If spouse has dementia, your risk rises too

Being married to someone with dementia may sharply increase your own risk of developing the condition, a new study shows.

Utah researchers found that seniors had six times the risk of developing dementia if they lived with a spouse who had been diagnosed with the condition, according to the study, which was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. And the increased risk was substantially higher for husbands than for wives.

“The good news is that most of the spouses did not develop dementia,” said the study’s lead author, Maria Norton, an associate professor in the department of Family, Consumer and Human Development at Utah State University, in Logan.

via If spouse has dementia, your risk rises too – Aging- msnbc.com.

15 Lessons From the Clergy / Caregiver of an Elderly Parent

Here’s a post from The Connection, the blog at the Clergy Health Initiative, which is a program intended to improve the health and well-being of the 1,600 United Methodist elders and local pastors serving churches in North Carolina. Partners of the initiative include Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment.

John M. Crowe: 15 Lessons From the Caregiver of an Elderly Parent

Our guest blogger, Dr. John M. Crowe, offers this advice to pastors who are caregivers for their own parents, recipients of care from their own family members, or counselors to congregants in the caregiving role. This advice comes from my own experience over the last year and a half plus being part of the agingcare.com online support group. 1. Before their health starts down a slippery slope, make sure you or a sibling has both Durable and Medical Powers of Attorney POA.

via The Connection: John M. Crowe: 15 Lessons From the Caregiver of an Elderly Parent.

Family caregiving stress-filled and isolating

Family members who provide care to relatives with dementia, but do not have formal training, frequently experience overwhelming stress that sometimes leads to breakdowns or depression, according to Penn State and Benjamin Rose Institute researchers. Interventions to alleviate this stress are not always effective, leaving caregivers isolated to deal with their stresses.

via Penn State Live – Family caregiving stress-filled and isolating | Avantrasara.

Alzheimer’s patients may not remember your jokes, but tell them anyway

Just because one person doesn’t recall the details of an emotional moment doesn’t mean the exchange was for naught. Simply having shared it can mean a lot.

University of Iowa researchers studied five brain-damaged patients suffering from amnesia, asking them to watch emotion-filled film clips and then later questioning them about the clips and about the feelings evoked by them. In what was not a surprise, the amnesiacs could remember very little of what they’d seen. In what was more of a surprise — and more relevant — the emotions lingered.

via Alzheimer’s patients may not remember your jokes, but tell them anyway | Booster Shots | Los Angeles Times.

New guidelines issued on elderly driving after dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Having mild dementia is no longer a reason to take away an elderly person’s car keys, according to newly revised guidelines from the American Academy of Neurology.

Citing new evidence that 76 percent of drivers with dementia could still pass on-road skills tests, the AAN changed guidelines that previously discouraged any driving once someone was diagnosed with mild dementia or Alzheimer’s. The updated guidelines were unveiled an the AAN’s annual meeting in Toronto.

via New Guidelines Issed On Elderly Driving After Dementia Or Alzheimer’s Diagnosis – ABC News.

Caregiver stress is a big health concern

April is Autism Awareness month. It’s also National Stress Relief Month. Caring for children with autism or adults with Alzheimer’s (or both!) is stressful, which can cause health problems for you the caregiver and for the loved one you are caring for. Read on for some tips from the Caregiving Club on caregiver stress reduction. And don’t forget to join SafetyNet’s Twitter contest that was designed with stress relief in mind – the prize is a $100 spa gift card!

Today is the start of National Stress Relief Month. And, although today is also April Fool’s Day – the stress that caregivers feel is not a joke.

Numerous studies, including one conducted by the National Alliance for Caregiving and Evercare, show that caregivers cite stress as their Number One health issue in caring for their loved one. In addition, one study from the Commonwealth Fund found that caregivers are twice as likely as the general population to develop multiple chronic illnesses sooner in life related to the increased stress of caregiving.

via Caregiving Club: Caregiver Stress Is No Joking Matter.

“Dancing Hands” and Alzheimer’s disease

Dancing Hands is a program that uses hand tapping and music to engage Alzheimer’s patients. I think providing music in a group setting, combined with the creative outlet of producing “taps”, illustrates that persons suffering from Alzheimer’s enjoy engaging in creative activities.

via Alzheimer’s Reading Room: Can “Dancing Hands” Help Alzheimer’s Patients Be “More There”?.

Therapeutic gardens for Alzheimer’s disease

A landscape architect talks here about designing a garden for an Alzheimer’s patient – with an eye on reducing wandering and anxiety and increasing the garden’s therapeutic value. From the Palm Beach Daily News:

A rose is a rose is a rose…

But a garden can be many things.

And, most especially, therapeutic.

Well, of course it is. Isn’t sitting in a quiet spot surrounded by a profusion of brilliantly colored flowers, or long, flowing leaves, or loudly gurgling fountains, therapeutic?

It depends on whether you are basically healthy, or autistic, or suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. How you view a garden will differ drastically depending on how you view the world.

That’s why landscape architect Elizabeth “Libby” Marshall takes her mission to design special, therapeutic gardens so seriously. It’s her passion and as natural to her, she says, as breathing.

via Therapeutic gardens are Elizabeth Marshall’s mission.

Alzheimer’s disease and sexuality

At a recent educational conference on dementia sponsored by the Connecticut Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, I was running late, passing packed rooms where sessions were just beginning.

“I’ll never get a seat,” I thought as I rounded the corner and entered the room where the “Sexuality and Dementia” program was getting under way. Interestingly, it was sparsely attended.

The first slide up on the screen was of an expressionless aged couple sitting side by side. In cartoon bubbles, he’s asking her “Whatever happened to our sexual relations?” and she’s responding, “I don’t know. I don’t even think we got a Christmas card from them this year.”

via Love life changes with spouse who has Alzheimer’s – NewsTimes.

SafetyNet launches new resource for caregivers of children with autism

WESTWOOD, Mass.– In recognition that April is National Autism Awareness Month and to address a top concern among parents about wandering or “bolting,” SafetyNet today launched SafetyNetSource, its new information and resource center. SafetyNetSource offers a variety of valuable resources for caregivers of those with autism or Alzheimer’s, compelling content from across the web, access to the SafetyNetSource Twitter feed and YouTube channel, as well as a Facebook page to help caregivers communicate with one another and engage in a community of support.

The effort is part of SafetyNet’s initiative to educate people on issues related to autism and Alzheimer’s disease. To help protect people with these conditions, SafetyNet offers a service  that enables police and other public safety agencies to search for and rescue people at risk of wandering. “A key part of our mission at SafetyNet is to provide valuable solutions and resources that offer peace of mind for caregivers of people with autism and Alzheimer’s,” said John Paul Marosy, General Manager, SafetyNet. “That’s why we developed SafetyNetSource — to create a destination with new tools and information that help parents protect those they love from the dangers of wandering and enables caregivers to connect with one another.”

“My seven-year-old son wandered off once and I’ve never felt such desperation; it was terrifying,” said Madeline Gonzalez, mother of a child with autism. “But now that he’s protected with SafetyNet, I’m at peace knowing that if he goes missing, he can be found. We can go more places; do more things. SafetyNet doesn’t replace my responsibility as a parent, but it gives me comfort knowing he can be rescued. And now SafeyNetSource is providing us with resources that are both helpful and engaging. It’s a great help for my whole family.”

via April Is National Autism Awareness Month: — WESTWOOD, Mass., March 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ –.