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Alzheimer's Apathy Preventable with Stimulation

Depression2Lack of enjoyable, stimulating activity can lead to apathy for anyone but particularly those with Alzheimer’s disease. According to a 2013 report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), apathy is one of the most common neurobehavioral symptoms in dementia. Strong, focused stimulation can help people with Alzheimer’s disease overcome apathy. People with mild dementia will decline more quickly into severe dementia if they also suffer from apathy, therefore engaging, stimulating activities are especially vital to this group.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how to help be living with dementia overcome apathy:

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Evidence Confirms Chronic Stress Increases Alzheimer's Risk

Stress A doctoral thesis by Sara K. Bengtsson, Department of Clinical Sciences, UmeÃ¥ University, Sweden, examines the reason why chronic stress can increase one’s risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Don't panic - it's not a done deal. However, learning to manage stress is important.

 

Read full article on HealthCentral about how stress can increase risk (not cause) Alzheimer's:

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Life Experience May Offset Cognitive Decline Due to Aging

Brain5Could life experience make up for some of the effects of age on the brain? According to researchers from the School of Business Administration at the University of California, Riverside, it can and does. The research group measured a person’s decision-making ability over their entire lifespan. Using two different types of intelligence - fluid and crystallized - they found that experience and acquired knowledge from a lifetime of decision-making often offset the declining ability to learn new information. Fluid intelligence is the ability to learn and process new information. Crystallized intelligence is experience and accumulated knowledge. According to the researchers, previous studies have suggested that fluid intelligence declines as a person ages, but the studies didn’t address whether or not decision-making abilities also decline.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how the brain works (and in some ways, improves) as we age:

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What Long-term Caregiving May Be Doing to Your Health

Comfort28Most of us don't regret our years of caregiving and likely wouldn't do much differently if we could change it, but there are consequences. A study by Ohio State University in conjunction with the National Institute on Aging has shown that adult children caring for their parents, as well as parents caring for chronically ill children, may have their lifespan shortened by four to eight years.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how, without intervention, long-term caregiving can shorten your life:

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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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Delaying Alzheimer's Symptoms: Life-long Learning Helps a Significant Number of People

Books2Nearly all of us know that if we don’t use our muscles as we age, we’ll lose muscle mass. The same theory seems to hold true when it comes to keeping our minds sharp. Computer games, word games, crossword puzzles, Sudoku and other challenging mental pursuits have been advised as methods of keeping the mind healthy as we age. Now, a recent study has shown that by pursuing life-long learning, even people who are genetically at risk for Alzheimer’s disease may be able to stave off symptoms for years.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how life-long learning can help many people delay Alzheimer's symptoms:

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Hearing Aids Help Balance, Prevent Falls for Some Older People

HearingaidAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people over 65. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable. The CDC suggests these steps as a start:

Read full article on HealthCentral about how hearing aids can help prevent falls:

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Pilot Program Brings Mental Health Care to Some Elders at Home

. CaregiverWoman1..Some of that caregiver burden stems from battling to get the caregiver’s loved one bathed, dressed, and transported to medical appointments. To have the option of a house call from a medical professional is only a dream for most caregivers and their care receivers, but this small miracle is actually occurring for some fortunate people through a pilot program called Insights.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how Insights can grow to help more people in their homes:

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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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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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