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National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/


Alzheimer's Foundation of America: http://www.alzfdn.org/


Alzheimer's Association: http://www.alz.org/


National Institute on Aging (Alzheimers): http://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/

 


Articles on Seniors' Health:

 

 

14 Signs Your Elderly Parent May Be Unsafe Living Alone By Jeff Anderson

 

 

 

It can be difficult to tell the difference between normal, age-related decline and something more serious. According to Alan Gruber, M.D., a psychiatrist with a private practice in Massachusetts, there are several ways a loved one can tell if an elderly relative is losing his or her independence and may be better served and safer in a senior care home. Here are some things to look for:

 

1. Missed appointments: Failing to meet a friend or doctor without cancelling in advance may be a sign of declining health.

 

2. Maintaining hygiene: Pay attention to body odor, grooming, incontinence and dressing according to the season.

 

3. Easily disoriented: A failure to recognize familiar spaces, wandering, or getting lost in well-known areas are early signs of Alzheimer’s Disease.

 

4. Loss of memory: Forgetting something at the store is a sign of “benign” memory loss; forgetting something at the store and not remembering that you did when someone reminds you of it is “malignant,” or pathological memory impairment and bears a closer look.

 

5. Word problems: Not being able to recall a common word for something, or repeating oneself can be a symptom of dementia or mental illness.

 

6. Random check-writing: Sending money to previously unknown “charities” or other out-of-the-blue expenditures can signal an inability to exercise appropriate judgment.

 

7. Physical aggression: A senior who attacks others because they are believed to pose a threat shows an inability to control feelings of distress.

 

8. Making inaccurate assertions: Signs of dementia may include “psychotic ideation,” in which clearly untrue statements are made, such as “They’re talking about me on T.V.,” or “I saw three men in my bedroom last night.”

 

9. Unopened mail: Watch for unpaid bills or other neglected household duties.

 

10. Spoiled food: Food left unrefrigerated or kept around long after it’s “sell by” date can indicate mental instability.

 

11. Poor Nutrition: Pay attention to weight loss, loss of appetite or unwillingness to cook for themselves.

 

12. Scorched pans: These may indicate the inability to cook safely, and could pose a bigger fire hazard.

 

13. Mystery bruises: Unexplained injuries are likely to be signs of falling.

 

14. Car damage: Look for dents and scrapes that cannot be explained or recalled.  Be sure to drive with your family member to determine whether or not he or she is safe behind the wheel.

 

 

 

 

 

4 Alternative Treatments for Alzheimer’s Disease

 

Recent studies have shown that treatments traditionally given for high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions also lessen the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Discoveries like these could lead to greater and possibly more effective alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s patients. 

 

 

 

Traditional Treatments for Alzheimer’s

 

Traditional Alzheimer’s medications treat cognitive symptoms of the disease, such as memory loss, confusion, and problems with language and judgment. These drugs target protein fragments (beta-amyloids) that build up as plaques in brain cells. This buildup causes the damage that leads to Alzheimer’s.

 

Physicians will prescribe a drug regimen based on the stage of the disease. While traditional drugs can’t cure Alzheimer’s or stop brain cells from deteriorating, they can delay the disease’s progress for a certain period of time.

 

Alternative Treatments for Alzheimer’s

 

In contrast to traditional therapies, alternative treatments for Alzheimer’s have shown to lower the risk of the disease and even reverse its symptoms. Although some of the recent breakthroughs were accidental, each of the drugs listed below shows promises in making Alzheimer’s a disease of the past.

 

1. Blood pressure medicines:

 

High blood pressure is typically treated with life style changes and medications. These medicines include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and diuretics. Each of these medicines impacts the cardiovascular system in such a way as to lower blood pressure.

 

A recent study at Johns Hopkins University demonstrated how patients who took certain blood pressure medicines lowered their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent. Researchers haven’t yet been able to determine exactly why certain blood pressure medicines affect cognitive function the way they do. But their findings warrant further studies.

 

2. Diabetes treatments:

 

Scientists at Lancaster University examined the diabetes drug Victoza as a potential Alzheimer’s therapy. Victoza falls into a class of drugs designed to stimulate natural insulin production for diabetics. But researchers believed it could also prevent the buildup of beta-amyloids on brain cells.

 

They injected Victoza into mice suffering from late-stage Alzheimer’s. After two months, the drug had reduced beta-amyloid plaques on the brain by 30 percent. And it actually protected brain cells from damage. These results have led to clinical trials to determine if the drug has the same effect on humans.

 

3. Rheumatoid arthritis drugs:

 

Physicians generally prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs) to treat rheumatoid arthritis (RA). If those don’t work, they’ll look to biologics. Made of proteins, biologics inhibit areas of the immune system that contribute to inflammation.

 

At the University of Southampton, researchers have planned a study on the biologic Enbrel as an alternative treatment for Alzheimer’s. Enbrel blocks tumor-necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha), a molecule that helps immune cells communicate. Blocking TNF-alpha reduces inflammation in the body. Beta-amyloid buildup also causes inflammation that remains after standard Alzheimer’s treatments. Researchers hope that Enbrel can reduce this inflammation and, ideally, stop Alzheimer’s damage.

 

 4. Cholesterol medicines:

 

Statins are widely used to help people suffering from high cholesterol. These drugs block the action of an enzyme in the liver that produces cholesterol. If left untreated, high cholesterol can cause plaque buildup in the arteries and eventually cause heart attack or stroke.

 

Previous studies had shown that statins might cause memory loss. However, the latest research indicates that in high doses statins help prevent dementia. Scientists specifically noted high potency statins as having the greatest effects on lowering dementia risks. The FDA continues to include a warning about the cognitive effects of statins on drug labels. So further studies are needed before statins can receive approval as an Alzheimer’s treatment.

 

 

 

 

 

When is The Best Time to Visit Assisted Living Communities? by Sarah Stevenson

 

Are your loved ones reluctant to visit senior communities, like assisted living and senior care homes?

 

 As you spend time with aging family members over the holidays this year, you have the opportunity to help them overcome their hesitancy.

 

The holidays bring with them the rewards of spending time with family, including our senior loved ones—and this offers caregivers the opportunity to bring up the difficult but important topic of whether it’s time to move to a senior community.

 

Your first reaction might be “why would I want to discuss something like that during what’s supposed to be a joyful time?” The most obvious answer is, there is no “wrong time” to have discussions about your loved one’s safety and well-being. Also, during the holidays we slow down and spend more time with our families, and have more of a chance to examine issues that we might not have time for in the rush of day-to-day life. According to Alycia Altman, MSW, A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisor in Florida, “We can talk to our families every day and everything is ‘fine’ until we visit them.” Then, she says, “it can be an entirely different story.” Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-12-3-what-are-best-times-to-visit-assisted-living-facility/

 

 


 

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Assisted Living by Jeff Anderson

 

 Unless you have a loved one who lives at an assisted living community, you may not be familiar with what assisted living is and how it differs from other kinds of senior communities. Here are seven facts about assisted living facilities that are not common knowledge.

 

If you’re just beginning your search for a good senior community to care for a loved one, you may not be totally clear about what assisted living community means. It might be easy to assume that “assisted living community” is the new “nursing home” or “retirement home.” After all, marketers are always re-branding old concepts. But assisted living is not just a re-branded form of the institutional nursing homes where we visited elderly relatives prior to the 1980s. Two or three decades ago, senior living designers and senior care professionals asked, “What is it about nursing homes that make them so dreary and institutional feeling? How can we achieve the opposite?” And assisted living was born. According to the National Investment Center Investment Guide 2010, there were 6,315 professionally managed assisted living communities nationwide with approximately 475,500 apartments. We spoke a few of our caring and knowledgeable staff members at A Place for Mom who provided some great insight for our article. Here are seven facts you may not know about assisted living:

 

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/things-you-didnt-know-about-assisted-living-2-19-2012/

 

 

 

Home Care vs Assisted Living: Health and Quality of Life by Sarah Stevenson

 

assisted livingliving at homequality of lifesenior healthsenior nutrition

 

Eight reasons why an assisted living facility could be better than living at home when it comes to seniors’ quality of life and overall wellness.

 

As the baby boomers continue to enter retirement in record numbers—a group that includes my own parents—more and more of us will face the question of how to handle their changing health needs. However, many of us will also face an even more urgent request from our parents themselves: “Please don’t put me in a nursing home.” The problem is this: when mom and dad start to need more daily care, it can put pressure on family caregivers and strain on relationships. That’s where assisted living comes in. In a residential care facility where there is 24-hour access to personal care, as well as nutrition and wellness services designed specifically for older adults, seniors can enjoy social contact, security and support while still maintaining their independence. Assisted living in a senior care home is a great intermediate step for seniors who need more help than the family can provide at home, but who don’t need the round-the-clock medical care of a nursing facility. Read on for eight compelling reasons to consider assisted living in a senior care home for the health and quality of life of your loved ones. Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-07-15-quality-of-life-in-assisted-living/

 

7 Biggest Fears of Senior Living by Sarah Stevenson

 

Your aging parent might find moving into senior living to be a scary prospect. Think again! We break down the 7 biggest fears for seniors about moving into a senior care facility and why there’s nothing to be worried about.

 

If pop culture is to be believed, senior living is for grey-beards and golden girls. It’s where you go when you have nobody else to take care of you, where you go to get old and decrepit. It’s your unavoidable fate when you can’t take care of yourself anymore. Forget that dismal picture! The truth is, the vast majority of our fears of senior living are inaccurate. Especially in recent years, when baby boomers are reinventing what senior living really means, these common stereotypes are quickly falling by the wayside. Instead, what we have is a wide range of types of state-of-the-art senior care facilities, from independent living for active adults to assisted living for those who need a little day-to-day help. All of the options aim to provide older Americans with a lifestyle tailored to their individual needs and interests, while also offering the necessary care to remain physically, mentally, and socially healthy. If you or your loved one is worried about moving into senior housing, read on for answers to some of the most common fears of senior living. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-11-12-biggest-fears-of-senior-living/

 

 

 

 

 

10 Ways Families Can Stay Connected When Caring for an Aging Parent

 

by Sarah Stevenson

 

caregiverscaregivingcaring for an aging parentcommunicationfamily caregiverstaying connected

 

Whether you prefer pen and paper or your mobile device, harness the communication tools at your fingertips to help your family stay connected with senior loved ones.

 

As many as 15 percent of caregivers must travel an hour or more when caring for an aging parent, either still living in a personal residence, or at a senior care home facility with dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association’s latest Facts and Figures report. Long-distance caregiving can lead to difficulties with communication, coordinating care, and handling expenses, not to mention the emotional burden of caring for someone who lives far away. As a result, caregivers have had to come up with creative ways of addressing the problem of staying connected with their loved ones and coordinating with other family members. Luckily, our own personal computers, phones, and other technological devices are there to help out, and the past few years have seen the advent of numerous websites and software applications tailored to the needs ofcaregivers. And, of course, there’s always snail mail, written notes, and face-to-face contact. Whether you prefer modern technology or old-fashioned pen and paper, we’ve compiled a list of tips to help seniors and their families stay in contact and monitor ongoing caregiving needs. Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-04-09-caring-for-an-aging-parent/

 

 

 

Dangers of Seniors Living Alone 

 by Sarah Stevenson

aging in place, choosing senior care, living alone, living at home, residential care, seniors living alone

 

 

 

More older Americans are living alone in their homes, but a startling number of those seniors are experiencing social isolation and dementia symptoms. The results of a decades long study from the University College London on the impact of loneliness and isolation has shown that both loneliness and infrequent contact with friends and family can, independently, shorten a person’s life. Living alone may be more dangerous than we thought.

 

It may not come as much of a surprise that nearly 90% of people over age 65 want to stay at home for as long as possible, according to a 2011 survey by the AARP. Living at home and staying in a familiar community may offer benefits to seniors’ emotional well-being—but research indicates that a staggering number of seniors who should be receiving assisted living care services are still living at home—in many cases, alone. To some of us, the answer may seem obvious:  make the move to an assisted living facility, in care homes  where social activity, health monitoring and medication management is all included. However, moving to a senior care facility can be an emotional and difficult decision, particularly if your loved one is not keen on moving. For more information on the topic, read our guide to assisted living vs. in-home care.

 

More Seniors At Risk of Living in Social Isolation

 

The Administration on Aging reports that about 29%, or 11.3 million older adults lived alone in 2010. The percentage gets even higher for those over 75: almost half (47% ) of women aged 75 and older lived alone. For the oldest old—centenarians, who have lived to age 100 or older—about a third live alone, according to U.S. Census data.

 

At the same time, it’s estimated that over 12% of seniors 65 and older—more than 5 million—need assistance with long-term care to perform activities of daily life (Kaiser Family Foundation). Some estimates are even higher. Those seniors who are low-income or live in poverty are even more likely to live at home rather than in a facility, even if they require more care. The numbers for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia are, quite frankly, startling: of the 60-to-70% of seniors with dementia living in the community, 25% live alone, reports theAlzheimer’s Association. Andrew Steptoe, a professor of psychology at University College London, says he was surprised by the results of the social isolation study. “Both social isolation and loneliness appeared initially to be associated with a greater risk of dying,” he says. “But it was really the isolation which was more important.”

 

When Living Alone is Unsafe for Seniors

 

If we want our loved ones to remain safe and healthy, it’s important to make sure their environment is appropriate to their physical needs—particularly if they’re showing early signs of cognitive impairment. If you  notice that your loved one needs help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing, they may have decreased cognitive functioning associated with early or middle stage dementia. Even in their own home, the combination of poor eyesight and minor safety hazards can put seniors at risk for falls, broken hips and even death. Keeping track of physical symptoms, mental health, and senior nutrition is of critical importance. Warning signs that living alone is no longer safe for an older adult:

 

  • Medication management issues
  • Poor eyesight
  • Social isolation
  • Forgetting appointments
  • Unable to keep up with daily chores and housekeeping
  • Poor nutrition or malnutrition
  • Home safety hazards such as poor lighting and loose carpeting
  • Unable to pay bills on time

 

 

 

When is The Best Time to Visit Assisted Living Communities?by Sarah Stevenson

 

Are your loved ones reluctant to visit senior communities? As you spend time with aging family members over the holidays this year, you have the opportunity to help them overcome their hesitancy.

 

The holidays bring with them the rewards of spending time with family, including our senior loved ones—and this offers caregivers the opportunity to bring up the difficult but important topic of whether it’s time to move to a senior care home. Your first reaction might be “why would I want to discuss something like that during what’s supposed to be a joyful time?” The most obvious answer is, there is no “wrong time” to have discussions about your loved one’s safety and well-being. Also, during the holidays we slow down and spend more time with our families, and have more of a chance to examine issues that we might not have time for in the rush of day-to-day life. According to Alycia Altman, MSW, A Place for Mom Senior Living Advisor in Florida, “We can talk to our families every day and everything is ‘fine’ until we visit them.” Then, she says, “it can be an entirely different story.” Read the rest of the article:http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-12-3-what-are-best-times-to-visit-assisted-living-facility/

 

 

 

 

 

 



Why Does Music Help Dementia Patients Recall Memories and Emotions? Nov 13, 2013 by Alissa Saur

  

1. Music evokes emotions that bring memories 

 

Music can evoke emotion in even the seniors with the most advanced of Alzheimer’s. Neurologist  Oliver Sacks says that, “”Music evokes emotion, and emotion can bring with it memory… it brings back the feeling of life when nothing else can”. By pairing music with every day activities, seniors in care homes can develop a rhythm that helps them to the recall the memory of that activity, improving cognitive ability over time.

 

2. Musical aptitude and appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in dementia seniors in elderly care homes 

 

Linda Maguire, lead author on the study wrote, “Musical aptitude and music appreciation are two of the last remaining abilities in seniors with Alzheimer’s Disease.” Because these two abilities remain long after other abilities have passed, music is an excellent way to reach beyond the disease and reach the person.

 

3. Music can bring emotional and physical closeness to seniors in elderly care retirement homes

 

In the later stages of dementia, patients often lose the ability to share emotions with caregivers. Through music, as long as they are ambulatory, they can often dance. Dancing can lead to hugs, kisses, and touching which brings security and memories.

 

4. Singing is engaging

 

The singing sessions in the study engaged more than just the brain area related to singing. Listening to the music sparked activity in the right side of the brain, while singing activated the left side of the brain and watching the class be led in song activated visual areas. With so much of the brain being engaged and activated, the patients were exercising more brain power than usual.

 

5. Music can shift mood, manage stress, and stimulate positive interactions in retirment homes and those in senior care

 

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America has an entire web page dedicated to music therapy in Alzheimer’s patients. They say that, “When used appropriately, music can shift mood, manage stress-induced agitation, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function, and coordinate motor movements.”. This is because music requires little to no mental processing, so singing music does not require the cognitive function absent in many dementia sufferers and this can be witnessed daily with any seniors in retirement homes.

 

 

 

Common Aging Myths

 

 

 

Most of us look at aging with dread - as an inevitable process of declining physical and mental abilities, accompanied by a steady erosion of personal freedom. But many of these expectations are incorrect. 

Consider the following myths of aging - and why they are wrong:

 

Myth 1 - Dementia is inevitable. In fact, symptoms like memory loss and confusion are often a result of undiagnosed illnesses or even malnutrition. Many researchers believe that physical and intellectual exercise can significantly reduce the likelihood of those in elderly care.   

 

 

 

Myth 2 - If you haven't exercised earlier in life it's too late when you reach your golden years. It's really never too late, and one widely reported study found that 50 older men and women who worked out with weights for 10 weeks increased their muscle strength 113%.

 

 

 

Myth 3 - Sex ends when you age. Sexual activity is related more to health than age. In a study of 3,005 people, women who rated their health as very good or excellent were 79% more likely to be sexually active than women who rated their health more poorly.

 

 

 

Myth 4 - Aging people are naturally depressed. While older people may tend to be more depressed, and depression can lead to other health problems, it is highly treatable. However, many people are reluctant to seek help for depression.  

 

 

 

Myth 5 - Arthritis pain and disability is inevitable. Age doesn't cause arthritis! Taking preventive measures earlier in life - losing weight, avoiding high heels, moderating joint-jolting exercises - can help prevent arthritis. Regular exercise can also help.  

 

 

 

Of course, health and mobility problems do increase with age, and if you or a loved one needs elderly care, senior care homes, or retirement homes, can provide help on a full-time or respite basis.

 

 

 

Good Hygiene Linked to Increase of Alzheimer’s Sep 17, 2013 by Jessica Gwinn

 

Alzheimer’s is on the rise in the developed world more so than poorer nations, and this can be seen in the increase in senior care homes specializing in elderly care of seniors with Alheimer's disease. But why? Recent research finds a direct correlation between good hygiene and greater incidences of Alzheimer’s. It turns out that cleanliness may not be quite next to godliness after all. This news is a wake up call that it may be better to just stick to ordinary soaps – rather than the chemical-laden antibacterial kind – and not make such a fuss about every germ. Those germs and those bacteria may be good for you after all.

 

 

 

When I was about five, the kids next door had chicken pox. As soon as my mom found out, she sent me over there to play. I still remember the terrible itchiness when I broke out in red bumps after I’d contracted it from them almost immediately. Back in the day, our parents recognized that exposure to germs and even common diseases were actually good for strengthening our immune systems. And, as studies show, that really hasn’t changed. New research from the Oxford Journal has found a strong link between wealthy, sanitized countries and a higher rate of Alzheimer’s disease.  This new research led by Dr. Molly Fox, lead author of the study, across 192 countries, suggests that the lack of exposure to bacteria creates a poorly developed immune system, leaving your brain at risk for inflammation. Read the rest of the article: http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-09-17/good-hygiene-and-alzheimers/

 

 

 

7 Things You Can Do to Help End Alzheimer’s Disease Sep 17, 2013 by Jeff Anderson

 

Alzheimer’s impacts countless Americans. More than 15 million Americans care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s according to the Alzheimer’s Association report 2011 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. And the family of these caregivers are in turn impacted by the disease. Furthermore, it’s not just the very old who get Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s often takes our best and brightest, and far too early. Up to 5% of people with Alzheimer’s developed it before age 65 according to the National Institute for Health (NIH). That’s why we all need to get involved to end Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Here are seven things you can do to fight Alzheimer’s and help find a cure. This post complements the AlzheimersNetinfographic (at right), which you can click to view in full size.

 

1. Join a Clinical Trial or Study:

 

Clinical trials allow doctors to learn what works and does not work in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Participating in a trial is not without risk, but when you or a loved one joins a Alzheimer’s trial, you help increase our understanding of the disease and bring the medical community that much closer to the cure. You also often receive free expert medical care at leading healthcare facilities while participating in the trial. The NIH Alzheimer’s Trial Referral Center has a great resource on their website for finding Alzheimer’s and dementia clinical trials in your area.

 

2. Consider Genetic Testing

 

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s, you may be interested in assessing genetic risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by having your DNA analyzed. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends that any genetic testing be done along with appropriate pre-test and post-test counseling.

 

3. Contact Elected Officials

 

Alzheimer’s disease will not be cured unless there is money to fund research. Government officials hold the purse-strings, so getting them involved is a crucial part of the process. Even “budget-hawks” have to recognize that, considering the projected costs associated with Alzheimer’s disease, research for the cure is money well spent. Let your elected officials in DC know how important finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease is. It’s easy to identify and contact your elected officials at www.USA.gov. Furthermore, as social media gains influence, consider contacting your Senators and US House Legislators through channels like Twitter, and don’t forget to use the hashtag #ENDALZ. You can also make a difference at the ballot box by voting for officials who respect science and value medical research.

 

4. Get Educated

 

Yes, it’s a cliché, but knowledge is power. Learn more about Alzheimer’s risk factors, treatments, and myths. There are a number of superb books and online resources. Our Alzheimer’s Care page has links to a number of fine resources, and the Alzheimer’s and dementia section of our blog is another great starting point for anyone researching Alzheimer’s or related types of dementia . The new AlzheimersNet site is a great and growing resource as well. If you’re devoted to senior and elderly care as an Alzheimer’s care giver, working in senior care homes, or doing in-home care, bookmark all these sites.

 

5. Speak Up if You See the Symptoms

 

If you notice that you or a loved one has the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or a related kind of dementia, make sure a medical appointment is arranged. Don’t just pretend nothing is happening. There’s a good chance what you believe may be Alzheimer’s symptoms is actually normal age related memory loss, but more thorough testing is certainly in order. The sooner an illness is recognized, the earlier physicians can begin to address it.

 

6. Sign the Stop Alzheimer’s Petition

 

Be counted and sign the Stop Alzheimer’s Petition by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to help fight Alzheimer’s disease.

 

7. Join the Fight Against Alzheimer’s

 

Contribute however you’re able in the noble fight against Alzheimer’s disease. In the United States, the Alzheimer’s Association is the foremost Alzheimer’s nonprofit. They organize numerous fundraising events, such as the Alzheimer’s Walk.

 

 

 

14 Ways to Help Seniors Avoid Isolation Aug 14, 2013 by Jeff Anderson

 

Social isolation among seniors is alarmingly common, and will continue to increase in prevalence as the older population grows. “A Review of Social Isolation” notes that the prevalence of social isolation among “community dwelling older adults” (seniors who live at home rather than in some form of senior or elderly care, or retirment homes) may be as high as 43%: “With a prevalence of over 40% and the sheer number of older persons projected to increase exponentially in the near future, social isolation will likely impact the health, well-being and quality of life of numerous older person now and in the foreseeable future.” Considering the demonstrated risks and the increasing prevalence of this issue, it’s certainly worth addressing how we can promote social integration at the larger social level, among our older loved ones, and even ourselves – for it has been shown that family caregivers are themselves at a high risk of social isolation. Here are 14 ways to promote social health and connectedness outside of the senior care home environment. Read the rest of the article:  http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/help-seniors-avoid-social-isolation-8-14-2014/

 

How Can Montessori Methods Help Alzheimer’s Patients?August 14, 2013 by Ann Nepoletan

 

 

 

Most often associated with early childhood education, the Montessori Method of teaching was developed at the turn of the 20th century by Dr. Maria Montessori. This child-centered (or person-centered in the case ofAlzheimer’s) approach relies heavily on muscle memory as well as use of the five senses to stimulate various parts of the brain. What, then, does all of this have to do with Alzheimer’s?  Well, Tom and Karen Brenner are Montessori gerontologists and authors of You Say Goodbye and We Say Hello: The Montessori Method for Positive Dementia CareTogether they are looking to change the way dementia senior care is delivered to those in retirement homes, in elderly care, or at-home senior care. The premise is to build a program of senior care based on each individual’s strengths, interests, and needs. Activities are created using materials that elicit memories or bear some sense of familiarity to patients. The exercises encourage use of repetitive muscle memory as well as multiple senses. The Brenners note that great value lies in using sensory cues to unlock memories that may otherwise never reach the surface. For instance, presenting a patient with several bundles of fresh herbs may jog long buried memories. With no goading at all – just presentation of something as simple as fresh herbs, a dementia patient known for his difficult behavior melts into a gentle soul reminiscing about his mother’s garden. Another senior living in a care home immediately connected with a fishing tackle box containing interesting lures and bobbers in varying sizes. This gentleman who had always been extremely withdrawn from those around him in the care home, began to come out of his shell the moment his eye caught the box and its contents. Suddenly, the emptiness in his eyes was replaced by joy and a sense of connection. Read the rest of the article: http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-08-14/montessori-methods-for-alzheimers/

 

 

 

Join Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative Today

 

August 12, 2013 by Dana Larsen

 

The heart wrenching disease Alzheimer’s means more to the average American these days as it is one of the nation’s leading epidemics. As the population ages, Alzheimer’s is, quite simply, touching more lives inside and outside of the care home environment; the elderly, their friends, kids and grandkids.  By 2050, it is estimated that 15% of the nation’s population will be at risk for the disease, according to U.S. News and World Report. Everyone is being affected, whether they are diagnosed with the debilitating disease or know someone who has it; not confined to those in senior care homes. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.4 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including one in eight older Americans—and that statistic is expected to more than double in the next 40 years. And since it’s the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top 10 in the U.S. that cannot be prevented, cured or even slowed—the nation needs to begin preparing for the Silver Tsunami. But the problem is that while the government spends $200 billion dollars annually on care, less than 1% is spent on research. Read the rest of the article:  http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-8-12-alzheimers-prevention-initiative/

 

 

 

What Role Does Diet Play in Alzheimer’s? August 12, 2013 By Ann Napoletan

 

 The Alzheimer’s Diet, a 2012 book written by Richard Isaacson, MD, and Christopher Ochner, Ph.D., strongly suggests that by changing what we eat, we can significantly reduce our dementia risk and improve overall brain health. In fact, they even believe that proper diet can slow progression of these diseases. The book stresses the brain boosting power of protein, and recommends maximizing high-quality lean proteins such as egg whites, wild salmon, lake trout, albacore tuna, white-meat chicken and turkey (skin removed), and lean hormone-free beef. Dairy products? Stick to low- and non-fat options. With regard to fruits and vegetables, the authors suggest berries, with strawberries and blueberries getting especially high marks.  They also advise loading your plate with vegetables and being extra generous when reaching for dark leafy greens like kale, spinach, chard, and collard greens. The Alzheimer’s Diet, used in many senior care homes specializing in Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, recommends moderation when it comes to mono- and polyunsaturated fats as well as complex carbohydrates. Examples include extra-virgin olive oil, peanuts, avocados, nuts (walnuts, pecans), seeds (chia seeds, flaxseeds), and whole grains. Add these items here and there for variety, but don’t go overboard. Saturated fats, fried foods, and simple carbohydrates like white bread, cane sugar, and corn syrup should be greatly minimized if not avoided altogether. Also, watch out for things sold under the guise of good health, such as muffins and dried fruits; these are often loaded with sugar. Researchers have also touted the traditional Mediterranean diet as one that improves brain health, and with dementia less prevalent in that part of the world, one has to wonder if they’re onto something. This diet limits red meat, sugar, and processed carbohydrates, allows moderate consumption of fish, eggs, and low-fat dairy, and suggests lentils and legumes, extra-virgin olive oil, and a bounty of fruits and vegetables (the darker, the better). At the end of the day, perhaps the award for best common sense approach is striving for a well-balanced diet. Whether or not you choose to follow a formal plan, it certainly can’t hurt to maximize the good and minimize the bad. As cliché as it sounds, our bodies are miraculous machines fueled by what we put in them. Perhaps there is no better example to illustrate the expression “garbage in, garbage out.”

 

 

 

Dementia Care: What in the World is a Dementia Village? Aug 7, 2013

 

In the municipality of Weesp, not far from Amsterdam, sits the village of Hogewey. At first glance, it looks like any other village, complete with shops, restaurants, and even a movie theater.  There are apartments surrounding a lovely courtyard complete with rippling ponds, trickling fountains, vibrant seasonal flowers, and benches perfect for enjoying a sunny afternoon. This village, however, is quite unique. Hogewey is a retirement home to 152 men and women living with severe dementia. The retirement home community has 23 residential units, each shared by 6 to 8 senior residents. Around-the-clock care is provided by 240 “villagers” who are actually trained geriatric nurses and caregivers dressed in street clothes. The staff takes care of everything from cooking meals and planning activities to assisting with bathing, personal care, and medications. Even the individuals staffing the various retirement home village “businesses” are trained in dementia senior care. Read the rest of the article:http://www.alzheimers.net/2013-08-07/dementia-village/

 

 

 

 

Dementia Dogs: Enriching Life In Countless Ways

August 04, 2013by Ann Napoletan

 

This summer, the news has been full of wonderful dementia advocacy stories from across the Atlantic. Support and awareness are growing across Europe, and innovative ideas just keep coming. Students from the Glasgow School of Art in Glasgow, Scotland, are responsible for a brilliant new project that has the potential to enrich the lives of dementia sufferers worldwide. A golden retriever and Labrador retriever are demonstrating that the canine crowd can increase quality of life for both elderly care patients and their caregivers. More than just pets, Oscar and Kaspa are trained dementia dogs, and their owners have been pleasantly surprised at how quickly they’ve made an enormously positive impact. With help from Alzheimer Scotland, Dogs for the Disabled, and Guide Dogs Scotland, both dogs received 18 months of training and have been with their families for about four months. They’ve been taught to nudge senior owners to read reminder notes, wake them in the morning, and fetch medicine pouches when prompted by an alarm. In addition, they can help with exercise and other owner-identified reminders. Senior care givers Glenys Will and Frank Benham credit the dogs for their spouses being happier and more relaxed, as well as enabling them to get out and about with less worry. Benham says that he’s seen his wife Maureen’s confidence rise with Oscar by her side, often serving as a conversation-starter in social situations. Likewise, Will notes that Kaspa has a knack for sensing when her husband is becoming agitated and can redirect him before things deteriorate any further. According to the Dementia Dog website, the program’s overarching goals include helping dementia residents in senior care homes or at home, to maintain their routines, allowing them to remain active, and providing a constant companion who serves as a reassuring anchor in stressful or unfamiliar situations. The organization is also exploring intervention dogs to work with patients’ support teams as well as a elderly care facility dog program to improve the physical and emotional well being of those living in senior care facilities and retirement homes.

 

 

 

4 Ways to Soothe Sundowner’s Symptoms

Aug 02, 2013by Dana Larsen

 

What is the most difficult time of day for senior care givers dealing with Alzheimer’s and dementia in senior care homes and retirement homes? Many agree that the evening hours can be especially challenging as Sundowner’s Syndrome is ever-present in the after-hours. What is Sundowner’s? In simple terms, it is an ailment that causes symptoms of confusion that often occurs after sundown. But the condition is anything but simple. The mind is complex and when someone suffers from dementia and Alzheimer’s, it complicates matters further. As the brain deteriorates it’s normal to have confusion. And end-of-day is when people are typically overtired and overstimulated which can then be overwhelming. All of these “over-adjectives” speak volumes as sundowner’s can be very rough on not only the sufferer, but also on caregivers. If the mind is not processing normally, this only adds to nighttime woes. Let’s think for a minute. Healthy people in their prime are often moody at night. Children—who don’t know any better—tend to act up at night. So when someone has a disease in the brain, it only makes sense that darkness in tandem with exhaustion propagates behavioral issues. As mentioned in a previous post onsundowning and dementia, natural circadian rhythms respond to the loss of sunlight; it’s a very human response to be more depressed at night. But the issues are just heightened in dementia sufferers. So what do you do? Well everyone is different, but there are ways to help make life a little easier during those dusk hours.

Top Ways To Ease Sundowning

  1. 1.1.
  2. 2.2.Encourage Light and Positive Ambiance. Keeping rooms well-lit helps enhance the mood and distracts from the fact that it’s dark outside. Having some music playing that your loved one enjoys can also help boost spirits and encourage happy reminiscing and memories. And if there’s a window, allow for light exposure in the morning to help set a natural internal clock.
  3. 3.3.Encourage an Active Day. It’s no secret that keeping an active mind and body with stimulating and healthy activities and exercises is good for body, mind and soul. This is especially true for those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Being cognizant of a healthy balance of activity, designed for the individual senior, is what’s important. Whether it’s encouraging exercise, such as walking or gardening, or nourishing the mind through a trip to the museum or by reading an appropriate book or watching a comforting show—stimulating mental engagement gives your loved one purpose, and communal living in senior care homes or retirement homes helps to provide such stimulation.
  4. 4.4.Think About an Appropriate Medication. Sometimes, if nothing else is working, it may be time to consider an appropriate medication. There are specific medications on the market for those with Sundowner’s, so talk to your loved ones doctor about what may be right for him or her.

 

 

 

Picture It: How Art Helps Dementia Patient

Aug 05, 2013 by Jennifer Wegerer

 

Studies show that art therapy can enhance communication, brain function and social interaction for dementia patients. In fact, visual art can trigger dormant memories and emotions, inspiring conversations among these patients who normally struggle to express themselves. What’s more, when dementia patients create the art themselves, that activity stimulates the whole brain. Instead of just responding to images, patients must plan, remember, create patterns and use motor skills. Because of art’s effects on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, several museums have initiated programs aimed at older adults suffering from these conditions. Here are just a few examples.

 

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America affirms that art making, in a community setting such as senior care home or at home, can “excite the imagination of people with dementia.” Not to mention, creating art can help a patient recover motor skills similar to how they would in rehabilitation. “People still have imaginations intact even at the very, very end of their progressive disease,” explains Judy Holstein, director of Chicago’s CJE Senior Life Day Service. “Art therapy gives patents a way to express that resilient spirit.”

Other advantages to art making for dementia patients are that it gives patients an outlet for expression and promotes relaxation and improved mood. Another benefit, though, is that art provides interaction among young and old family members who can share in the activity. Picture a grandchild finally having the chance to communicate with a grandparent who’d all but lost all forms of self-expression. The image is beautiful. Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-8-3-art-therapy-dementia/

 

 

 

A History of Caring for Our Elders

For as long as there have been people there has been elderly care . This year archaeologists unearthed bones of an early human who lived approximately 500,000 thousand years ago. Analysis showed the bones belonged to an aged and disabled man who would have trouble walking or carrying the slightest load. To live as long as he did despite his disability, he must have had support from others in his group. This suggests that that elderly care is at least half a million years old and that caring and empathy are core human traits. In Ancient Greece and Rome, elderly people who required care had to rely on their children or extended family. For example, in Ancient Greece, Athenian law required that children care for their aging parents, and the punishment was loss of citizenship (the second most severe punishment for Athenians, besides execution). This arrangement did not change much for about 2,000 years. From antiquity all the way through the nineteenth century, senior care was ultimately the responsibility of the elder's family. Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/history-caring-for-elders-08-06-2013/

 

When Are You Old? Perspectives on Aging and Old Age July 24 by Jeff Anderson

Are you old? No matter what your age, in a retirement home or not, chances are you will say “no.” American seniors are feeling better than ever. A recent study by the Pew Research Center found that only 21% of Americans aged 65 to 74 say that they feel old. Even among people over 75, only 35% call themselves old. In another study, Harvard University researchers surveyed Americans aged between 55 and 74 and found that the average person in this age group feels 12 years younger than their age. Older people also indicate that they are significantly happier than their middle-aged selves according to a surprising study that was reported about in The Economist. The researchers found that when you look across a person’s whole lifespan, their overall happiness tends to have U-bend trajectory, with young people and older people tending to be happiest and middle-age often being a lower point. Interestingly, the researchers said that this type of pattern can be observed across cultures, throughout the world. A separate study of seniors in retirement homes that we blogged about recently seems to add credence to claims that seniors are among the happiest age groups. Read the rest of the article: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/are-you-old-aging-old-age-7-24-13/

 

 

3 Unexpected Benefits of Later Retirement

Jul 17, 2013 by Dana Larsen

1. Retiring Later May Prevent Alzheimer’s and Dementia

A sound mind requires work, according to new research by INSERM, the French government’s health research agency. The “use it or lose it” theory of exercising the brain and staying mentally sharp is true. Scientist Carole Dufouil comments, “For each additional year of work, the risk of getting dementia is reduced by 3.2 percent.” Why is this? Working tends to keep people socially connected, physically active and mentally challenged—all necessary ingredients to help prevent mental decline.

About 35 million people worldwide have dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common type. In the U.S., about 5 million have Alzheimer’s—1-in-9 people aged 65 and over. What causes the mind-robbing disease isn’t known and there is no cure or any treatments that slow its progression. However, INSERM and other scientific studies, including one from King’s College in London, show that keeping the brain engaged and active, as well as, maintaining human relationships is important in slowing or combating dementia. “It’s more staying cognitively active, staying socially active, continue to be engaged in whatever it is that’s enjoyable to you” that’s important, Dufouil notes. And while some people will volunteer and stay socially engaged with their families, friends and communities after retirement, many do not. Personality and individual drive is a huge factor, in this instance. And for retirees who live alone, work gives them contact to the outside world.  Staying cognitively engaged is also important; and work tends to keep the brain engaged. So if someone is no longer working, they’ll need to focus on mind-exercising activities, such as chess, cards, reading and/or number crunching through sports or other hobbies.

2. A Few Extra Years of Work Cushion Your Retirement Fund (And Give Longer Health Coverage!)

Millions of American workers are facing a tough financial dilemma when it comes to planning for the day when they head to a retirement home. Modern medical technology is allowing people to live longer and healthier lives, but the savings necessary to sustain them through their declining years just isn’t there. As a result, many Americans have decided to extend their careers and work into their late 60s, through their 70s, in the hopes of enjoying a more financially secure retirement. Even retiring at one position to be hired for work at another company is an option to help sustain finances. Another financial benefit to working later is the extended healthcare coverage that you will continue to receive through your employer. The cost of health insurance premiums for the elderly can be devastating in some cases, such as where the insured has serious health problems. And long-term care or critical illness coverage can make all the difference. Also, by working longer, you gain benefits along with increased personal savings as well as Social Security benefits. If you defer your Social Security benefits until age 70 or later, then you can expect to have to save 25% more for your retirement than if you started receiving benefits at your normal retirement age.

3. The Government is Not Prepared for the Silver Tsunami

Worldwide, the percentage of adults over age 65 is expected to double—from 7-to-14% of the total—by the year 2040. According to U.S. News & World Report, for the next 20 years, about 10,000 baby boomers will turn 65 each day. This is a scary number when we look at the government resources available to support this large of an elderly population. And while the new realities are not ideal from a government perspective, they can definitely be depressing for Americans who have been diligently working for 30+ years to enjoy a fulfilling golden years’ existence. The oldest baby boomers turned 60 in 2006, and when the trend peaks in 2030, the number of people over age 65 will soar to 71.5 million—that’s 1-in-5 Americans. The aging population boom will put tremendous stress on the resources and services that communities provide for older adults. Government resources, such as Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security simply don’t have the funding to support such a large senior population. Not only that, with the price of health care increasing along with long-term care costs and a shortage of senior housing, the nation has some serious planning to do in the near future. According to a recent Gallup poll, expectant retirement age has been steadily increasing since the mid 1990s and has reached a new expectant retirement age of 67 as many seniors were hit by the recession. The silver lining? Nourishing our minds and bodies contributes to latter years’ quality of life. Pardon the cliché, but our bodies really are “well-oiled machines” that need pampering, maintenance and care. The average life expectancy in the U.S. is 78 years, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which means that exercising, eating a healthy diet and keeping our minds engaged and happy (and yes—working longer, in some instances) helps us enjoy a more active, mentally sound retirement. The Journal of Geriatric Medicine recommends to all seniors that the best way to keep mind and body healthy “is to combine keeping physically active with eating a balanced diet and getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly.” You may have to work longer than anticipated. But taking the time to have a paradigm shift to appreciate how work can actually enhance your life—and possibly postpone Alzheimer’s and the need for a retirement home or senior care —definitely provides a healthy perspective.

 

 

3 Causes of Sudden Confusion in the Elderly

 

July 22, 2013by Ann Napoletan

 

While we know dementia is a common problem in the elderly, in and out of senior care homes, it’s important to be aware that various conditions can intensify its symptoms. Even individuals with no prior history can exhibit severe confusion when faced with UTIs, dehydration, or surgical anesthesia. Always take preventative measures where possible and be on the lookout for early signs of trouble.

Urinary Tract Infections

UTIs are one of the common causes of confusion in the elderly; in fact, this is often the first thing doctors test for when treating an older patient that presents with confusion. Symptoms include:

  1. a.oConfusion, unusual behavior, or sudden change in mental status
  2. b.oSudden inability to perform tasks they can typically perform with ease
  3. c.oUrine that appears cloudy, red, bright pink, or brownish in color
  4. d.oStrong, persistent urge to urinate and/or passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  5. e.oPain while urinating
  6. f.oUrine having a strong odor

Urinary tract infections should be treated with antibiotics immediately to avoid complications. Steps that can be taken to reduce risk of UTI include drinking plenty of water, maintaining good hygiene, taking showers instead of baths, and avoiding use of feminine products such as powders and sprays in the genital area.

Dehydration

Another very common problem that can result in confusion, particularly in the extreme summer heat, is dehydration. Contributing factors include changes in the body’s water/sodium balance and decreasing thirst recognition, both deemed a normal part of the aging process. Medications can also have an impact, along with incontinence fears; some seniors tend to limit fluid intake to reduce incontinence issues, but that is a recipe for disaster. Individuals with cognitive and mobility issues, whether living at home or in a care facility require extra help staying hydrated. Even those who are mostly independent, living outside of senior care homes, often need reminders since they may not necessarily “feel” thirsty. Steer clear of diuretic beverages like those containing caffeine, devise a reminder system, and keep cold drinks within close reach; if your loved one spends the majority of his or her time upstairs and the kitchen is downstairs, consider a mini fridge for the second floor. Convenience is a major key to success. Finally, if you’re having difficulty keeping them hydrated, get creative with presentation. Rather than continually serving plain water, try a variety of juices, infuse water with lemon or cucumber for added flavor, and include fruits and vegetables high in water content. At the top of the list on many senior care home menus, are melons, strawberries, grapefruit, oranges, cucumbers, celery, zucchini, and tomatoes. At the first sign of dehydration, offer a sports drink to help hydrate and boost electrolytes, and don’t hesitate to call the doctor for further assessment.

 

Anesthesia

An article from Today’s Geriatric Medicine suggested that anywhere between 10 and 40% of older surgical patients experience postoperative delirium. This tends to be more prevalent after emergency or major surgeries, and the condition can last for several weeks. Individuals suffering from depression or in the early stages of dementia are also at higher risk. For the best experience possible, it is suggested that the anesthesiologist be provided with as much medical history as possible, including a complete list of medications and supplements being taken, their dosage, and frequency. If your loved one has experienced postsurgical confusion in the past, be sure to communicate that ahead of time as it may have a bearing on the drugs used during surgery. Barry Friedberg, MD, goes so far as to suggest older patients request use of a brain monitor during surgery to help gauge how much medication is needed. Without a monitor, Friedberg says most doctors will err on the side of too much rather than too little, fearing they won’t administer enough of the drugs. In order to address special needs of elderly patients, some hospitals have geriatric anesthesiologists on staff to specifically address elderly care . Be sure to ask about this option well in advance.

 

 

What is the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project?

July 14, 2013 by Ann Napoletan

 

The fact is the majority of hospital workers and retirement home workers in elderly care are not trained in the unique needs of Alzheimer’s and dementiapatients. To further complicate matters, they are understaffed which means every moment is precious. Simply put, dementia patients often do not receive the special care they require if they are not in a care home specializing in dementia, and the results can be disastrous. Gary LeBlanc is doing something about this. LeBlanc is founder of the Alzheimer’s/Dementia Hospital Wristband Project, currently being piloted at Brooksville Regional Hospital in Hernando County, Florida. Having had nightmarish experiences of his own as his father’s primary caregiver, he saw a need and jumped into action. The premise is simple, but getting there is going to take a lot of hard work. The wristband project does several things:

  • Upon admission, patients with a prior diagnosis have a Purple Angel affixed to their standard issue hospital wristband for identification purposes.
  • A Purple Angel is placed on their door so that anyone entering knows they should approach with the patient’s special needs in mind.
  • Hospital staff, volunteers, senior care home workers and first responders receive training developed by LeBlanc in partnership with theAlzheimer’s Association-Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.
  • Use of “sitters” will become standard practice, allowing families to take much needed breaks without worrying that their loved one will be left alone.
  • A dementia screening will be added to the admission process in hopes of identifying cognitive impairment even if there is no prior diagnosis.

Read the rest of the article: http://www.caregivers.com/dementia-and-alzheimers/alzheimers-hospital-wristband-project/



Assisted Living vs. Home Care: Health and Quality of Life Jul 15, 2013 by Sarah Stevenson

Eight reasons why an assisted living facility could be better than living at home when it comes to seniors’ quality of life and overall wellness. As the baby boomers continue to enter retirement in record numbers—a group that includes my own parents—more and more of us will face the question of how to handle their changing health needs. However, many of us will also face an even more urgent request from our parents themselves: “Please don’t put me in a nursing home.” The problem is this: when mom and dad start to need more daily care, it can put pressure on family caregivers and strain on relationships. That’s where assisted living comes in. In a residential care home facility where there is 24-hour access to personal care, as well as nutrition and wellness services designed specifically for older adults, seniors can enjoy social contact, security and support while still maintaining their independence. Assisted living is a great intermediate step in elderly care for seniors who need more help than the family can provide at home, but who don’t need the round-the-clock medical care of a nursing facility. Read on for eight compelling reasons to consider assisted living for the health and quality of life of your loved ones. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-07-15-quality-of-life-in-assisted-living/

 

 

Seizures Linked to Early Alzheimer’s Disease July 11, 2013 by Dana Larsen

Well new research conducted by the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in San Franciscouncovered that patients with early onset and transient symptoms in early Alzheimer’s disease may also be experiencing seizures. In fact, epilepsy is being connected to early onset Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s occurs as much as 7 years sooner in individuals who endure seizures. And this new information gives researchers insight into developing a cure seniors suffering from for the debilitating disease in senior care homes and at home. According to Keith Vossel, MD, MSc and colleagues at the Gladstone Institute, “Careful identification and treatment of epilepsy in such patients may improve their clinical course.” They further add that “findings add to the mounting evidence that Alzheimer’s disease-related neural network hypersynchrony is an early and potentially treatable component of the disease.” It’s no secret that the government is on a mission to find a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025. The effects seizures have on the cognitive impairment of the brain helps give insight into finding a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-7-11-seizures-linked-early-alzheimers/

 

Loss of Appetite in Elderly: Causes and How to Cope Jan 23, 2013 by Sarah Stevenson

You’ve asked, and we’ve answered. Our recent senior nutrition poll highlighted readers’ concerns about elderly dietary problems—and your biggest worry is lack of appetite in the elderly. Poor appetite doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, but there are some warning signs to watch out for, and some easy things you can do to help your loved ones get the right nutrition. From studies in senior care homes, it is known that elderly dietary problems can be caused by a number of different factors: lack of interest in food due to changing taste buds, depression, or loneliness; lack of energy to cook; loss of appetite due to health conditions; and medication side effects, to name just a few. Also, it’s normal for the appetite to change with age. “I remind my clients often that loss of appetite (and thirst) is a normal part of aging and doesn’t always mean something is wrong,” says Heather Schwartz, A Place for Mom nutrition expert and Registered Dietitian at Stanford Hospital and Clinics. “However, minimizing the detrimental effects of poor nutrient intake is always important, no matter from where the low appetite stems.” And of course it’s critical to rule out any underlying health problems, so if your loved ones aren’t eating well, a good first step is always to consult a physician. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/01-23-2013-loss-of-appetite-in-elderly/

 

 

Do Brain Training Games Live Up to the Hype? July 2013

People are exceedingly afraid of losing their intelligence and memory. The only disease that scares the American public more than Alzheimer’s disease is cancer, according to a Harvard School of Public Health poll. Keen business people have known since ancient times that any product that soothes fears is likely to sell. Charms to bring luck and ward off evil spirits were popular commodities in ancient times, a trend which continues today. Our collective fear of cognitive decline has created a big market for new “brain games” or “brain training programs” that improve attention, working memory and are grounded in science rather than magic.


Brain games are typically video games that challenge the player with various puzzles. The games are becoming popular in senior care homes on smart phones and tablets, but are also available as PC software, and on video game consoles, particularly handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS. There are a huge variety of puzzles that confront players, and they’re designed to be enjoyable rather than a chore. For example, one problem in the iPhone app Fit Brains Trainer shows a side view of stacked geometrical shapes and asks the player to match it with the appropriate top view of the same stack. This is an example of a puzzle that summons the player’s spatial intelligence. Most of the brain games target various realms of intelligence, including logic and mathematics, linguistic intelligence (word smarts), and musical intelligence. Of course improving working memory is a key target of the exercises as well. Read the rest of the article here: Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/do-brain-training-games-lives-up-to-the-hype-6-26-2013/

 

 

Secrets to Longevity: Why Women Live Longer June 19, 2013 by Sarah Stevenson

Women outlive men by about five years, on average, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionand this is apparent when walking into any retirement care home, as where the majority of the elderly care is for females. Longevity researchers know that the reasons for women’s higher lifespan are complex, with genetic, hormonal, psychological and sociological factors all playing a role. Another popular theory has targeted immunological differences—and that theory has acquired some real-world proof thanks to a newly released study in the journal Immunity & Ageing. Japanese scientists have confirmed that women’s immune systems age more slowly, contributing to the complex of factors that make women live longer. And, of course, the more scientists learn about longevity, the more we can pinpoint strategies for healthy aging for both genders. According to the study, which was released last month, there are marked differences in the way the immune system ages in men and women. Many types of white blood cells, which fight infection in our bodies, decrease with age as we get older; that’s only natural. But the researchers noticed that some types of white blood cells—T-cells and B-cells, for instance—declined more slowly in women than in men. Meanwhile, other types of white blood cells, such as CD4 T-cells and natural killer cells, tend to increase with age; for these cells, women showed a higher rate of increase than men. The BioMed press release also reported an age-related decline in red blood cells for men—but not for women. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-06-19-why-women-live-longer/

 

 

Caregiving Men on the Rise June 24, 2013 by Dana Larsen

According to two studies, one by the Alzheimer’s Association, the other by the National Alliance for Caregiving, almost twice as many men these days are taking care of someone in senior care homes with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, which is up almost 40 percent of caregivers, from 19 percent just 15 years ago. Experts say that is because more women older than 65 have the disease — 3.4 million, compared with 1.8 million men at last count. But why, exactly, is this? Changes in the economy, and the layoffs and early retirements that followed, made more men available than used to be the norm. And other contributing factors? Families scattered across the country, longer life expectancies and changing ideas about gender roles. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/2013-6-24-caregiving-men-increasing-in-number/

 

 

Expert Answers to 5 Questions About Paying for Senior Care June 20, 2013


Financial questions and senior housing in care homes or retirement homes go hand in hand, so we recently asked readers to submit their financial questions to experts at the Mutual Fund Store. Our financial experts provided in depth responses to some of readers most pressing questions about paying for senior care. Mutual Fund Store experts will continue to answer questions for us in the Ask the Expert section of our website, but for now here are five great answers to five important questions. Read the rest of the article here: 

http://response.aplaceformom.com/dm?id=204DDC4E84CFF61FBB7210AB4BBC7ED2F91BDD2A20A1D99A

 

 

 

How Pets Can Help Detect Cancer in Seniors Oct 11. 2012 by Sarah Stevenson

 

Next time Fido licks your face, think about this: researchers throughout the world are finding that dogs’ extra-sensitive olfactory systems can be trained to detect different types of cancer—sometimes long before symptoms actually appear. Early detection of many types of cancer is key to successful treatment, but diseases such as lung cancer and ovarian cancer are notoriously difficult to diagnose early. That could change, thanks to emerging scientific evidence that dogs can reliably sniff out telltale compounds in the body that indicate the presence of cancer. It’s tempting to ask how we can train our dogs to sniff out cancer, but the truth isn’t that simple. The dogs in question aren’t just any dogs—they’re specially trained to detect VOCs, or volatile organic compounds, that are telltale markers of cancer cells in the body. The canine researchers have been able to detect such compounds in the breath or in stool samples from volunteers. Read the rest of the article here: http://www.aplaceformom.com/blog/how-a-dog-could-save-moms-life/

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