June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month – the ideal time to recommit ourselves to combating Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, while providing the best possible care and support to loved ones living with the disease.
Alzheimer’s continues to be one of the leading causes of death and declining quality of life for senior adults in America and around the world. And with increased awareness and publicity about the disease, including stories of famous people’s struggles with Alzheimer’s, it has become a very public affair and part of our daily social conscience.
While no one likes to consider the possibility of life with dementia, dementia care experts agree that early detection by a primary care physician or specialist is highly important. There are several reasons for this, including:
Although scientists are still searching for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, there has been tangible progress in reversing early cognitive decline that can lead to dementia. An important aspect of this progress is recent research on the benefits of meditation and music therapy. The findings are good news for all older adults who might be concerned about faltering memory and the risk of continuing cognitive decline.
As beautiful as winter can be with its snow-covered landscapes and glistening, ice-laden trees, the winter season can be especially challenging for the health and safety of loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Winter’s cold temperatures, icy sidewalks and other seasonal hazards mean that at-home caregivers must be especially vigilant in safeguarding their loved ones’ well-being.
Dementia care authorities at the Alzheimer’s Association and the Mayo Clinic have long recognized the therapeutic benefits of music for individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Recently, the scientific knowledge on the effects of music on the symptoms of dementia was advanced further in a report published in the July 2018 edition of JAMDA, the Journal of Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine.
Dementia care specialists have said for years that maintaining normal blood pressure is good for heart health, which in turn supports good brain health. Now researchers are saying that there appears to be a direct link between high blood pressure and the risk of dementia. Today, high blood pressure affects one in three people in the US.
According to scientists, uncontrolled high blood pressure is now being viewed as a cause of dementia. They say important new studies link high blood pressure -- particularly in middle age – to an increased risk of dementia later on in life.
A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease would be an unwelcome, life-altering event for any of us. Therefore, it is understandable that a loved one who is exhibiting symptoms of dementia might want to avoid a formal diagnosis and the reality of Alzheimer’s as a new part of their life – and even refuse to see their doctor of many years
Alzheimer’s authorities tell us that this form of denial – avoiding a diagnosis by refusing to see the doctor – is common. After all, contemplating a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s and the long-term impact on one’s life can be traumatic.
At-home caregivers of loved ones living with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia face an increasing number of challenges as the disease progresses. Two of the more challenging symptoms that can present themselves are anger and aggression.
Caring for a parent with Alzheimer’s disease or other form of dementia brings with it many challenges – both physical and emotional. For many adult children, one of the most heartbreaking of these is when a parent no longer recognizes them.
According to dementia care experts, as a parent’s dementia advances, his or her ability to recognize the faces of their loved ones declines. This often results in diminishing family relationships – an unfortunate and unnecessary situation that can be harmful to both the parent with dementia and their adult children.
“Today, many at-home caregivers struggle with creating daily routines that are beneficial to their loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia,” says Heather Miller, Personal Care Administrator at Impressions Memory Careat Bryn Mawr located in Bryn Mawr, PA.
“Caregivers commonly express a variety of concerns such as: How do I organize their day? What routines will mom or dad respond to best? How do I know if I’m doing the right things to relieve their dementia symptoms and improve their quality of life?