Do You Desire to Improve your Alzheimer Patient Care?

Do you wish to improve your Alzheimer patient care? If so, these evidenced-based Alzheimer’s Association Dementia Care Practice Recommendations are for you. They address the fundamental areas in quality dementia care: assessment, communication and understanding behavior, social needs and activities, proper nutrition, reducing pain, falls, wandering, restraint-free care, and end-of-life care.

Alzheimer patient care

Alzheimer patient care

Designed for professional care providers working in either a residential community or in-home environment, the Dementia Care Practice Recommendations are founded on the principles of Person-Centered Care.

They have been supported by more than 30 leading health and senior care organizations that are listed within the particular Dementia Care Practice Recommendation document.

 

Dementia Care Practice Recommendations

 

 
Quality End-of-Life Care for Individuals with Dementia in Assisted Living and Nursing Homes and Public Policy Barriers to Delivering this Care Interview Paper  (26 pages)
Evidence on Interventions Literature Review (Phase 1) (20 pages)
Falls, Wandering and Physical Restraints Literature Review (11 pages)
End-of-Life Literature Review (35 pages)
Consumer-Directed Services Issue Brief (20 pages)
Medicaid Managed Long-Term Care Issue Brief (17 pages)
Eligibility Issues for Medicaid Long-Term Care (20 pages)

remarkable employees

Brain Networks that Keep Memory Skills Youthful

Senior adults with above average memory skills for their age—so-called  “super agers”—have distinct differences in brain networks compared to their normal peers. NIA-funded researchers identified two brain network regions that remain robust in super agers and may enable them to perform on memory tests as well as middle-aged people and even young adults.

Brain networks

brain networks

Brain networks.

Brain atrophy, characterized by a loss in cortical thickness, is common with aging. Researchers led by Dr. Brad Dickerson at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, explored these brain volume differences in super agers, in part to discover whether cortical thickness in older people could predict memory performance. Their findings were published in the Sept. 14, 2016, issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

Study results

In the study, 41 young volunteers (mean age mid-20s) and 40 older participants (mean age mid-to-late 60s) underwent memory testing and magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs)

functional brain networks

Functional brain networks.

to measure brain volume.  Based on the memory tests, researchers identified 17 super agers. Compared to their peers, the super agers showed little to no loss of cortical volume of brain regions within the default mode and salience networks that are important to memory storage, attention, encoding, and retrieval.  Notably, in some super agers, these regions were so well preserved that they were indistinguishable from the young volunteers. The researchers also found that the hippocampus—a brain region important for learning and memory—was well preserved in the super agers.

Future research

More research is needed to understand better the factors that may lead to resilience against an age-related cognitive decline in people with above average memories as they age. Additional studies could also elucidate whether and how memory and cortical thickness in cognitive super agers change over time.

 

well being

 

Here Is What You Need To Know about Dementia

Do you have senior parents or friends? If you do, then you need to know about dementia. In this article, we will share what we can.

What is dementia? 

dementia

Dementia.

Dementia is a collection of symptoms that can occur due to a variety of possible diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thinking, communicating, and memory.

Possible causes of dementia include:

  • Alzheimer’s disease, which is the leading cause of dementia
  • brain damage due to injury or stroke
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Lewy body dementia

Symptoms of dementia   

Know about dementia

Know about dementia.

If you or your loved one is experiencing memory problems, don’t immediately conclude that it’s dementia. A person needs to have at least two types of impairment that significantly interfere with everyday life to receive a dementia diagnosis.

In addition to difficulty remembering, the person may also experience impairments in:

  • language
  • communication
  • focus
  • reasoning

Know about dementia … subtle short-term memory changes

Trouble with memory can be an early symptom of dementia. The changes are often subtle and tend to involve short-term memory. An older person may be able to remember events that took place years ago but can’t remember what they had for breakfast.

Other symptoms of changes in short-term memory include forgetting where they left an item, struggling to remember why they entered a particular room or forgetting what they were supposed to do on any given day.

Know about dementia … difficulty finding the right words

Another early symptom of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts. A person with dementia may have difficulty explaining something or finding the right words to express themselves. Having a conversation with a person who has dementia can be difficult, and it may take longer than usual to conclude.

Changes in mood

A change in mood is also common with dementia. If you have dementia, it isn’t always easy to recognize this in yourself, but you may notice this change in someone else. Depression, for instance, is typical of early dementia.

Along with mood changes, you might also see a shift in personality. One typical type of personality change seen with dementia is a shift from being shy to outgoing. This is because the condition often affects judgment.

Apathy

Apathy, or listlessness, commonly occurs in early dementia. A person with symptoms could lose interest in hobbies or activities. They may not want to go out anymore or do anything fun. They may lose interest in spending time with friends and family, and they may seem emotionally flat.

Difficulty completing normal tasks

A subtle shift in the ability to complete normal tasks may indicate that someone has early dementia. This usually starts with difficulty doing more complex tasks like balancing a checkbook or playing games that have a lot of rules.

Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, they may struggle to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

Confusion

Someone in the early stages of dementia may often become confused. When memory, thinking, or judgment lapses, confusion may arise as they can no longer remember faces, find the right words, or interact with people normally.

Confusion can occur for some reasons and apply to different situations. For example, they may misplace their car keys, forget what comes next in the day, or have difficulty remembering someone they’ve met before.

A failing sense of direction

The sense of direction and spatial orientation commonly starts to deteriorate with the onset of dementia. This can mean not recognizing once-familiar landmarks and forgetting regularly used directions. It also becomes more difficult to follow a series of directions and step-by-step instructions.

Being repetitive

Repetition is common in dementia because of memory loss and general behavioral changes. The person may repeat daily tasks, such as shaving, or they may collect items obsessively.

They also may repeat the same questions in a conversation after they’ve been answered.

When to see a doctor

 Forgetfulness and memory problems don’t automatically point to dementia. These are normal parts of aging and can also occur due to other factors, such as fatigue. Still, you shouldn’t ignore the symptoms. If you or someone you know is experiencing some dementia symptoms that aren’t improving, talk with a doctor.

They can refer you to a neurologist who can examine you or your loved one’s physical and mental health and determine whether the symptoms result from dementia or another cognitive problem. The doctor may order:

  • a complete series of memory and mental tests
  • a neurological exam
  • blood tests
  • brain imaging tests

Can you prevent dementia?

You can take steps to improve cognitive health and reduce your seniors’ risk. This includes keeping the mind active with word puzzles, memory games, and reading. Being physically active, getting at least 150 minutes of exercise per week, and making other healthy lifestyle changes can also lower your risk. Examples of lifestyle changes include stopping smoking if you smoke and eating a diet rich in:

  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • whole grains

You can also reduce your risk by increasing your intake of vitamin D. According to the Mayo Clinic; some researchers suggest that people with low levels of vitamin D in their blood are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

10 Early Signs of Alzheimers

 

Were you aware of all the great material on aging and elderly care available from US agencies? We like to follow several of these sites, and we will use some of the best articles on our blog. Memory loss that disrupts daily life may reflect early signs of Alzheimers or another dementia.The basis for this article came from the Alzheimer’s Association.

early signs of Alzheimers

Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills. There are ten warning signs and symptoms. Every individual may experience one or more of these signs in a different degree. If you notice any of them, please see a doctor.

 

  1. MEMORY LOSS THAT DISRUPTS DAILY LIFE

One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

  1. CHALLENGES IN PLANNING OR SOLVING PROBLEMS

Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

GET CHECKED — EARLY DETECTION MATTERS

If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

> Learn more about diagnosing Alzheimer’s > Doctor’s Appointment Checklist

  1. DIFFICULTY COMPLETING FAMILIAR TASKS AT HOME, AT WORK OR AT LEISURE

People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

  1. CONFUSION WITH TIME OR PLACE

People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

  1. TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING VISUAL IMAGES AND SPATIAL RELATIONSHIPS

For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.

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What’s a typical age-related change? 
Vision changes related to cataracts.

  1. NEW PROBLEMS WITH WORDS IN SPEAKING OR WRITING

People with Alzheimer’s may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue, or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a “watch” a “hand-clock”).

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.

  1. MISPLACING THINGS AND LOSING THE ABILITY TO RETRACE STEPS

A person with Alzheimer’s disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Misplacing things from time to time and retracing steps to find them.

  1. DECREASED OR POOR JUDGMENT

People with Alzheimer’s may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Making a bad decision once in a while.

  1. WITHDRAWAL FROM WORK OR SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

A person with Alzheimer’s may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.

10.CHANGES IN MOOD AND PERSONALITY

The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer’s can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.

What’s a typical age-related change? 
Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ALZHEIMER’S AND TYPICAL AGE-RELATED CHANGES?

Signs of Alzheimer’s/dementia Typical age-related changes
Poor judgment and decision-making Making a bad decision once in a while
Inability to manage a budget Missing a monthly payment
Losing track of the date or the season Forgetting which day it is and remembering it later
Difficulty having a conversation Sometimes forgetting which word to use
Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them Losing things from time to time

WHAT TO DO IF YOU NOTICE THESE SIGNS

If you notice any of the 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s in yourself or someone you know, don’t ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.

With early detection, you can: Get the maximum benefit from available treatments – You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer. You may also increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.

 

care management

 

Early Symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Dementia

The Alzheimer’s’ Association is a great source of Alzheimer’s and dementia material. It is the source of most of this material.

Dementia is not a specific disease

It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80 percent of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs after a stroke, is the second most common dementia type. But there are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread but incorrect belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging.

 Learn more: Common Types of DementiaWhat is Alzheimer’s?

 

memory loss

Spot signs of unusual memory loss.

Memory loss and other symptoms of dementia

While symptoms of dementia can vary greatly, at least two of the following core mental functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia:

 

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

People with dementia may have problems with short-term memory, keeping track of a purse or wallet, paying bills, planning and preparing meals, remembering appointments or traveling out of the neighborhood.

Many dementias are progressive, meaning symptoms start out slowly and gradually get worse. If you or a loved one is experiencing memory difficulties or other changes in thinking skills, don’t ignore them. See a doctor soon to determine the cause. The professional evaluation may detect a treatable condition. And even if symptoms suggest dementia, early diagnosis allows a person to get the maximum benefit from available treatments and provides an opportunity to volunteer for clinical trials or studies. It also provides time to plan for the future.

 

Learn more: 10 Warning SignsStages of Alzheimer’s

 

Dementia causes

 

Dementia is caused by damage to brain cells. This damage interferes with the ability of brain cells to communicate with each other. When brain cells cannot communicate normally, thinking, behavior and feelings can be affected.

The brain has many distinct regions, each of which is responsible for different functions (for example, memory, judgment, and movement). When cells in a particular region are damaged, that region cannot carry out its functions normally.

Different types of dementia are associated with particular types of brain cell damage in particular regions of the brain. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, high levels of certain proteins inside and outside brain cells make it hard for brain cells to stay healthy and to communicate with each other. The brain region called the hippocampus is the center of learning and memory in the brain and the brain cells in this region are often the first to be damaged. That’s why memory loss is often one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

 

Diagnosis of dementia

There is no one test to determine if someone has dementia. Doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia based on a careful medical history, a physical examination, laboratory tests, and the characteristic changes in thinking, day-to-day function and behavior associated with each type.

Doctors can determine that a person has dementia with a high level of certainty. But it’s harder to determine the exact type of dementia because the symptoms and brain changes of different dementias can overlap. In some cases, a doctor may diagnose “dementia” and not specify a type.

Learn more: Memory Tests


Dementia treatment and care

Treatment of dementia depends on its cause. In the case of most progressive dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease, there is no cure and no treatment that slows or stops its progression. But there are drug treatments that may temporarily improve symptoms. The same medications used to treat Alzheimer’s are among the drugs sometimes prescribed to help with symptoms of other types of dementiasNon-drug therapies can also alleviate some symptoms of dementia.

Ultimately, the path to effective new treatments for dementia is through increased research funding and increased participation in clinical studies. Right now, volunteers are urgently needed to participate in more than 180+actively enrolling clinical studies and trials about Alzheimer’s and related dementias.

 

Learn more: Medications for Memory LossAlternative Treatments for Alzheimer’s

 

dementia risk and prevention

Take action for dementia risk and prevention.

Dementia risk and prevention

Some risk factors for dementia, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed. But researchers continue to explore the impact of other risk factors on brain health and prevention of dementia. Some of the most active areas of research in risk reduction and prevention include cardiovascular factors, physical fitness, and diet.

Cardiovascular risk factors: Your brain is nourished by one of your body’s richest networks of blood vessels. Anything that damages blood vessels anywhere in your body can damage blood vessels in your brain, depriving brain cells of vital food and oxygen. Blood vessel changes in the brain are linked to vascular dementia. They often are present along with changes caused by other types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. These changes may interact to cause faster decline or make impairments more severe. You can help protect your brain with some of the same strategies that protect your heart – don’t smoke; take steps to keep your blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar within recommended limits; and maintain a healthy weight.

 

Physical exercise

Regular physical exercise may help lower the risk of some types of dementia. Evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.

 

Diet

What you eat may have its greatest impact on brain health through its effect on heart health. The best current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, also may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

 

dementia and Alzheimers