A study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry has found that people who feel lonely are significantly more at risk for developing dementia. The study, headed by Tjalling Jan Holwerda of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found that participants who reported feeling lonely, no matter how many friends and family surrounded them, were more likely to experience dementia than those who didn’t feel lonely. The team focused on approximately 2,200 older adults living in Amsterdam, ages 65 to 86. None of the participants exhibited signs of dementia and none of them lived in facilities such as nursing homes. The researchers visited the elders two times over the course of three years. About half of them lived alone, with 20 percent reporting feelings of loneliness, even if they were married or lived with family.
Dear Readers: As you know, I rarely use guest posts, but this is one of my exceptions. Financial aid for caregivers is needed. Please forward to other caregivers who may want to apply. - Carol
In 2015, Kathi Koll started a foundation to help caregivers in need. The issue was a personal one for her. A little more than 10 years before, her husband had suffered a massive stroke that left him paralyzed from the neck down. Kathi became Don's caregiver for six and half years before his passing in 2011 and learned firsthand about the many challenges of caregiving, including the emotional ups and downs, the changes to one's relationship, and all sorts of new practical matters she needed to address.
By suddenly becoming a caregiver, Kathi dealt with intense anxiety and grief and had to completely reorient her life. But through that process, she also learned how to embrace a new normal, nurture love, and handle her many new life stresses in a way that also made those years filled with fond memories despite the catastrophic change that had occurred.
Even after Don died, caregiving has remained a large part of Kathi's world through her work with the Kathi Koll Foundation, which she created to help other caregivers who were struggling.
Her organization provides small subsidies, ranging from $500 to $1,500 to caregivers in need. In addition, the foundation offers guidance to caregivers who may be struggling with the many new demands on them.
For the small grants, applications are available at http://www.kathikollfoundation.org/caregivers/kathi's_caregivers. Assistance can be provided for specific items, such as rent, utility bills, grocery cards, or a wheelchair. To qualify, an applicant's income must be less than $28,000 for an individual caregiver or $34,000 for someone with minor dependent children.
In addition, the website provides helpful articles and videos about issues caregivers often face, and the foundation offers community outreach. For example, speakers can share insights with groups about many caregiving issues, such as living life after a stroke, the immense anxiety that accompanies a catastrophic event, how to manage the expectations of loved ones, coping with the continuum of grief, readjusting to a new life, working toward new, simpler goals, how to improve a patient's emotional care, finding happiness and learning how to love life again.
The idea is to help as many caregivers as possible as they endeavor to address their loved ones' needs.
As people age, they are likely to find that balance issues, arthritis, neurological diseases, and other health problems become a threat to their quality of life. People facing these problems often find that being evaluated and treated by a physical therapist can be a significant step toward improvement in safety and mobility, or at least stabilization.
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.
Dear Carol: My mother was diagnosed with mixed dementia (vascular dementia along with Alzheimer’s) at age 67. She’s now 75 and the doctor says she’s in Alzheimer's stage seven. She’s had two strokes and takes medication for high blood pressure. Mom doesn’t know anyone and simply sits and stares into space without reacting very much. All of her doctors are vague about her life expectancy. I don’t expect the doctor to know exactly how long she will continue this way but I’d like some idea. Are they uncomfortable with my question? PT
Frustrated caregivers often wonder why their loved one who is living with Alzheimer’s sometimes reacts with anger as the caregivers attempt to help. Understanding why a spouse, parent or grandparent behaves this way can help the caregiver limit these stressful, frustrating times. To do that, the caregivers must understand life from the point of view of their loved one’s impaired mind.
Flu 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.
If the risk of a stroke or heart attack doesn’t scare you into controlling your blood pressure, surely a heightened risk for vascular dementia should. While Alzheimer’s is thought to be the most common form of dementia, vascular dementia follows closely behind in ranking. The two mixed together are also common, so consider yourself at risk for dementia unless you have a healthy vascular system.
For years the Alzheimer's Association has made good use of the catch phrase "what's good for the heart is good for the brain." As additional research is conducted in both areas, that simple phrase is proving to be solid thinking.The startling admission of notable researchers who attended the 2014 Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Copenhagen that a healthy lifestyle is, at this point, the best hope that we have to prevent or delay Alzheimer's symptoms underscores this concept. Not surprisingly, the lifestyle recommended for preventing Alzheimer’s disease is also the lifestyle that is recommended for staving off heart attacks and stroke.
Dr. Joseph Banker is a veteran cosmetic dentist who has contributed to several media outlets including Newsweek, Shape Magazine and DentalTown. He studied at the prestigious University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, and trained at The Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies and the Rosenthal Institute of New York University. When I learned that Dr. Banker was interested in the relationship between gum disease and Alzheimer’s I requested an interview with him. Below are Dr. Banker’s answers to my questions on the relationship between oral health and Alzheimer's disease.