Posted by WBHI on Apr 26, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Jan Dougherty for Huffington Post:
Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor saw her husband, who suffered from Alzheimer’s, fall in love with fellow Alzheimer’s patient. O’Connor didn’t become angry, but handled the situation with grace and care. While Alzheimer’s robs people of their cognitive and reasoning abilities, it does not take away the basic need for relationships. And, the struggle to manage both being a spouse and caregiver presents a mixture of challenges and inspiration.
Hearing the word “intimacy” can often make people uncomfortable, and many people do not like talking about it. Yet, it is an issue that surfaces in many ways in the journey of dementia, impacting relationships and adding challenges to the caregiving role.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 22, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Elizabeth Snouffer for South China Morning Post:
It seems two popular pastimes in Hong Kong – mahjong and tai chi – have more than just sweeping hand movements in common. A recent study indicates they can both keep elderly minds sharp.
In a paper published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, Hong Kong Institute of Education researchers suggest integrating mahjong and tai chi into regularly scheduled activities at nursing homes can halt or slow down cognitive decline, even for those suffering from significant dementia.
Played three times a week for two to three months, these activities – which were considered by the researchers as cognitively demanding – showed evidence of long-term benefits for the mind. And they may be more effective than less cognitively demanding activities such as beading and making other simple handicrafts.
Posted by WBHI on Apr 13, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Boomer to Boomer Online:
As I left my mom in the bedroom to take her clothes to the laundry room, she was sitting peacefully on the bed. It had been a good morning with her being responsive and helpful. I was relieved because these types of mornings had started to become more scarce as her Alzheimer’s disease progressed.
Walking downstairs, I suddenly heard a shriek coming from mom’s room. Then a crash! What in the world? I dropped the laundry and rushed up the stairs to her bedroom.
“Mom, what’s wrong?” I cried as I entered, seeing her jewelry box laying on the floor, fallen open, with her staring at the mirror looking terrified. She shrieked again and pointed at the mirror. Looking at the reflection, she put her hands on her face and then threw a hairbrush at the mirror.
by Ashley Zilka for Rochester Homepage:
Having a loved one with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia is very difficult. It can take a toll on your family, but it can also take a toll on your wallet.
We are talking big numbers. A study found it costs society about $50,000 for every person who has dementia. As baby boomers age, spending for their care will increase dramatically. Frederick and Mildred Halik have been married for 66 years. Several years ago Mildred was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. Both of their lives forever changed.
“How to carry through normal everyday things that everybody can do automatically. In her case, it’s just slowly disappearing,” Frederick said.
The Haliks are not alone. About 5.2 million Americans have the disease, the most common form of dementia. Locally, that number is in the tens of thousands. Even more shocking is that a new study released Wednesday found it can cost up to $56,000 each year for every person who has dementia. That is higher than the cost of cancer care.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 28, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Caroline Cassels for MedScape:
A novel exercise program may improve physical and cognitive outcomes in patients who have dementia, with effect sizes greater than those achieved with dementia medications, new research suggests.
A pilot study showed the program, which integrates functional movement and mindful body awareness, improved patients’ cognitive and physical function and quality of life and reduced caregiver burden compared with usual care (UC).
“This very small pilot study provides preliminary evidence [this program] may improve cognitive function, quality of life, physical function and caregiver burden with effect sizes that are substantially larger than what is typically seen with currently available dementia medications,” principal investigator Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco, and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center, told delegates here attending the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) 65th Annual Meeting.
According to the investigators, traditional exercise programs have been shown to improve physical function in individuals with dementia, but little is known about the effect of exercises that integrate functional movements with mindful body awareness, which may also affect cognitive function.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 27, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
During the last 3 years, an increasing number of employers have been using brain health programs to reduce employee stress and its associated costs, and interest in brain health is expected to rise significantly over the next few years.
n fact, brain health will likely become mainstreamed in corporate America within 5 to 8 years, says Alvaro Fernandez, CEO of SharpBrains, an independent market research firm that tracks brain health innovation.
“Brain health is not just about disease. It’s not just about depression or anxiety,” says Fernandez, who is coauthor of The SharpBrains’ Guide to Brain Fitness: How to Invest in Your Brain to Maximize Mental Performance for Life, which was scheduled to be released in March. Instead, this new phenomenon focuses on making sure employees can adapt and thrive in their jobs, helping them make good decisions, and making them feel as productive as possible, he says.
Posted by WBHI on Mar 14, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Melody Wilding for HealthWorks Collective:
As a caregiver to someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you may often find yourself facing doubts and questions on a daily basis. Alzheimer’s disease presents many practical challenges such as dressing, bathing, and feeding the person. Yet, many caregivers claim the most difficult part is the inevitable “long good-bye” that comes as a result of the disease’s slow, progressive, incurable nature.
What is anticipatory grief?
Anticipatory grief is the pain and sadness that arises in advance of an expectant loss. It’s the emotional effect associated with losing a relative before that person dies. A common phenomenon among caregivers to the chronically and terminally ill, it is generally considered the most difficult type of grief to deal with. Caregivers experiencing anticipatory can encounter symptoms including mood swings, forgetfulness, disorganized and confused behavior, anger, and depression. Weight loss or gain, sleep problems, and general fatigue are also common.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 28, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Health Day News:
Helping people with dementia to eat more regularly improves their physical health and may lower symptoms of depression, a small new study from Taiwan suggests.
The research included 63 dementia patients who were trained to remember proper eating habits and 27 patients who received usual care. The memory training used a method called spaced retrieval, which requires people to recall a piece of information over increasingly longer time intervals. Another memory-training tool involved practicing tasks associated with daily living.
The patients underwent tests for nutrition, body-mass index (a measurement of body fat based on height and weight) and depression before the start of the study and again six months later.
Posted by WBHI on Feb 27, 2013 in Helpful Thinking
by Tami Doyle for Marion Star:
“If it weren’t for our friend who is a crop duster, we would never have found mom huddled in the middle of the bean field. One minute she was there, the next we had no idea what direction she went since her house is surrounded by corn fields.”
This is the true story of a Marion family who has a mother with dementia. Their mother wandered off when no one was looking and couldn’t remember how to get back.
No cure for Alzheimer’s: There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or for most other causes of dementia. Researchers still do not know how to prevent the disease from occurring, how to stop its progression or how to reverse its effects. Hopefully, more research will make a cure possible. There are a number of drug treatments that can help some people.
by Janice Lloyd for USA Today:
Concerns are increasing over the nation’s ability to afford Alzheimer’s care and support systems.
New reports that the number of Alzheimer’s cases in the USA will likely triple to 13.8 million by 2050 are raising concerns about the nation’s ability to afford care.
Care for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will increase 500% by 2050, reaching $1.1 trillion, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. This is in 2012 dollars. About 70% of costs for Alzheimer’s care are billed to Medicare and Medicaid.
Patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia will spend three times more on health care than patients with other types of illnesses, the association says. Medicare patients with Alzheimer’s and other dementias spent $43,847 on health care and long-term care services, compared to $13,879 spent by patients without those illnesses, the association said in a 2012 report.
For government health care programs already facing economic strain, these estimates are daunting, researchers and advocates say.