Alzheimer’s Awareness Month

Tucson, AZ (PRWEB) June 09, 2014 — There are creative and effective ways to help an aging parent, family member or loved one who suffers from Alheimer’s disease or dementia cope with the loss of their spouse, according to a new survey of aging experts released today by the National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPCGM). Remembering that there are different stages and types of dementia, making sure the surviving spouse does not become socially isolated and not rushing other major changes in their lives are among the top expert recommendations.

Americans are increasingly challenged by the need to communicate difficult information to aging family members with dementia. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as many as 5 million of the 43 million Americans age 65 and older may have Alzheimer’s disease and another 1.8 million people have some other form of dementia. And, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias will escalate rapidly in coming years as baby boomers age. By 2050, the number of people age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s disease may nearly triple, from 5 million to as many as 16 million, barring the development of medical breakthroughs to prevent, slow or stop the disease.

As the nation begins Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month, NAPGCM is releasing the results of its latest survey to help American families facing one of the most difficult of these challenges. NAPGCM polled 288 professional geriatric care managers across the country asking them to identify the most effective strategies for helping a loved one with dementia cope with the loss of their spouse. The top six strategies identified by the aging experts are:

#1 Remember there are many different stages of dementia. Your loved one’s capacity for understanding, coping and grieving can be very different depending on their stage of dementia. (Identified by 96% of survey respondents )

#2 If your loved one’s response to reminiscing about their spouse is positive, share old photos and
memories. (88 %)

#3 Make sure the surviving spouse is not socially isolated. Schedule visitors on a regular basis and help them keep up with any normal social routines they have. (85%)

#4 Reassure them there are people who care about them and will care for them. (84%)

#5 Don’t rush big changes. It may make sense for them at some point to move to a facility, or closer to family. But, if possible, give them time to adapt so there aren’t too many major life changes at once. (81%)

#6 If they choose to be included in mourning rituals for their spouse, make sure there is someone
overseeing this so if the situation becomes too stressful they can leave. (78%)

“With the rising rates of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, families are increasingly confronted with this difficult challenge,” said NAPGCM President, Emily Saltz. “Our survey shows that knowing your loved one’s stage of dementia and respecting individual differences are key,” added Ms. Saltz.

Many of the geriatric care managers surveyed expressed strong views about the need for tailoring your response to the individual, both in terms of their stage of dementia and their personality. Some individual comments included:
• “As each person is unique, each person with dementia is unique. Recognize your loved one’s values,
personality and culture.”

• “There are varying types of dementia, some affecting short term memory more than others and each
type has a different appropriate response.” Other care managers surveyed by NAPGCM shared additional tips, including:

• “Do not underestimate their ability to understand, at an emotional level, what they cannot express
verbally.”

• Take cues from the affected person. If they are not aware or focused on the loss, do not remind or
instigate a conversation about the loss.

NAPGCM regularly surveys professional geriatric care managers on a range of timely and relevant issues.

Click here to see results of recent NAPGCM surveys on:
• The Use of Therapeutic Fiblets
• Financial Abuse of the Elderly
• Seniors Victimized by Medicare Observation Status Rulings
• Warning Signs an Aging Parent May Need More Help
• How to Prevent Premature Institutionalization of an Aging Loved One
The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers (NAPGCM) was formed in 1985 to advance dignified care for older adults and their families. Geriatric Care Managers are professionals who have extensive training and experience working with older people, people with disabilities and families who need assistance with caregiving issues. They assist older adults who wish to remain in their homes, or can help families in the search for a suitable nursing home placement or extended care if the need occurs. The practice of geriatric care management and the role of care providers have captured a national spotlight, as generations of Baby Boomers age in the United States and abroad.

For more information and to find a listing of professional geriatric care
managers in your community, visit the NAPGCM website: http://www.caremanager.org

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

What are the different kinds of Dementia?

Dementia is not a specific disease. It is a descriptive term
for a collection of symptoms that can be caused by a number of disorders that
affect the brain. People with dementia have significantly impaired intellectual
functioning that interferes with normal activities and relationships. They also
lose their ability to solve problems and maintain emotional control, and they
may experience personality changes and behavioral problems such as agitation,
delusions, and hallucinations. While memory loss is a common symptom of
dementia, memory loss by itself does not mean that a person has dementia.
Doctors diagnose dementia only if two or more brain functions such as memory,
language skills, perception, or cognitive skills including reasoning and judgment
are significantly impaired without loss of consciousness.
There are many disorders that can cause dementia. Some such
as Alzheimer’s disease(AD) lead to a progressive loss of mental functions. But
other types of dementia can be halted or reversed with appropriate treatment.
With AD and many other types of dementia, the disease processes
causes many nerve cells to stop functioning, lose connections with other
neurons, and die. In contrast, normal aging does not result in the loss of
large numbers of neurons in the brain.
What are the
different kinds of Dementia?

  • Cortical Dementia: Dementia
    where the brain damage primarily affects the brain’s cortex, or outer layer. Cortical
    dementias tend to cause problems with memory, language, thinking, and social behavior.
  • Subcortical Dementia:
     
    Dementia that affects parts of the
    brain below the cortex. Subcortical dementia tends to cause changes in emotions
    and movement in addition to problems with memory.
  • Progressive Dementia:
    Dementia that gets worse over time, gradually interfering with more and
    more cognitive abilities.
  • Primary Dementia: Dementia
    such as AD that does not result from any other disease.
  • Secondary Dementia: Dementia
    that occurs as a result of a physical disease or injury.

www.medicinenet.com/dementia.page3.htm#what_are_the_diferent_kinds_of_dementia

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Alzheimer’s and Communication

Communication plays a big part in maintaining a
healthy outlook, for yourself and for sufferers of the disease. As it ravages
the mind, the sufferer begins having difficulty communicating and may show
signs of one of the following:
  •          Difficulty
    finding the right words.
  •          Familiar
    words might be used repeatedly.
  •       The
    person’s train of thought frequently gets lost.
  •        Difficulty
    in organizing thoughts and words in a logical fashion.
  •      Gestures
    might come into play more often, in place of words.
  •      Due
    to frustration and anger at being misunderstood, curse words may become more
    prevalent in dialog.
You might be
asking yourself, “Where do I come in?” When communicating with an Alzheimer’s
patient, here are a few tips that will ease the process and make your
connections more fruitful.
·         
  • Eye
    contact is important. It shows the person that you are listening and that you
    care about what is being said.
  • Mutual
    understanding is important. It does a world of good to let the person know you
    are trying to help them and understand what they have to say.
  •  Discussions
    with an Alzheimer’s patient are sometimes rambling, disjointed things. That’s
    okay. Be careful not to interrupt, or argue with them.
  •  When
    words fail, ask the person to gesture to what it is they want or need. Often
    they will recognize something visually, even if they can’t articulate what it
    is.
  •  Speak
    simply and plainly. Use short, concise words.
  •  Feelings,
    rather than facts are often greater importance to an Alzheimer’s patient. Try not
    to rely on logic to sway them or get them to understand you.
  • Conversation
    can be slow. Take your time, repeat things as necessary and try to be patient
    enough to wait when they have trouble ordering their thoughts.

Living as an
Alzheimer’s patient or as a caregiver of one is never easy, but with these
helpful hints and compassion, understanding and love, you can help make this
period in their lives a more peaceful one.

Source:
www.seniorslist.com/php?aid=4595

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Vitamin E May Slow the Progression of Alzheimer’s

There isn’t a cure for Alzheimer’s or a drug that reverses the disease, but researchers have found a treatment to slow the disease that is simple, cheap, and safe.
Among more than 600 patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, a daily high-dose of vitamin E slowed the decline in the ability of patients to perform everyday tasks such as dress or bathe independently by about 6 months.  And, those taking vitamin E needed two hours a day less help from caregivers.
The study, which appeared in the January 1 issue of JAMA, didn’t find any improvement in the memory or thinking ability of the patients. Those taking the Alzheimer’s medication memantine or a combination of vitamin E and mematine didn’t do any better than those taking a placebo.

Source: blog.aarp.org/2014/01/03/vitamin-e-may-slow-alzheimers-progression

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

Alzheimer ’s Disease: Caregiving Challenges

Alzheimer’s
disease can cause a person to exhibit unusual and unpredictable behaviors that
challenge caregivers, including severe mood swings, verbal or physical
aggression, combativeness, repetition of words, and wandering. These behavioral
changes can lead to frustration and tension, for both people with Alzheimer’s
and their caregivers. It is important to remember that the person is not acting
this way on purpose, and to analyze probable cause and develop care
adjustments.
Common causes
of behavior changes:
  •          Physical
    discomfort caused by an illness or medications.
  •          Over-stimulation
    from a loud or overactive environment.
  •          Inability
    to recognize familiar places, faces, or things.
  •          Difficulty
    completing simple tasks or activities.
  •          Inability
    to communicate effectively.

Tips for
responding to challenging behaviors:
  • Stay
    calm and be understanding.
  •  Be
    patient and flexible.
  •  Don’t
    argue or try to convince the person.
  • Acknowledge
    requests and respond to them.
  • Try
    not to take behaviors personally.
  • Accept
    the behavior as a reality of the disease and try to work through it.

Exploring
causes and solutions:
  •  It
    is important to identify the cause of the challenging behavior and consider
    possible solutions.
  • Identify and
    examine behavior:
  • What
    was the undesirable behavior? Is it harmful to the individual or others?
  • What
    happened before the behavior occurred?
  • Did
    something trigger the behavior?

Explore
potential solutions:
  •    Is
    there something the person needs or wants?
  • Can
    you change the surroundings? Is t he area noisy or crowded? Is the room well-
    lighted?
  •  Are
    you responding in a calm, supportive way?

Try different
responses in the future:
  • Did
    your response help?
  • Do
    you need to explore other potential causes and solutions? If so, what can you
    do differently?

Source: www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23978

To reach one of our Advanced Senior Solution’s team members, either go to the Contact Us tab or call 727-443-2273. We’re here to help with all of your elder care questions, care needs, and much more! Call us today for a free no-obligation care consultation via phone or in person.

7 Reasons Why a Pet Helps You Stay Young at Heart

1.      
Daily exercise.
Taking your dog for a walk means you get a daily walk too. Walking not only
helps to burn extra calories, it also keeps your joints limber, which helps
seniors who suffer from arthritis.
      2.      
Establish
a schedule.
Feed the cat. Walk the dog. Clean the litter box. Pets require
daily care and seniors who own pets develop a day-to-day routine to care for
them. Having a to-do list for your pet gives you tasks to do every day and
keeps you busy.
      3.      
Banish
loneliness.
You might be single, but you are never alone if you are a pet
owner. Just ask the cat lover who has to shoo their cat off the morning newspaper
to read it. Pets are constant companions.
     4.       Lower
blood pressure.
Therapy animals are used in hospital and nursing home
settings to help lower blood pressure and stress. Owning a cat or dog is like
having your own personal therapy
animal by your side 24/7.
     5.      
Offer
relief to Alzheimer’s patients.
A 1999 University of Nebraska study found
that Alzheimer’s patients suffering from Sundown Syndrome, a behavioral
syndrome associated with Alzheimer’s that is marked by increased
aggressiveness, were aided by the presence of a therapy dog and experienced
reduced agitation and restlessness during the early evening hours.
     6.      
Fight
depression.
A University of Kentucky study done in 1987 found that pet
owners had greater levels of overall happiness than non-pet owners.
     7.      
Helps you
manage grief.
The same University of Kentucky study found that pet owners
dealing with the recent death of a loved one fared better during the grieving
process that non-pet owners.
Source:  www.seniorsforliving.com/content/article/25-reasons-why-a-pet-helps-you-stay-young-at-heart

Reversible Causes of Memory Loss

Many medical issues can cause memory loss or other
dementia-like symptoms. Most of these conditions can be successfully treated,
and your doctor can screen you for conditions that cause reversible memory
impairment.
Possible causes of reversible memory loss include:
  •         Medications.
    A single medication or a certain combination of medications may result in
    forgetfulness or confusion.
  •         Minor
    head trauma or injury.
    A head injury from a fall or accident, even an
    injury that does not result in a loss of consciousness may cause memory
    problems.
  •         Depression
    or other mental health disorders.
    Stress, anxiety, or depression can cause
    forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating and other problems that
    disrupt daily activities.
  •         Alcoholism.
    Chronic alcoholism can seriously impair metal abilities. Alcohol can also cause
    memory loss by interacting with medications.
  •         Vitamin
    B-12 deficiency.
    Vitamin B-12 helps maintain healthy nerve cells and red
    blood cells. A vitamin B-12 deficiency, which is common in older adults, can
    cause memory problems.
  •         Hypothyroidism.
    An underactive thyroid gland slows the processing of nutrients to create
    energy for cells (metabolism). Hypothyroidism can result in forgetfulness and
    other thinking problems.
  •         Tumors.
    A tumor in the brain may cause memory problems or other dementia-like symptoms. 

 If you are concerned about memory loss, see your doctor.

       Source:www.mayoclinic.com/health/memory-loss

Memory Loss and Dementia

The word
“dementia” is an umbrella term used to describe a set of symptoms, including
memory impairment, reasoning, judgment, language, and other thinking skills.
In most cases
dementia begins gradually, worsens over time and significantly impairs a
person’s ability in work, social interactions, and relationships.
Often, memory
loss is one of the more recognizable signs of dementia. Some other early signs
of dementia are:
  •          Asking
    the same questions over and over again.
  •          Forgetting
    common words when talking.
  •          Mixing
    up words.
  •          Taking
    longer to complete familiar tasks.
  •          Misplacing
    items in inappropriate places, such as putting car keys in a refrigerator.
  •          Getting
    lost while walking or driving around familiar places.
  •          Sudden
    changes in mood or behavior for no apparent reason.
  •          Becoming
    less able to follow directions.

Diseases that
cause progressive damage to the brain and consequently result in dementia
include:
  •          Alzheimer’s
    disease (the most common cause of dementia)
  •          Vascular
    dementia
  •          Frontotemporal
    dementia
  •          Lewy
    body dementia

Each of these
conditions has a somewhat different disease process. Memory impairment is not
always the first sign of disease. The type of memory issues may vary.
You should
see your doctor if you are concerned about memory loss.
Source:
www.mayoclinic.com/health/memory-loss

Family History and Disease Risk

Various Causes
Many things
influence your overall health and likelihood of developing a disease. Sometimes,
it is not clear what causes a disease. Many diseases are thought to be caused
by a combination of genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. The importance
of any particular factor varies from person to person.
If you have a
disease that does not mean that your children and grandchildren will get it
too. They may have a greater chance of developing the disease than someone without
a similar family history, but they are not certain to get the disease.

Health Problems that may run in
families:
  •          Alzheimer’s
    disease/dementia
  •          Arthritis
  •          Asthma
  •          Blood
    clots
  •          Cancer
  •          Depression
  •          Diabetes
  •          Heart disease
  •          High
    cholesterol
  •          High
    blood pressure
  •          Pregnancy
    losses and birth defects
  •          Stroke


Genetic Diseases
Some diseases
are clearly genetic. This means the disease comes from a mutation, or harmful
change, in a gene inherited from one or both parents. Genes are small
structures in your body’s cells that determine how you look and tell your body
how to work.

Role of Lifestyle and Environment
Genes are not
the only things that cause disease. Lifestyle habits and environment also play
a major part in developing disease. Diet, weight, physical activity, tobacco,
and alcohol use, occupation, and where you live can each increase or decrease
disease risk. For example, smoking increases the chance of developing heart
disease and cancer. For common diseases like heart disease and cancer, habits
like smoking or drinking too much may be important in causing disease than
genes.

Clues to Your Disease Risk
Creating a
family history helps you know about diseases and disease risks. It can also
show the way a disease occurs in a family. For example, you may find that a
family member had a certain disease at an early age than usual (10 to 20 years
before most people get it). That can increase other family members’ risk.
Risk also
goes up if a relative has a disease that usually does not affect a certain
gender. Examples would be heart disease or diabetes.
Some Risk Factors Are Not Apparent
Even if a
person appears health, they could be at risk for developing a serious disease
that runs in the family. They could have risk factors that they cannot feel,
such as high blood pressure. They might not even know the disease runs in their
family because they have lost touch with family members with the disease or
because other family members with the disease have kept the information
private. Another possibility is that family members who might have developed
the disease died young in accidents or by other means, they might also be
adopted and not share genes with members of their adoptive family.
Getting Professional Advice
Family
members who think they might be at risk for a disease can ask their health care
professional for advice.
Resource: nihseniorhealth.gov

The Common Issues of Aging

Due to new
medications and surgical procedures, people are living longer these days.
However, the body we had when we were 35 will be very different from the body
we will have when we are 75. Many issues, both genetic and environmental affect
how we age.
The most
widespread condition affecting those 65 and older is coronary heart disease,
followed by stroke, cancer, pneumonia, and the flu. Accidents, especially falls
that result in hip fractures, are also common in the elderly.
Most of our
elders are dealing with at least one of the following conditions:
  •          Heart
    conditions (hypertension, vascular disease, congestive heart failure, high
    blood pressure, and coronary heart disease).
  •          Dementia,
    including Alzheimer’s disease.
  •          Depression
  •          Incontinence
  •          Arthritis
  •          Osteoporosis
  •          Diabetes
  •          Breathing
    problems
  •          Frequent
    falls, which can lead to fractures.
  •          Parkinson’s
    disease
  •          Cancer
  •          Eye
    problems (cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration).

As the body
changes, here are some other issues to be aware of:
  •          Slow
    reaction time, which is especially important when judging if a person is
    capable to drive.
  •          Thinner
    skin, which can lead to breakdowns and wounds that don’t usually heal quickly.
  •          A
    weakened immune system, which can make fighting off viruses, bacteria, and diseases
    difficult.
  •          Diminished
    sense of taste or smell, which can lead to diminished appetite and dehydration.
    This is most common in smokers.

The list can seem
frightening, but with proper care, elders can have a life filled with joy.
Reference: www.agingcare.com/articles/common-issues-of-aging