PBS documentary Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts

Don’t miss PBS’ powerful documentary ‘Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts’ on the national threat posed by Alzheimer’s disease. The documentary illuminates the social and economic consequences for the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered. ‘Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts’ premieres Wednesday, 1/25 at 10/9c

Watch Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts here:  http://www.pbs.org/video/2365872329/

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Where will Alzheimer’s research go in 2017?

Where Does Alzheimer’s Treatment Go From Here?

This article comes to us from NPR (National Public Radio out of the US). It talks about how recent research into Alzheimer’s prevention and treatment and the decades of research before haven’t yielded the positive results we have all been hoping for. But, that there are still people working hard in this field and searching for new possibilities based on the unsuccessful results so far.

It’s not the most positive read, but it does show how there are many hypotheses for how and why Alzheimer’s disease develops and progresses and even more hypotheses for potential treatment.

Whether it’s antibiotics, probiotics or vaccines, the list of potential Alzheimer’s treatments being considered goes on.

“The bottom line is we need to take more shots on goal,” says Isaacson. “The next frontier is recognizing that there probably isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, and that using targeted therapies based on a person’s own biology and genetics will bring the most benefit. The future of Alzheimer’s therapeutics is in precision medicine.”

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

7 New Year resolutions for dementia carers

A new year signals a new start, and what better time to reassess life and set some resolutions to help you and your loved one live well with dementia in 2017…

1. Ensure your loved one has sorted out their affairs

If they haven’t already started organising things such as setting up Lasting Power of Attorney or ensuring they’ve written a Will, the New Year could be a good excuse to make them sit down and get organised. The sooner it’s done, the better, because if it’s left too late, or until your loved starts to lose their mental capacity, the process can be more complicated.

2. Help them make their bucket list

A bucket list can help your loved one take back control and add some much needed excitement and purpose to life after a dementia diagnosis. It doesn’t have to be filled with crazy stunts or far-flung holidays. It could be something as simple as visiting a particular city in the UK that they’ve never been to, or trying out a hobby that they’ve never done before.

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Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

 Many family members only see each other during the holidays. As parents and relatives get older, seeing them after one year can bring to light some of the physical and/or mental health changes that have been taking place.
This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

Post-Christmas: Worried about a loved one’s memory?

Spending time with a loved one at Christmas is often the first opportunity family members have to notice symptoms of memory loss. Here’s what to do if you’re worried about someone’s memory.

It may have been a few months since you spent time with family members, but when Christmas comes round, you often find you’re living in each other’s pockets for days (especially if you get stuck indoors with cold, wintry weather and a box of Roses).

So it’s no surprise that it’s often during and after the Christmas break that you may notice changes in a loved one’s memory. Where before they may have seemed quite lucid and able to cope with everyday tasks, suddenly you’re noticing that they’ve deteriorated.

And over the Christmas break, you may find that your normally sharp and ‘with it’ relative seems confused, unsure, withdrawn or even a little depressed, raising concerns that all may not be what it seems.

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Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

Christmas can be an isolating time for people with dementia

The Alzheimer’s Society has discovered over half of people with dementia see their family less often during Christmas than they did before they were diagnosed

The song may claim ‘it’s the most wonderful time of the year’, but for many people with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia, it can become the opposite, as Christmas can be very isolating.

That’s what a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Society is hoping to highlight.

They’ve carried out research which has found over half of people affected by dementia find Christmas the most isolating time of the year, with many saying that they actually dread the festive season. Just over half (54%) say the see their friends and family less often over the Christmas period than they did before their diagnosis.

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Reminiscence TV: Our 12 picks of Christmas

Reminiscence TV: Our 12 picks of Christmas

 Looking for some familiar classics this holiday season? This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

 

Reminiscence TV: Our 12 picks of Christmas

Settling down on the sofa to watch a TV show is as much a part of the festive season as turkey and mince pies. Here’s our selection of the best shows airing this Christmas that will trigger memories and special moments for someone with dementia

Television can play a useful role at Christmas when you’re caring for someone with dementia. The right shows at the right time can help loved ones to relax, and may even stir good memories and great conversation. But with so many channels and programmes to choose from, simply selecting something what they (and you) might enjoy could take quite some time…So we’ve done the leg work for you! Here’s 12 dementia-friendly dramas, comedies and films which will be screened over Christmas.

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8 questions if a loved one is visiting from a care home this Christmas

 

8 questions if a loved one is visiting from a care home this Christmas

 This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

8 questions if a loved one is visiting from a care home this Christmas

If your loved one with dementia lives in a care home you might be wondering whether to bring them home for Christmas, and whether that’s even the best thing for them. Here’s eight questions to ask yourself before making a decision.

You may hate the idea of the person you love spending Christmas in a care home, but although emotions might be running high, it’s important to think carefully and calmly and weigh up all the pros and cons before deciding what to do.

1. How long have they been in the care home and how settled are they?

If your loved one has been in residential care for some time and seems quite content, they may really enjoy a day out, or even an overnight stay. However, if they always seem restless when you visit – perhaps they keep packing their bags or asking ‘when are we going home?’ – taking them out may seem like the ‘right’ thing to do…but may result in them becoming angry and aggressive when they return. If you’re still adamant they should come home with you, then any upsetting behaviour when they return may be a price worth paying… or maybe not.

2. How well do outings generally go?

Be honest: Even if it’s stressful for you, does the person you love seem to enjoy getting out…

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Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

 This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

 

Make Christmas Day special for a loved one with dementia

 

Are you worried that the person you care for will find it difficult to cope on Christmas Day? Find out how to make the big day enjoyable for the whole family.

Whether you’ve got a houseful of guests on Christmas Day, are invited out for lunch, or are celebrating quietly in your own home, here’s how to overcome all the potential pitfalls and ensure events go as smoothly as possible if you have someone with dementia staying with you.

1. Opening presents

It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone enjoys receiving presents. A person with dementia might not remember what the occasion is, but if you hand them a present with a smile and say ‘Merry Christmas’ they’ll soon get the idea.

Give them time to open it without feeling rushed. Offer help if they need it but don’t try to rush them. If they don’t want to open it yet, that’s fine too. Leave it until later. A person with dementia can become stressed if they feel everyone’s watching them, so keep present-giving calm and casual.

Try not to take it personally if they don’t seem grateful or don’t react in the way they normally would to a generous or thoughtful gift. Remember, they’re doing the best they can and they still love you as much as they always have.

Watch out for tripping hazards. Presents and wrapping paper scattered all over the floor can be dangerous for a person who’s frail and prone to stumbling. Have a recycling bag ready to clear up wrapping paper and make sure gifts are put somewhere safe

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The 12 rules of Christmas dementia care

The 12 rules of Christmas dementia care

 This post comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

If a loved one has dementia you might be worried about how they’ll cope during the festive season. Read our simple guide to help you make Christmas as enjoyable as possible – for everyone.

1. Have a plan

Taking a, ‘let’s see what happens’ approach to the festive season isn’t going to work when you’re caring for someone with dementia. Spontaneous visits can be stressful so make sure to contact anyone who usually drops by (and who your loved one will definitely want to see) and organise dates and times in advance.

2. Trust your instinct

It’s not too late to change a plan you may have agreed to initially but which you’re now worried about. For example, if you’re dreading an overnight stay with Aunty Alice because you know your loved one won’t sleep and could become very unsettled, trust your instinct, confront it now and either cancel the trip or agree to a shorter visit which can be done in a day.

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The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

 This article comes to us from Unforgettable.org. Check them out for plenty of tips, ideas, and interesting articles related to memory and dementia:

For those living with dementia it is easy to be forgotten.

For the family and professional carers it can seem overwhelming and hopeless.

Unforgettable can help on every step of the journey with practical advice, specialised products and a supportive community.

The dementia carer’s Christmas product check list

If you’re looking after someone with dementia at Christmas, this last-minute list will ensure you have everything you need to make the festive season go as smoothly as possible.

Let’s face it, most people’s pre-Christmas to-do lists can stretch on a fair bit, from buying presents and food shopping, to decorating and Christmas card-writing. But if you’re also playing host to a loved one with dementia, chances are you’re going to be feeling like that list suddenly got a whole lot longer. Similarly, if you and your loved are heading off to someone else’s house, you want to make sure that you’ve packed all the necessary items they need over the Christmas period.

While there may be a few more things to think about, your best option is to take note of our list of questions and start preparing with suitable products, so that the days before, during and after the Christmas holidays run as smoothly as possible. This could be anything from checking you’ve got enough dementia-appropriate activities to do, to ensuring they’re comfy and warm in their room.

Ask yourself these questions:

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Remote Support for Aged People Project

The RemoAge project will tackle the challenge of supporting people with dementia and other frail older people to age at home in remote and sparsely populated areas of the northern periphery of Europe. Long distances and limited resources are two challenges to overcome.

Tested and evaluated service packages will meet this challenge. The service packages will include methods to support the elderly with health and social care needs, flexibility to individual needs and an increased level of remote support.

Expected results are improved access to personalized services in direct support in daily life, support to family carers and health personnel, but also increased involvement of the community.

Target groups:

– Frail older people, including people with dementia, in remote communities

– Family carers and family members of the frail older people

– Community members

– Health and social care professionals

The target groups will be involved throughout the project in a participatory process from the identification of needs, the adaptation of services and the evaluation of services. A main focus of the project is to develop and implement person centred services that are by definition services adapted to the individual needs of the frail older person and their family.

Source: Project

Dementia and dangerous drugs

Drugs

…antipsychotic medication given to elderly people with dementia it should be at the lowest possible dose for the shortest possible time and always after all other avenues have been tried and have failed.

A poignant and important article on the use of antipsychotic medications in treating people with dementia – please read and share!

let’s get dead right about dementia and dangerous drugs

 

Dementia and voting

seniors%20vote

This seems like an apt article to share today, this 2016 election day in the US. It touches on an issues that isn’t discussed too often, even among people who dedicate their lives to understanding, preventing, and treating dementia.

Dementia and voting.

This article and video discuss Rob and Margaret and their process of navigating voting after Rob’s diagnosis of moderate Alzheimer’s disease 2 years ago. Read the full article and watch the video at:  https://www.statnews.com/2016/11/07/alzheimers-voting-dementia/

In practice, whether they cast a vote often gets left to the discretion of a caregiver. Many geriatricians and ethicists who study the issue say there’s one key question to determine whether someone with Alzheimer’s should vote: Can they express their choice? It doesn’t matter if they’re confused about what day it is. Or whether they can physically fill out the ballot. What matters is that they’re able to state, write, point at, or otherwise cogently indicate who they want to vote for. And for many people with dementia, especially in the early and middle stages of the disease, that’s entirely doable.

vote-wisely

I have mixed feelings on this. Of course, there is no cognitive testing for someone to be allowed to vote. There is no IQ testing. You have to be 18 and registered. This also includes people with developmental (and other) disabilities.

In general, I would agree with the above quote, that as long as they can express their preference, they should retain their right to vote. We may not always agree with people’s reasons, but if they can clearly express their decision, they should be encouraged to exercise it. What is especially touching in the story about Rob and Margaret, above, is that Rob had a lifelong, active interest in politics and seemed to understand the issues and his (perhaps formerly expressed) opinions on them when Margaret explained them. It really would be a disservice to take away his right to vote.

However, it gets trickier when the person has been declared legally incompetent, such as when someone else takes over managing the finances, and health and legal decisions. At this point, it is very reasonable to think that the person with dementia can no longer understand complex topics and use their reasoning skills to arrive at a decision which is based on cognitive thought. And I also think that by this point, the care partner will know that and not put the person with dementia in the stressful position of trying to navigate voting anyway.

Here’s what Alzheimer’s Society has to say:

Question: Can a person with dementia vote in the UK general and local elections.

Answer: Yes, a person with dementia can vote regardless of their capacity.

It is clearly stated in the Electoral Commission’s guidance for Electoral Registration Officers that mental health conditions do not constitute a legal incapacity to vote, so a person would not be stopped from voting at the polling station.

However, it is important to note that the guidelines also state that the decision as to whether and how to vote at an election must be made by the elector themselves, and not by a carer or a person making decisions on behalf of the elector.

I also found a 2011 research article which looked at the capacity to vote in older adults and people with dementia. They conducted their research with people diagnosed with dementia and people of the same age with no presence of dementia. Categories they rated were:  understanding of the nature of the vote, understanding of the effect of the vote, vote choice, comparative reasoning, consequential reasoning, and appreciation. They found:

We observe that patients with dementia understand the nature and eect of the vote (53% and 44%, respectively), and appreciate its consequences (66.2%) but do not do as well when it is time to make a voting choice (25%) and to consequential reasoning (35.3%)…The criteria of understanding and appreciation are easier for the patients, but not those of vote choice and reasoning. Cognitive deterioration, but not age, influences the capacity to vote.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Please share them in the comments!

 

Telehealth helps people with dementia and ‘lost’ words

The study indicates people dealing with aphasia, whether it be from Alzheimer’s, dementia, a stroke or some other neurological issue, can benefit from a telehealth platform that enables them to stay at home and connect with trained specialists, no matter where they’re located.

Video link with specialists helps dementia patients improve communication skills

Source: Study: Telehealth Helps Dementia Patients Recover ‘Lost’ Words