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Quick thinking four-year-old saves mum's life after epileptic shock

Posted on 31 August, 2015 at 4:50 Comments comments (0)

A FOUR-year-old girl has been hailed a hero after raising the alarm when her mum suffered a potentially fatal epileptic fit.

 

Brave Holly Wright called for help using a Careline pendant when her mum, Jemma Wright, was suffering the fit at their home in Lostock.

 

The family has a Careline alarm system installed at their home and Holly was able to raise the alarm with operators.

 

Mrs Wright, aged 31, was diagnosed with Focal Epilepsy and Todd’s Paralysis in April and her seizures leave her temporarily paralysed as well as affecting her speech and memory.

 

The mum-of-one says she is very independent and does not like asking for help, but after a run of 14 seizures in just a fortnight left in hospital, she decided Careline, provided Bolton at Home, would give her and her family extra reassurance.

 

She said: “My mum spends a lot of time with me when my husband’s at work but Careline was the answer to me feeling more independent.

 

Read the full story 

http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/13608156.Quick_thinking_four_year_old_saves_mum_s_life_after_epileptic_shock/?ref=arc ;



10 Early Signs If you have a risk to Suffer Dementia

Posted on 31 August, 2015 at 4:40 Comments comments (0)

What’s confusing about dementia is that it’s not actually a disease. Rather, it’s a collection of symptoms that can be caused by various diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thinking, communicating, and memory.

 

The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can also be caused by brain damage incurred from an injury or stroke, and from other diseases like Huntington’s or Lewy body dementia.

Memory Loss Isn’t Necessarily Dementia

If a loved one is experiencing some troubling memory problems, you might immediately conclude that it’s dementia. However, a person needs to have at least two types of impairment that are significant enough to interfere with everyday life to be considered a dementia diagnosis.

 

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

 

language

communication

focus

reasoning

Part 3 of 12: Short-Term Memory

 

Subtle Short-Term Memory Changes

Trouble with memory can be an early sign of dementia. The changes are often subtle and tend to involve short-term memory. Your elderly relative may be able to remember years past, but not what they had for breakfast.

 

Other signs of changes in short-term memory include forgetting where they left something, struggling to remember why they went into a particular room, or forgetting what they were supposed to do on any given day.

 

Part 4 of 12: Communication

 

Difficulty Finding the Right Words

Another early sign of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts the way you want to. This may mean that a person can’t seem to explain things. They may reach for the right words, but just can’t seem to grasp them.

 

Conversations with an elderly parent who has dementia can become difficult and take longer than usual to conclude.

 

Part 5 of 12: Mood

 

Changes in Mood

Changes in mood are also common with dementia. It isn’t always easy to recognize this aspect of dementia in yourself, but it’s easy to notice in a loved one. 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 judgment is often affected.

 

Part 6 of 12: Apathy

 

Apathy

A common symptom of early dementia is a listlessness or apathy. You might notice that your elderly loved one is starting to lose interest in hobbies or activities. They may not want to go out anymore or to do anything fun. They may be losing interest in spending time with friends and family and may seem emotionally flat.

 

Part 7 of 12: Normal Tasks

 

Difficulty Doing Normal Tasks

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

 

Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, you may notice your loved one struggling to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

 

Part 8 of 12: Confusion

 

Confusion

Someone in the early stages of dementia may often show signs of confusion. When memory, thinking, or judgment lapses, confusion arises as your loved one can no longer remember faces, find the right words, or interact with people normally.

 

Confusion can occur for a number of reasons. For example, missing car keys, forgetting what comes next in the day, or trying to remember who someone is.

 

Part 9 of 12: Storylines

 

Difficulty Following Storylines

If you notice that your elderly loved one has a hard time following storylines, it may be due to early dementia.

 

Just as finding and using the right words becomes difficult, people with dementia also sometimes forget the meanings of words they hear. Struggling to follow along with conversations or TV programs is a classic early warning sign.

 

Part 10 of 12: Directions

 

A Failing Sense of Direction

Sense of direction and spatial orientation is a common function of thinking that 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 series of directions and step-by-step instructions.

 

Part 11 of 12: Repetition

 

Being Repetitive

Repetition is common in dementia because of memory loss and general behavioral changes. You might notice your elderly parent or loved one repeat daily tasks like shaving or collecting items obsessively.

 

They also may repeat the same questions in a conversation after you’ve already answered them.

 

Part 12 of 12: Adaptation

 

Struggling to Adapt to Change

For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience is frightening. Suddenly they can’t remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They can’t remember why they went to the store and get lost on the way home.

 

Because of this, they might crave routine and not want to try new things. Having difficulty adapting to changes is a typical sign of early dementia.



Owen Wilson opens up about his father's Alzheimer's, You Just have to Accept It

Posted on 24 August, 2015 at 13:30 Comments comments (0)

http://www.alzheimersreadingroom.com/2015/08/owen-wilson-opens-up-about-his-fathers.html

Once again Alzheimer's disease proves it knows no boundaries.

This time around actor Owen Wilson is acknowledging that his father is living with Alzheimer's.


Dementia is more than just memory loss. Learn how to spot these 10 warning signs

Posted on 24 August, 2015 at 13:20 Comments comments (0)

What Exactly Is Dementia?

 

What’s confusing about dementia is that it’s not actually a disease. Rather, it’s a collection of symptoms that can be caused by various diseases. Dementia symptoms include impairments in thinking, communicating, and memory.

 

The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can also be caused by brain damage incurred from an injury or stroke, and from other diseases like Huntington’s or Lewy body dementia.

 

Memory Loss Isn’t Necessarily Dementia

 

If a loved one is experiencing some troubling memory problems, you might immediately conclude that it’s dementia. However, a person needs to have at least two types of impairment that are significant enough to interfere with everyday life to be considered a dementia diagnosis.

 

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

 

language

communication

focus

reasoning

Subtle Short-Term Memory Changes

 

Trouble with memory can be an early sign of dementia. The changes are often subtle and tend to involve short-term memory. Your elderly relative may be able to remember years past, but not what they had for breakfast.

 

Other signs of changes in short-term memory include forgetting where they left something, struggling to remember why they went into a particular room, or forgetting what they were supposed to do on any given day.

 

Difficulty Finding the Right Words

 

Another early sign of dementia is struggling to communicate thoughts the way you want to. This may mean that a person can’t seem to explain things. They may reach for the right words, but just can’t seem to grasp them.

 

Conversations with an elderly parent who has dementia can become difficult and take longer than usual to conclude.

 

Changes in Mood

 

Changes in mood are also common with dementia. It isn’t always easy to recognize this aspect of dementia in yourself, but it’s easy to notice in a loved one. 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 judgment is often affected.

 

Apathy

 

A common symptom of early dementia is a listlessness or apathy. You might notice that your elderly loved one is starting to lose interest in hobbies or activities. They may not want to go out anymore or to do anything fun. They may be losing interest in spending time with friends and family and may seem emotionally flat.

 

Difficulty Doing Normal Tasks

 

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

Along with the struggle to complete familiar tasks, you may notice your loved one struggling to learn how to do new things or follow new routines.

 

Confusion

 

Someone in the early stages of dementia may often show signs of confusion. When memory, thinking, or judgment lapses, confusion arises as your loved one can no longer remember faces, find the right words, or interact with people normally.

 

Confusion can occur for a number of reasons. For example, missing car keys, forgetting what comes next in the day, or trying to remember who someone is.

 

Difficulty Following Storylines

 

If you notice that your elderly loved one has a hard time following storylines, it may be due to early dementia.

 

Just as finding and using the right words becomes difficult, people with dementia also sometimes forget the meanings of words they hear. Struggling to follow along with conversations or TV programs is a classic early warning sign.

 

A Failing Sense of Direction

 

Sense of direction and spatial orientation is a common function of thinking that 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 series of directions and step-by-step instructions.

 

Being Repetitive

 

Repetition is common in dementia because of memory loss and general behavioral changes. You might notice your elderly parent or loved one repeat daily tasks like shaving or collecting items obsessively.

 

They also may repeat the same questions in a conversation after you’ve already answered them.

 

Struggling to Adapt to Change

 

For someone in the early stages of dementia, the experience is frightening. Suddenly they can’t remember people they know or follow what others are saying. They can’t remember why they went to the store and get lost on the way home.

 

Because of this, they might crave routine and not want to try new things. Having difficulty adapting to changes is a typical sign of early dementia.


Grandma's brain benefits from time with the little ones

Posted on 23 August, 2015 at 13:25 Comments comments (0)

Most grandmothers say there is no pleasure that quite compares to spending time with your offspring's little ones. And now, a new study finds grandchildren don't only add joy to grandma's golden years. The kids may also keep her mentally sharp.

 

The study, published in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society, finds post-menopausal women who spend time taking care of grandkids lower their risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other cognitive disorders. However, too much time with the grandchildren -- five or more days a week -- appeared to make grandma more likely to lose her marbles.

 

For the study, researchers for the Women's Health Aging Project in Australia, administered three different tests to assess the cognitive abilities of 186 women, ages 57 to 68. Among the group, 120 were grandmothers. The researchers add that 9 percent of the cohort eventually withdrew from the study, claiming they were too busy caring for their family to participate.

 

Overall, the researchers found the grandmothers who helped with childcare at least one day per week scored highest on the tests, while the women who spent five or more days a week with their grandkids scored significantly lower.

 

The researchers also found the grandmothers who helped out more often felt their own children -- the parents of the grandkids -- were too demanding of their time. The researchers suggest that feeling overextended dampened the mood of those grandmothers, which impacted brain function.

 

There's a large body of research that finds regular social interaction can help seniors stay mentally healthier.

 

One study, published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found older women and men who spend too much time apart from family members had a 26 percent higher death risk during a seven year period than those who were more socially-engaged. Some research also finds staying in touch the modern way, such as through Facebook and other forms of social media, can help promote healthy aging.

 

"The motivation of the present study was to expand on the current literature by examining the impact of grandparenting on cognitive function," the authors write in the new study. "To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine the relationship between grandparenting and cognition."

 

Next, the researchers say they plan to conduct studies with larger samples of seniors that also examine how other social roles impact cognition in the aging brain.

The Truth About Dementia

Posted on 23 August, 2015 at 13:20 Comments comments (0)

The Truth About Dementia

 

The word dementia gets used a lot when talking about aging and certain diseases. A common misconception is that dementia is a disease in itself. It is, in fact, a set of symptoms, which can be caused by a number of disorders.

 

The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Brain damage from an injury or a stroke can also cause dementia, as can other diseases like Lewy body dementia and Huntington’s disease.

 

Dementia vs. Old Age

 

If you notice memory slips in an elderly relative you might automatically assume that they are in the early stages of dementia, but you might be jumping to the wrong conclusion. Some amount of memory loss is normal as we age.

 

To be considered dementia, your loved one’s symptoms must interfere with his or her daily life. The symptoms also need to affect more than one category of brain function, such as memory, communication, judgment, or language.

 

Alzheimer’s Effects on the Brain

 

Alzheimer’s disease causes nerve cell death and shrinkage in the brain. Tangles and plaques made up of abnormal proteins build up around nerves. This prevents communication and causes nerve cell death. When the cortex shrivels, your capacity to think, plan, and remember decreases.

 

Alzheimer’s often severely damages the hippocampus, inhibiting your ability to form new memories. As the disease progresses, it impairs the areas of the brain involved in processing speech and spatial awareness.

 

The Stages of Dementia

 

Progressive dementia, which is dementia that gets worse with time, is the most common type. Five stages of progressive dementia have been outlined. They are part of the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR), which professionals use to evaluate the progression of symptoms in patients with dementia.

 

The five stages describe a patient’s ability to perform in six different areas of cognition and functioning: orientation, memory, judgment, home and hobbies, personal care, and community.

Stage 1: CDR-0 or No Impairment

Stage one of the CDR represents no impairment in a person’s abilities. If your loved one gets a score of 0, they have no significant memory problems, are fully oriented in time and place, have normal judgment, can function out in the world, have a well-maintained home life, and are fully able to take care of their personal needs.

 

Stage 2: CDR-0.5 or Questionable Impairment

 

A score of 0.5 on the CDR scale represents very slight impairments. Your loved one may have minor memory inconsistencies. They might struggle to solve challenging problems and have trouble with timing. Additionally, they may be slipping at work or when engaging in social activities. At this stage, however, they can still manage their own personal care without any help.

 

Stage 3: CDR-1 or Mild Impairment

 

With a score of 1, your loved one is noticeably impaired in each area, but the changes are still mild. Short-term memory is suffering and disrupts some aspects of their day. They are starting to become disoriented geographically and may have trouble with directions and getting from one place to another.

 

They may start to have trouble functioning independently at events and activities outside the home. At home, chores may start to get neglected, and someone may need to remind them when it is time to take care of personal hygiene.

 

Stage 4: CDR-2 or Moderate Impairment

 

A score of 2 means that your elderly relative is moderately impaired. They now need help taking care of hygiene. Although well enough to go out to social activities or to do chores, they need to be accompanied.

 

At this stage there is more disorientation when it comes to time and space. They get lost easily and struggle to understand time relationships. Short-term memory is seriously impaired and it is difficult to remember anything new, including people they just met.

 

Stage 5: CDR-3 or Severe Impairment

 

The fifth stage of dementia is the most severe. At this point your loved one cannot function at all without help. They have experienced extreme memory loss. Additionally, they have no understanding of orientation in time or geography. It is almost impossible to go out and engage in everyday activities, even with assistance. Function in the home is completely gone and help is required for attending to personal needs.

 

Progressive Dementia

 

When you learn about the five stages of dementia, you begin to understand how devastating these symptoms can be as they get worse. The majority of dementia cases are progressive, but there are some that are reversible.

 

If dementia is caused by an infection, a nutritional deficiency, as a side effect of a medication or from brain bleeding, the symptoms can be stopped and reversed as long as the underlying cause is treated.


5 Things Alzheimers Caregivers Shouldn't do

Posted on 23 August, 2015 at 13:15 Comments comments (0)

Caring for a person with Alzheimers is hard work. You may have to deal with personality changes and difficult behaviours. You may be asked the same question over and over. You typically face issues with bathing, dressing and toileting. Your loved one may wander off if you aren’t careful.

Eventually, you may have to grapple with the decision to place your loved one in a long-term care facility. And the list goes on and on. But the most painful thing you will ever face as an Alzheimers caregiver is that you slowly lose the person you love.

 

If you read books, attend presentations and talk to experts about Alzheimers caregiving, you’ll get a seemingly unending string of advice. Some suggestions will be good; others won’t be very sound. What I want to achieve in this article is to offer some ideas about five things Alzheimers caregivers should never do.

Don’t Be in Denial

 

When a loved one shows signs of dementia it’s painful to acknowledge it. It’s common for their friends and loved ones to be in denial. It’s easy to ignore the symptoms, make excuses for the person, push the symptoms to the back of your mind and find other ways to avoid thinking even for a minute that the person may have dementia. I wrote more about this in an article entitled “Alzheimer’s and the Devil Called Denial.”

 

The problem with denial is it doesn’t lead you to take your loved one to a primary care physician or neurologist for a complete workup. And the problem with that is that sometimes dementia is caused by health issues other than Alzheimers. As I stated in another article, “What If It’s Not Alzheimer’s?” some of those problems can be treated or even reversed. And if it is Alzheimers the earlier treatment is started, the better.

 

Don’t Ask “Do You Remember?”

 

Asking a person with Alzheimers if they remember something is a common mistake that’s easy to make. It’s almost as though we think we can jog their memory. But we rarely do. They have probably forgotten the event in question. That’s what people with Alzheimer’s do. They forget. So it’s better to say, “I remember when…” and then tell them a story.

Don’t Argue With or Contradict the Person

 

If you’re caring for someone with dementia, it’s so easy to contradict or argue with them when they say things that are total nonsense. And they typically say a lot of things that fall into this category. For instance, they may think they are a child again or they may tell you stories that couldn’t possibly be true.

 

But the fact of the matter is that you can never win an argument with people who have dementia. They will stick to their guns to the bitter end! It’s much better to agree with them and then change the subject. This can prevent a nasty argument that would spoil your time with your loved one. For more detailed advice on this issue see my article, “The Contentious Alzheimer’s Patient – You Can Be Right or You Can Have Peace.”

 

Don’t Delay Nursing Home Placement When It’s Clearly Needed

 

At some point in the disease process it may (but not always) become evident that you can no longer care for the person at home. Later in the development of the disease, it takes a village to care for Alzheimer’s patients. They’ll likely need a nursing staff and aids 24 hours a day and a physician on call at all times. They also need a dietician, a cook, a housekeeper, an activity director and many more professionals. Another important thing they need is to have people around them to provide social stimulation.

 

As I stated in another article, “Nursing Home Placement for Alzheimer’s Patients — It Can Be the Most Loving Choice,” sometimes placing the person in a reputable institution is indeed the most loving choice for the patient — not to mention for you. When you no longer have to care for the person 24 hours a day you can relax, get some much-needed rest and really enjoy spending time with your loved one, all the while being assured he or she is getting the best care possible.

 

Don’t Stop Visiting When Your Loved One No Longer Recognize You

 

Many people think that there’s no reason to visit a loved one who no longer recognizes them, but I am firmly convinced that you should visit anyway. First of all, the person may enjoy being visited even if he or she doesn’t quite know who is visiting them. More importantly, it’s possible that the person does recognize you but simply isn’t able to say so.

 

We never know whom Alzheimers patients do and do not recognize somewhere deep down. Although there’s no way to know for sure, my conviction is that the person is really “in there” somewhere and we should always assume the person may know and feel more than he or she can express.



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