Check Out this Easy-to-Use Guide
from the National Institute on Aging (NIA)
If one of your family members or a friend receives a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, this book, Caring for a Person with Alzheimer’s Disease, offers an enormous amount of information and support. It’s organized well, overs a range of resources, and even uses an easy-to-read typeface.
From the NIA Website
This comprehensive, 104-page handbook offers easy-to-understand information and advice for at-home caregivers of people with Alzheimer’s disease. It addresses all aspects of care, from bathing and eating to visiting the doctor and getting respite care. And it’s filled with resources.
Examples of the Information Provided in Caring for a Person With Alzheimer’s
- Learn more about caring for a family member with Alzheimer’s with advice on everything from memory issues to holidays to travel to coping strategies
- Get more specifics about the medical facts.
- Learn how to seek and find additional help for you and your family member.
- Find out how to help a caregiver remain healthy and strong.
- Explore a range of safety tips.
- Get information about the progression of the disease and the last states of Alzheimer’s disease.
If you find yourself forgetting things (and taking more time to remember them than you want), read Dr. Bill Thomas’ post, Tip of the Tongue, over at his Changing Aging blog. He writes about the brain and presents a broad range of research findings that address memory, forgetting, remembering, age, and ageism. As we grow older and despite forgetting, Dr. Bill emphasizes, most of the information is still in our brain as we move toward elderhood, though we are a bit less efficient at retrieving it quickly.
Best Quote from this Changing Aging Blog Post
It turns out that younger brains are good at quickly recalling bits of information (like a name or where you put your car keys) because they have a relatively straightforward filing system. Older people, by dint of long experience, “store” memories within a more diffuse network of brain systems.
At least once a day I have a tip-of-the-tongue experience, and almost always, the thought that I was trying so hard to remember pops into my head sometime later in the day. My parents, age 89 and 85, have the same experience. I do not worry about it, and I encourage them not to worry too much about it, because we almost always remember the information in a relatively short time (or we know where to go to find it).
I stopped worrying about forgetting after I attended a parents’ weekend lecture some years ago at Brown University — in a large lecture hall, standing room only. The lecturer, a professor and brain researcher whose class my daughter was taking (and whose name I cannot remember just now), shared some interesting and reassuring facts using a metaphor of old-fashioned library card catalog.
Important Lecture Points With Some of My Editorial Notes Read more »
Take a few minutes to read, Device Tracks Seniors Prone to Wandering, about tracking devices that use GPS sensors to keep track of people who wander and may get lost. This type of device will be useful for families worried about a loved on with memory loss. Writer Anne Tergesen writes for SmartMoney. The product she reviews, Pocket Finder, comes in versions for people, pets, and vehicles.
Now if they could just figure out creative ways to wear these devices, perhaps in clothing or shoes, rather than making people wear them on chains.
Just about everyone — aging parents and adult children — worry about memory loss, though many of us turn our angst into jokes about senior moments. This book looks interesting. While I don’t always learn cutting edge new information by reading these Harvard health publications, I often find the chock full of information that keeps me well-informed about how I can affect my personal health.
Here are two paragraphs from the book’s description at the Harvard health site.
There’s no getting around the fact that the ability to remember can slip with age. Many of these changes are normal, and not a sign of dementia. Improving Memory: Understanding Age-related Memory Loss helps you understand the difference between normal, age-related changes in memory and changes caused by dementia.
The report also offers tips on how to keep your brain healthy, and how to help improve your memory if you’re living with age-related memory loss. One of the key components of this memory-saving program is to keep the rest of your body healthy. Many medical conditions—from heart disease to depression—can affect your memory. Staying physically and mentally active turns out to be among the best prescriptions for maintaining a healthy brain and a resilient memory.
You might also be interested two other posts
Last night about 20 minutes into watching The Iron Lady interact with her dead husband, I leaned over to my husband and exclaimed, “Now I really understand what it was like was for your mother — she saw those things.”
This movie is about dementia, not history.
Lady Thatcher’s conversations with her husband Denis, were real to her, though she knew they weren’t. Time after time, as we sat together to eat or read, Mother would mention to my husband that her visions — that’s what Mother called them — were real enough to touch when they occurred. She, too, knew they were not real, but she could now get away from them.
By the time the movie ended, I sat quietly thinking to myself that I had just seen a rerun of the last year of his mother’s life with dementia — the confusion, the attempts to blot out things that you don’t like, the inability of the doctor to do much more than talk, the wary eyeing of the pills on the teacup saucer, the reveries over nearby photos, an unexpected feat of expressing thoughts with crystal clarity, and how music — in this case The King and I — seemed to calm and distract. Even the shots of Thatcher overhearing others talk about her, brought back memories of Mother snapping, “I’m right here,” when we discussed a treatment and forgot to include her.
Does musical training have any effect on the aging brain? Scientists at the University of Kansas Medical Center asked this question. They wondered whether the experience of learning and practicing an instrument and the resulting sensorimotor and cognitive abilities might help a person much later when aging changes begin to occur.
In The Relation Between Instrumental Musical Activity and Cognitive Aging (abstract, the article is not freely available), researchers Brenda Hanna-Pladdy and Alicia MacKay describe how they evaluated 70 adults between the ages of 60 and 83, placing them into three groups. All participants were given a broad range of memory tests.
All participants were matched closely in terms of age, education, and level of physical activity, and everyone was living independently. Each group represented a different level of musical training and activity. Read more »
A great summary of the new Alzheimer’s guidelines is at WEB MD. The recently posted article, New Alzheimer’s Guidelines Stress Early Diagnosis by Daniel J. DeNoon, goes over some of the new diagnosis information recently agreed upon by National Institutes of Aging (NIA) and the Alzheimer’s Association expert panels.
Over the past 20 years multitasking has become a common 20th and 21st Century conversation for people of all ages. Technology, especially the many things we seem to do all at once with the help of our gadgets, makes us think that we are all pretty good multi-taskers. Unfortunately, research is showing we aren’t doing so well.
John Medina, a molecular biologist at the University of Washington wrote Brain Rules in 2008 (available in paperback), an entertaining book in which he discusses 12 brain characteristics and especially the importance of movement on learning and working. Dr. Medina addresses the concept of multitasking, which he says the brain doesn’t really do that well. What many of us think of as multitasking is really task switching, and some people are better at jumping back and forth between tasks than others. Research is cited everywhere in this book, and Dr. Medina documents all of his explanations. Several entertaining video explanations describing the human brain and its functions are posted at his web site. You can also listen to a terrific presentation by Dr. Medina at the Authors@Google series. Read more »