Shriver Report examines impact of Alzheimer’s on women as caregivers and patients

California first lady Maria Shriver is harnessing the power of her prominent California Women’s Conference to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and its impact on American women.

California’s first lady uses the awards ceremony to honor humanitarian efforts.

In the lead-up to her annual conference on women’s issues, on Oct. 15, Shriver will join with the Alzheimer’s Association to release a comprehensive study detailing how the devastating disease affects women as caregivers, advocates and patients.

Featuring essays written by personalities from the worlds of politics, entertainment and media, “The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer’s” gives an honest and diverse look at the personal, professional and policy dimensions of the disease.

via Shriver Report Examines Impact of Alzheimer’s on Women as Caregivers and Patients – ABC News.

Alzheimer’s Caregiving: Benefits CheckUp

Bob DeMarco of Alzheimer’s Reading Room points to a great resource, Benefits Check Up,  in this post:

Benefits Check Up is one of my favorite sites if you are looking for programs to assist you as an Alzheimer’s caregiver.

This service from the National Council on Aging will give you real help in identifying all the services that are available to the elderly or to someone that has Alzheimer’s disease. They ask specifically if the person has Alzheimer’s disease in their questionnaire.

The thing I like best about this website is that it streamlines the process of finding programs that could be of benefit to you. This is accomplished through one simple questionnaire that searches all national/Federal, regional and local assistance programs.

You can answer the questions for someone that is older or suffering from dementia. You answer as if they were answering the questionnaire. You do it for them.

Don’t overlook this opportunity, if you are currently caring for someone and not working or on a low income, you can also answer for yourself to determine if there are programs available for you. I find that Alzheimer’s caregivers often over look this option.

via Alzheimer’s Caregiving — Benefits CheckUp.

Spinal-Fluid Test Is Found to Predict Alzheimer’s

Researchers report that a spinal fluid test can be 100 percent accurate in identifying patients with significant memory loss who are on their way to developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Although there has been increasing evidence of the value of this and other tests in finding signs of Alzheimer’s, the study, which will appear Tuesday in the Archives of Neurology, shows how accurate they can be. The new result is one of a number of remarkable recent findings about Alzheimer’s.

via Spinal-Fluid Test Is Found to Predict Alzheimer’s – NYTimes.com.

Can dementia be prevented?

In retrospect, Bernice Osborne realizes there were warning signs more than eight years ago.

Her mother, Mary, who was then 64, was having to re-read everything at her hospital job to grasp it. And she got lost one day going for a walk in their Dorchester neighborhood, where she had lived for 40 years.

Now nearly 73, Mary is in the throes of Alzheimer’s, unable to remember her own children, who care for her at home. With four aunts also diagnosed with the disease, Bernice, just 39, worries about her future.

“There are moments,’’ she said, “when you walk into a room and you forget what you were doing and you think, ‘Do I have it?’ ’’

Scientists think Alzheimer’s begins to damage the brain years before memory lapses and other symptoms appear, and they are developing screening tests to detect victims in these silent early stages. A reliable test would not only give people like Bernice an answer, but might enable physicians to prevent or delay the dementia with drugs or other therapies — much the same way patients with high cholesterol readings are treated with statins to stave off heart disease.

via Can dementia be prevented? – The Boston Globe.

Retirees targeted with investment scams

Annuities. Reverse mortgages. Life insurance pools. Principal-protected notes. The options being offered to senior citizens hoping to ensure a comfortable retirement are dizzying. And in a growing number of cases, that may be the intention as more scammers — often elderly themselves — try to con retirees.

Though hard numbers are difficult to come by, many lawyers and advocates for the elderly say more seniors than ever are being lured into investment schemes that are unsuitable for people of their age or are outright swindles.

“Seniors who suffer from isolation and diminished capacity make ideal targets,” says Steve Riess, a San Francisco attorney who represents elderly victims of con artists peddling bogus investments.

One out of five Americans over the age of 65 has been the victim of a financial scam, according to the Washington-based Investor Protection Trust, a nonprofit that promotes shareholder education.

via Scams: A sucker retires every minute – Business – Your retirement – msnbc.com.

Adult night-care service for Alzheimer’s patients who may wander

Nighttime is when some Alzheimer’s patients are most restless, creating an anxious, sleepless time for caregivers who worry about their loved ones wandering.

“It is common for them to get their circadian rhythms off,” said Jean Van Den Beldt, administrator of Byron Center Manor, which plans to begin a new dawn-to-dusk activity program called Twilight Care.

The dementia-care and adult-day services community at 2115 84th St. SW is starting the program, which will run from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m., to keep restless patients in a safe, stimulating environment. The cost is $120 per night.

via New service keeps restless Alzheimer’s patients busy at night | MLive.com.

DVD on fall prevention for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, family caregivers

The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America AFA recently released “Preventing Falls: Practical Steps to Reduce Fears and Risks,” the latest DVD in AFA’s “Your Time to Care” series of educational programs for family caregivers, in the hopes of helping caregivers reduce their own risk of falls and prevent their loved ones from falling.

Falls are a very common and life-threatening occurrence and are particularly worrisome for caregivers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, a brain disorder that primarily affects people older than 65. In fact, according to federal government statistics, one out of three individuals over the age of 65 will experience a fall, resulting in 20,000 deaths annually.“What’s really important to know is that a fall is preventable,” said Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D., one of the experts featured in the DVD and director of the Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia.

With this in mind, “Preventing Falls” provides insight into why dementia intensifies the incidence of falls and offers practical strategies from experts and family caregivers on how to reduce risk factors, including communication techniques, home modifications and lifestyle changes.

via Alzheimer’s Foundation of America Releases New DVD on Preventing Falls.

Caregiving spouses of Alzheimer’s patients put own health at risk

Jackie Hackbart is a caregiver under stress.

She can’t leave her husband, Bob, 82, who suffers from dementia, alone in their Citrus Heights town house – and she can’t leave him with a sitter, because he forgets where she’s gone and gets distressed.

Since the retired chemical engineer’s diagnosis in 2005, dementia has robbed him not only of memory and cognition, but also of independence. In many ways, it’s robbed his wife of her independence, too.

“The past five years have been a challenge,” said Hackbart, 78, a retired dietitian. “Mostly, I try to keep a stiff upper lip.”

But the stiff upper lip exacts a steep toll: Hackbart has been hospitalized twice in the past year for gastrointestinal bleeding, most recently in March.

via Caregiving spouses of Alzheimer’s patients put own health at risk – Sacramento Living – Sacramento Food and Wine, Home, Health | Sacramento Bee.

Children of Alzheimer’s sufferers want to know their risk

Greg was a teenager when his grandfather told him and his brother, with increasing anger and frustration, “Dean, get out there and milk the cows!”

There were indeed cows at his grandparents’ farm, but Dean — Greg’s uncle — wasn’t there, and the grandchildren weren’t supposed to be milking them.

“The confusion or the memory loss of Alzheimer’s — now as I look back, it’s like, that’s what was going on,” said Greg, 39, a marketing representative in Denver, Colorado. His grandfather died from Alzheimer’s complications, and now his mother has it at 65. “It’s saddening and disheartening to watch someone you love disappear like that,” he said.

Greg is one of many children of the 5.3 million people living with Alzheimer’s in the United States who face the terrifying possibility of inheriting a predisposition to the disease. Now that there are tests in the works for early detection of brain injury due to Alzheimer’s, as well as other biological markers of the disease, the question becomes: Would you want to know?

via Children of Alzheimer’s sufferers want to know their risk – CNN.com.

Arts 4 Alzheimer’s draws relief for patients and caregivers

Even though the disease robs people of their memories and recognitions, there is also a secondary sufferer of Alzheimer’s. Caregivers provide day-to-day help for loved ones battling the disease, but have to stand by and take on the emotional pain, as well.

Providing relief for people with early-stage memory loss, and their caregivers, is the the Arts 4 Alzheimer’s program developed by Tania Becker, president of the board of the Spruill Center in Atlanta with the help of the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Alzheimer’s Association.

via Arts 4 Alzheimer’s Draws Relief For Patients and Caregivers – Tonic.