As Alzheimer’s spreads throughout the brain, logic departs. The ability to understand one’s world disappears, understandably being replaced by fear and suspicion. These emotions are often blamed by caregivers when the person that they love refuses to take needed medications.
Many of us have become aware that prescription medications such as Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin may have serious side effects including memory issues. These drugs, which are generally prescribed for anxiety, can possibly increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease since they are in a class known as anticholinergic drugs. They work by blocking a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine in the nervous system.
Dear Carol: My 75-year-old husband has been reasonably healthy but lately I’ve found he either doesn’t understand what I’ve told him or doesn’t remember what I said. For example, I mentioned that we needed to have a minor plumbing leak fixed eventually and he said fine. I made an appointment for the plumber and when I told my husband about it, my husband got mad saying that I should have checked with him first. I nicely reminded him of our conversation but he said he thought I was just talking in generalities. This type of thing happens quite often which makes me afraid that he is developing dementia. Should I worry? Gail
Whether we are taking an elderly person to a family reunion or a backyard picnic this summer, we need to be aware that summer heat can become deadly as people age. From less efficient cooling systems to more illnesses and medications, elders have many issues that can make them vulnerable to extreme temperatures.
Throughout 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.
While Alzheimer’s specific drugs may help slow symptoms for some people, they also may increase the risk of hip fractures, fainting, urinary problems and other health issues. Most researchers now think that a time comes when many medications for the elderly are no longer beneficial and may be harmful.
This post is about another study, my friends, but this one is more personal for me. A report in the February 25 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine titled "Study examines antibiotic use among nursing home patients with advanced dementia," reminds me of a situation with my mother-in-law.
...Daytime sleeping only becomes a problem when an elder spends the majority of the day dozing in a chair rather than engaging in life. People with dementia seem especially prone to this type of daytime sleeping, sometimes losing interest in meals and even failing to notice that they need to use the bathroom.
...Mom had some mild memory loss at the time, but not Alzheimer's disease or severe dementia of any kind. I had the Power Of Attorney over her health, though my whole family was consulted on all important issues. Early on, Mom had opted for a do not resuscitate code and, as a family, we supported her choice.
There are many neurological diseases that can affect people as they age. Alzheimer’s, of course, is one of the most feared because it is so well known. However, while not as common, Parkinson's disease is also prevalent. This neurological disorder affects an estimated 2 percent of people older than 65. Like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s is progressive and it involves changes in the brain that can become debilitating.