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.

Man with autism starts dog treat business

I hear dogs love them.

David Shunkey of Albuquerque, New Mexico, makes Peanut Butter Puppy Bites, which are crisp canine treats shaped to resemble dog bones. Like any upstart business owner would, Shunkey has been getting his small business off the ground, looking for markets, and refining his recipe. The only difference is this businessman has autism.

A National Institutes of Health website defines autism as causing “severe and pervasive impairment in thinking, feeling, language, and the ability to relate to others.” Its severity ranges over a wide spectrum.

“David is nonverbal,” said Heather Gooch, who is program manager of supportive employment with Community Options in Albuquerque. She spoke for Shunkey with his permission. “He knows sign language and can understand more than he can sign. We also read his facial expressions and body language, and he uses different sounds to communicate. He has a speech language pathologist on his team and they have developed a communication dictionary to document his sound and hand movements. So if there is someone new working with him, they know how to communicate with him.”

Community Options has an on-site job coach helping Shunkey with marketing, baking, and selling. His dog treats are all natural, and include whole wheat flour, unbleached white flour, corn meal, rolled oats, eggs, safflower oil, vanilla, and peanut butter.

via Person with Autism Starts Business – Roseville California News including Rocklin & Placer County.

Dr. Robert Butler, pioneer in field of aging, dead

Dr. Robert Butler, a pioneer in the field of aging, died this week. Dr. Butler will be remembered for many things; He founded the National Institute on Aging, he coined the term “ageism,” he authored many books, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning “Why Survive? Being Old in America” and he founded the nation’s first department of geriatrics, at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical School. Here’s a PBS interview with Dr. Butler from the show Life (Part 2).

NEW YORK — Dr. Robert Butler, a Pulitzer Prize-winning expert on aging who coined the phrase “ageism,” has died in New York City, his daughter said Tuesday. He was 83.

He died Sunday of leukemia at Mount Sinai Medical Center, Christine Butler said.

Butler, a gerontologist and psychiatrist, was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, one of the National Institutes of Health. He wrote several books on aging, including the 1976 Pulitzer-winning “Why Survive: Being Old in America.”

via Robert Butler, who coined ‘ageism,’ dies at 83 – Health – msnbc.com.

Autism in Summer: Travel Tips

Any family vacation takes some planning. Planning is especially important when you are traveling with an autistic child.

Here are some Summer Travel Tips for Families Living with Autism from the Autism Society of America.

An autism dad  whose been there has advice on vacationing with an autistic child.

Both these posts have something in common – they recommend calling ahead, so do your research!

Recently, two  hotels opened rooms designed specifically for families with autistic children. The Clinton Inn Hotel in Tenafly, N.J., and a Wyndham hotel in Austin, Texas, both have features designed to make families with autistic children safe and comfortable. Let’s hope that trend catches on!

Do you have any summer vacation plans with your autistic child? Any tips to share on making travel easier with a child with autism? Please share!

via Autism Society of America: Summer Tips.

How to care for someone with Alzheimer’s without losing yourself

If you’re caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease, read this great advice from the Geriatric Care Management blog. It may change your caregiving experience for the better — for you and your loved one.

There are many things to be struck by whenever I meet with the daughter, son, spouse or friend of someone with Alzheimer’s. Strong, compassionate, patient – these words describe but never capture the essence of the person in front of me.

And as we talk, I’m invited into their unique experience of the illness. They share the good days with me and offer up the parts they wouldn’t change for anything.

But something else emerges too.  It’s a sense of being lost – unable to tell any more where their needs begin and the needs of the person they are caring for, end.

http://www.geriatriccaremanagement.com/2010/03/how-to-care-for-someone-with-alzheimers-without-losing-yourself/.

Autism can be your child’s ally, not enemy, in making friends: 5 tips on turning peers to pals

Childhood friendship is a busy highway with lots of maneuvering and plenty of traffic, but for children with autism it is often an isolated one-way street. If a child with autism has difficulty relating to his peers, then find ways to have his peers relate to him.

Here are five tips on how to help develop friendships for your child with autism.

via Autism can be your child’s ally, not enemy, in making friends: 5 tips on turning peers to pals | Psychology Today.

Multigenerational Homes on the Rise

Multigenerational homes – when three or more generations are living together as a single family – are again on the rise. More and more, middle generations find themselves caring for young children (or even adult children) and their parents at the same time. This trend is the result of a poor economy, in which many families find the costs of long-term care overwhelming, and many families opt to have aging loved ones move in with them to ease the financial burden.

The arrangement is full of both challenges and opportunities. Some families hesitate to take on such a big responsibility, fearing a loss of privacy and increased stress. Another consideration for families contemplating a multigenerational living arrangement is cost.

On the surface, moving mom or dad in might seem like a money-saving opportunity, but one spouse may have to cut back on hours or even quit a job altogether in order to provide care. Financial stress can take a toll on families already struggling with the unknown terrain of caring for an aging loved one.

via Multigenerational Homes on the Rise | OregonLive.com.

Mothers of children with autism pay price in workplace

VANCOUVER, Wash.—Mothers of children with autism see their careers disproportionally affected as they confront greater demands on their time, inflexible workplaces and increased medical costs, according to a new study by researchers at Washington State University Vancouver.

The study, based on a survey of 326 families in Washington and Oregon, found that slightly more than half the women worked fewer hours to accommodate the needs of their child and three out of five had not taken a job because of their child’s autism. To care for the child, one-quarter had taken a leave of absence and nearly as many had not taken a promotion. Nearly 60 percent had suffered financial problems in the past year.

via WSU researchers find mothers of children with autism pay price in workplace.