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 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.
by Shelley Emling for Huffington Post:
Researchers at Utah State University have discovered that the progression of decline in brain functioning among Alzheimer’s patients may be dramatically slowed if caregivers simply change the patient’s environment.
More specifically, caregivers who utilize higher levels of “positive” coping strategies — problem-focused coping, seeking greater social support, counting blessings — were able to slow down dementia’s progress as measured by a variety of global standards. Historically, patients whose caregivers rely more on “negative” coping strategies — avoidance, blaming themselves or others, wishful thinking — resulted in a faster decline on cognitive and functional measures, researchers said.
Problem-focused coping targets the cause of a problem in a practical way, such as by gathering information and taking control of a situation, they said. For example, one might evaluate the pros and cons of various options for dealing with a stressful issue.
Posted by WBHI on Dec 21, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Megan Ray for Sunrise Senior Living:
Planning a holiday celebration is a big task on its own, and it can be even more complicated for family caregivers. Though the holiday season is about spending time with loved ones and spreading good cheer, it often comes with a dose of chaos, especially at big family gatherings. If you find yourself struggling to prepare for the holiday get-together while providing for your loved one with dementia, here are some tips to help make the process easier:
Don’t Sweat The Details
People living with dementia have a hard time keeping track of details, but during this time of the year, you shouldn’t worry too much about the small stuff. If your loved one can’t remember certain names or even forgets that it’s the holiday season, don’t spend too much time correcting him or her.
Posted by WBHI on Dec 16, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Mary Marley, PhD for Alzheimer’s Reading Room:
The elderly woman with Alzheimer’s disease lay in her bed. She hadn’t sat up or talked for ages and she didn’t recognize her loved ones. Then a surprising thing happened. Her family began playing a DVD of beautiful footage of the ocean—the woman’s favorite place to go. It sparked memories. She became calm and a smile crossed her face. It was a true time of joy for her family.
Yes, grandma was still “there.”
Most people think Alzheimer’s patients have no memories, but many of them do if you prompt them to remember.
Carol Steinberg, Executive Vice President of the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, says “Short-term memory goes first, so it’s best to try to elicit memories through activities relating to their earlier years.”
There are several ways you can prompt dementia patients to recall memories:
Posted by WBHI on Nov 29, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
Sleep problems are common in people with dementia, but there are things caregivers can do to help their charges get a peaceful night’s rest.
The American Academy of Family Physicians mentions these tips to help people with dementia sleep better:
- Create a consistent bedtime routine and morning wake time.
- Create obvious ways to tell the time of day, such as placing clocks in visible areas and opening blinds.
- Limit the amount of caffeine, sugar and junk food in the person’s diet.
- Encourage daily exercise early in the day.
- Cut down on napping.
- Create a peaceful bedroom environment.
- Make sure to control any pain.
Posted by WBHI on Nov 12, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
Robots could be a key tool in the fight against dementia, researchers from a New Zealand university say.
A study by the Auckland University shows patients with the condition reacting positively to having robots in their lives, helping them take their medication and improving their mood.
For seven years the university has been studying the use of robots in healthcare, this latest research has been using two robots in the dementia care home at Selwyn Village. “The overall aim of the project is to try to develop technologies that can help people with dementia and help the people who are looking after people with dementia,” said senior lecturer of psychological medicine at Auckland University, Dr Elizabeth Broadbent.
The two robots have different purposes.
Posted by WBHI on Oct 2, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Freedom Homecare:
Every day major strides are made in the efforts aimed at understanding Alzheimer’s disease. The unfortunate but honest truth, however, is that there is still a myriad of misconceptions surrounding the condition. Because of that confusion, those suffering from Alzheimer’s often feel alienated and misunderstood.
Depression often goes hand in hand with the already difficult side effects of Alzheimer’s. But some of those feelings could be alleviated by simply talking about the disease with family members and friends.
To help open the lines of communication and close the door to depression, current and former members of the National Alzheimer’s Association Early-Stage Advisory Group have compiled a list of suggestions to better cope. The group, which consists of individuals in the early stage of the disease participate to raise awareness, and they work in concert with the Alzheimer’s Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research.
Here is their list:
Posted by WBHI on Oct 2, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Angela Lunde for Mayo Clinic:
With the Alzheimer’s epidemic on our doorstep, the fight is on. Over the past couple of months, many of you have written to express that while prevention and cure is a noble and necessary fight, it isn’t the only fight. I wholeheartedly agree — our biggest fight may be about something else.
The fight I’m speaking of is about a making a dramatic shift in how persons with dementia are viewed, cared for and integrated into our communities.
It’s a shift from perceiving people living with dementia in a “disability” way with a degenerative disease without a cure, to seeing a person living with dementia as a whole person.
Persons living with dementia have demonstrated that having dementia is about the continuation of living life to the fullest, of maintaining a sense of meaning and purpose, and of fulfilling needs that are at the core of who they (and all of us) are.
Posted by WBHI on Sep 28, 2012 in Helpful Thinking
by Dementia Today:
A study led by Johns Hopkins and Utah State University researchers suggests that a particularly close relationship with caregivers may give people with Alzheimer’s disease a marked edge over those without one in retaining mind and brain function over time. The beneficial effect of emotional intimacy that the researchers saw among participants was on par with some drugs used to treat the disease.
A report on the study, believed to be the first to show that the patient-caregiver relationship may directly influence progression of Alzheimer’s disease, is published in the September 2009 The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences and currently available online.
“We’ve shown that the benefits of having a close caregiver, especially a spouse, may mean the difference between someone with AD staying at home or going to a nursing facility,” says Constantine Lyketsos, M.D., M.H.S., the Elizabeth Plank Althouse Professor in Alzheimer’s Disease Research and director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer’s Treatment Center.