A report from the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study has shown that training to improve the cognitive abilities of older people has lasting effects. The ACTIVE study is one of many ongoing research projects supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR).
The findings of this randomized clinical trial showed that training involving the ability to think and learn lasted as long as 10 years after the training program was completed.
For years researchers have tried to understand the impact and significance of a person's education level on the development of Alzheimer's disease. Many studies have shown that people who often challenge themselves to learn complex tasks will show Alzheimer’s symptoms later than those who don’t. Scientists theorized that people who work to enrich their minds, whether through formal means or through a mentally challenging lifestyle, have more cognitive resources at their disposal to mask symptoms of AD.
...Scientists don’t yet know exactly when Alzheimer’s
disease begins to develop in each individual, but studies are
increasingly offering the theory that the disease begins decades before
symptoms are exhibited. Therefore, it’s quite possible that people
who’ve lived a life full of creative mental challenges have had the disease for decades,
but symptoms didn’t become obvious because they had an increased
ability to mask the symptoms. Or, it could be that they simply developed
the disease at a later age because of the protective power of an
enriched environment. It will likely take much additional research
before there is certainty about this issue.
I love stories. When I was a teenager, I’d encourage grandparents to relate stories of their young years struggling to survive on the wind-swept prairie. When I grew older, I was fascinated by the stories my parents and in-laws told of their early years of growing up during the Great Depression. Little did I know at the time that peoples’ stories would become the springboard for my life’s work. Now there is mounting evidence that encouraging our elders to reminisce about their past is therapeutic as well as enjoyable.
If you find yourself exhibiting disturbing symptoms that you
notice yourself, or friends and family gently bring up to you, don't
immediately decide that you, too, have dementia. Other issues that can
make you feel as though you are having dementia symptoms are medication
reactions or interactions, infections and lack of sleep. But you should still see your doctor, and perhaps get a
referral to a specialist who diagnoses dementia daily, since some of the
symptoms are tricky.
There are, as yet, no medications that can prevent or cure Alzheimer’s disease. Some people do quite well with current drugs that may help slow cognitive decline, but others do not respond well, or they have negative side effects. However, there’s some good news. A recent article on Science Daily reports on a study that shows that mental and “spiritual” exercises can significantly slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s disease, without any negative side effects.
Old movies via DVDs, as well as CDs of big band music or other favorites of our elders’ generation have long been used as a diversionary tactic. Now, Artists for Alzheimer’s (ARTZ) is spotlighting a new way that movies can be used to enhance the lives of people with Alzheimer’s disease. ARTZ is a nonprofit based in Woburn, Mass. that creates cultural opportunities for people with dementia and their caregivers.
It’s bound to happen. When any disease is discussed frequently in the news, people begin to look for signs of it in themselves and others. Alzheimer’s (AD) has been in news headlines nearly every week for months, since huge numbers of aging boomers are increasingly at risk. Alzheimer’s typically strikes individuals over the age of 65. However, Pat Summitt’s public announcement of her early onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis–at age 59–has not only left millions of fans stunned, it has younger people peering into their brains, anxious to learn if something sinister is happening to them as well.
Imagine this: you have been diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer's disease. Your short-term memory is slipping away at an alarming rate. You still have a great deal to offer as a human being, but how do you express this?
SEEKING NOMINATIONS—FAMILY CAREGIVER OF THE YEAR AWARD
One out of every four adult Americans is currently providing care for a parent or loved one—do you know a caregiver who deserves to be recognized?
FamilyCaregiverBlog.com is seeking community nominations for its annual“Family Caregiver of the Year” award program." In addition to dozens of local awards, nominees have the opportunity to win a $5,000 grand prize for the national award.
Nominations will be accepted through July 31 at www.familycaregiverblog.com. A panel including experts from AAPR, the Alzheimer’s Association, and CareScout/Genworth Financial and more, will judge submissions.