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February 2015

10 Tips to Relieve Alzheimer's Sundowning

Many people who have Alzheimer’s disease experience times, generally as daylight fades and evening approaches, when their symptoms intensify. This phenomenon is called sundowning. It’s thought that sundowning stems from a combination of factors such as disorientation due to lack of light, fatigue and disruptions in the body clock. 

View slideshow on HealthCentral about sundowning:

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Elders May be Vulnerable to Abuse in Domestic Situations

Most of us want the best possible care for our aging parents. There are many ways to provide good care, one of which is bringing our parent or parents to live with us, or taking our family to live with them. Sometimes that works out wonderfully. But sometimes it doesn’t. Not everyone is cut out for the day to day stress of hands-on caregiving, let alone 24-hour caregiving in their own home. What can start out as a loving gesture can end up a nightmare. 

Read more on HealthCentral about elder abuse in domestic situations:

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Small Changes Can Improve Eating For Someone with Dementia

Dear Carol: My dad is living with us for the time being. He has Alzheimer’s and I know that he will eventually need professional care. I’ve taken a leave of absence from my job to provide care for three months because I want this time with him. My main frustration now is that he doesn’t want to eat. He seems hungry at times, but then when we sit down to a meal, he just picks. I make meals he used to like but that doesn’t seem to help. Do you have any suggestions? B.R. C.

Read more on Inforum about eating problems with Alzheimer's:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


How To Love Yourself Despite Caregiving Guilt

We know that we make mistakes as people, but as caregivers, we seem to expect a kind of perfection that simply isn't possible. This unrealistic view can leave us wallowing in guilt and even self-loathing.

Read more on Agingcare about caregivers learning to love themselves:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Brain Health Important to 93% of Americans According to Survey

A recent AARP survey found that 93% of Americans find maintaining brain health to be very important, however very few know the best ways to make this happen. When asked how to maintain brain health, results showed that many of the ways that are scientifically proven to improve or maintain brain health ranked as low priority areas for most respondents.

Read more on HealthCentral about maintaining Brain Health and the AARP Survey:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


When Caregiving Ceases: What's the New Normal?

I believe caregivers often recognize one or more triggers that symbolize this stress. For me it was the blinking message light on the home phone. Though the multiple elders I cared for are now deceased, to this day I rarely consider the fact that that an unexpected phone call or a message on my answering machine could possibly signal anything other than troubling news.

Read more on Agingcare about how to adjust to your new normal:

Support a caregiver or jump start discussion in support groups with real stories - for bulk orders e-mail Carol: 


Loneliness May Increase Dementia Risk, Heart Attacks and Stroke

Dementia aside, significant research has shown that having a supportive social network is linked with positive health outcomes, both psychological and physical, while lacking such support can be harmful. Previous studies have also suggested that loneliness itself can kill people, generally by raising blood pressure and increasing risk for stroke or heart disease. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how loneliness increases risk of heart attack and stroke:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

 


Arts Improve Life Quality for Stroke Survivors and People with Alzheimer’s

...Theater has also been used as a type of therapy for people with Alzheimer’s disease. NPR reported on an outreach program at the Lookingglass Theater in Chicago that offers people with Alzheimer’s the chance to take part in improv theater. With this type of theater, people are able to live in the moment, which is natural to someone with Alzheimer’s. There was no struggle to remember the past or determine what to do in the future. According to the article, most of the participants leave the theater with a refreshed feeling of accomplishment. 

Read more on HealthCentral about how the arts help improve quality of life:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Elders Covering for Each Other Can Hide Dementia Symptoms

Long married couples are often said to “finish each other’s sentences.” They work as a unit, and friends and family members are used to this interaction. This ability to work as a team is a wonderful thing until one of the team isn’t functioning well and the other is in denial. When couples cover up for each other, precious time can be lost. So, adult children need to be on the lookout for signs that things aren’t going well.

Read more on HealthCentral about Elders Covering for Each Other Can Hide Dementia Symptoms:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Mental Side Effects of Common Drugs Can Be Significant

Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system. Earlier studies have also shown that there may be a link between anticholinergic drugs and the risk of dementia in older adults.

Read more on HealthCentral about drugs that could cause Alzheimer's symptoms:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer