Alzheimer's Symptoms: Navigational Skills May Deteriorate Long Before Memory

OldercoupleTypically, when we think of the early signs of Alzheimer’s disease we think of memory problems. Words go missing, names escape one’s grasp, daily tasks are forgotten. Now, researchers at Washington University in St. Louis have shown that making mental maps of where we have been and where we are going is a process the brain may lose before memory problems begin to show. People with these early symptoms can no longer navigate even a familiar area as they once did.

Read full article on HealthCentral about navigational skills and what they mean when Alzheimer's is a risk:

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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


Alzheimer’s Risk Higher for Women: Why?

Caregiver6It’s been known for years that women are more at risk for Alzheimer’s disease than men.  Now, there’s even more evidence of gender differences. A new study has found that among those who've been diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), women show a much faster rate of memory loss than men. The 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference took place recently in Washington, D.C. While many topics were covered, including some drugs that are showing promise, this study about women has attracted its share of attention. Earlier studies showing that more women developed Alzheimer’s than men concluded that this statistic simply reflected the fact that women live longer than men. Since age is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it would stand to reason that more women would develop the disease. #WomensHealth

Read full article on HealthCentral about Alzheimer's rate as it applies to women:

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Loneliness May Increase Dementia Risk, Heart Attacks and Stroke

Depression2A study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery & Psychiatry has found that people who feel lonely are significantly more at risk for developing dementia. The study, headed by Tjalling Jan Holwerda of the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, found that participants who reported feeling lonely, no matter how many friends and family surrounded them, were more likely to experience dementia than those who didn’t feel lonely. The team focused on approximately 2,200 older adults living in Amsterdam, ages 65 to 86. None of the participants exhibited signs of dementia and none of them lived in facilities such as nursing homes. The researchers visited the elders two times over the course of three years. About half of them lived alone, with 20 percent reporting feelings of loneliness, even if they were married or lived with family.

Read full article on HealthCentral about loneliness and health effects:

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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer 


Strategies for Downsizing for a Move to Assisted Living

Moving1For most seniors, moving from their home of many years into an assisted living facility is difficult. For some, it's nearly paralyzing. Even if they are moving to a very nice assisted living environment, the move will likely mean a significant loss of space, especially if they are leaving a house. Downsizing – the term often used for weaning ourselves from long-time possessions – can be hard for anyone. When it's more or less forced upon someone because of age or infirmity, the process becomes even tougher.

Read full article on agingcare about downsizing for a big move:

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Early Memory Issues Alone Shouldn't Force Contented Elder from Home

CaringDear Carol: My dad is 81 and lives alone in his small home that he loves. What he can’t do, he hires done. He’s a positive person who is fun to be around, but he’s also proud. While his memory recall has slowed, that seems normal. He writes himself notes to remember to do what needs to be done. Still, I don’t see that he has a huge problem living relatively safely and well. I go with him to his doctor and the doctor seems to think that Dad's doing extremely well. The issue is my brother. He lives 1000 miles away and only occasionally visits. When he was last here, he saw Dad’s notes and told me that I need to confront him about his memory and get him moved to some kind of care. He says it’s for Dad’s safety. I hate to see Dad’s spirit shattered, and a confrontation like this would do that. I want Dad safe, but I also want him happy. Who is right? Jenny

Read full column on Inforum about deciding together what's best for dad:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards


Motherhood, the Brain and Dementia: Changing Hormones Alter Risk

MotherbabyThroughout decades of study, hormone therapy (HT), often but not always the same as hormone replacement therapy (HRT), has been glorified and demonized in turn. The information that doctors receive has come from ongoing studies that seemed to offer over time radically conflicting results. A new study may add more confusion since this study has found that not only does HT given near menopause create changes in a woman’s brain, but motherhood itself creates changes.

Read full article on how changing hormones can alter the risk of Alzheimer's:

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Individual Attention Important Benefit of Alzheimer's Eating Study

It’s natural for caregivers to worry if their loved one is getting sufficient nourishment. People with dementia are often a challenge because they forget to eat, or they may have problems remembering how to transfer food from the plate to their mouths. Some people have trouble chewing and swallowing, especially during later stages of dementia.  Caregiving6Since depression is another issue that is common for people with dementia, a Taiwanese study addressed these issues together. The study, published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing, found that dementia patients who received individualized instruction on good eating habits had fewer symptoms of depression.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the importance on individual attention while feeding someone with dementia:

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“I hold onto your book as a life preserver and am reading it slowly on purpose...I don't want it to end.”  Craig William Dayton, Film Composer


How to Be a Friend to an Isolated Caregiver

Friends8Caregivers are often isolated by the nature of their responsibilities. Some can’t leave home without arranging for someone to come and care for their loved one. Others are simply taxed to expend energy on friends no matter how lonely they may feel. So, how can you be a friend to an isolated caregiver?

View full slideshow on HealthCentral about how to be a friend to a caregiver who is struggling:

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Lifestyle Magazine Focuses on Attitude Toward Aging

AgingWell“At Senior Lifestyle Advantage magazine, we speak to those who are 55 and older, encouraging them to live a healthier, more balanced life with hope. Each issue shares expert advice, easy recipes, travel, and feature stories about living with joy.”

These words are the short version of the message that Judith Stanton, founder and publisher of Senior Lifestyle Advantage, wants to spread. Stanton’s magazine focuses on the ways in which aging can be positive and fun, a viewpoint that is sorely needed at a time when ageism marginalizes a large percentage of our population.

Read full article on HealthCentral about the lifestyle magazine for a positive attitude:

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Photo above: iStock


Aging with Ease: How Moving Right Can Make All the Difference

Exercise4...Most of us move and sit automatically without thinking of how it affects our bodies. With age, however, our habitual movements can translate into poor posture and sore or damaged joints. Mary Derbyshire has some words of wisdom to help us age with less pain, and the approach to movement that she teaches is, well, painless. Derbyshire has taught fitness and movement for over 35 years.

Read full article on HealthCentral about how moving right can help us age with ease:

Purchase Minding Our Elders: Caregivers Share Their Personal Stories – paperback or ebook

The stories in this fine book showed us how others have gone through similar things with their families and that is somehow reassuring. There are some helpful suggestions but mostly there is the recognition that others went through the same thing. All we can do is our best. That is greatly reassuring during these difficult emotional times. If you are a caregiver, this is a must read. - Delores Edwards