AboutAlz.com Ends Regular Run

It’s been three years since I began this blog. I started it as a way to seek answers for myself. The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and other forms of dementia is staggering and the projected numbers are mind-boggling. Each year we are hopeful for the one miracle drug that will cure AD, but we have not reached our goal.

The untold number of hours that caregivers spend caring for their loved ones cannot be measured. It indeed takes a huge toll on their physical and mental health as well as their financial burden.

When I look at the visitor statistics for this blog, I know that other people are looking for answers as well. Although I am encouraged by the numbers to continue this blog, my situation has changed and I have accepted another challenge which requires that I devote some time to achieve success. I may return to writing this blog in the future, but I hope that it will not be necessary as we will have solved the problem and eliminated Alzheimer’s disease.

If I can summarize what we can all do at this point, it’s everything you would do to keep your immune system healthy such as:

  • Get adequate sleep every night.
  • Take enough Omega 3 and other necessary supplements. (Check with your health care provider).
  • Exercise as vigorously as you can.
  • Find enjoyment in life. Do things that you really love to do. Just because it’s been said that crossword puzzles are good for the brain, if you don’t enjoy it, why are you engaging in it?
  • Be grateful no matter what situation you are in. There’s a lesson to be learned in everything.

The Alzheimer’s organization is one source that has been very helpful in keeping us posted with the latest news and there are other sources that I’ve mention in this blog as well. Do check its Web site periodically. As I say good-bye for now, I thank you for your support.

Memory and Focus

Many people have problems with memory and focus as they age.  Whether the problems are the beginning stages of dementia or just a lack of focus, the following exercise can help to ensure that aging has less power to rob you of precious memories.  In addition, this exercise provides a possible solution for insomnia.

1.  Focus on the events of the day in order from arising in the morning until you go to sleep. The good news is that you will fall asleep long before you reach the end of the day.

2.  During the process, visualize each step of the day.  The process should include all activities, conversations, thoughts and individuals met during the day.  It might be seen as a video recording of the day played back only in your brain.  Focus on details.

3.  Initially, the mind video will be playing in fast forward.  It will be difficult to pick out the small details such as thinking over your today list or looking in the mirror while brushing one’s teeth.  In addition, scenes may jump out of sequence from morning to afternoon and then back to getting out of bed.  However, your goal is to play the video in sequence.

4.  As you continue the exercise several days in a row, you should begin to see some differences.  That which was once a just big chunk of time will begin to develop into fully visualized scenes, which include people, conversations, room decor, signs and thoughts.  Details will become clearer.

5.  It should become a daily challenge to remember more of the day.  You will become more aware of the things you normally would have done without much thought.  Since you know you must recall, your focus changes.  You are using brain cells not previously harnessed.  While the nighttime exercises may be a cure for insomnia, the daytime exercises help you to focus, improve your memory, and lower the chances of developing dementia.

By improving one’s daytime focus and recalling events of the day, it is possible for people to avoid memory loss and dementia.  Additionally, these activities can help with insomnia.

The ideas in this article are adapted from a blog on how to become a better chess player, but certainly seem appropriate for anyone concerned with dementia and having problems with memory and focus.

http://www.mychessblog.com/one-simple-mental-exercise-to-improve-your-mind-power/

 

Caregivers of Alzheimer’s disease patients have one of the toughest jobs in the world and yet sometimes one of the most rewarding. Stephanie Jewett, RN, MBA, in an article in ezinearticles.com, offers the following tips for caregivers in a home setting.

  • Find something they love to do and keep that favorite thing going everyday, i.e. take a walk in the park, watch their favorite television show or read articles in a magazine. Go to the Internet and learn more about their favorite subject.
  • Keep life simple; follow a schedule everyday. Eat at particular times, keep hair appointments to one specific day a week, and enjoy a meal out once a week, on the same day.
  • Get lots of rest – take a nap if one feels tired, but don’t sleep the day away. Get up at the same time each day, bathe and then have a nutritious breakfast each and every day!
  • Go through scrapbooks and old pictures, reminding them of family members — their names, ages, etc.
  • Get a dog or a cat so that the patient has some responsibility and company in the home. Pet therapy is one of the best methods known to keep a person happy and healthy.

As a caregiver, your top priority is to take care of yourself so that you will have the strength and stamina to take care of your loved one. So the tips for your Alzheimer’s disease patient apply to you as well. Take good care!

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Alzheimer’s Disease: Focus on Caregiver

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is generally associated with people over 60. Many adult children find themselves in reverse roles taking care of their parents. Those whose mother or father has AD or any other debilitating disease find themselves in an extremely stressful situation. In this post, I want to focus on the health of the caregiver. The loss of sleep and the worry over the well-being of the AD patient can take its toll over time.

Abhishek Agarwal in his article on Caretaker’s Health – Taking Care Of Yourself Is Part Of A Caretaker’s Job! says that caring for an elderly person can be both immensely satisfying and overwhelming. He states, “It is equally important for the caregiver to take care of himself if he so badly wants to take care of his loved ones.”

Caregiver burnout can include the following and it is important to get help:

  • Guilt that there are other things to care for in the caretaker’s life besides the parent
  • Decline in health, including change of attitude
  • Lack of sleep and appetite
  • Nervous breakdown

Virginia J. Duffy, Ph.D., a psychiatric nurse practitioner in her article, Beating Burnout In Helping Professionals, has the following recommendations for professionals, but it can certainly apply to individual caretakers as well:

  • Take care of you, it will relieve some of your stress and allow you to better take care of others
  • Try understanding and treating yourself with the same care you give your patients
  • Allow yourself to say no
  • Recognize and allow your own feelings
  • Practice stress reduction techniques (exercise, relaxation, meditation, distraction)

Personally, I think if you can select just one of the stress reduction techniques in a short burst, say, just five minutes of meditation a couple of times a day and capture the gratitude of the moment, you can give yourself a gift. For anyone reading this blog who has a friend with Alzheimer’s disease and you’re not comfortable alone with the patient, perhaps you can just make sure that the AD patient is safe while the primary caretaker just takes a few minutes for him/herself in another room.

I wish you all the best in this new year. It’s so difficult when we know that Alzheimer’s disease is not reversible, but let this be the year that the focus is on the caregiver, too. You owe it to yourself to be strong because it requires strength to care for others.

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