Because Alzheimer’s disease is thought to develop for years before symptoms become evident, the earliest possible detection is very important, so that the onset of the disease may be delayed and the overall care improved through the years. and hopefully, as therapies are developed, reversed. But how do you know if you or your loved one may have it?
Dear Carol: My wife died of cancer three years ago. Her decline was long and slow, so when the end came there was some relief, along with the agonizing grief. I’ve slowly recovered enough to enjoy life. However, I’ve now been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease (EOAD). I also have neuropathy which affects my balance. My wife had a great attitude during her illness and I’m determined to use her as my example for dealing with my own challenges. We had no children, and I have no siblings, but I have many wonderful friends who have been helping me with shopping. I’ve appointed a close friend as Power Of Attorney for health and financial reasons and hired a housekeeper who cleans and does some light cooking. She's wonderful, and we get along great, but the time will come when I will need more care. How do I start setting up help now, without going overboard and losing my privacy before I need to? PR
Once you have reached your 70s, will you look back and thank your middle-aged self for spending another hour each day on social media rather than jogging around your neighborhood? According to new research, the answer is no: you’re more likely to wish that you’d had more self-discipline. A long-term study of more than 3,000 twins by researchers at the University of Helsinki found that midlife, moderately vigorous physical activity is associated with better cognition as we reach old age.
When the average person thinks of dementia, generally Alzheimer’s disease comes to mind. At the same time, the person will likely think of memory loss. Both of these conclusions are understandable since Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia and memory issues are often, though not always, the first symptom of that disease. Surprising then, to many people, is the fact that there may be earlier indicators of potential Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia than frequent memory lapses.
I've been through many Valentine's Day celebrations with my parents where I tried my best to help them carry on their past traditions. It was grueling for me and only somewhat satisfactory for them, but I felt that it must be done. I'm now collecting a few stories for publication in an article that I'm writing on Valentine's Day celebrations. For this, I'd like to hear from spouses who try to carry on the Valentines Day (or anniversary or any day celebrating their love) traditions. I'd also like to hear from someone who feels that it's best to skip marking that day and when or why they made that understandable decision.
Please send stories via the www.mindingourelders.com "contact" box, or message me on Facebook or Twitter (@mindingourelder). I'm looking for little vignettes of around 100 words. I want to credit you so please give the name as you'd like to be credited. The state or province where you live would also be nice.
Whenever possible, I like to share your stories with a huge readership. This will be an article for HealthCentral.com so your stories will help a lot of people.
Thanks to all of my dedicated readers, caregivers, seniors, spouses and loved ones.
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.
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.
Dear Carol: The New Year is arriving and I’m trying desperately to make my annual list of things that I’m happy about and the things that I want to improve on. This year I’m struggling. My once healthy mom had a sudden, massive stroke in October and is now in a nursing home. She’s always been vibrant, both physically and mentally, as well as a kind, loving mother and grandmother. Her volunteer work is a local legend. Now, she’s barely able to speak beyond a mumble. She can’t eat without help. Her mind is muddled and the doctor says that she is unlikely to improve. When I look at her I feel my memories of her, as she was, disappear and I feel sorry for myself. I feel guilty about my self-pity because I know that this should all be about her, but I can’t help it. All I can see is the horrible present Mom’s past fades away. How do I get anything positive out of this New Year knowing that Mom’s future is so bleak? KW
Dear Carol: My dad is 85 and lives quite happily on his own. He has arthritis pain and has fallen at least twice, though he doesn’t tell me unless I notice a bruise or limp. He has always been healthy but stubborn and he likes his nighttime drinks. I don’t want to take away his drinks or anything else that he enjoys, but I worry. He has a doctor and grudgingly goes yearly for his checkup but Dad’s wily and the doctor is busy so his cholesterol prescription gets renewed and that’s about it. When I suggest to Dad that we go together for another visit to let the doctor know about his falls he gets furious. Since being stubborn is a lifetime personality trait, I can’t blame that on brain problems and his memory is better than mine. My wife tells me to visit often and let him live the way he wants to. What’s the best thing to do in situations like this? PM
End-of-life discussions may not seem to fit with the commonly cheerful image of the holiday season. After all, who likes to talk about potential death? Yet, too many people die in a manner they would not choose. When we consider that the true reason for this spiritual season is to celebrate our faith, what could be more fitting than incorporating the message that we want the best for our loved ones for their entire life - and that their life will include the death process?