Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alzheimer's Myth #1

Memory loss is a natural part of aging.

Reality: In the past people believed memory loss was a normal part of aging, often regarding even Alzheimer’s as natural age-related decline. Experts now recognize severe memory loss as a symptom of serious illness.

Whether memory naturally declines to some extent remains an open question. Many people feel that their memory becomes less sharp as they grow older, but determining whether there is any scientific basis for this belief is a research challenge still being addressed.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Risk Factors For Alzheimer's - What YOU Can Do

Age, family history and heredity are all risk factors we can’t change. Now, research is beginning to reveal clues about other risk factors we may be able to influence.

Head injury: There appears to be a strong link between serious head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s. Protect your head by buckling your seat belt, wearing your helmet when participating in sports, and “fall-proofing” your home.

Heart-head connection: Some of the strongest evidence links brain health to heart health. Your brain is nourished by one of your body’s richest networks of blood vessels. Every heartbeat pumps about 20 to 25 percent of your blood to your head, where brain cells use at least 20 percent of the food and oxygen your blood carries.

The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels. These include high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol. Work with your doctor to monitor your heart health and treat any problems that arise.

General healthy aging: Other lines of evidence suggest that strategies for overall healthy aging may help keep the brain healthy and may even offer some protection against developing Alzheimer’s or related diseases. Try to keep your weight within recommended guidelines, avoid tobacco and excess alcohol, stay socially connected, and exercise both your body and mind.

Visit for more information.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Treatments for Alzheimer's

Alzheimer's Disease has two distinct parts that can be treated. There are treatments available for the cognitive symptoms which include:

ability to pay attention
other thought processes

There are also treatments available for the behavioral and psychiatric symptoms. These include the ways we feel and act.

Talk to your doctor about what treatment may be right for you or the person in your care. A medication's effectiveness, and the side effects it may cause,,can vary from one person to the next. For one individual, one drug may be more effective but have greater side effects. For another person, the same drug may be less effective but have no side effects.

Ask the doctor the following questions when you discuss any treatments. They will not address all treatment needs, but the answers to these questions will help you understand the options and make informed decisions.

  • What kind of assessment will you use to determine if the drug is effective?
  • How much time will pass before you will be able to assess the drug's effectiveness?
  • How will you monitor for possible side effects?
  • What effects should we watch for at home?
  • When should we call you?
  • Is one treatment option more likely than another to interfere with medications for other conditions?
  • What are the concerns with stopping one drug treatment and beginning another?
  • At what stage of the disease would you consider it appropriate to stop using the drug?
Learn more at

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Depression and Alzheimer's

Men and women with Alzheimer’s experience depression with about equal frequency. But identifying depression in someone with Alzheimer’s can be difficult. There is no single test or questionnaire to detect the condition, and diagnosis requires careful evaluation of a variety of symptoms. Dementia itself can lead to certain symptoms commonly associated with depression, including:

  • apathy
  • loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • social withdrawal
  • isolation

The cognitive impairment experienced by people with Alzheimer’s often makes it difficult for them to articulate their sadness, hopelessness, guilt and other feelings associated with depression.

Depression in Alzheimer’s doesn’t always look like depression in people without the disorder. For example, depression in Alzheimer’s is sometimes less severe and may not last as long or recur as often.

Learn more at

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Profile of Older Americans: 2009

The older population (65+) numbered 38.9 million in 2008, an increase of 4.5 million or 13.0% since 1998.

Over one in every eight, or 12.8%, of the population is an older American.

Persons reaching age 65 have an average life expectancy of an additional 18.6 years.

Older women outnumber older men.

The median income of older persons in 2008 was $25,503 for males and $14,559 for females.

Learn more facts HERE on the Administration on Aging website.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Hyperthermia & Heat Stroke

The heat is on in northern Michigan. We all feel it, many are complaining about it, and most of us know how to keep cool. A person with Alzheimer's Disease, however, may not. Often a person with AD will not dress appropriately or drink adequate amounts of clear liquids. This increases the risk of hyperthermia and heat stroke.

Here are a few tips on what to do if you suspect someone is suffering from a heat-related illness:

1. Get the person out of the sun and into an air-conditioned or other cool place.

2. Offer fluids such as water, fruit and vegetable juices, but avoid alcohol and caffeine.

3. Encourage the individual to shower, bathe or sponge off with cool water.

4. Apply a cold, wet cloth to the wrists and/or neck.

5. Urge the person to lie down and rest, preferably in a cool place.

You can learn more by clicking HERE. Check up on elderly family, friends and neighbors during severe hot weather. It could save a life.