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How to keep your brain active

Aging can be a scary thing. Not only are we getting older physically, but also mentally. Age can play a big part in how are brains are functioning, and we are all too aware of the risks of Alzheimer’s and other memory diseases that come with age.

Although we can’t prevent Alzheimer’s or Dementia, there are ways we can continue to “work out” our brains and keep them active. Just because you’re not working or not in school, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t continue to learn and grow yourself mentally.

Here at Just Like Family, we want to help keep you as healthy as possible, whether that’s with our companions coming over to help prepare a meal, or getting you up and out for a walk or stretching.

We’re going to go over a few ways you can keep your brain active, so you stay mentally healthy for as long as possible.

brain changers.jpg

Via Antiaging Nootropics

Lifelong Learning

You may have been out of school for a few decades, but don’t let that stop you from continuing to learn. Although you despised a certain subject at school, now you have the freedom to learn whatever you want!

The access to the library and internet, the possibilities to learn just about anything are endless.

Think up a subject you’re curious about and see what resources you can find from books to online courses to local college classes you can sit in on to lectures.

Here are some topics you can dive into:

  • American history
  • World Wars
  • Basic Computers
  • Space
  • Languages
  • Gardening

Read More

If you’re retired, there’s no excuse not to be reading more. With access to the library, you can get pretty much any book you could ever want.

Or pick up a Kindle. Many libraries offer free digital rentals of books that you can do right from your home.

Read a mix of fiction and non-fiction. If a book doesn’t grab you and you feel that you are dreading finishing it, then stop! Just because you pick up a book doesn’t mean you necessarily need to finish it. Reading should be fun, find books that engage you.

Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to keep your mind active. These include crosswords, Sudoku, Ken Ken, and even plain old jigsaw puzzles. You can pick up many of these at the dollar store, even a 500 piece puzzle is just $1!

Play Games

Games make you think. Find some games you can play either on your own or get a group together to play. Get board games or apps.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Settlers of Catan (board game)
  • 2048 (app)
  • Dots (app)
  • Cut the Rope (app)
  • Chess

Memory Exercises

Truly exercise your brain with some memory challenges. From Everyday Health, these can include:

  • Drawing a map from memory
  • Creating word pictures
  • Learning a new language
  • Refining your hand-eye ability (Painting, drawing, knitting)
  • Doing math in your head
  • Testing your recall

More Resources

Learn more about keeping your mind active with these resources.

6 simple steps to keep your mind sharp at any age | Harvard Medical School

Stay Mentally Active | ALZ.org

The Changing Brain in Healthy Aging | National Institute on Aging

 


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How to spot the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease

hands-walking-stick-elderly-old-person

It’s something not many of us want to think about or start considering for our parents, grandparents, or other elderly relatives and friends. As we age, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease only become more and more probable. That’s not to say that older people will develop memory loss, it’s that it tends to affect us as we enter old age.

What do you need to look for when it comes to the onset of Alzheimer’s? Are there certain symptoms, characteristics, traits, or behaviors that are common amongst those that are developing the disease?

We will go over many of the most common symptoms that can help you spot Alzheimer’s and alert you to taking your loved one to a doctor as soon as you can.

Confusion of time or place

This is a common one amongst people with Alzheimer’s disease. It involves losing track of dates, days of the week, or even the year. If this happens once, it shouldn’t be anything to worry about. But if it continues to happen often, you might want to see a specialist.

Changes in vision

This isn’t as well known as the memory loss symptom of Alzheimer’s. Those that develop the disease can notice changes in their vision either near or far, and even when telling colors apart.

Daily tasks become challenging

As the disease progresses, it may become hard to do things that were once very routine and familiar. Take note if your loved one is finding it difficult to complete daily tasks.

Difficulty problem solving or planning

They may find it hard to keep track of things like bills, keeping appointments. It may even become difficult to follow a recipe they once used many times before.

Losing track of where you are

This is a scary one. Your loved one may find that they are in a place and discover they aren’t sure how they got there. Sometimes we hear of elderly people that have gone missing, only later to say they have no idea how they ended up where they did.

Forgetting important information

This is one you may notice early on, especially for something important like a birthday, holiday, or anniversary.

Types of Alzheimer’s Disease

Common Alzheimer’s Disease

This is what most people are familiar with. It’s the typical Alzheimer’s disease that progresses at old age.

Genetic Alzheimer’s Disease

This rarer form of the disease is attributed through genes. Sometimes the symptoms can show up in someone’s 30s, 40s or 50s.

Resources

10 Early Signs of Alzheimer’s
WebMD

Alzheimer’s Association

Alzheimer’s Disease Fact Sheet
National Institute on Aging

 


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Big News for Cure Alzheimer’s

n-ALZHEIMERS-large570Anyone who knows anyone effected by Alzheimers can appreciate the breakthrough research that was announced this week by the journal Nature. For my family, this is BIG news. My grandparents have been very active in Cure Alzheimer’s and anytime one is dedicated personally and financially in a cause, it’s exciting to see all the hard work pay off. At Just Like Family Home Care, we are asked to take care of many patients who have Alzheimers. While all illness is challenging to care for, Alzheimer’s is one of the hardest to watch. I’m am excited about this research and I hope it continues to fuel new findings that will ultimately lead to a cure.

See the full article below:

For the first time, and to the astonishment of many of their colleagues, researchers created what they call Alzheimer’s in a Dish — a petri dish with human brain cells that develop the telltale structures of Alzheimer’s disease.

So begins a new story in the New York Times by science reporter Gina Kolata announcing breakthrough research just published by the journal Nature.

The research, conducted by Dr. Rudy Tanzi and Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) colleagues Drs. Doo Yeon KimSe Hoon Choi and Dora Kovacs and funded by Cure Alzheimer’s Fund (CAF), demonstrates for the first time precisely how the protein Abeta (the main component of plaques) stimulates the creation of tau “tangles.” Further, the researchers identified a key enzyme in this process.

“It is a giant step forward for the field,” Duke Univeristy’s Dr. P. Murali Doraiswamy told the Times. “It could dramatically accelerate testing of new drug candidates.”

The Tanzi breakthrough simultaneously boosts Alzheimer’s research in three vital ways:

First, it gives reseachers final confirmation of the “amyloid hypothesis,” a long-disputed theory about the earliest stages of the disease.

Second, it provides a promising new therapeutic target. “Here we show for the first time that Abeta deposition by human neurons is sufficient to lead to tangles,” said Tanzi, director of the Genetics and Aging Research Unit at MGH and chairman of CAF’s Research Consortium. “If you block the amyloid deposition, you block tangles from forming downstream.”

Finally, the experiment was conducted with an innovative and powerful new tool: use of human Alzheimer’s neurons derived from non-embryonic stem cells grown in a petri dish. “We call this system Alzheimer’s-in-a-Dish,” Tanzi said. “This is the first time anyone has successfully recapitulated amyloid and tau pathology in a single human neural cell culture. It creates a near-ideal lab model of the disease that will help us dramatically accelerate drug testing.”

Jeffrey L. Morby, Chairman of Cure Alzheimer’s Fund, welcomed the research breakthrough and the high-level recognition. “We’re so gratified that Nature, one of the world’s most prestigious science journals, and The New York Times, the newspaper of record, have both recognized the profound importance of this research. But we won’t rest on these laurels. We are already leveraging these exciting discoveries into even more aggressive research. We are determined to stop this dreadful disease as soon as humanly possible.”

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The New York Times story can be found here. Please note, it is Times policy not to mention the names of funders when covering scientific studies.

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Want to learn more about Dr. Tanzi’s research? Watch his presentation during our symposium live stream on Wednesday, October 15.


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Alzheimer’s Disease: Do you know all the facts?

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, and as many as 16 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias is estimated to total $214 billion in 2014, increasing to $1.2 trillion (in today’s dollars) by mid-century. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Have you ever wondered about Alzheimer’s Disease? Does it run in your family? Do you know all the facts about this disease?

Here are some quick facts according alz.org:

  • More than 5 million Americans are living with the disease
  • Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States
  • There are approximately 500,000 people dying each year because they have Alzheimer’s
  • 1 in 3 seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia
  • In 2013, 15.5 million caregivers provided an estimated 17.7 billion hours of unpaid care valued at more than $220 billion

Alzheimer’s statistics for Florida 

Alzheimer’s Disease is the most common form of dementia which is a progressive brain disease. If you are over 65 years of age you should know all the facts of Alzheimer’s. This disease slowly attacks nerve cells in all parts of the cortex of the brain. There are three brain abnormalities that are indicators of the Alzheimer’s disease process. The first indicator is plaques which is a protein that accumulates and forms sticky clumps between nerve cells. This will impact your memory and learning process. The second indicator is tangles which are damaged remains of the support structure that allows the flow of nutrients through the neurons. The last indicator is the loss of nerve cell connections. This process is the combination effect of the tangles and plaques that causes nerves to die off which in turn causes your brain tissue to shrink.

Memory Loss Myths & Facts

Now that you have a little insight on what Alzheimer’s disease is, there are some early symptoms that can be warnings signs to pay attention to: forgetfulness, loss of concentration, language problems, confusion about time and place, impaired judgment, loss of insight, impaired movement and coordination, mood and behavior changes, and apathy and depression. If you or a loved one feels like you have one or more of these symptoms please contact your doctor.

Know the 10 Early Signs & Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

Those that are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s have a tough choice to make. They can either choose to receive care at home from a caregiver or receive care at a nursing home. This decision can effect many of your loved ones and you should know the facts about each one.

Receiving care from a home caregiver is the first choice for most patients with Alzheimer’s disease. About 80% of patients receive care at home by family members. There are also options for patients to receive care from a home health aide. Home care can cause a tremendous amount of stress and impact on the quality of life on family members. It is very important to make sure that family members receive the right support services.

Receiving care from a nursing home is normally the second choice for most patients with Alzheimer’s. Many of the patients who end up in a nursing home are at the point where the home caregiver is no longer able to care of them. It is very important to find the right nursing home that will offer the correct services for Alzheimer’s.

When faced with Alzheimer’s remember that you are never alone and that there are ways to help you cope with the disease.

For more information and resources, visit http://www.alz.org