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Can Weather and Lunar Activity Affect People Living with Dementia?

Night5Dear Carol: My mother lives in an assisted living facility. She has arthritic pain and is in the early stages of Alzheimer’s, but she usually does well with the support that she has. When I visited her last Saturday evening she seemed upset and confused and she told me that she didn’t feel well. I suggested that she rest and reminded her that I’d see her in the chapel the next day for services. The next morning it seemed like a lot of the residents in the chapel were disgruntled, including Mom, who hadn’t improved overnight. We’d had a huge air pressure change in the last day, and I began to wonder if weather causing problems with health is myth or fact. I even mentioned it to one of the nurses after I escorted Mom back to the common room. The nurse nodded her head and said, “Oh, yes. We sure see it here.” She said that a full moon affects the residents, too. Now I'm beginning to wonder if there is something to this idea. What do you think? Jen

Read full column on Inforum about how weather and lunar cycles may affect your loved one's behavior:

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The Root of Alzheimer's: Could Infection and Inflammation be Part of the Equation?

StethoscopeWhen it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, a number of researchers think that it’s time to reconsider the idea of infection as a root cause. Scientists are now pointing to studies that reveal the presence of a microbe as a possible trigger for the disease. The theory is that microbes "find their way into the brain via the bloodstream and lie dormant until triggered by aging, immune system decline or by different types of stress…once they are activated, the microbes then damage brain cells - either directly or via inflammation.”

Read full article on HealthCentral about a new look at the root of Alzheimer's:

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“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


Heart and Brain Health Closely Related

HeartHealthFor years the Alzheimer's Association has made good use of the catch phrase "what's good for the heart is good for the brain." As additional research is conducted in both areas, that simple phrase is proving to be solid thinking. The startling admission of notable researchers who attended the 2014 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen that a healthy lifestyle is, at this point, the best hope we have to prevent or delay Alzheimer’s symptoms underscores this concept. Not surprisingly, the lifestyle recommended for preventing Alzheimer’s disease is also the lifestyle that is recommended for staving off heart attacks and stroke.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the relationship between heart health and brain health:

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


Tai Chi Reduces Falls and Improves Brain Function

TaiChiTai Chi, an ancient Chinese practice, is a self-paced system of movement where you perform a series of postures in a slow, graceful manner. This form of gentle exercise helps lower stress levels and encourages focus. Recently, the National Institutes of Health has said that tai chi has the ability to help reduce falls in older people, as well.

Read full article on HealthCentral about Tai Chi and its ability to help the body and the brain:

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

 Related articles

Proper Dementia Diagnosis May Require Referral to Specialist
Coping with Criticism from the Loved One You Care For

Brain Games: Do They Offer Brain Protection or Simply Entertainment?

BraingamesDo brain games make a difference in staving off brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s or are they just harmless fun? While studies have been all over the map on this issue during the last few years, lately they indicate that at least formal brain training may help, which indicates to me that well designed informal brain training would have at least some validity. The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has this to say:

Read full article on HealthCentral about the effectiveness of brain games:

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


Respecting Elders’ Dignity May Require Accepting Risk

GardeningLadyIt’s difficult to watch our parents age. As their hair grays, wrinkles form and age spots multiply, we adult children can find ourselves feeling protective. We want to keep them healthy. We want to know that they are safely at home when there’s the slightest risk of bad weather. We don’t want them taking risks that could result in an injury. That’s love, after all, and parents appreciate being loved. It’s a mistake, however, to make yourself the director of your parents’ lives simply because they are piling on years.

Read more on HealthCentral about accepting certain risks for the good of our loved one: 

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


Confidence Soars Along with Music When People with Dementia Playing In Orchestra

Violiin1Alzheimer’s is a global issue that is on track to bankrupt worldwide health systems if a cure is not found. Therefore, funding for research is paramount, not just for those who have the disease but for future generations, as well. However, large numbers of the people who have Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia at this time are trying to make the point that it is equally important to put imagination, research, and funding into how to care for those who already have this incurable disease.

Read more on HealthCentral about how people with AD can have renewed confidence when joining group activities:

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“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


Flu Kills: Keeping Our Elders Safe

DoctorElderlyManFlu isn't just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers.  

Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place? 

A. For caregivers at home, I would call for a modified hibernation strategy, meaning you need to modify your behaviors to help reduce your exposure risk.

Read full interview on HealthCentral about protecting your elderly loved one from the flu: 


6 Tips to Have More Fun While Caregiving

FatherSon8Many dementia caregivers feel as though they are treading water just to avoid sinking under the often exhausting pressures associated with dementia care. But consciously changing your attitude can, with practice, significantly change how your days, and those of your loved one, unfold. Here are some tips to get started.

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about getting the most out of caregiving:

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


A Speech Pathologist Explains Common Swallowing Issues Part 1: Causes and Coping

Motherdaughter2Something most of us take for granted is our ability to swallow. There are many things that can contribute to swallowing difficulties (dysphagia) including stroke, brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, oral cancer or problems with teeth or dentures. In some situations the symptoms are obvious, but in others a person may see gradual changes and not realize that the problems a person is having could be due to dysphagia.

Read more on HealthCentral about swallowing problems and how they can be helped:

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