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The Dos and Don’ts of Dementia Care

 

The Dos and Don'ts ofDementia Care.png

It can be difficult at times to interact with a loved one that has dementia. This disease affects the mind and memory, as well as personality. Someone you used to know as happy and bubbly can become quick to anger, paranoid, or not remember details about you.

Coming into a situation like this, it’s important to know that there will be times when you are upset and frustrated, but know that this is not them doing it on purpose or to hurt you (although at times it may feel like it). Know that they would be there for you in the same situation.

Common Behavior Associated with Dementia

Dementia has a few common traits and behaviors that can be exhibited by those who have the disease.

These can include:

  • Apathy
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of interest in activities
  • Indecisiveness
  • Aggression
  • Agitation

 

How to Handle Dementia Behavior Changes

  1. Don’t: Argue
    Your loved one may yell and scream that they don’t want to do something, but don’t let the heat of the moment take over. You don’t want to argue back. Take a moment, cool down, leave the room, and try to identify why they are angry. Are they fearing something? Do they not want to take a shower because of a certain nursing assistant? Are they afraid of falling? Try to shift their focus elsewhere and calm them down.
  2. Do: Redirect Their Attention
    If they bring up something like wanting to immediately leave or go out somewhere, try to redirect their focus. Say something like “Ok, that’s fine, but first we should have a little lunch first, then we can go.”
  3. Do: Create a Narrative
    If your loved one asks something that isn’t possible to do, such as driving a car, try to create a story in which this is not possible due to another factor. “I’d love to go for a drive, but the car is broken and we have to wait for the store to bring the new part.”
  4. Don’t: Lose Your Cool
    Even if you need to go outside for a while, take your time to calm down. You don’t want to end up taking out your anger on your loved one. Keep a level head so you both can get through this tough time.

Additional Resources on Dementia

Types of Dementia

Caring for Someone With Dementia: 5 Fundamentals

Difference Between Alzheimer’s and Dementia


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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 


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Resolutions for Seniors

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Christmas is behind us, New Year’s is ahead!  Which means it’s just about time to come up with new resolutions.  But what to resolve yourself for?  Different things are important to different people!  If you’re heavier than you’d like, your biggest resolution may be to lose weight.  If you want to be more intellectually stimulated this year, you might resolve to read a book a month.  What if you’re elderly or infirm, though?  What kinds of resolution can you make to stay positive and healthy and happy?  A few years ago, a retired teacher and widower named Mary Carol Herwood from the Buffalo, NY area wrote a great article to that effect for Yahoo!  Sure, it was for New Year’s 2010, not 2014, but things haven’t changed that much in four years, and she really did have some great suggestions.  She writes regularly for Yahoo!, including some great movie reviews, so you should definitely check out some of her other content.  But for this time of year, this is the article we’re interested in.  We can’t put the whole article here, you’ll have to read it on Yahoo!, but here’s our favorite of her suggestions to get you started!

“I will make plans more often to call a friend to take in a play or a movie, stop for a bite to eat and chit-chat about this and that.”

This one is our absolute favorite, as maintaining friendships and connections with others into old age is, in many ways, one of the absolute most important things to an elderly person’s continued well-being.  It can be very easy to fall into the trap of letting this part of your life go as you age, as family and health issues take up more and more of your time, but the elderly are just as in need of companionship, friendship and fun as any of us!

“I will read at least one book each month.”

Reading is a wonderfully effective and fun way to keep one’s mind sharp, and has also been proven to be an excellent deterrent to the development of neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s Disease.

“I will not make any New Year’s Resolutions in 2010.”

Replace “2010” for “2014” here, but the point stands.  If you feel happy and satisfied with everything in your life, then mission accomplished!  So what better resolution to make than to have no resolutions to make next year?

Read the entire article HERE, and a happy early 2014!


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Medical Advice from the ‘Net

If you’re looking for elderly-specific advice on some difficult medical issues, we’ve got you covered.  Check out these links for a lot of great information.

 

ALZHEIMER’S

CANCER

DENTAL

DIABETES

EXERCISE

HEART DISEASE

INSOMNIA

NUTRITION

OSTEOPOROSIS

STROKE