Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers Blog

June is Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month

The Alzheimer's Association is moving the awareness month from September to June.

This new month will be called Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month!  The plan is to shine a purple light for the millions of individuals world-wide and all the family members and caregivers affected by Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.  It kills brain cells and causes the brain to shrink dramatically over a period of years.  It affects a person’s ability to comuincate, to think and eventually to not even remember their name. During the end stage of the disease the person will eventually not be able to swallow without aspirating food or liquid in to their lungs causing pneumonia.  To date at least 44 million people worldwide are now living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.  At this rate the number will grow to 76 million by the year 2030.

Researchers have not found the exact cause of the disease or a cure.  The progression of the disease can be slowed with memory enhancement drugs, but many people stop the medication without giving it at least a two or three month trial. Each time treatment is interrupted by forgetting a dose of medication the person will lose precious time and their brain will continue to degenerate. The loss of the ability to compensate with their activities of daily living and their quality of life can be devastating.   Unfortunatly many doctors don’t even offer these medications to a person who may be concerned about the early stages of memory loss.

The top ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s disease:

  1. Memory loss that affects day to day function
  2. Difficulty performing familiar tasks
  3. Problems with language
  4. Disorientation of time and place
  5. Poor or decreased judgment
  6. Problems with abstract thinking
  7. Misplacing things
  8. Changes in mood or behavior
  9. Changes in personality
  10. Loss of initiative

It is important to see your doctor if you or someone you know may be experiencing any of these symptoms.  These symptoms may also be related to a physical problem that could be treated.  This month is about brain awareness and it is important that you are taking care of your brain. 

 

You are Never too Old to Chase Your Dream

How can a 94 year old Track Star teach us anything about living a more active life??

Olga Kotelko is a Track Star at age 94 and she leads a very active life.

She started competing in track and field in her 70’s.  She told reporters that she had retired from teaching after 34 years, at age 64. She began playing a little recreational slow-pitch softball and from there, the only way to go was up!

Track and Field is a real competition, and she told reporters that I love competition.  

Olga has 26 world records in her age group of 90 to 94! She realized how much she loved to compete and she enjoys the camaraderie of her team mates.  She also loves the intensity of the competition itself.  She wanted to be brave enough to broaden her horizons as she grew older.

People always ask her what she eats and how she sleeps. Olga believes that good food is the first line of defense for achieving and maintaining a healthy body. Olga states that "You are what you eat!"

Olga tells reporters that she needs to sleep to relax her body. She also states that sleep is a fundamental need for our bodies to function efficiently.” Olga always includes stretching exercises before bedtime and then she says that she falls fast asleep!

Olga believes that having a positive attitude and being optimistic has helped her stay healthier. She likes Sudoku and other mind games, like puzzles and card games, because they challenge her reasoning and her logic.

She tells reporters that anyone who stops learning is old! She also states” that knowledge is power, and “Age” is only a number.

Don't be afraid to keep up that determination and drive, because Olga says that you're never too old to chase your dream!

 

My Memory is Getting Worse Everyday!

 

“My Memory is Getting Worse Every day!”

Before you panic about having Alzheimer’s disease you should know that there are over a hundred different disorders that can trigger dementia like symptoms. Eight of the most common disorders can also be misdiagnosed are listed below. 

1. Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus           5. Diabetes

2. Medications                                              6. Alcohol Abuse

3. Depression                                               7. Urinary Tract Infection

4. B-12 Deficiency                                        8.  Thyroid Disease

Today there are over 5.3 million people who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and a new person is being diagnosed every seventy seconds.  This statistic tops motor vehicle accidents and breast cancer in this country. If you are concerned about any of these symptoms listed below, you should seek medical help as soon as possible. What if your symptoms could be reversed with early treatment?

Personality changes:

Inability to Make Connections

Inability to Make Decisions

Inability to Initiate or Complete a Project

Frustration, Anger, and Irritability

Emotional Liability, Unstable moods

Paranoia, Suspicion, and Jealously

Insensitivity to Others

Flat Emotional Responses

Loss of Inhibitions

Fear of Being Alone

 

Loss of problem-solving skills:

Inability to do Familiar Tasks

Inability to Make Connections

Inability to Make Decisions

Inability to Initiate or Complete a Project

 

Communication problems:

Problems Finding Words

Inability to Follow a Conversation

Repeating the Question

 

Disorientation:

Loss of a Sense of Time

Getting Lost in Familiar Areas

Not Recognizing People

 

New and unfamiliar behaviors:

Neglect of Self or Property & Hoarding

A New Blood Test for Alzheimer's

Would you want to know years in advance if you were going to have Alzheimer’s disease?

This week a potential breakthrough in diagnosing Alzheimer's was reported, but it is still an incurable disease.  This leads to the ethical question about whether or not patients would benefit from knowing in advance that they will develop this devastating disease.

Georgetown University Medical Center announced the discovery of a blood test that can predict whether a person will develop Alzheimer’s disease or a related condition within three years. Professor Federoff stressed that the research is still at its earliest stage, but it provides an entirely new framework upon which other scientists may build.

The research suggest that it provides only a 90% accuracy rate in distinguishing people with healthy brains from those with the fatal disease, said Howard Federoff, a professor of neurology and executive vice president for health sciences at Georgetown University Medical Center, who led this study.  The research still leaves 10% open tofalse positives in the blood test, quoted Federoff.  But the presence of such a test could help researchers identify people at high risk and design a clinical trial to determine whether a drug could delay or prevent the onset of symptoms.

The paper identified levels of ten fats seen in the blood of people who went on to develop Alzheimer's 2-3 years later. The blood test is the first to predict Alzheimer's before the start of symptoms. Even more tests are also expected to come out over the next few years

Other researchers state that it may be too soon to predict who will get Alzheimer's disease a few years before they experience symptoms, according to a paper published this week in “Nature Medicine.”

Many others believe that this test could allow patients to plan for their care and prepare financially, and participate in clinical trials to advance the treatment options for Alzheimer’s disease.  

Researchers continue to study lifestyle changes that might help someone avoid or delay the onset of the disease.  Increasing exercise, eating a Mediterranean diet, and socially more active, may have a significant impact on lowering your chances of having Alzheimer's.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which afflicts more than 5 million Americans and 35.6 million people worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists Alzheimer’s as the sixth-leading cause of death, but recent research ranks it as the third largest killer in the United States. The numbers of those affected are expected to nearly triple by 2050 if there are no significant medical breakthroughs.  

How would you answer this question; would you want to know?  It is interesting that most people stated “YES”, they would want to know.  The reason that they stated was that ‘they would begin to live their lives differently!”  Why wait until you are diagnosed with an incurable disease to make changes in your life; MAKE THE CHANGES NOW!

Our DVDs combine images
with high quality music that will engage those with cognitive decline. They are currently utilized by caregivers at multiple dementia units, nursing homes and home care environments.

Visit the Alzheimer's Store                     Credit Cards Accepted                 facebook   youtube_32