Posts Tagged Alzheimer’s

Lack of Sleep- How It Hurts You

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We all know infants and teens need a lot of sleep, because their bodies are changing so rapidly.  But, when we consider adults, and the elderly, we often don’t associate sleep as something we “need”.  Some people are even proud- stating to others, that they only need “5 or 6” hours of sleep.

I recently read a fascinating article regarding our “catastrophic” lack of sleep, and that research shows that it is linked to a host of fatal diseases.  A professor at Berkley states that sleep deprivation affects “every aspect of our biology”.  A lack of sleep has been “linked to cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, obesity and poor mental health among other health problems”.  The article goes on to say that anything less than 7 hours of sleep is bad for our health.  Many view the need for more sleep as a trait of being lazy.  In short, the article states that a lack of sleep is killing us, and that we need to change our view of sleep and get more of it on a regular basis!

For more, read the article below.

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/sleep-deprivation-epidemic-health-effects-tired-heart-disease-stroke-dementia-cancer-a7964156.html

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Teepa Snow, Leading Expert on Dementia

 

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This week, I had the opportunity to attend a work shop on dementia by one of America’s leading experts on the topic; Teepa Snow.  It was both informative, and funny as she kept our attention the entire six hours.  Below, is a clip from her site.  She has a great deal of information you can use to improve your care for those with dementia.

http://teepasnow.com/resources/teepa-tips-videos/dementia-101/

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Eugenia Smiled

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Do you work with seniors who have end-stage (or advanced) Alzheimer’s?  Have you found it challenging to connect to them in a meaningful way?  It can be difficult without knowing something about what they used to enjoy.  Below is a story of Eugenia, a senior who was 100 years old and was told that she didn’t need a volunteer.  Not only did she have an advanced case of Alzheimer’s, she was partially blind and had hearing difficulties.

A volunteer coordinator decided to place a volunteer with Eugenia every day of the week.  Each day volunteers read to her.  Volunteers also oriented Eugenia to her surroundings and the time.  Week after week, Eugenia continued to be unaware of the companionship she was receiving.  But one day, a young volunteer sang his university’s fight song.  Then it happened- Eugenia’s feet began to tap.  She bobbed her head and lifted her eyes.  With all eyes on Eugenia, she looked up and spread her lips and smiled.

It took time and patience.  It took finding what Eugenia needed to connect to the outside world.  Her smile meant so much to those volunteers- they had finally made a connection.  What she needed was music!

http://seniorsmiles.org/about-us/stories

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Pets and The Elderly- Some Considerations

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When thinking about the care an individual needs who has Alzheimer’s, we often forget about the other creatures we should check on too- their pets.  This is never something I considered- until I read this article.

There will come a point in time, when an individual with Alzheimer’s may be unable to care for a pet.  A case example of this, is listed below.  Certainly, caregivers need to do everything possible to ensure that a pet, or pets at home are cared for as long as possible.  Pets can provide tremendous companionship, entertainment, and stimulation to their owners.   However, when an individual with Alzheimer’s, (or other illnesses) can no longer care for the pet and the pet’s well-being is truly at stake, something must be done.

It may be possible to find another loving home for the pet.  Below, is a story of a worst-case scenario of a pet being neglected due to the owner’s illness, but rescued and given proper care.

http://www.foxnews.com/health/2016/12/22/obese-cat-covered-in-pounds-matted-fur-recovering-in-new-home.html

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Time To Stop Driving?

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Everyone enjoys independence and one of the greatest marks of independence, is being able to drive.  It gives an individual great freedom; freedom to work, shop, and socialize with others.  But if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s, this topic can be a tricky one- full of legitimate concern.

The question is: “Does mom or dad still have the cognitive ability to drive safely (keeping him or her safe, as well as others)?”

Here are two links that will help you answer that question.  The first link is terrific and it lists important facts you should consider- such as having a diagnosis of dementia, taking medications that may affect reasoning, and other issues that may make driving more difficult like vision and hearing loss.

http://asps2besafe.com/ROADparents.html

http://www.alz.org/georgia/in_my_community_16195.asp

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Working Together to Care for Mom or Dad

Advice for Adult Siblings to Provide Care for Elderly Parents – AARP.

Are you a caregiver for an elderly parent?  Perhaps you are a senior yourself, caring for an aged sibling…  This article from AARP was written by a man who moved his aging mother from Florida to an apartment near his home in Pennsylvania.  The author of this article is the older of two brothers and there is a disagreement between the two siblings as to how much care their mother needs and who should provide the care.  Dealing with these issues over their mother’s care has caused the resurfacing of some childhood dynamics.

A few terrific points have been made:

  • Remember the stakes are high- when siblings work together the aging parent will receive better care
  • Beware of reversion- try to see your sibling as an adult and don’t revert back to relationship patterns of early family life (work together as a equally respectable team, recognizing each others’ strengths)
  • Shelf the sexism- sons are capable of providing good care to an aging parent (don’t expect your sister to always be the caregiver)
  • Equality is unrealistic and possible inefficient- it may be one adult child is doing a large part of the care giving or decision making for an aging parent, but there are very real and helpful ways for other adult siblings to help out throughout the year (even if they live in another state)
  • Be kind to one another- its okay to vent caregiving frustrations to a sibling, but always be respectful in doing so, and thankful for what others have contributed as well
  • Advice is easy to give, but hard to implement- it is easy to say we “should do this”, but sometimes very difficult to implement… know that caregiving can be very stressful and being able to talk about it openly, respectfully (especially when there is a challenge) is a journey

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Blood Pressure Drugs May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk

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Blood Pressure Drugs May Reduce Alzheimer’s Risk | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation.

Did you know that people with high blood pressure are more likely to get Alzheimer’s?  In this article, autopsies were performed on over 700 Asian Americans- most of whom had high blood pressure.  Those who took beta blockers for their HBP had the LEAST changes to their brain- meaning the beta blockers helped reduce the probability of Alzheimer’s or dementia.  The beta blockers also helped reduce the risk for microinfarcts, a condition that arises when blood does not get to certain areas of the brain, causing multiple tiny strokes.

If you have high blood pressure, please take the time to read this article- it is very interesting.  In the end, I was reminded that there is a direct link between a healthy heart and healthy brain….

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