Alzheimer's and Dementia Caregivers Blog

Smoking and Dementia

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, smoking affects nearly all of the body's organs and functions. It contributes to such health issues such as cancer, heart disease and respiratory disease. 

Ninety percent of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease-related deaths are caused by smoking in the elderly. New reports show male smokers age 65 and over are two times more likely to die from a stroke, and elderly women smokers are one-and-a-half times more likely to die of a stroke.

The CDC also reports that smoking among elderly men and women increases the likelihood of developing dementia. The effect of smoking on the elderly reduces their life expectancy by approximately 15 years.

Although the elderly are likely to believe that smoking has not or will not affect their health, there are misconceptions about smoking. Even though tobacco comes from a plant, cigarettes contain more than just the tobacco.  Researchers also say that the addiction to cigarettes can be worse than heroin. 

Many older adults smoke out of boredom and loneliness and it saddens me to see them hasten their decline in their remaining years.  


Home Care vs. Assisted Living

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Everyday people call me to help them find the right home care company and it is hard for me to say all that comes to mind when families start home care.  Some days I think that I have been around too long, because I tend to state my opinion a little more than the client may want to hear.  

No one can imagine their mom or dad being old enough or frail enough to need to move out of their home, but there is so much more to consider making this decision.  I have been working with a client recently who called me because her mother has been living alone since her husband died and she employs twenty four hour caregivers.  She is spending $10,800 per month for private caregivers.  The daughter’s greatest concern is not about the excellent care that her mother is receiving, but she is worried that her mother has nothing to do.  Her mother sleeps most of the day and she tells her daughter that she is bored.  

My older clients tell me how much they dislike having strangers come into their home, and they are convinced that the caregivers are not working hard enough to deserve the money that they are being paid.   

Assisted Living provides socialization, even if it is just during the three meals that are served in the dining room.  They also offer scheduled activities throughout the day and transportation for wheel chairs and walkers.  In Assisted Living a resident has their own private apartment with their own furnishings and many keepsakes which make it feel more like home.  They also have privacy in their apartment, but they can call for help when ever needed.  Each resident has a care plan and the caregivers provide assistance with all activities of daily living. 

My client has decided to move her mother to Assisted Living because she found the one that she hopes will help her mother have more quality of life.  I cannot imagine growing older and not having the opportunity to be with people and socialize.  We are designed by God to be social beings and living alone and being reminded everyday of all our losses can cause serious depression. 


Early Dementia Testing & Care

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Early dementia testing and care made the news this week.  Family members often notice changes in their loved ones memory and when they tell the doctor about their concern, the doctor dismisses the symptoms as normal aging without doing any further testing.  

Each year we are learning more and more about early treatment.  I am so delighted that Medicare will now cover the annual wellness visit that includes detection of “cognitive impairment,” or a “measurable change in thinking abilities”, especially memory, that signals a dementia risk. Studies show that up to 81% of patients who meet the criteria for dementia have never received a diagnosis, let alone treatment. 

Alzheimer’s disease affects 5.4 million people in the U.S. and it is linked to other age related problems such as strokes or Parkinson’s disease.  The Alzheimer’s Association predicts that the incidence of all dementias will double by 2050 as the population of older adults expands. 

The unfortunate part of these numbers is that people in their sixties are now being diagnosed more frequently.  I worry that without treatment their decline is much more rapid.  I do recognize the argument that many doctors often make to a family that Alzheimer’s is a degenerating disease and medications will not stop the progression. I have observed many of my clients who have had a much slower progression of the disease with early treatment.  


How to Stay Young!


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Do you remember what it was like to be a child, running around without a care in the world?  

As the years go by and hard work and worries pile up, it is harder to remember what it feels like to be a child without any worries.  

It is interesting that people with Alzheimer’s have often become healthier.  Doctors believe that the patient’s no longer have stress in their lives and they start living in the moment more like a child.  

How sad that we cannot adopt that attitude before we are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but it is never too late to start! 

Think about some of the things that you enjoyed doing as a child and try doing those things again. 

Stop obsessing over the small things and let your worries go.  As a child you would not have spent much time worrying about the small things. 

Kids don’t spend time feeling bad about something; they move on and get over whatever obstacle they face. 

Do something with a child in your life, spend an afternoon playing make believe, or go to the park and swing on the swings. 

Stop obsessing over your health and your diet.  Children run around and burn off the calories that they eat and you can become more active too. 

Try to have fun with every chore that is on your to do list.  Your lists may be too long and you should reward yourself if you complete the top five things on the list.  The remainder of the list may be able to wait for another day. 

If you spend more time finding your inner child and playing more you will be happier and live longer.  



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.

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