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
Whether you’re caring for someone with dementia or visiting them from time to time you’ll want to do your best to make them feel good. No one will ever hit the right note every time but knowledge helps. With that in mind, here are a few pitfalls that you can avoid in order to help make your time with a friend or loved one who has dementia less stressful.
Family caregiving is more of an art than a science. Most people who take on the challenge of family caregiving do the best that they can under their unique circumstances, yet, they often receive criticism, sadly even from other caregivers. How can family caregivers who are already doing so much for their love one(s) weather criticism from outsiders about how they provide care?
“Interest in alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is growing almost as fast as the epidemic itself. The search for a cure moves at a snail’s pace, leaving families desperate for measures that can help their loved one now.”
These are the words of Gail Weatherill, RN, BSN, Certified Alzheimer’s Educator, and Certified Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Care Trainer. Weatherill is also known online as The Dementia Nurse.
...The team’s research provided physical evidence that the effects of chronic stress, which is often part of the caregiving life, can be seen both at the genetic and molecular levels. They used volunteers who were Alzheimer’s caregivers and compared them with an equal number of non-caregivers matched for age, gender and other health and environmental aspects. The researchers looked at blood samples from each group for differences in the telomeres as well as populations of immune cells. According to Glaser, “Caregivers showed the same kind of patterns present in the study of mothers of chronically ill kids.” He added that the changes the Ohio State-NIA team saw amounted to a shortened lifespan of four to eight years. The researchers believe that the changes in these immune cells represent the complete cell population in the body, suggesting that all the body's cells have aged the same amount as the immune cells.