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Motherhood, the Brain and Dementia: Changing Hormones Alter Risk

MotherbabyThroughout decades of study, hormone therapy (HT), often but not always the same as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), has been glorified and demonized in turn. The information that doctors receive has come from ongoing studies that seemed to offer over time radically conflicting results. A new study may add more confusion since this study has found that not only does HT given near menopause create changes in a woman’s brain, but motherhood itself creates changes.

Read full article on how changing hormones can alter the risk of Alzheimer's:

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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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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


How to Be a Friend to an Isolated Caregiver

Friends8Caregivers are often isolated by the nature of their responsibilities. Some can’t leave home without arranging for someone to come and care for their loved one. Others are simply taxed to expend energy on friends no matter how lonely they may feel. So, how can you be a friend to an isolated caregiver?

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how to be a friend to a caregiver who is struggling:

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Lifestyle Magazine Focuses on Attitude Toward Aging

AgingWell“At Senior Lifestyle Advantage magazine, we speak to those who are 55 and older, encouraging them to live a healthier, more balanced life with hope. Each issue shares expert advice, easy recipes, travel, and feature stories about living with joy.”

These words are the short version of the message that Judith Stanton, founder and publisher of Senior Lifestyle Advantage, wants to spread. Stanton’s magazine focuses on the ways in which aging can be positive and fun, a viewpoint that is sorely needed at a time when ageism marginalizes a large percentage of our population.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the lifestyle magazine for a positive attitude:

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Photo above: iStock


Pain Management as We Age: An Interview with Dr. Denis Patterson

Exercise11ThinkstockPain management can be a problem for aging bodies. With the current focus on removing opioids as a go-to solution, doctors are working hard to provide alternatives for their patients. Dr. Denis Patterson is a Board Certified Pain Medicine, Physical Medicine, and Rehabilitation physician and he is the founder and owner of Nevada Advanced Pain Specialists in Reno, Nevada. I’ve had questions for some time about what doctors are suggesting for pain management for aging bodies that may be suffering from old injuries or current issues such as severe arthritic pain, so I asked Dr. Patterson if he would be willing to provide us with information from the perspective of a specialist. He did so in this email interview.

Photo: Thinkstock

Read full article on HealthCentral about pain management as we age:

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


Transitioning from Hospital to Nursing Home Most Practical Move for Some

Depressionthinkstock

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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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:

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


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