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.

Caregiver Burnout and Dementia

Patients with
dementia can be among the most challenging types of patients to care for. Even a person with the best intentions can get frustrated when the patient acts out or
refuses to cooperate. Just remember, the behaviors a person with dementia shows
are parts of the disease and not aimed at you personally.
·        
Stay
calm and be understanding. Raising your voice or showing signs of frustration
will only make the situation worse.
  •          Be
    patient and flexible. If the patient refuses to get in the shower, maybe a good
    bed bath will work for today and he/she can shower tomorrow. 
  •          Do
    not argue or try to convince the person. The patient cannot reason and may not
    be able to understand what is obvious to you. 
  •          Respond
    to patient’s requests as long as no harm will come. If the patient insists on
    wearing his/her shirt backwards that may be the way she wears it today.
  •      Take
    a moment to re-charge. If you feel your frustration and anxiety rising, ensure
    the patient is safe and walk away and take a few deep breaths before you
    return. This may be a good break for the patient too.

Patients with
dementia are at higher risk of elder abuse than other seniors. Educate all
members of the family regarding some of the signs and symptoms of potential
abuse, neglect and caregiver burnout. Some possible examples of abuse and neglect
may be:
·        
New
cuts or bruises.
  •          The
    patient showing fear towards their family members or professional caregivers.
  •          Finding
    the patient wet or soiled often.
  •          Always
    finding the patient wearing the same soiled clothing.
  •          Little
    or no food in the home or lack of prescribed medications.

Do not
automatically jump to conclusions, but don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Caregiver burnout and distress is common in family members of patients with
dementia, especially as the disease progresses. Family members should not
judge, but should be there to provide support and relief when needed. Assist in
identifying community resources before they are needed. A medical social worker
can often help with this process. Dementia is often a misunderstood disorder.
Good communication between all family members can go a long way to provide the
best possible care for the patient. Educate all members of the family regarding
the challenges that they may encounter, Coordinate visits between family
members so that the patient is not overwhelmed by too many visitors at one
time. Help family members to understand that the patient’s behavior may vary
from one day to the next so that they understand the changes.
Providing
care for a patient with dementia can be difficult and challenging at times.
These patients require extra understanding and patience. As the incidence of
people with dementia rises in the United States, it is important that we
understand the disease and how to care for people with the disease.
Source:
www.seniorslist.com/inner.php?aid=4251

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.

10 Facts on Dementia

1.     Dementia is not a normal part of aging.
Although
dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of aging.
Dementia is a syndrome, usually of a chronic or progressive nature, caused by a
variety of brain illnesses that affect memory, thinking, behavior and ability
to perform everyday activities.
2.     35.6 million people live with Dementia
The
total number of people with dementia worldwide in 2010 is estimated at 35.6
million. Among them, 58% live in low- and middle-income countries, and this
proportion is projected to rise to 71% by 2050.
3.     A new case of Dementia is diagnosed every 4
seconds
The
total number of new cases of dementia each year worldwide is nearly 7.7
million, implying one new case every four seconds. The number of people with
dementia is expected to nearly double every 20 years, to 65.7 million in 2030
and 115.4 million in 2050.
4.     Huge economic impact; US $604 billion per year
The
high cost of the disease will challenge health systems to deal with the
predicted future increase of cases. The costs are estimated at US$ 604 billion
per year at present and are set to increase even more quickly than the
prevalence.
5.     Caregivers of Dementia patients experience
high strain
Caring
for dementia patients is overwhelming for caregivers. The stresses include
physical, emotional and economic pressures. Caregivers require support from
the health, social, financial and legal systems.
6.     Early diagnosis improves the quality of life
of people with Dementia and their families
The principal goals for dementia care are:
  • diagnosing cases early.
  • optimizing physical health,
    cognition, activity and well-being.
  • detecting and treating behavioral
    and psychological symptoms.
  • providing information and
    long-term support to caregivers.
7.    
People with Dementia and
their families are often discriminated against
People with dementia are frequently denied the basic rights
and freedoms available to others. For example, physical and chemical restraints
are used extensively in aged-care facilities and acute-care settings.
8.    
Awareness and advocacy are needed
Improving the awareness and understanding of dementia
across all levels of society is needed to decrease discrimination and to
improve the quality of life for people with dementia and their caregivers.
9.    
More research and evaluation is required
More research is needed to develop new and more effective
treatments and to better understand the causes of dementia. Research that
identifies the modifiable risk factors of dementia is still scarce.
10.  Dementia is a public health priority
To address this important health priority there are actions that
can be taken:
  • promote a dementia friendly
    society.
  • make dementia a public health
    and social care priority everywhere.
  • improve attitudes to, and
    understanding of dementia.
  • invest in health and social
    systems to improve care and services for people with dementia and their
    caregivers.
  • increase research on 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.

Lower Your Risk of Dementia by Eating these 6 Foods – Plus a dose of sunshine

1.    Beans
Beans
offer incredible benefits for the brain. Beans and green peas provide a rich
dietary source of B-complex vitamins, plus they provide plenty of protein and
fiber. Vitamin B-1 (thiamine) is important for a healthy nervous system and is often
found in enriched grain products and cereals.
A
2010 University of Oxford study found that people diagnosed with mild cognitive
impairment who took a supplement containing folic acid and vitamins B-6 and
B-12 for two years lowered their levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that has
been linked to Alzheimer’s disease, and showed less brain shrinkage than those
receiving dummy pills.
2.    Citrus
Oranges
and orange juice are a convenient and inexpensive source of ascorbic acid
(vitamin C), as are tangerines, limes, lemons, and other citrus fruits. Sweet
peppers, strawberries, cantaloupes, tomatoes, broccoli, leafy greens, lettuce,
and cabbage can also raise your Vitamin C level.
Swedish
scientists have found that Vitamin C actually dissolves toxic plaques of the
kind that accumulate in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Vitamin
C is an antioxidant, which is essential for healthy skin and blood vessel
functioning.
3.    Almonds
Vitamin
E is an antioxidant that works on a molecular level to promote healthy blood
vessels. Vitamin E occurs naturally in almonds, other nuts, and avocados, but
the most common sources are healthy vegetables oils, like olive oil, canola oil,
and sunflower oil. Some green vegetables, like spinach, broccoli, and collards
also provide this nutrient.
Studies
have shown that people with the highest blood levels of Vitamin E have a
reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
4.    Fish
Polyunsaturated
fats, also known as “healthy fats,” found in fish reduce inflammation in the
body and help heart function.
The
best dietary sources are oily cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring and
mackerel, eaten once or twice a week. Those who do not eat fish can consult
their doctor about whether to take fish-oil supplements.
5.    Spinach
Spinach
is rich in Vitamins A and K, folic acid, and iron. It is also packed with at
least 15 different antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids which have been
shown to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid plaque that build up in
those with Alzheimer’s disease.
Harvard
researchers reported in 2005 that people who ate eight servings of green, leafy
vegetables a week along with five servings of cruciferous vegetables, such as
cabbage, broccoli, or kale, showed less cognitive impairment than those who ate
less.
6.    Coffee
A
2009 University of Florida study showed that caffeinated coffee decreased blood
vessel levels of a plaque-forming protein and even reduced Alzheimer’s-like
cognitive impairment. Decaf did not have the same benefits. The study also
showed that beta-amyloid protein levels dropped in elderly people without
dementia after they were given caffeine.
7.    Get
some sun
Fat-soluble
vitamin D plays a vital role in regulating out immune system and how our cells
use calcium, so it is effects are felt throughout the body including the brain.  Salmon, sardines, eggs, and fortified foods
like milk and soy products are good dietary sources for this important
nutrient.
Our
bodies make vitamin D naturally whenever our skin is exposed to sunlight, but
this ability declines as we age, so many older people are vitamin D-deficient.
Just 15 minutes of bathing sunscreen-free arms and legs in the sun a few times
a week generates plenty of vitamin D. If you can’t spend time in the sun you
can take a vitamin D supplement, but make sure to consult your physician first.
Resource:
www.aarp.org/health/healthy-living/info-03-2012/foods-may-lower-dementia-risk-slideshow.1.html

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

How Seniors Can Stay Mentally Sharp

Have you
noticed some changes in your thinking. Maybe you misplace your keys often or
have trouble coming up with the right word in a conversation. How do you know
when these changes are a “normal” part of getting older, or if they might point
to a health problem, such as dementia?

How the Brain Typically Ages
As you age,
your brain’s volume gradually shrinks. When this happens, some nerve cells in
your brain can shrink or lose connections with other nerve cells. In addition,
blood flow within your brain slows down somewhat as we age.
These
age-related transitions are thought to be behind the changes in cognitive
function many people notice as they get older. Everyone has lapses in memory
from time to time, but significant memory loss is never a normal part of aging.
It is important to talk to your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing
memory loss and other cognitive symptoms that are interfering with your normal
everyday activities and relationships.

Tips for Staying Mentally Sharp as
You Age

Control cholesterol problems and high
blood pressure.

Cholesterol problems and high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart
disease and stroke, which hare thought to contribute to the development of
certain types of dementia.

Don’t smoke or drink excessively. Because these are both seen as
putting you at increased risk of dementia, kick the habit if you smoke and if
your drink, only do so in moderation.

Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity is thought
to help maintain blood flow to the brain and reduce your risk of conditions
such as high blood pressure that are associated with the development of
dementia.

Eat a healthy diet. People who consume plenty of
vegetables and fatty fish and keep away from saturated fats are thought to have
a lower risk of cognitive decline.

Stimulate your brain. Keep your mind active by increasing
your level of social interaction, learning new skills, playing challenging games,
and doing other activities that require your brain cells to work. People who
are more socially and intellectually engaged have a lower risk of developing
dementia.
Reference:
www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health.staying-sharp.aspx

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