Dementia is a Young Person Disease
If you have followed me much you have heard me use the expression ‘What is Good for the Heart is Good for the Brain’.
Once again there is a tie linking what is ‘good for the heart is good for the brain’. You may be able to lower your risk of dementia by lowering your blood pressure. By lowering the top number, systolic pressure below 120 may reduce the risk of dementia by 19%
This is but one possible key to help in reducing dementia.
click on the link below to watch the short CBS News clip
Heart health=total health
Help For Locating Lost Alzheimers Suffers
MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® is a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer’s or related dementia who wander or have a medical emergency. We provide 24-hour assistance, no matter when or where the person is reported missing.
6 out of 10 people with dementia will wander and become lost
How it works
If an individual with Alzheimer’s or related dementia wanders and becomes lost, caregivers can call the 24-hour emergency response line (800.625.3780) to report it.
To read the full article click on the link below.
Source: MedicAlert + Safe Return
Disaster Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
People with Alzheimer’s disease can be especially vulnerable during disasters such as severe weather, fires, floods, earthquakes, and other emergency situations. It is important for caregivers to have a disaster plan that includes the special needs of people with Alzheimer’s, whose impairments in memory and reasoning severely limit their ability to act appropriately in crises.
In general, you should prepare to meet the needs of your family for 3 to 7 days, including having supplies and backup options if you lose basic services such as water or electricity. Organizations such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the American Red Cross provide information about making a general disaster preparedness plan.
As you assemble supplies for your family’s disaster kit, consider the needs of the person with Alzheimer’s. Be sure to store all supplies in a watertight container. The kit might contain:
Other supplies you may need are:
- Warm clothing and sturdy shoes
- Spare eyeglasses and hearing-aid batteries
- Flashlights and extra batteries
If You Must Leave Home
In some situations, you may decide to “ride out” a natural disaster at home. In others, you may need to move to a safer place, like a community shelter or someone’s home. Relocation may make the person with Alzheimer’s very anxious. Be sensitive to his or her emotions. Stay close, offer your hand, or give the person reassuring hugs.
To plan for an evacuation:
- Know how to get to the nearest emergency shelters.
- If you don’t drive or driving is dangerous, arrange for someone to transport your group.
- Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s wears an ID bracelet.
- Take both general supplies and your Alzheimer’s emergency kit.
- Pack familiar, comforting items. If possible, plan to take along the household pet.
- Save emergency numbers in your cell phone, and keep it charged.
- Plan to keep neighbors, friends, and family informed about your location.
- If conditions are noisy or chaotic, try to find a quieter place.
If You Are Separated
It’s very important to stay with a person with Alzheimer’s in a disaster. Do not count on the person to stay in one place while you go to get help. However, the unexpected can happen, so it is a good idea to plan for possible separation:
- Enroll the person in the MedicAlert® + Alzheimer’s Association Safe Return® Program—an identification and support service for people who may become lost.
- Prepare for wandering. Place labels in garments to aid in identification. Keep an article of the person’s clothing in a plastic bag to help dogs find him or her.
- Identify specific neighbors or nearby family and friends who would be willing to help in a crisis. Make a plan of action with them should the person with Alzheimer’s be unattended during a crisis. Tell neighbors about the person’s specific disabilities, including the inability to follow complex instructions, memory loss, impaired judgment, disorientation, and confusion. Give examples of simple one-step instructions that the person may be able to follow.
- Give someone you trust a house key and a list of emergency phone numbers.
- Provide local police and emergency services with photos of the person with Alzheimer’s and copies of his or her medical documents, so they are aware of the person’s needs.
Source: Disaster Preparedness for Alzheimer’s Caregivers
Through the Severe Stages
You and your loved have now entered the diagnosed stage seven of dementia. You have struggled through the confusion of “What is wrong with my loved one?”, the loss of dreams with the initial diagnosis, watching the gradual decline of their cognitive abilities and now their physical abilities are diminishing. How do you continue to communicate?
Having worked in a nursing home activity dept I learned that communication drastically changes during this final stage. Words no longer have the same meaning or any meaning at all. Touch and gestures become your trusted connection to helping the individual living with Alzheimer’s navigate this final stage. These suggestions may seem difficult for some because they are more intimate ( unless you’ve helped with personal care) than other means of communication…. Holding hands, applying lotion to arms and legs, brushing hair, washing hands and face and polishing fingernails are just a few suggestions.
Just because someone can no longer verbally communicate doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy hearing you talk to them. Make eye contact and be animated…..widen your eyes or wrinkle your nose. Talk to them about their former occupations, the hobbies they once enjoyed or just talk to them about the weather. The gift of gab can be a very important trait for a caregiver. Read to them… the newspaper, a short story or passages from the Bible. Play music for them ….. tap them gently on the arm to the beat of the music or sing to them. Sometimes just the presence of another person close by is comforting…..a touch to their hand or forearm may be all they need or can tolerate. Remember to take your cues from the person living with Alzheimer’s. Pay close attention to their facial expressions or attempts to move their arm or hand away from your touch to ensure they are comfortable with the interaction.
The Power of a Smile
Never underestimate the power of a smile. Most people can’t help but smile back when someone smiles at them. Why would that be any different for someone living with Alzheimer’s? Smiles are inviting and contagious. One smile… happy or sympathetic can set the tone for the whole interaction. Communication is not always about what you say, but about how you make someone feel. Make them feel safe, loved and understood…. there are no better feelings in the world.
I am going to share another video. This one is a Ted Talk, the speaker is Lisa Genova the author of ‘Still Alice’.
Again this is not one of our original but a repost from https://kateswaffer.com/2016/09/24/what-is-dementia-part-4-understanding-aphasia/ She has done a far better job of explaining than I could have. To read the entire article click on the link at the bottom.
In my continuing series on What is dementia?, Part 4 I promised to review aphasia. It suddenly seems more relevant to me as well just now too; I was diagnosed with PPA when first diagnosed with a front temporal dementia, although had seemed to stave off the progression with speech pathology techniques. However in this last few weeks, it is getting noticeably worse, and my ability to read, handwrite, understand others, comprehend what I read and speak is becoming much more difficult.
Many types or causes of dementia also have similar symptoms such as memory loss and can include varying types of aphasia. The National Aphasia Association in the USA defines aphasia like this:
Please click on the link to read the rest of the article
Source: What is dementia? Part 4 – Understanding Aphasia
Again this is not an original post but a repost from https://kateswaffer.com/2016/09/22/what-is-dementia-part-3/ It is necessary to follow the link at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the article
In my continuing series on What is dementia?, for part 3, I am explaining in more detail, the two infographics published earlier this month. Please do let me know if I have any information incorrect! I am doing my best to ensure it is both accurate and easily understood by those of us living with or supporting someone with dementia. They are not meant to be necessary for medical or nursing students, although they may be helpful to them.
Many people ask is Alzheimer’s Disease dementia.
Many who have been diagnosed with dementia are told their dementia is FTD or PPA.
I often hear clinical experts and researchers say, ‘Alzheimer’s or dementia’, also implying that Alzheimer’s is not dementia.
Please click on the link to read the rest of ‘What is Dementia Part 3’ Source: What is dementia? Part 3
Again this is not one of our original post but a reprint from https://kateswaffer.com/2016/09/19/what-is-dementia-part-2/A
There is no time today to write a blog, or for anything other than adding this graphic, which is also from our book, Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another dementia released last week. Like the umbrella graphic from a couple of days ago, this does not outline every single symptom but is an overview of what to expect from damage in the different areas of the brain. Again this was produced by my BUB, but the information within the boxes comes from Lee-Fay and myself; we felt a simple graphic like this would be helpful as an overview of the disabilities caused by the various symptoms of dementia, specific to which area of the brain is affected.
Source: What is dementia? Part 2