregiving, or even some uplifting, life enhancing moments never to be forgotten. I know I’ve had many. Some were chance moments that I could have missed if not for the exquisite timing that life occasionally offers us. Some came less spontaneously. And a few came during otherwise painful moments.

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Alzheimer's As It Relates to Real Life: Fade to Blank Engrossing Tale

"Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's," is a multifaceted AgingCare.com production that begins with personal stories of three people diagnosed with the disease. After absorbing these stories, readers can continue on to discover how the couples met and married as well as the effect the disease has on the family. Learn about diagnosis, adjusting to taking care of someone who once took care of you, the financial toll on families and much, much more.

This truly is a team effort: Graphic designer Maria Breston lent her visual acumen to the layout. Developer Matthew Coyne erected the digital framework. Community moderator Melissa Roman made sure the voice of the family caregiver was heard. Marketing director Christina Hardy coordinated awareness and outreach efforts. Editor in chief Anne-Marie Botek collected the individual accounts and composed the narrative. President of AgingCare.com Joe Buckheit charted the course for creating a pioneering addition to the Alzheimer’s rhetoric.

The production will keep you turning pages as you focus on the humanity of the people affected by this disease. Bookmark Fade to Blank and you’ll return again and again to absorb full scale of this amazing project.

Go to Fade to Blank: Life Inside Alzheimer's:

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Coping with Criticism from the Person You Care For

Caregivers frequently turn their lives inside out in order to care for their loved ones in decline. I know, because I've done it. The number of elders who depended on my help increased throughout the years, to a total of seven, though the most I cared for at one time was five. I also had two children and work part time writing as a freelancer.  Each care situation was different. I started with an aged neighbor, then moved on to a childless aunt and uncle, my in-laws and eventually my parents. All of them appreciated me. However they each had moments when, because of their own misery, they’d lash out at me in some way.

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Are You Cut Out To Be a Caregiver?

...For example, when people marry, it used to be a given that they would have children if at all possible. Currently, a significant number of couples choose not to have children. Are they selfish? No. They simply know what they want out of their lives, and being parents isn't likely the best choice for them, or their potential children.

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