Loneliness can be a plague for the elderly and ill. Yet visiting with someone who doesn’t feel well, and may have limited cognition, can be tricky. Some nervousness or reluctance is natural, but a few considerations can help to make things go smoothly.
Most of us know that positive thinking is supposed to enhance our lives but thinking positively, especially for some personalities, can be easier said than done. Life can be hard. If you have dementia or another terminal illness, or if you provide care for someone who does, thinking positively can seem impossible.Yet, many studies have shown that negative thinking can cause havoc with our health.An article from a University of Minnesota newsletter about how negative thinking affects the body states:
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive and Neural Systems have found evidence that long-term testing starting well before any signs of Alzheimer’s symptoms are evident could be a valuable tool in detecting which people will need intervention with therapeutic drugs that are now in clinical trials. This type of intervention could possibly halt or even reverse cognitive damage while the patient is still symptom-free. The long-term testing would be done in conjunction with brain scans.
...Accepting this current failure to produce a drug that is of real help to people with the disease has been a struggle for researchers at large. There are still many questions about exactly what triggers Alzheimer’s disease and whether or not there is just one cause or if there are several. Researchers will continue to try to solve the puzzle. Most likely they will eventually develop a method that can reliably prevent or cure Alzheimer’s through pharmaceutical intervention. Meanwhile, as is often the case, acceptance of this current failure has led to studies that seem to have produced some hope on a more basic level.
Fear and anxiety are two disturbing symptoms exhibited by many people with Alzheimer’s disease. These symptoms are completely understandable, considering the fact that people with dementia are often confused about their surroundings. Confusion that won’t go away leads to fear and fearful people tend to be anxious. This need to calm anxiety and feel safe can lead people with Alzheimer’s to a behavior called shadowing.
...There are countless products on the market right now to help improve gut health and immune function, but do any of these actually work? Which options are best for a senior’s unique issues? I contacted Woodson Merrell, MD, ScD (hc), to get some answers on how to maintain gut health as we age.
Who doesn’t know someone – or a lot of people – who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.
Most people are aware that transition to facility care may be hard on elders but many don’t realize that it can be hard on caregivers, too. We’ve tried our best but our best is no longer enough. Irrational as it may seem to others, at this stage we may feel like we’ve failed.
The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a collection of cells and cellular components that line the walls of blood vessels in the brain. This barrier is an important part of brain health because it separates the brain from circulating blood. A study led by Walter H. Backes, Ph.D., a professor in medical physics at Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, has found that the blood-brain barrier was leakier in a group of people with Alzheimer's disease than in those without the disease.
Dear Carol: My family is having a serious disagreement over signing papers for our mom who has just entered a nursing home. I have Power Of Attorney and am favor of signing a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) form for Mom. She has always told us she didn’t want to linger when her time came. While she is going into the nursing home for physical, she is showing some signs of early stage dementia so it’s important that we get this done. My brother and sister both think that a DNR is cruel and that it’s like killing Mom. They think that everything should be done to keep her alive as long as possible. Her POA even states that she doesn’t want to be kept alive at all cost. Because of this, I think I can push through the DNR, but I feel bad because my siblings are upset. I know that they don’t want to see Mom suffer unnecessarily but they feel guilty taking this formal step. How do I get through to them that there’s a point where people allowed to go? CD