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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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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:

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Aging with Ease: How Moving Right Can Make All the Difference

PhyscialtherapyistockMost of us move and sit automatically without thinking of how it affects our bodies. With age, however, our habitual movements can translate into poor posture and sore or damaged joints. Mary Derbyshire has some words of wisdom to help us age with less pain, and the approach to movement that she teaches is, well, painless. Derbyshire has taught fitness and movement for over 35 years.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how moving the right way can help us age with grace:

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

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


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:

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

“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer

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When One Parent Dies the Survivor's Need for Assistance Often Becomes More Apparent

ManGrandfatherLong-term marriages generally evolve into a support system so efficient that even adult children hardly notice changes in their parents. If Dad's hearing is poor, Mom becomes his ears. If Mom's arthritis is bad, Dad becomes her muscle. If one of them has memory loss, the other fills in the gaps so smoothly that it's barely noticeable to onlookers. Then, either Mom or Dad dies. The person remaining suddenly is more frail and needy than anyone would have expected. The surviving spouse is suffering the loss of their life partner, a shock from which they may never completely recover. Also, the person who filled in the gaps is gone, and those gaps can suddenly look like chasms.

Read full article on Agingcare about how to help the surviving parent continue on:

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Where Words Fail Music Speaks: How Music Helps People With Cognitive Disorders

Guitar2Who doesn’t know someone - or a lot of people - who informally use music for therapy? A friend of mine has a plaque on his kitchen wall near where his daughter who has severe disabilities often sits to use her switch activated devices and toys. The plaque is homey and simple but the words are powerful. It reads: Where Words Fail Music Speaks. My friend discovered years ago that playing his guitar for his daughter could connect them on a very basic level as well as bring both of them joy.

On a similar instinctive level, I kept my dad who suffered from a failed brain surgery that plunged him into dementia, well supplied with CDs from the Big Band era. This music represented the time of his life when he was, perhaps, the most care free. Very little could get Dad smiling quite like a Buddy Rich CD.

Read the full article on HealthCentral about how music can help Alzheimer's:

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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:

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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Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 2

JohnDrake...When we left Part 1 of Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas, HealthCentral and Barbara Drake were discussing, via an email interview, how health insurance, or lack thereof, affected the move to Peru. 

Barbara Drake: I should add a caveat for anyone thinking of moving an elder to Latin America. Our experience involved caring for an elderly person who was relatively healthy. Apart from Alzheimer’s, my octogenarian father didn’t have any major chronic illnesses. He had an enlarged heart that wasn’t giving him trouble at the time we moved him. Our care focus was on getting help with the daily tasks of living, not caring for someone with a chronic illness who needed serious medical interventions.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how Barbara Drake decided to take her father, who lived with Alzheimer's, to Peru:

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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Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 1

BarbaraDrakeAndJohnDrake2012Elder care in America is expensive, with Alzheimer’s topping the charts. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than half of Alzheimer’s caregivers are cutting back on everyday necessities in order to cover the cost of Alzheimer’s care. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) website carried an article published in the Health Tidbits section of the Journal of the National Medical Association that says: “Patients in most nursing homes are not receiving proper care due to a shortage of workers.” This is not to say that many U.S. nursing homes aren’t superb, but it is true that care is extremely expensive and in far too many cases, less than optimum in quality.

Read all of Eldercare Lessons from the Land of the Incas: Part 1 on HealthCentral about eldercare in Peru:

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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