Imagine for a minute how it would feel to struggle with the cognitive complications of Alzheimer's disease. The family and friends who are closest to you are now unfamiliar. The words that would roll off your tongue without a second thought are now just out of reach. In fact, the world as you once knew it has completely turned upside down, leaving you yearning for a recognizable foothold. One of the kindnesses imparted by dementia is the long-term memories that oftentimes remain intact long after short-term memories have subsided. It is why connecting seniors with Alzheimer's to the past is often [...]
If there is one aspect that is constant in the race to solve the puzzle of Alzheimer’s, it is change. It seems as if any time medical researchers begin to get a grasp on one piece, new information shifts their hypotheses in a different direction. That’s certainly the case with the amazing new understanding about Alzheimer’s progression. For the first time ever, investigators from the University of Cambridge have been able to study human data instead of animal models. Their conclusions suggest an origin of the disease in several different areas of the brain, instead of a single location that starts [...]
Of the many challenging behaviors typical in dementia, possibly the most complicated to manage is aggression. A senior who has always been mild-mannered can abruptly lash out in outbursts which are truly terrifying: hitting, cursing, kicking, yelling, biting, or throwing things. How can you, as a family care provider, safely help reestablish a sense of calm when managing dementia and aggression? To start with, remind yourself that the aggression is a result of the disease. It’s not something the senior can control, and it is not deliberate. That being said, it must be diffused in order to keep both you and [...]
If you knew that a much better quality of life could be achieved for a loved one, you wouldn’t hesitate to explore that option. Yet one of the most beneficial types of care – hospice care – is one that family members shy away from, because of a number of hospice myths. Hospice is meant to assist someone with a life-limiting illness to find respite from pain and other difficult symptoms, while receiving comfort, spiritual, and emotional support. Hospice care is available 24 hours a day, both for the individual needing care in addition to members of the family. And, for [...]
If it feels like a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s and sleep problems has totally rewritten the rules on how and when to sleep, you are not dreaming. For reasons that are not yet completely understood, many people with dementia experience changes to their circadian rhythm, leading to drowsy days and sleepless nights. The advancement of the disease is one contributing factor. Damage to brain cells causes increased weakness, making daily tasks and activities exhausting. Medication side effects from regularly-prescribed dementia treatments can further exacerbate the problem. Why a Good Night’s Sleep Is Crucial for a Senior with Dementia Decreased sleep [...]
Life, especially although not just during the pandemic, can be filled with uncertainness. For seniors who are feeling less in command of particular aspects of life, such as losing cognitive or physical functioning, concentrating on exactly what can be controlled is empowering. An excellent place to begin is by setting a daily routine, customized to an older adult's particular interests and needs. Keep in mind the senior’s routine is not intended to be a strict schedule to be adhered to, but merely the foundation for predictability and structure. With the older adult's direction and input, decide on a desired framework for [...]
Distress. Fear. Embarrassment. The feelings surrounding discussing a dementia diagnosis with a doctor can cause older adults to keep their suspicions to themselves. A recently available AARP survey peeled away a few of the layers of emotion to get to the reason – namely, worry over losing independence and becoming a problem to others. While there is some truth to those fears, there are also some misconceptions fueling them. For instance, virtually half of the participants, who were adults age 40 and over, believe they are more likely to get dementia as they get older. The reality is that just over [...]
Your elderly mother is having trouble performing simple tasks, and she’s locked herself out of the house several times. The other day mom went to the bank and couldn’t remember how to get back home. Mom’s forgetfulness has now reached the point you suspect she has dementia. What should you do?