Research Feed

Virtual Dementia Sensitivity Training Makes Tremendous Difference to Both Care Partners

ConfusionWe can’t truly understand what others go through unless we have been in their shoes. Fortunately for caregivers, the inventive Virtual Dementia Tour Program comes as close as anything can to helping caregivers - whether medical people, social workers or family members - understand what their patients or loved ones with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are experiencing.

P.K. Beville, founder and CEO of  Second Wind Dreams, has now received the U.S. Patent for his Virtual Dementia Tour program which has already been experienced by 500,000 people in 14 countries. Second Wind Dreams was formed in 1997. The name is derived from a novel of the same name, written by Beville who is a geriatric specialist.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how virtual dementia training can help:

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Care or Cure: Where Should Alzheimer's Funding Go?

Researcher2When you hear the next plea for increased Alzheimer’s funding – and you’ll hear a lot of it during the upcoming Alzheimer’s Awareness months, both global and national – your first thought will likely be that the money should go into to find a cure. However, people who already have the disease, as well as those who care for them, may disagree. A recent survey showed that these people feel that more financial resources should be dedicated to helping them live life with some quality. Funding research is fine, but that will only help people years in the future. They need help now.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about the choices that must be made when coping with the reality of Alzheimer's:

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Depression in Elders: Symptoms, Triggers and What to Do

Olderwoman2Depression in the elderly is not unusual and can be brought on by any number of factors, ranging from physical issues or cognitive issues to life events. Spouses, adult children, and friends can take steps to help. These steps include being cognizant of the fact that the person would reverse the depression if he or she could, assisting the person in seeking professional help, and continuing with your own education about depression and how to approach treatment for a loved one. Before getting the proper treatment, here’s how to recognize the signs and symptoms of depression:

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about depression in elders: 

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Group Singing Offers Multiple Benefits for People with Dementia

PianoRecently, I wrote about how playing in an orchestra has helped people living with dementia renew their confidence in themselves.  Another twist on music has now come in a recent report from the British Psychological Society’s Division of Clinical Psychology in London. The researchers describe how both the people in their study who had dementia, as well as their caregivers, benefitted from group singing.This exercise seemed to have much the same effect on the people with dementia as the orchestra experiment. While music is valuable on its own, and reminiscing while singing old songs is helpful, it seemed that one of the important takeaways from the most recent experiment was that the couples were doing something together as equals. This, in turn, helped the person with dementia feel more confident.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how group singing can help people with dementia:

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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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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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Contracts for Retirement Communities May Require Expert Help to Fully Understand

Contract-signing-10044619Dear Carol: My husband and I are trying to help my brother select a retirement community that would also offer assisted living for his future needs. He’s 74 and has early Parkinson's disease so he wants to make this move soon. Our experience with trying to decipher the pricing structures of the places that we visited has been enormously frustrating.  Is there some sort of resource that covers retirement living contracts that transition to assisted living and perhaps even nursing care? We really need some guidance. Thanks for any help that you can provide. – TL

Read full article on Inforum about the ins and outs of signing a contract for assisted living:

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The Stages of Alzheimer's and the Caregiver's Role

AlzehimersWomanWhile Alzheimer’s disease will progress differently for each person, scientists and clinicians have attempted to stage the disease as a way that helps people living with Alzheimer’s and their families understand what is happening, as well as to plan for the future. Some divide AD into seven stages, some five stages, but currently, three stages is the format most often used. The Alzheimer’s Association uses three stages, so that is what we will use for our foundation here.

View slideshow on HealthCentral about the stages of Alzheimer's:

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Is Our Youth-Obsessed Culture Making You Old Before Your Time?

Family2Look 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. A study led by Becca R. Levy, PhD of Yale University and her colleagues has shown that our memory is actually shaped by age stereotypes. In other words, if you are ageist in your thinking, adhering to stereotypical images of older people as bumbling, forgetful, annoying people who are going “downhill,”  your memory will likely age in accordance with the stereotypes that you carry.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how being obsessive about youth can make you old:

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