Tag Archive: Brain


We Have MOVED!

we have moved

 

Dear blog readers,

Caregiver 2.0 is merging with the Alzheimer’s Association – Greater Michigan Chapter’s sister blog “Alzheimer’s Activities”. The blog will contain helpful tips and ideas for engaging a person with dementia in activities, as well as caregiving strategies and news. Come visit us at the new website (http://alzheimersactivities.wordpress.com/).

Thanks and hope to see you there!

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family in home

 

When caring for an individual with Alzheimer’s disease at home, safety is an important concern. People living with Alzheimer’s can remain in their homes safely for a longer period of time if safety issues are addressed. Safety issues evolve as the disease progresses, so be sure to reevaluate safety periodically.

Tips for Home Safety

Accommodate for Visual Changes

  • Use contrasting colors on walls, trim and floors to help the person anticipate staircases and room entrances. This technique is also effective in the bathroom, where a white toilet and sink may be hard to see against a white floor and wall
  • Changes in levels of light can be disorienting. Try to maintain consistency in lighting the home and keep it well-lit
  • Add extra lighting in entries, areas between rooms, stairways and bathrooms
  • Diffuse glare by removing mirrors and glass-top furniture
  • Cover windows with blinds, shades, or sheer draperies as needed to control and diffuse the light
  • Use night lights

Avoid Injury during Daily Activities

  • Lower the temperature of tap water and monitor food temperatures if possible, to prevent the person from accidentally getting burned
  • Install walk-in showers, grab bars and non-skid decals on slippery surfaces
  • Provide the appropriate level of support to the person when taking prescription and over-the-counter medications

Beware of Hazardous Objects and Substances

  • Remove guns and ammunition from the home. Until guns and ammunition can be removed safely, lock them in a spot where the person with Alzheimer’s cannot access them. Never store weapons loaded.
  • Limit the use of mixers, grills, knives, and lawnmowers
  • Lock up hazardous materials that could be ingested
  • Supervise smoking and alcohol consumption, and limit or eliminate their use when possible
  • Move items that might cause a person to trip, such as unsecured throw rugs, floor lamps and coffee tables to create unrestricted areas for movement
  • Clean out the refrigerator regularly, and discard expired food

Prepare for Emergencies

  • Keep a list of emergency phone numbers and addresses by every phone, as well as a list of all prescriptions and dosages
  • Regularly check fire extinguishers and smoke alarms
  • Enroll the individual and caregivers in the Medic Alert + Safe Return program prior to any wandering incident. This helps protect the person with dementia, as well as ensuring that he or she will get needed care if something happens to a caregiver
  • Consider using Comfort Zone to monitor the person’s whereabouts. Caregivers or other family or friends can receive computerized alerts when the person with Alzheimer’s wanders out of a pre-set range, or can be checked in on throughout the day
  • As the disease progresses into the middle and late stages, take these steps to make dangerous places less accessible:
    • Lock or disguise hazardous areas
    • Install door locks out of sight, but only keep locked in this way when someone is home to help in case of an emergency
    • Use safety devices, such as childproof locks and door knobs, or hide door knobs with a cloth or painted mural

 

Watch this video to learn more about what researchers are doing on a global level to help win the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Check out the full 2013-2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Progress Report here.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nfl/broncos/2014/07/23/pat-bowlen-denver-broncos-owner-joe-ellis/13032671/

Asian grandparents and grandchild

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s or dementia often involves a team of people. Whether you help provide the daily care (e.g., assisting with meals and bathing), participate in the decision making (e.g., making care arrangements and legal and financial plans) or you simply care about a person with the disease — there’s much to do and plenty to know. But it doesn’t have to be a lot of work to find the resources and support you need. The Alzheimer’s Association and Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiver Center — alz.org/care — can help.

Check out any of the online resources below for more information.

ALZConnected

A social networking community where people with Alzheimer’s and related dementia, caregivers and others affected by the disease can share questions, experiences and practical tips via message boards or create private groups organized around specific topics.

Alzheimer’s Navigator

An interactive online tool for people living with dementia and those who participate in providing care and making care-related decisions. This assessment tool evaluates needs, outlines action steps and links the user to Alzheimer’s Association chapter programs and local services.

Community Resource Finder

A comprehensive database of local programs and services, housing and care options, and legal experts all in one location, allowing users to quickly search and find access and support.

Care Team Calendar

A free, personalized online tool, powered by Lotsa Helping Hands, that makes it easy to organize family and friends who want to help with caregiving and share activities and information among the care team.

 

 

Join teams from around the world on June 21, The Longest Day®, to honor the strength, passion and endurance of those facing Alzheimer’s disease with a day of activity. Select an activity you love, from swing dancing to swimming, and make an impact by raising funds and awareness to advance the efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Register by June 11 to receive your participant kit in time for The Longest Day.

 

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brain

Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month

The Alzheimer’s Association is moving our awareness month from September to June. This new month will be called Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month (ABAM).— a time to shine a purple light for the millions of individuals world-wide and all the family members and caregivers locally affected by Alzheimer’s disease. We need your help to honor those struggling with this disease every day by mobilizing friends, families, neighbors, co-workers and customers to help bring an end to Alzheimer’s disease. The time is now to commit to going purple during Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month (ABAM). The end of Alzheimer’s starts now. The End of Alzheimer’s Starts with YOU.

Promote

  • Turn Facebook purple by changing your profile picture to our END ALZicon.
  • Turn your office, school or place of worship purple for the month of June. 
  • Show the power of purple by introducing and/or utilizing a purple product. 

 

  *Here’s how to change your profile picture in three easy steps.1. Right click on the END ALZicon and save to your computer.

2. Log into your Facebook account. Move your cursor over your current profile picture and select “Change Picture.” 

3. Use the browse function to locate and upload the END ALZgraphic.

Declare

  • Announce your commitment to ending Alzheimer’s through social media and internal communications. 

Educate

brain

Do computerized brain-training programs really work? Will doing Sudoku or crossword puzzles help to ward off cognitive decline?

As we age, our brain (like the rest of our body) loses some of the agility it once had. Normal aging is associated with a slower processing speed and less efficient working memory in the brain. These age-related changes, however, are modest; they are very different than neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, scientists now know that our brains are able to adapt, change, and re-organize throughout our entire lives — a phenomenon known as “neuroplasticity”. This means our neurons (nerve cells) have the capacity to learn and re-wire, even into old age. An old brain can learn new tricks!

So maybe you’re still asking — will ‘brain training’ help to promote brain health? Buyer beware. The research on such programs is preliminary and should be considered with caution. The games and exercises designed to improve brain performance aim to use neuroplasticity to improve core cognitive abilities; however, it is unclear whether these effects translate to real-life performance or whether these interventions have any appreciable effect on preventing neurological diseases.

In reality, there are many far more compelling interventions that may help to stave off cognitive decline than brain games or mind teasers. For example, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) is a key component of neuroplasticity. Physical exercise and low-fat diets have been linked to increased production of BDNF and aid in neuroplasticity (Gomez-Pinilla, 2011). Want the most bang for your buck when it comes to brain health? Consider adopting a lifetsyle that incorporates regular physical exercise and a healthy, balanced diet.

Caution: There is still no proven method for preventing or delaying cognitive decline.

References

Gomez-Pinilla, F. G. (2011). Exercise impacts brain-derived neurotrophic factor plasticity by engaging mechanisms of epigenetic regulation.European Journal Of Neuroscience33(3), 383-390.

lumosity.com

Smith, G. M. (2009). A Cognitive Training Program Based on Principles of Brain Plasticity: Results from the Improvement in Memory with Plasticity-based Adaptive Cognitive Training (IMPACT) Study. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society57(4), 594-603.

Zelinski, E. M., Spina, L. M., Yaffe, K., Ruff, R., Kennison, R. F., Mahncke, H. W., & Smith, G. E. (2011). Improvement in memory with plasticity-based adaptive cognitive training: results of the 3-month follow-up. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society59(2), 258-265. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03277.x

Do your snacking habits affect brain health? Could your diet choices help to reduce (or elevate) your risk for diseases like Alzheimer’s? As the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease continues to rise (more than 5 millions Americans have a diagnosis), many have been intrigued by these questions. Unfortunately, there is no proven method for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and the research into its prevention is lacking. However, an emerging body of scientific research indicates that certain food choices may be conducive to a healthy brain.

Ever heard the axiom “healthy mind, healthy body”? It’s often true! Hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and other chronic diseases have been associated with an increased risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. These diseases are harmful to the blood vessels in the body, and they can ultimately cause a lack of blood flow to the brain.

Want to ensure that your diet will protect your body and your mind? Adhering to a heart healthy food selection, like the Mediterranean diet, may help.

mcdc6_pyramid_mediterranean

The benefits of diet on heart health are already well-documented, and many researchers believe that these same disease fighting foods can be beneficial in protecting the brain. The studies conducted on this subject have yielded promising results, however, more research must continue in order to learn more about effective prevention strategies for Alzheimer’s.

Don’t forget, aging doesn’t start when we reach 65. It’s happening to us all the time, everyday! Commit to a healthy lifestyle long-term, and you will be more likely to stave off chronic diseases, like Alzheimer’s. Life is a marathon, not a sprint!

grocery store

Want to give it a spin? Below is a sample grocery list that reflects adherence to the Mediterranean diet. The most effective eating plan is one that works with your preferences and lifestyle. Experiment with foods that are most appealing to you and enjoy!

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Almonds
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Salmon
  • Brown rice
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries
  • Bananas
  • Tilapia
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Black beans
  • Cannellini beans
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Tomato sauce
  • Bell peppers
  • Zucchini

References

http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_adopt_a_brain_healthy_diet.asp

Arntzen, K. B. (2011). Impact of cardiovascular risk factors on cognitive function: The Tromsø study. European Journal Of Neurology18(5), 737-743.

Boost your memory by eating right. (2012). Harvard Women’s Health Watch19(12), 1-7.

Féart, C., Samieri, C., Rondeau, V., Amieva, H., Portet, F., Dartigues, J., & … Barberger-Gateau, P. (2009). Adherence to a Mediterranean diet, cognitive decline, and risk of dementia. JAMA: Journal Of The American Medical Association302(6), 638-648. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.1146

Mediterranean diet associated with lower risk of cognitive impairment. (2009). Nurse Prescribing7(3), 134.