We are, for good reason, repeatedly reminded of the horrifying statistics related to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The number of people over the age of 65 is exploding and most dementia symptoms develop as a person ages. This is fact. In no way does this article intend to distract from the need to cure all types of dementia. However, there is one thing to celebrate. Alzheimer’s rates seem to be declining.
In the New Year, because your loved one’s situation hasn’t changed, you might think that nothing can improve your own situation. But if you are open to change, you may find that the symbolism of the New Year does offer opportunities to make your life better. Resolve to improve your life through better self-care.
"Elder orphan" is a term used by medical professionals to describe individuals living alone with little to no support system. In a research article published in Current Gerontology and Geriatrics Research, in July 2016, "Elder Orphans Hiding in Plain Sight: A Growing Vulnerable Population," Maria T. Carney, M.D., and her colleagues, sought to help clinicians identify adults with multiple chronic diseases who are aging alone and are geographically distant from family or friends. Identifying these individuals might well increase the availability of services for this population as a whole.
For many reasons, some identified and others still a mystery, women seem to be more at risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than men are. A recent study, led by Dr. Laura Ekblad at Finland's University of Turku and Turku University Hospital, has discovered one physical issue that could be added to the list of Alzheimer's risks for women: insulin resistance. Insulin resistance, which is a hallmark of type 2 diabetes, was shown in tests to influence verbal fluency in women more than men.
When it comes to Alzheimer's Disease (AD), the sad reality is that there is no cure. But a significant number of people have an increased risk due to genetics, and everyone has an increased risk as they age...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. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have determined that winning may be possible. Some people will develop the disease no matter what they do but, according to these researchers’ latest study, there are everyday factors that may influence our risk of developing dementia, specifically Alzheimer’s.
What is new about these findings is that while high blood pressure is a known risk factor for stroke and cardiovascular disease, some studies conflicted over the risk for vascular dementia. Some even indicated that low blood pressure was associated with an increased risk of dementia. The number of medical records used for this study -- again, records for more than four million people -- should put those ideas to rest.
...Few of us can measure up to the fantasy—caregivers least of all. There's so much denial of today's reality in these images resurrected each holiday and thrown at us by every means, from advertisements to blockbuster movies. These images feed expectations that are impossible to meet. The "average" family is vastly different than the average family of yore. Today's families are often a patchwork of children, step-children, step-in-laws, step-siblings and elders of varying degrees of relationship and health. Add to that the fact that people marry later and often have children at an older age, and you've got a package that often includes young children, teenagers, young adults, forty-something caregivers, a parent who's had a stroke or two, and maybe one with dementia.
...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.
There are a number of clinical issues involved in treating seniors with new and lifelong mental illnesses. A loved one may develop one of these conditions as they age, or they may have received a diagnosis long ago and remained stable on the same psychiatric medication for decades. In the latter case, however, their treatment plan may need to be adjusted as their body processes these drugs differently, new conditions develop and other medications are added to the mix.
Caregivers often grieve while watching their aging or ill loved ones push away food because of digestive issues or a lack of appetite. We know that they need nutrition and calories in order to maintain and improve their health, but how do we make this happen when they don’t want to eat?