Alzheimer's Feed

Individual Attention Important Benefit of Alzheimer's Eating Study

It’s natural for caregivers to worry if their loved one is getting sufficient nourishment. People with dementia are often a challenge because they forget to eat, or they may have problems remembering how to transfer food from the plate to their mouths. Some people have trouble chewing and swallowing, especially during later stages of dementia.  Caregiving6Since depression is another issue that is common for people with dementia, a Taiwanese study addressed these issues together. The study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, found that dementia patients who received individualized instruction on good eating habits had fewer symptoms of depression.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the importance on individual attention while feeding someone with dementia:

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Transitioning from Hospital to Nursing Home Most Practical Move for Some

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Dear Carol: My 83-year-old mother has lived with my family for two years, but her Type 1 diabetes and lung problems have been worsening. She also has severe pain from arthritis. Mom was recently hospitalized with a respiratory infection and took a long time to respond to treatment. They finally got the bacteria under control but she’s very weak and her breathing needs monitoring. The doctor insisted that she should only be released to a nursing home. I asked if this was just a time for recovery but he was strong in recommending that she move there permanently. He said that she needs more nursing care than she can get at home. We have good nursing homes here, but I’m having a hard time coping with the change. Mom seems to realize that this is best, so I know that I’m the one who must adjust. Do people often go from the hospital to a nursing home as a permanent move? KM

Read full column on Inforum about hospitalization ending in nursing home care:

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An amazing book of stories that will touch your heart and encourage you, especially if you are a caregiver. Carol  Bradley Bursack also has an excellent website devoted to the elderly and their caregivers. - Carol Heilman


Driving and Memory Loss: Tips to Help Elders Give Up Driving

Drive-10013075For many of us, a car is a sign of independence. But this emotional connection to our automobiles is part of what makes convincing a person that he or she is no longer capable of driving such a volatile battle. The longer adult children or others wait to discuss driving issues with a loved one, the harder it can be.

Occasionally, people in the earlier stages of cognitive or physical decline will recognize the signs of that decline when they have a close call while driving and scare themselves into giving up their right to drive. More frequently, if the person has developed Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, and the disease has advanced to a point where judgment is affected, a prolonged battle often erupts.

Read full article on HealthCentral about helping an elder give up driving:

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Nighttime Snacks Stop Some Alzheimer's Wandering

CoffeeGlassesElderly people often eat more food when they are on a program of frequent, smaller meals than the standard three larger meals a day. Available snacks can also help people with Alzheimer’s who tend to wander. An informal experiment at the Parker Jewish Institute in New Hyde Park, N.Y. found that if they provided people with dementia who became anxious and agitated at night with a snack, they would often calm down and return to bed. Aura Gordon, an RN manager, told one story last month at the Aging in America conference in Chicago. “A patient, ‘a lovely man,’ got out of bed around 2 a.m., as was his custom, picked up his newspaper and headed down the hall. He was preparing to ‘go to the market,’ which had been his pattern when he was working.

Image: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about how nighttime snacks may prevent wandering:

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


Alzheimer's: What Is Really in Your Control?

Meditation3According to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the more than five million Americans with Alzheimer’s, approximately 200,000 individuals develop the disease before age 65 (younger-onset Alzheimer’s disease or YOAD). Additionally, barring a cure or some type of prevention, someone in the United States will develop the disease every 33 seconds. What do we do, just give up and give in? Or do we look for ways that may give us a better chance to get through our last years without signs and symptoms of this devastating disease? I say let’s fight. 

Image: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about learning what you can when it comes to AD prevention:

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10 Tips to Ease Alzheimer's Sundowning

NighttreeMany 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, natural fatigue and abnormal disruptions in the body clock. While there’s no cure for sundowning some medications can help. Lifestyle changes can be a vital part of managing sundowning behavior, as well. Below are some tips that may help you and your loved one cope with this often frustrating end-of-day behavior:

Read full article on HealthCentral about sundowning and how to help control it:

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Ancient Technique Shown to Alter Brains of People with MCI

Yoga2In an example of ancient meeting modern, researchers at UCLA and their colleagues tested whether or not yoga and meditation could alter the brains of some people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to help them think more clearly. MCI is often a very early stage of Alzheimer's disease. Their answer was yes. A technique using a yoga pose while meditating was shown by modern methods to be as effective as memory enhancement training (MET). The results of the practices were scientifically proven by using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Image: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about how yoga and meditation can help Alzheimer's:

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

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


6 Potentially Reversible Conditions That Can Mimic Dementia

Comfort9When dementia symptoms appear it’s natural to fear that the person affected has an incurable form of dementia. Rather than reacting with panic, however, it’s far better to try to remain calm and have a specialist make the determination. Many forms of dementia are incurable, of course, but other conditions can present symptoms that resemble those of dementia but are in fact reversible.

View slideshow on HealthCentral to learn more about the potentially reversible conditions that can mimic Alzheimer's or other types of dementia:

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8 Entertaining Summer Excursions for Elders and Their Caregivers

ParkWalkSummer is a time when it’s generally easier for elders to be out and about than when snow and ice are an issue. Even if our loved ones have dementia, severe arthritis, lung issues or a combination of ailments, there are things we, their caregivers, can do to relieve a sense of being left out of life that can affect people in their situation.

Think about the personality of your ailing elders and consider excursions or entertainment that they may enjoy. A short outing of some type can leave a lasting memory, or it can simply mean that there were some enjoyable moments, but either way, you’ve done something positive for them. Remember to take into account the fact that heat can be dangerous to elders, so prepare for outside activities by educating yourself about how to keep elders safe in the heat.

Read full article on HealthCentral about summer excursions that can be fun for elders:  

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8 Dementia Activities Targeted toward Unique Interests

Memories3Finding activities for people with dementia can be challenging. For example, my dad’s dementia was caused by failed surgery during his 70s. He was always interested in archaeology, science of any type, space exploration and a variety of human cultures. I focused his activities on those things he loved. The music of his youth was another priceless tool to help him get through the days. What activities or topic of interest would work for your loved one?

View slide show on HealthCentral to learn about activities for fun:

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