Tag Archives: relating to alzheimers

A Force To Be Reckoned With…

A force to be reckoned with…and I mean Pat, not the dementia. Kudo’s to Pat Summitt for coming forward and sharing her story. Anyone that has dementia or has been involved with those suffering from this diagnosis is aware of the changes it brings to your life and that of your family. However, strength can be garnered by the support of family and friends as Coach Summitt and her team will show us this season…

Read the article here

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The Differences Between Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

As soon as we notice memory problems, especially with our aging parents, we fearfully wonder: “Could it be Alzheimer’s?”

Let’s get clear on what Alzheimer’s is and isn’t.

Dementia is  the deterioration of our cognitive abilities. There are many causes for  dementia, and it can be progressive or stable. It targets the mental  functions of the brain, like memory, orientation, problem solving and  attention. Unlike Alzheimer’s, dementia is not a disease and it has a  variety of causes.

Dementia is caused by various diseases or  conditions with symptoms that may include changes in personality, mood  and behavior. In some cases, the dementia can be treated and cured  because the cause is treatable, as in dementia caused by substance  abuse, the improper mixing of prescription medications and hormone or vitamin imbalances.

For more of this article see the Foxboro PATCH

Caring For Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s

http://www.thetakeaway.org/2011/jun/21/caring-loved-ones-alzheimers/.

Never an easy task, the above link offers support and help from Julie Noonan-Lawson. Julie talks openly about her families struggles and how they have handled the illness in her family.  The interview was conducted by Sean Corcoran, the lead reporter for WCAI radio on Cape Cod.

Home Instead Senior Care Is On Cable!

Finally, we are ON AIR! Just wanted to let our BLOG, TWITTER and FACEBOOK friends and readers know that the Home Instead Senior Care cable show is on! Hope you enjoy watching and hearing from those business’ and people who offer additional support and help to the growing population of seniors. It is my hope that the cable show will offer insight into better managing our families as we all enter into the ‘golden years.’ Here’s the cable station internet, AACS link where you may view the shows that have previously aired. Each week additional shows will be added. Lots more to come…guests are already booked through August. Any ideas for what you may want to know more about, your comments and/or input is always appreciated!

Elder Mediation: Helping Adult Familes Resolve Conflict

The disputes may start quietly, but they can and do brew into hot and heated arguments and believe it or not they have split families apart.

Take for example:

Mom left a pot boiling on the stove again…you are fearful she’ll burn the house down.

Dad is getting forgetful and isn’t paying his monthly bills. You, and your siblings live far away and through neighbors find out that the heat and electricity were turned off.

Dad’s got more scrapes and scratches on his car than the grandkids do on their knees…you want him to STOP driving.

As adult children you are concerned and decide amongst yourselves to take-over…One of you wants to get Dad declared mentally incompetent, so the family can take control of his finances. One of you threatens to take Dad’s car keys. He threatens to write you out of his will. Another one of your siblings wants the house to be sold and Mom to enter assisted living.

Dad is now very angry…Mom thinks you’re over-reacting. Both parents are mortified…Dad because his kids are looking into how much money he has and how his finances are organized and Mom because she feels as though the children are trying to control her life.

For More:

Living with Alzheimer’s: Who Decides?

It’s imperative that we take responsibility for our senior ‘living situation’. If you don’t want others making this decision for you…be pro-active. With a little advanced planning it is possible to stay in your home even with Alzheimer’s as there are many additional support services available.

Having been regarded as competent, intelligent and able throughout my life I would hate to be relegated to only being allowed to make decisions as to what color to wear, where to place my furniture or where to keep photos and mementos…wouldn’t you?

Adult children should not have to shoulder the burden of ‘a decision’ their parents should have made or at the very least should have acknowledge as the ‘elephant’ in the room. They have lots on their minds these days and may forget to take into consideration that you (who might have some diminished capacity) may want to continue living at home. Although it is true that a balance must be found as to the family’s ability (financially, emotionally and physically) to accommodate ‘aging’ at home the problem is whether you or your family know what ‘aging at home’ means and have you given any consideration (even marginally) to the factors involved.

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Community Living Assistance Services and Supports

In February 2011 Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius provided an update on the Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) program, created under the Affordable Care Act. The CLASS Act establishes a voluntary insurance program for people who are unable to perform two or more “functional activities of daily living,” such as the ability to feed or dress one’s self without assistance. Unfortunately, such impairments typically accompany the progression of Alzheimer’s and other diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS).

The program will help eligible individuals pay for non-medical services and supports to enable them to remain as long as possible in their homes and communities. Those who choose to participate in this voluntary program pay premiums while they are working and become eligible should they become functionally impaired, regardless of age. Adults who meet the eligibility requirements will receive a cash benefit of no less than $50 a day to purchase services such as adult day care and transportation services.

The Secretary is working on several key CLASS program benefits and enrollment issues before the program becomes officially available in October 2012. During her remarks, Secretary Sebelius emphasized the agency’s continued efforts – ranging from increasing public awareness about long term care services, to ensuring benefit flexibility for eligible individuals. The Alzheimer’s Association supported the CLASS program and its passage as it specifically includes within the eligibility requirements people who develop substantial cognitive impairment. This new voluntary insurance program will help individuals with Alzheimer’s disease remain as independent as possible – living in their homes and communities for as long as possible.

While we continue to work toward the day when we will have treatments that stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, in the meantime CLASS can serve as an important part of an individual’s overall plan to be as prepared as possible to cope with Alzheimer’s impact. For more information

Tackling Care as Chronic Ailments Pile Up

No one said it was going to be easy and with the most recent figures coming to light, all will have to agree that it isn’t going to be an easy task…but clearly our older seniors are requiring care that ‘someone’ is going to have to pay for; ‘looking away’ is not an option.

Anyone seriously interested in improving the health of Americans and reducing the costs of health care must be willing to tackle a growing and under-appreciated problem: the vast number of patients with more than one chronic illness.

The problem is actually two problems: delivering more efficient care to these patients and helping them not to get sick in the first place.

Both tasks require the cooperation of patients and caregivers, as well as the providers of health care and the agencies that pay for it — and, at least as important, a public willing to take proven steps to reduce the risk of chronic disease.

The statistics, as reported in December in a strategy report from the Department of Health and Human Services, say it all. More than 25 percent of Americans have two or more chronic conditions — which, by definition, require continuing medical care, and often limit their ability to perform activities of daily living. (The conditions include heart disease, diabetes, obstructive lung disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, asthma, H.I.V., mental illness and dementia, among others.)

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Hearing Loss Linked To Dementia

Adults with hearing loss are significantly more likely than adults with normal hearing to develop dementia, according to a new study out today from researchers at Johns Hopkins and the National Institute on Aging. The study, which finds that the greater the hearing loss, the higher the risk, may open a new avenue of research into dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Men and women in the study who experienced severe hearing loss were five times more likely to develop dementia than those with normal hearing. But even mild hearing loss doubled the risk of dementia.

The study followed 639 people ages 36 to 90 who initially did not have dementia, the insidious loss of memory, logic and language that interferes with daily living. The volunteers were tested for hearing loss and dementia every two years for nearly two decades.

Researchers found that those with hearing loss at the beginning of the study were much more likely to develop dementia by the end, even after taking into account age and other risk factors. The risk of dementia only began to rise once hearing loss began to interfere with the ability to communicate for example, in a noisy restaurant. The study also found that hearing loss increased the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, but the two were not as strongly linked as hearing loss and dementia.

Frank Lin, M.D., assistant professor in the Division of Otology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and an author of the study, says this is the first large study to connect hearing loss to the development of dementia and should spur more research into this intriguing new relationship.

Lin says it may be that whatever causes dementia also causes hearing loss, but there’s no clear evidence. He thinks it’s more likely that the neurological stress of dealing with hearing loss contributes to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If you are out to dinner with friends at a busy restaurant and it’s very, very loud, by the time you get home you’re exhausted, because you spend so much time trying to think about the words people are saying, to decipher everything,” he says. Then, too, it may be that the social isolation that comes with hearing loss contributes to the development of dementia.

People who have a hard time hearing can’t follow conversations or respond to questions. They feel frustrated and embarrassed and tend to avoid socializing. And previous research has linked isolation with a higher risk of dementia. Or, Lin says, it may be a combination of the neurological stress and social isolation.

Either way, this study may prompt men and women to pay more attention to hearing loss, a condition that affects more than 9 million Americans over the age of 65, according to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Lin says people don’t tend to give hearing loss the same kind of attention they give high blood pressure or heart disease. Instead, they accept hearing loss as an inevitable part of aging. But, says Lin, it may be time to take a more serious look at the condition.

Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., chief of the Longitudinal Studies Section at the National Institutes on Aging and another of the study authors, says it’s not yet time to recommend widespread action, but researchers have important questions to answer, including: If we cure hearing loss, are we going to prevent dementia? And can hearing aids make a difference?

Even if treating hearing loss only delayed dementia, that alone could have enormous consequences, researchers say. This study didn’t find that hearing aids decreased the risk of dementia, but volunteers in the study only reported whether or not they had hearing aids, not how often they used them or how effective they were.

Thanks to Elizabeth Agnvall, a contributing editor at the AARP Bulletin.

This Isn’t The Person I Remember!

It can be soooo difficult to be in the presence of someone you love and not see any resemblance to the person or the attitude that family member once was or had. And although there can be many challenges to caring for an older person, the rewards are also great. Use your time with your senior parents or loved ones to create special memories…plan an afternoon of reminiscing childhood events, reviewing photo albums, and recording stories of the past…this is a great opportunity to ‘frame’ the family history and pass down something of value to the next generation. If an elder parent has lost their memory and is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia and/or has lost control of their basic bodily functions…the caregiver can become overwhelmed and depressed that the person they remember is no longer ‘actively’ present. When this happens, the caregiver, friends, adult children and grand-children must keep in mind that this IS the person they once knew and find a way to embrace the changes; as difficult as it may be. It can help to cherish those small moments of connection, when an unexpected ‘happening’ causes the senior’s smile to light up the room!