Viewing the holidays through the lens of Alzheimer’s disease can seem to be anything but merry and bright. Family may perhaps be overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities, and the disruption to routine can result in additional distress for a senior learning how to deal with dementia at the holidays. Read more
The world of Alzheimer’s disease research is expanding, and now there’s an easy way all of us can bring about the discovery of an Alzheimer’s cure. With an online game, Stall Catchers, many people are dedicating time to going through slides of mouse brains to aid research workers in establishing the effectiveness of addressing cerebral blood flow issues to reverse loss of memory.
An element of the developing trend in “citizen science,” Stall Catchers blends today’s technology with the overall population’s desire to really make a difference in the world around them. Huge numbers of volunteers give their valuable time every day to causes that include diagnosing malaria, storm damage tracking, and even attempting to find signs of extraterrestrial intelligence.
And it’s already helping. Stall Catchers volunteers’ hard work made a direct impact on achieving the finding that impaired circulation is not related to the amyloid plaques connected with Alzheimer’s disease, processing slides at a speed that might take a single lab researcher an entire week in as little as an hour. With government funding for Alzheimer’s research capped out at $986 million during the past year (and at least $2 billion needed every year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association), volunteer researchers are indispensable.
The next phase in this particular study is to search for a treatment that can address these blood flow blockages without reducing patients’ immune systems – an effort that involves the monotonous examination of more than tens of thousands of images. And even though it’s going to take a lot of time, even with an enthusiastic audience of volunteers, people that have a loved one dealing with the disease find purpose in the ability to do something to work towards an Alzheimer’s cure, at any time the urge arises. According to Judy Johanson, whose father is dealing with the disease, “You don’t have to wait for the walk or the triathlon to do this. You can do this whenever you need to.”
If you’ve got a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, you’re able to register to be part of the Stall Catchers community in order to assist, and contact Endeavor Home Care’s San Diego dementia care team and our Arizona senior care experts for in-home assistance with specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Our fully trained, experienced, and compassionate caregivers are available as much or as little as needed – whether only a few hours a week to supply family caregivers with a little time to themselves, or full-time, around-the-clock care to keep seniors safe and well. Call us at (480) 535-6800 to learn more.
It may seem astounding – a sweet, elderly, occasionally baffled grandmother with dementia being handcuffed and placed under arrest. But nevertheless, that very scene is occurring at an alarming rate among seniors, more than 100,000 of them, according to the current data – an increase of roughly 30% in the past decade. This dramatic increase in arrests of the elderly might be partially because of the increase in the population of the elderly, as well as the increase in medical diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Along with the anxiety and aggression that can come with Alzheimer’s, as well as other erratic behaviors that might require police intervention, one solution lies in education. Dr. Brie Williams, geriatrician and director of the University of California, San Francisco’s Criminal Justice Aging Project, highlights the necessity for more effective police responses to dementia-induced actions. In short, this involves identifying the answer to, “Is there a medical reason behind engaging in what’s normally regarded as criminal behavior?”
And in addition to criminal concerns, some other situations concerning older adults with dementia are more often requiring law enforcement to step in, such as people with Alzheimer’s wandering off and getting lost, or being asked to check up on the elderly at the request of worried members of the family, neighbors, friends, or medical personnel.
Thankfully, the San Francisco Police Department has taken measures to make certain its law enforcement team is coached in appropriate intervention methods, as well as given helpful information on beneficial services and local resources to help the elderly and lessen the dangers of dementia. With other law enforcement departments nationwide expressing interest in implementing the same programs, the hope is that increased empathy and understanding of dementia will help people better support individuals in desperate need of specialized care to live more full, productive and undisruptive lives.
For professional Alzheimer’s and dementia care, guidelines, and resources, contact the Scottsdale home care experts at Endeavor Home Care. Our fully trained and experienced professional dementia care team delivers patient, consistent care that brings comfort to family caregivers, keeping their loved ones safe at home, helping them engage in mentally stimulating pursuits and physical activity as appropriate, and taking care of daily tasks that require assistance. Beginning with the creation of a customized care plan, that plan is then implemented and adjusted ongoing as needs change. Serving Scottsdale and the surrounding area, call us at (480) 535-6800 to learn more.
It is a common problem for many older adults – falling and staying asleep for a full night’s rest. Other than feeling a tad foggy the next morning, however, and feeling the need for an afternoon snooze to catch up on lost sleep, the actual repercussions have felt negligible. That is, until a recent study suggested a potential link between chronic insomnia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Deep sleep enables the brain to remove toxins, such as the amyloid plaques related to Alzheimer’s disease, and it appears that a build-up of these toxins is shown to harm the brains of lab animals. Consequently, a human study is launching to better understand the interconnection and its impact.
Through the use of a strong MRI system, the strength of the brain’s signal to get rid of toxins can be reviewed: a strong signal in brains whose toxin elimination is successful, and a less strong signal in people who may be developing Alzheimer’s. The objective will be to assess if too little deep sleep does, in fact, affect the likelihood of a future Alzheimer’s diagnosis, and if so, to determine the best treatment options to improve sleep quality.
The difficulty in the human leg of the trial will be in assisting people to feel comfortable enough in the MRI machine to achieve the natural stages of sleep, between the noise and cramped and sometimes claustrophobia-inducing quarters. However, it’s a much more feasible and less-intrusive option than the laboratory animal study, which involved creating a window in the skull and watching the brain with a strong microscope and laser. And the payoffs may potentially be life-changing: identifying people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease because of inadequate sleep, and opening doors to new treatment options.
Per Bill Rooney, director of Oregon Health & Science University’s Advanced Imaging Research Center, “It could be anything from having people exercise more regularly, or new drugs. A lot of the sleep aids don’t particularly focus on driving people to deep sleep stages.”
Financing for human trials is currently in place, and the research is slated to start this year.
Are you currently providing care for a senior loved one and finding it challenging to get a restful night’s sleep? Or does your family member have a problem with sundowning, chronic insomnia, or other issues that make evening sleeping tough for you both? Contact the Arizona and San Diego senior care experts at Endeavor Home Care for overnight respite care, offering you the chance to sleep while knowing your family member is safe and sound and well cared for!
“Home sweet home,” the saying goes; but if you are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s who is experiencing memory loss and insists home is somewhere other than where he or she is currently living, what do you do? When you are providing care for a loved one with dementia, unfortunately this discussion can be a common occurrence. And the bewilderment and sorrowful yearning being conveyed are nothing less than heartbreaking – and, if we’re truthful, annoying.
At Endeavor Home Care, our professionally instructed San Diego dementia care team helps families control difficult events such as this, and we recommend trying the following to help restore peace to an upset loved one with dementia:
- Instead of rationalizing, help the senior feel validated. Reasoning or arguing with a senior with dementia can actually increase frustration and unrest. Even if the older person is in the same home she’s resided in for the past 20 years, within her thoughts, “home” could represent the enjoyment she felt in her childhood home together with her parents. Her sentiments of loss are quite real, and should be acknowledged.
- Provide reassurance. Maintain a calm, soothing tone of voice and body language and take a seat next to the person, providing consolation through a hug, hand-holding, or maybe lightly touching the person’s arm, if these kinds of actions are accepted.
- Next, redirect. Once you’ve provided a soothing presence and affirmed the person’s views, redirection to some pleasurable, entertaining activity will be helpful. Taking a walk outdoors or in a different part of the house, playing favorite music, or checking out photograph collections are just a couple of suggestions; consider the particular person and incorporate the things that work best for her.
For further suggestions about helping restore peace to a troubled loved one with memory loss resulting from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia, contact Endeavor Home Care at (480) 535-6800. We can help keep seniors safe, enrich socialization, and present them with opportunities to strengthen both cognitive and physical wellbeing through services such as:
- Patient, sensitive assistance with personal care responsibilities such as bathing and dressing
- Participating in conversations and reminiscing about the past
- Helping the senior to participate in physician-approved exercises
- Playing board games, cards or games on a tablet device with the senior
- Planning and making nutritious meals
- Running errands such as picking up groceries and medications
- Providing transport to health care appointments and other outings
- And so much more
Whether just a few hours each week of respite care for primary family caregivers are necessary, or full-time, seamless, around-the-clock caregiving is wanted, we’re always ready to partner with you to deliver the highest quality dementia care. Contact Endeavor’s San Diego dementia care experts to find out more and to arrange for a free in-home assessment.
Introduce the topic of “dementia” at your next summer party and you’ll find the mood quickly turns from happy to heavy-hearted. For most of us, negative experiences are all that we have read, and perhaps have experienced, with this disease. And since there is still not yet a cure, it’s only natural that an Alzheimer’s medical diagnosis in a family member creates an array of concerns.
What isn’t as often mentioned – if at all – are the bright spots of dementia. Actually, studies have shown that as few as 25% of people with mild or moderate dementia self-describe their lives as negative. According to Dr. Peter Rabins, author of “The 36-Hour Day” in which the study is highlighted, and a professor at the University of Maryland, “I’ve seen that you can be a wonderful grandparent and not remember the name of the grandchild you adore. You can be with people you love and enjoy them, even if you’re not following the whole conversation.”
It can help to remember that regardless of the outward changes seen in people with Alzheimer’s or dementia, they are still the same person inside with many of the same characteristics and feelings as always. They appreciate being in a relationship with other people, find peace of mind in familiar surroundings, and enjoy meaningful, purposeful activities. It’s a matter of taking the time to better understand the person and dedicating quality time to attempting to engage in hobbies and interests that he or she enjoys.
There are a number of ways one can help foster wellbeing and a positive outlook on life for a family member with Alzheimer’s or dementia, even as the condition progresses. Helping a loved one with socialization is one of our top recommendations. Many relatives are fearful and uncomfortable around their loved one with dementia, and for that reason, tend to cut back on visits or even just abandon them altogether. It’s essential to seek out ways to help your loved one remain socially connected. Continue to visit, and hire the services of a professional in-home caregiver, such as Endeavor Home Care provides, to fill in the gaps.
Call on Endeavor’s Scottsdale home care experts at (480) 535-6800 for more ideas or to discuss additional ways to help a family member with dementia improve total wellbeing. Our professionally trained Alzheimer’s and dementia care team is available to provide reliable respite services, allowing members of the family necessary time away to rest and refresh, knowing their family member is in the absolute best of care.
Is it possible that there is one single medication that has already been developed that can be a treatment for not only leukemia, but Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease as well? At Georgetown University Medical Center, researchers are hopeful that nilotinib is that medication. Currently approved for use in individuals with one type of leukemia, a small trial is creating great excitement in its encouraging results to rid the brain of toxic proteins.
Georgetown’s medical director of the translational neurotherapeutics program, Fernando Pagan, explains it this way: “Our drug goes into the cells to turn on that garbage disposal mechanism. And if we’re able to degrade these proteins, we could potentially stop the progression of this disorder.”
Because of the exciting results with the small trial, a new trial is being launched. This trial will be more in-depth and will involve 75 Parkinson’s patients and 42 Alzheimer’s patients. Hopefully these results will be equally as exciting, but regardless, the many years of research that have gone into evaluating nilotinib, as well as other new potential developments, are helping pave the way towards practical treatment methods, or perhaps an eventual cure.
Trials in mice have produced some amazing results, actually curing Parkinson’s disease in mice. It’s also proven effective in a small number of human tests in those with Parkinson’s and dementia, for which there currently is not a treatment designed to stop or even slow the continuing development of the diseases. For those in the initial testing phase, improvements in a variety of areas were noted: speech and mobility, most notably.
The next part of the study is expected to be completed in about a year, and patients with either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s are currently being enrolled for the study. More information in regards to the upcoming Alzheimer’s study is available here, and information about the Parkinson’s study is available here.
For additional resources on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, turn to the aging care experts at Endeavor Home Care. We can provide a full range of professional home care solutions with our fully trained and knowledgeable specialized Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s caregivers. Contact us at 480.535.6800 to schedule a free in-home assessment or to allow us to answer any questions you might have. We provide home care solutions throughout much of Arizona, as well as San Diego dementia care and home care solutions to families in Southern California. Check out our service area.
Oftentimes at the end of a day caregiving for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, instead of the stress winding down, it can ramp up. As the sun goes down, many persons with Alzheimer’s experience agitation, fearfulness and restlessness. This condition, called sundowning, can be stressful for both the caregiver and the person with Alzheimer’s. Aggravations intensify as family members try to keep the senior suffering from sundowning – dementia calm and safe, while trying to get some rest themselves.
One extraordinary program provides a solution: overnight care that offers services specifically to people with sundowning troubles. Described as a slumber party ambiance, aging adults take part in a complete variety of structured activities in a safe environment: music and dancing, puzzles, movies, food preparation, and more – delivering family caregivers a much appreciated chance to rest themselves. “Many family members want to care for relatives with Alzheimer’s at home, but in order to do that, the caregivers themselves have to remain healthy. You cannot stay healthy if you don’t get a good night’s sleep,” explains Ruth Drew of the Alzheimer’s Association.
There are certain steps one can take to try and restore a healthier sleep pattern for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease.
- Make sure the senior is exercising daily (early in the day).
- Make sure he or she experiences the sunlight in the morning.
- Have a set routine for meals, bedtime and wake-up time.
- Use a softly lit nightlight at nighttime and keep the bedroom a comfortable temperature.
- Have the senior avoid nicotine, caffeine and alcohol.
- If the person with Alzheimer’s is restless or unable to sleep, encourage him or her to get out of bed. This way, the bed will be seen as a place for sleeping only.
- Find quiet, calming activities for the senior to engage in during wakeful times, but avoid watching TV.
If none of the alternative approaches are working for the senior, the doctor may recommend a medication, such as:
- Tricyclic antidepressants
- Particular antipsychotics (noting that some antipsychotics are related to an increase of stroke and even death in those with dementia – so proceed with caution)
- Drugs to aide in falling and staying asleep
Make sure to look at the risks vs. benefits of any treatment option recommended by the senior’s physician. And, keep in mind that a treatment plan that works now may not be as effective as the disease progresses – and vice versa.
Arizona’s best home care company, Endeavor Home Care, can also help with overnight caregivers in the home to help restore peace to your loved one suffering from sundowning dementia. Contact us at (480) 535-6800 to learn more.
If only providing care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia came with a handbook, rather than the trial-and-error-and-trial-again method so many of us are faced with. The various stages of the disease that have to be worked through cause it to become increasingly challenging; the moment we start to feel reasonably adept at managing one phase, we’re on to the next.
At Endeavor Home Care in Arizona, we recognize firsthand how challenging dementia and Alzheimer’s disease care can be, and present the following suggestions to keep in mind that may help:
- It is ok to make mistakes. Being human means being imperfect. Keep your expectations of yourself within reason, understanding that there will be times when you have sufficient patience and discernment, and times you wish you could do over. Don’t forget to take care of yourself; and be sure to remind yourself often that you are doing the best you can.
- Redirecting works better than correcting. When a person with dementia is disoriented, using logic to attempt to reorient the individual can lead to disappointment for both of you. For example, if the person is looking for a childhood friend, instead of explaining that this friend died a long time ago, ask the person to tell you more information about the friend or to talk about a fun adventure they shared.
- Don’t be afraid to accept your loved one’s alternate reality. We place a high value on truthfulness in our society, and being dishonest with a senior loved one makes us feel uncomfortable. However, if the person truly believes that he’s the author of the book you’re reading, it’s often a wise course of action to simply play along and maintain the peace.
- Be realistic in both what the person can and cannot do. Even though our inclination may be to take control and take over everything for a person with Alzheimer’s, it’s better to stop and see what he or she is still capable of doing independently. Similarly, if the older adult begins to experience agitation over a task, it’s time to step up and help.
- Doctors can learn something new, too. Make sure to discuss everything you’re witnessing in your loved one with the doctor during medical appointments. He or she can only deliver the best treatment plan when all of the details are on the table.
Most importantly, it’s essential for family members providing Alzheimer’s disease care to develop a good system of support. Endeavor Home Care is available to partner with you in delivering customized Arizona dementia and Alzheimer’s disease care; contact us at 480-535-6800 for more details.
Scientists are shedding new light on treatments to potentially have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. The benefits of light are only just starting to be tapped, and already are exhibiting some intriguing and encouraging results.
For instance, MIT analysts are experimenting with a form of flickering light Alzheimer’s disease therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is exhibiting a short-term decrease in beta amyloid plaques. And even though there’s no indication as of yet on how this will correlate to human studies, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
An additional study with really positive results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light which has a blue tint , which is thought to help normalize the body’s circadian rhythm – bringing about better sleeping patterns. Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at the New York Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, along with geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Guerman Ermolenko, tested the effects of blue light on patients with Alzheimer’s who were having trouble sleeping at night. The seniors were exposed to blue light during the day. After the treatment, in each case, the patients were able to sleep through the night.
Oddly enough, the thinking behind these outcomes comes from the concept that the blue light imitates the blue sky, encouraging our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it may also increase our levels of melatonin through evening – resulting in more wakefulness during the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
Something to be aware of: a few Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by being exposed to blue light. It is necessary to attentively monitor seniors’ responses, and increase yellow light accordingly in the event that unwanted side effects are noticed.
At Endeavor Home Care, as we keep an eye on further Alzheimer’s disease treatment developments, we’re aiding those with dementia, along with the families who care for them, with a selection of individualized Arizona dementia care services to improve quality of life. Endeavor’s caregivers are thoughtfully trained in dementia care and learn the unique approach required to gently encourage someone with Alzheimer’s. We work hard to ensure seniors are safe and living life to their highest potential at all times. Contact us at 480-535-6800 to learn more.
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