Alzheimer's Is Only One Type of Dementia Though It's the Most Common Type

Fatherdaughter7One 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.”

View slideshow on HealthCentral about the different types of dementia and how they affect people:

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When a Loved One With Dementia Thinks You're Stealing

AngryWomanAccused of stealing from a loved one? The first time it happens many caregivers find themselves choking back tears. They try a logical approach although they’ve long realized that logic is not effective when communicating with a person living with dementia. But to be accused of stealing your dad’s hearing aid? Your mom’s sweater? This is the parent for whom you gave up so much in order to provide care. Now they think you are stealing from them. How do you handle this all-too-common problem?

View the slideshow on HealthCentral about when a loved one thinks that you are stealing:

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85-Year-Old Author Illustrates How Relishing Accumulated Decades Enhances Beauty

CummingsIleneBookJacketRelishing the effects of the aging process is a shocking idea in our society. We are expected to fight every sign of age. Billions of dollars annually are spent to help people, especially women, look more like their young adult children than who they really are. Sadly, older adults are even encouraged to act like young people rather than celebrate who they’ve become throughout decades of learning. A whisper-thin (less than 100-page) volume titled “The Truth Is at My Front Door: Spiritual Direction on Aging Beautifully” pushes back against this negative view of women and aging.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about aging women and the truth:

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Playing Along with the Realities of Dementia World

MindingOurEldersCoverFullIt was not unlike any other day, but this particular afternoon Dad was adamant. He was waiting for his medical degree to come from the University of Minnesota and wondered why it was taking so long to arrive. I did what I usually did, and waited a few days to see if this episode of delusional thinking would pass. It did not. So, I created a facsimile of a medical degree on my computer with my dad's name on it. I scribbled some "signatures" on the bottom, put it in a mailing envelope and brought it to him in the nursing home the following day. He was delighted. I added it to the other awards and degrees hanging on the wall; an entomology "degree," his legitimate college degree

Read full article on Agingcare about entering into a loved one's world of dementia:

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Maintaining Dignity of Aging Parent Often Takes Special Insight

Friends6Dear Carol: I’ve decided that my mother must have dementia. Today I discovered that her tax return was rejected because she had marked several things wrong. She took this to my husband because she didn't want me to know. Also, her housekeeping is terrible. It drives me nuts that she doesn't even throw away garbage when the can is a foot from where she puts the garbage down. These are just examples of what is happening. How can I convince her that she needs to let me handle things and that she needs to trust that I will do what is best for her? I understand she doesn't want to give up her independence but I'm tired of cleaning up her messes and would prefer to just handle things myself so that I only have to do things once. – BY 

Read full article on Inforum about how adult children's reactions can make a difference with aging parents:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

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 

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Flu Season: Remember That Flu Can Kill Older Adults

Medications8Flu isn’t just an inconvenience, especially among the elderly population. For expert information on how caregivers can help their elders stay healthy and if possible avoid the flu, I reached out to  Martie Moore, R.N., MAOM, CPHQ, who is Chief Nursing Officer, Medline Industries, Inc. for some answers. 

**Q. Martie, what steps should be taken short of hibernation to avoid getting the flu in the first place?  

Read full article on HealthCentral about the flu season and what you can do to help your elderly loved one:

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Medications Should be Carefully Controlled as Alzheimer's Advances

Medications6While 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. According to an article in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester looked at 5,406 nursing home residents who had late-stage Alzheimer’s or dementia with more than half of them being older than 85. The scientists found that 2,911 of the patients - nearly 54 percent - were taking at least one medication of questionable benefit.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how medications can become negative as people age:

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The Impact of Grandparents On Our Society

GrandfatherBoybubblesThe importance of grandparents in the lives of children cannot be denied. Before our culture became so mobile, it was common for children to grow up surrounded by extended family, including one or both sets of grandparents. Seniors often moved in with their adult children and young grandkids when they became frail. My own childhood mirrored this now quaint picture of the past, and I've always felt happy about the fact that my children were involved with both sets of their grandparents as they grew up. Yet, even though my kids enjoyed weekly grandparent visits, they were already in the minority. Many of their friends rarely saw their own grandparents, who often lived hundreds (if not thousands) of miles away. But, even with the obstacle of distance, I heard many of these young children talk excitedly about seeing Grandma and Grandpa over holidays and whenever they could.

Read the full article on Agingcare about the importance of grandparents in our society:

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Many Common Drugs Have Surprising Mental Side Effects

Medical_tablets_01_hd_pictures_168382Many 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. Many over-the-counter drugs used for sleep and allergies are anticholinergic drugs as well, a fact that’s been well publicized. A recent article on Forbes.com spotlighted OTC drugs with these anticholinergic properties because they are so prevalent. The article states that researchers have yet to prove that anticholinergic drugs actually cause Alzheimer’s. Yet, there is a link that can’t be denied.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how common drugs can cause serious problems down the road:

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Aromatherapy Shown to be Safe and Effective for People With Alzheimer's

HerbalTreatmentsAlzheimer’s disease can’t be cured. There are medications that help slow the development of symptoms for some people, but the type of care that seems to help most people with Alzheimer’s is hands-on attention. This often means that caregivers need to use a toolbox approach to providing care. Thus, opening our minds to ancient medicine can give us additional options. One ancient technique that’s been studied by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the use of aromatherapy. The NIH abstract on aromatherapy reports that the trial consisted of having subjects inhale the fragrance of rosemary and lemon essential oils in the morning, and lavender and orange essential oils in the evening.

Read full article on HealthCentral about studies showing that aromatherapy helps many with AD:

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

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