Alzheimer's Feed

Eight out of 10 older adults take at least one medication and many take three or more daily. Older adults comprise 13 percent of the population but account for 34 percent of all prescription medicine use and 30 percent of all over-the-counter medication use. Also, older adults often use multiple medicines (averaging 14 prescriptions each), increasing the risk of drug interactions, mix-ups, and the potential for harmful side effects. Read more →

Memory loss can be one of the first symptoms a person experiences with Alzheimer’s, and those living with Lewy body dementia may also become easily confused. These varied symptoms can make maintaining relationships more difficult, but friendships are no less important for people with dementia than for the rest of us. Maintaining relationships, however, especially among friends who are not pressured to continue involvement because of a new sense of duty over a person with dementia, can take work. This guide discusses how caregivers can help by educating willing visitors who want to be helpful but simply don’t know how to make a visit tolerable, let alone, meaningful. Read more →

...One reason for this intense fear of Alzheimer’s is obvious. While many types of cancer can be cured, most types of dementia cannot. However, another reason is that the idea of being betrayed by our brains to the point that we are essentially lost in the disease is abhorrent to most of us. Read more →

Completing crosswords, making a habit of Sudoku and playing challenging brain games on the Internet have long been suggested as methods of maintaining our cognitive health. These are all fine pursuits, but research by Mayo Clinic has shown that creative arts such as painting, drawing, and sculpting may protect the mind against cognitive decline even better than the commonly used forms of brain exercise. Read more →

...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. Read more →

...Some situations, of course, leave no room for laughter. But some tough times can offer moments of levity if we choose to recognize them. My sister, Beth, and I experienced what to some people may be a rather macabre situation during the three days our mother was going through the death process. If we hadn’t maintained our senses of humor, I’m not sure how we would have handled those sad, seemingly endless days. Read more →

Dear Carol: My dad’s been in a nursing home for several years and is ready for hospice care. I read your column about hospice care being covered by most insurances but I’m wondering what happens in a nursing home. Does insurance start to cover nursing home costs, then, too? Would it be better to move Dad home for this time period? It’s hard to make these decisions at such a stressful time. – RE Read more →

Nothing can make it easy for us to watch the cognitive decline of someone we love. Nothing will take away the agony of seeing loved ones so changed from the individuals they used to be. But imaginatively entering into their world is the most effective way to survive, and occasionally enjoy, the world of dementia caregiving. Read more →

Many, if not most, younger people find the idea of older adults having sex uncomfortable. Even middle-aged people avoid thinking that their parents are still enjoying sexual intimacy. They know it’s likely, but they don’t like thinking about it. It’s their parents for heaven’s sake! This attitude is terribly sad. For most people, physical touch and emotional caring - which underlie good sexual encounters - are needed for true quality of life. Sex for older adults is simply normal. Read more →

Hospice organizations are keenly aware of the soothing power of music. Sometimes the music may be used casually, by the facility or the family, knowing that this is a type of music that the person who is in the dying process had always enjoyed. Increasingly, though, employing trained music therapists has been favored. Read more →