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.
"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.
Specialized care is needed at different stages of dementia. Frequently, the only way to provide that kind of care is to move the person to either a memory unit or a family home, while supplementing care provided by family members with paid in-home caregivers. In many cases, it’s simply unrealistic to expect to never have to relocate someone who has dementia. At the same time, frequently moving someone with dementia around can be problematic. While it can be a challenge for anyone, it becomes even more difficult for a person with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
For 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.
Look young! Feel young! Think young! The constant barrage of information about how being forever young is the only desirable way to live is enough to make even a young person feel old. Now researchers have shown that this ageism is potentially harmful to one's cognitive abilities over the long term.
One of the most commonly asked questions about cognitive issues is “Is it Alzheimer’s or dementia?” The short answer is, Alzheimer’s is one type of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is caused by physical changes in the brain.”
When Tony Rovere was caring for his mother he felt lost when it came to finding resources for caregivers. Because of his experience, Tony eventually founded Stuff Seniors Need at www.stuffseniorsneed.com. The site is a terrific place to go if you want to find good cell phone plans for seniors, information about hearing aids or dentures, and information on most other products and services.
Now, Tony is launching the National Caregiver Relief Giveaway to assist caregivers throughout the United States. The top prize is a multi-position lift chair. It is free to enter. You can find out more details at caregiverhappiness.com/home. There are other prizes as well, and it's free to enter. Check out Tony's website and also go to the caregiver happiness site and register for prizes. You'll have found another wonderful resource.
Just so you know, I don't have any connection to this site or it's products - I'm just a fan.
Dear Carol: I helped my mom take care of dad for years after he’d had a stroke. Dad died last year and Mom was diagnosed with cancer shortly after his death. Apparently, she had cancer symptoms for some time but was so focused on dad that she didn’t follow up on her own health. Mom died last month under the care of a wonderful hospice organization, but now I am lost. I’m divorced and never had children. Caregiving was my life for over ten years. I have enough money not to have to work so I just sit and watch TV, not even registering what I'm watching. I once thought I’d travel but now I have no desire to do so. I understand that I need to build a new life for myself but I don’t even know where to start. How do people “recover” from caregiving once it’s over? MB
When our elders are suffering from physical pain, mental stress, loneliness or the effects of ageism in our society, the result can be depression. Research done at Sweden’s Umeå University and reported on by Medical News Today finds that when group activities were introduced into the elders' environments depressive symptoms were often improved and the need for medication reduced or eliminated. Two separate programs were used for the research. One was a group high-intensity functional exercise program and the other was a non-exercise group activity. They were conducted with people in an elder care facility, all of whom had dementia.