Holidays are not always happy for the carer

I was browsing through LinkedIn today and came across this good article. It resonates with me and I hope you find it interesting and helpful as well!

You hear it all the time: everything boils down to attitude. Whereas it’s true that attitude can have a profound effect on your reality, this doesn’t mean that you ignore what you’re feeling. This is when optimism becomes outright denial…

Gaining self-awareness is one of the most difficult challenges we face as human beings. When are we overreacting? When are we “under-reacting?” When are we in that Goldilocks zone of “just right?” And what do we do when we feel like we’re in the middle of the darker parts of our journey? How do we find our way when it’s nearly impossible to even see the path before us?

When a New Year is less than happy

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Oct. 18 Webinar on Role Changes

Webinar: Role Changes and Reversals

Caregivers often feel like they are caring for a child rather than their spouse or parent. This dialogue will uncover the role changes that people experience as they shift from care partners to caregivers. This Dementia Dialogues webinar explores how to manage the feelings that accompany the changes.

  • Wednesday, October 18th, 3-4 PM Eastern (12-1 PM Pacific/ Arizona, 1-2 PM Mountain, 2-3 PM Central)
  • Can’t make it to the live webinar? Don’t worry! Just register as if you will attend and we will send you a recording that you can view at your convenience
  • Sign up here

For those who prefer to join by phone, we also offer an audio version of the Dementia Dialogues webinars. Email bannerresearch@bannerhealth.com for details.

Thank you again for being a part of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry, and thank you for all you do to care for someone with Alzheimer’s.

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

A similar tool could help with early detection of America’s sixth leading cause of death: Alzheimer’s disease. Often, doctors don’t recognize physical symptoms in time to try any of the disease’s few existing interventions. But machine learning hears what doctor’s can’t: Signs of cognitive impairment in speech. This is how Toronto-based Winterlight Labs is developing a tool to pick out hints of dementia in its very early stages. Co-founder Frank Rudzicz calls these clues “jitters,” and “shimmers:” high frequency wavelets only computers, not humans, can hear.

Read the full article by clicking on the title, below.

Thanks to AI, Computers Can Now See Your Health Problems

Improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

The government must act to improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

Few now question the right of parents to stay with children in hospital – so why don’t patients with dementia have similar rights?

John’s Campaign is single-issue and simple. It is for the right of carers to stay with people with dementia if they are admitted to hospital. It is named for the father of my friend, the writer Nicci Gerrard, whose father’s dementia was catastrophically accelerated by a stay in hospital where he was largely cut off from his family.

In the 1960s we had to campaign for parents to have the right to stay with their children in hospital. Few question this right now. So why does the same right not apply to carers of people with dementia?

Source: The government must act to improve the human rights of dementia patients and carers

Study Finds Brain Disease in 96% of NFL Players Tested

I love ScienceDaily! This article come to use from them, on chronic traumatic encephalopathy in deceased American Football players. If you are interested in reading more on this topic, please check out my posts on:

Study Finds Brain Disease In 96% Of Dead NFL Players Tested — ScienceDaily

September 19, 2015 by Newsy / Powered by NewsLook.com
A newly released study finds 87 of 91 dead NFL players have a brain disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy. 2 minute video provided by Newsy:
http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2372da680b79046e3328141e4f62064f.htm

The Role for Dementia Consultant Teams

I came across this article on the Changing Aging website. It’s a great resource on changing perceptions and practices surrounding aging. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed!

The Role for Dementia Consultant Teams

In my last post I criticized a reporter for the Australian Financial Review for his characterization of people living with dementia, and of our aging population in general. My comments were aimed purely at his offensive stereotypes, and did not address deeper issues around the subject matter. Now that the furor over that article has subsided somewhat, it’s time to tackle that deeper concern.
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Danish legislation on GPS and dementia

This article comes to us from Stella Care. Stella Care is a Danish company that solves social problems by using and further developing proven technology, so it can be used for purposes other than originally intended. They specialize in offering small GPS trackers suitable for people with dementia. The article by Stella Care is originally in Danish (you can access it by clicking on the title, below), and I have translated and edited the article into English. 

Legislation on GPS for people with dementia (and Stella Cares role)

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Danish-English differences in describing dementia

One of the interesting things about speaking two languages and having lived in two different cultures, is discovering differences in the cultural meanings of words. I have lived in Denmark since 2004, and I came in knowing the US jargon used in Gerontology and in dementia care, but had to learn how the Danish language describes the terms. (Jargon is the vocabulary used by a particular trade, profession, or group – like how medical terminology is medical jargon). Continue reading

What’s it like to be an unemployed dementia specialist?

Shortly said, it’s incredibly frustrating.

By 2015, there are very few people who have not hear of Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia. Many people have also had personal experience with a friend, family member, or community member who has developed dementia. Many people are also aware that there are more and more people being diagnosed with dementia, and that there is a growing demand for quality care and services. Most governments specifically announce an increased need for qualified professionals in the area of dementia.

In a time when there is a growing demand for dementia specialists, it is both confusing and counteractive to be unemployed.

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Dementia and Denmark’s 2015 election

Today, June 18, 2015, is election day in Denmark. Citizens around the country are coming out to vote today. While I am not a citizen so cannot vote in the large elections, I am excited to say that no matter which party wins the election, dementia is already earmarked to get more funding and attention 🙂

The article below comes from the Danish news sources DR and Dagbladet. I have made the translation to English and slightly edited the content for more context. Plus added some opinions 😉

Du må også læse denne indlæg på dansk her.

Thorning and Løkke will strengthen the plan for people with dementia

Both main candidates are ready to put money towards helping people with dementia, writes Politiken.

Ældre dement

Both Helle Thorning-Schmidt and Lars Løkke Rasmussen promise more money for people with dementia in today’s politics. © Colourbox

Whatever the outcome of the election, people with dementia and their relatives can look forward to more focus on the growing disease, writes Politiken (a Danish news source) this past Monday. In the article, two almost identical policy proposals are presented from the Liberal Party and from the Social Democrats and the Radicals, both of which will improve the response to the disease.

Over 90,000 people are currently living with dementia in Denmark, and the number is expected to grow rapidly as 134,000 are projected to be afflicted with dementia in 2030.

Dementia is a widespread disease

In a joint initiative, the Social Democrats and the Radicals want to propose a new long-term strategy on dementia, while the Liberals want a new action plan for dementia.

You can read more about Denmark’s National Dementia Strategy from 2011-2014 in my post here and the Dementia Alliance’s recommendations for 2015-2025 – in Danish – here.

Dementia is a major widespread disease and surely a bit overlooked,

says Liberal Party chairman Lars Løkke Rasmussen to Politiken. He believes that the rapid growth in the number of dementia diagnoses calls for action.

I know from people I talk to, dementia, and to be relatives of a person with dementia, is a huge challenge. Many are powerless. Therefore, we will strengthen efforts, he said.

Shortly after the Liberal Party’s proposals, Politiken had contact with the Social Democrats, who returned with the message that the party, together with the Radicals, are ready with a joint proposal on a long-term strategy.

It is a terrible disease,

says (current) Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (Social Democrat), who presents the proposal along with Economic and Interior Minister  Morten Østergaard (Radical).

Wow, really? This is all they have to say about dementia? I must say, that’s a huge disappointment.

From Dagbladet (Danish news source)

Løkke and Thorning agree about more money for people with dementia

The Liberal Party’s action aims at creating better equipped staff, better support for caregivers, increased diffusion of new welfare technology, more dementia housing, and a more streamlined system with one ministry responsible instead of three, which today share the responsibility for the area. It is not clear how much money the party will set aside for the area, but the party has already set aside 16 billion kroner (around $2.45 billion USD) for the elderly and health until 2020.

The Social Democrats and the Radicals will first map the social, health, and housing challenges in the area. In addition, the parties’ strategy has five broad areas of focus: respite and relief for the relatives, arrangement of housing for people with dementia, competency development in home care and assisted living and nursing care facilities, an overhaul of the rules for appointment of a guardian, and expedited treatment in hospitals and clinics for patients with dementia. These current government parties will prioritize 400 million kroner (around $61.15 million USD) to dementia between 2016 and 2019 through the allocation of grants.

*****

Broken down, the current government (Social Democrat and Radical) has already allocated over 120 million kroner in grant money in 2015-2018 for initiatives targeted towards dementia. It has also set aside 70 million kroner in 2016, 90 million kroner in 2017, and 120 million kroner annually in 2018 and 2019 for follow up on the strategy. Furthermore, in their entire Elderly policy, they have set aside 60 million kroner to have fixed doctors in nursing and care homes, 300 million for strengthening efforts to combat loneliness among the aged, and 190 million towards better food for the aged. That’s a grand total of 950 million kroner that has already been designated towards bettering the lives and care of the elderly between 2016-2019. You can read their strategy – in Danish – here.

While I, personally, think Lars Løkke is speaking of dementia more as an election strategy (I am not a fan of his and since it’s my blog, I feel like I can say that), it is great that the Liberals are setting aside so much money for dementia care, education, and research. HOWEVER, if you read their elderly and health policy plan that is available on their website (detailed here, in Danish), that 16 billion kroner is for the whole kitty, of which, they only mention as #6 of their 7 priorities:

Greater focus on dementia and chronic illnesses:  We will make higher quality in the care for the chronically ill patients by offering a more goal-oriented, systematic, and consistent action. At the same time, we need to detect and diagnose dementias quicker.

Don’t be fooled into thinking that all the 16 billion is going towards dementia – I am expecting that more money will still go towards cancer, heart, and lung diseases than dementias, as happens globally.

Compared to the 30.6 million danish kroner ($4.7 million USD) allocated to the National Dementia Plan from 2011-2014 (the results of which, we really don’t know), more money definitely needs to be set aside for dementia. And it’s definitely a good thing that the Social Democrats and Radicals already have money set aside for evaluation/follow-up of their efforts!

Which memory would you be saddest to lose?

I hope I never lose the memory of going to a luau with my grandparents. My brother was in the Navy and stationed at Pearl Harbor when my grandparents and I went to visit him. I remember Grandma was so excited that they could get me an “assistant” discount because I was traveling with senior citizens (they were both in their 80s) 😉 The whole trip with them was fun, from renting a convertible, seeing pineapple plantations, and trying Mahi Mahi for the first time (Grandpa made me and I have loved eating fish ever since).

10 Ways to Love Your Brain

alzheimersactivitiesPLUS

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Given the growing evidence that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline, and in recognition of Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month in June, the Alzheimer’s Association and its experts are sharing 10 Ways to Love Your Brain, tips that may reduce the risk of cognitive decline:

1. Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.

2. Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.

3. Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.

4. Follow your heart…

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Dementia village coming to Denmark!

Odense to build Denmark’s first dementia village

Du kan også læse denne indlæg på dansk her.

04. June 2015
By: ULRIK SASS
Odense bygger Danmarks første bydel til demente

OK-Fund contacted Odense Municipality about a year ago to create a one-of-a-kind dementia offer in Denmark. It happens now with the construction of an entire new district with dementia. The key for us was to find a municipality that is willing to take the lead and dare to think new , says OK Foundation director Michael Brostrøm who here signs the agreement with the Mayor Anker Boye ( S ) , Councilman per Berga (EL ) and urban and cultural councilor Jane Jegind (V).

Inspired by Holland included new dementia city precinct – OK Foundation builds and operates the “City of Life.” The ground has yet been found.

Odense: “City for Life” is the name of a whole new city precinct; a district which from 2018 will house between 200 and 300 people with dementia.

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Denmark’s National Dementia Strategy

While it is great that Denmark has actively worked on developing a National Dementia Strategy, there are a few issues I am concerned about.

The first, is that the strategy ran for three years, from 2011-2014. As far as I can tell to date, there is no new version of the National Dementia Strategy. After some digging, I did find that Demensalliancen has set forth some goals in a national dementia plan through 2025. These 5 goals are given at the end of this post.

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Dementia and the Caregiver Guilt Trip

Dementia and the Caregiver Guilt Trip

Posted by Kay H. Bransford on  in A Day in the Life of Dementia

I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the ongoing journey with mom. Two weeks ago, I sat and observed her in the community center before going up to say hello and she looked so sad. I left wondering if we are doing right by mom and was in a funk for days over it. My mom told me for 30 years she never wanted to be a burden to her children which is why they moved into a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). A quick tour through my blog will tell you a very different story. I am honored to be able to advocate for her, but when she goes through periods asking me to take her with me, my stomach drops. I feel guilty that we should have moved her in with us, not into this memory care community.

In an instant my funk is lifted thanks to a comment by a woman I met at a business function. She told me her mom has dementia and her dad has been telling her over and over “If I go first, your mom is going to beg you to let her move in with you. Don’t do it, she would never have asked for that. It’s the disease, not your mother talking.” In an instant, this woman helped me realize what I knew, but emotionally got mired in guilt, and could not recognize.

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