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.

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.

“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.

Football talk used to fight Alzheimer’s

Here’s an interesting post on the benefits of talking about football for dementia sufferers. The study is in Scotland, so the “football” being discussed may be called “soccer” in the United States – but whatever football is familiar to your care recipient is probably appropriate. The man who runs the football-chat group doesn’t claim it will cure Alzheimer’s, but that the seems to elevate participants’ moods and increase their interest in being social.

The conversational skills of a dementia sufferer, who only used to speak to reveal what he wanted for dinner or to say that he was going to bed, has returned after joining a group of men sharing their memories of great football games.

George Jaconelli runs a weekly group in Prestwick, where men with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia meet to revive long-past football memories.

He said that the practice could have an amazing effect.

Now, a study has supported this by showing that dementia sufferers can start to communicate again and see their symptoms reduced, even if just for a short time.

via Football replay used to fight Alzheimer’s | Armoks News.

Emergency help for dementia sufferers

Paramedics in southwestern England are getting new information on identifying and dealing with patients with dementia.

Ambulance paramedics are changing the way they work to help those suffering from dementia.

Great Western Ambulance Service (GWAS) is working with the Department of Health to provide better care for people with the memory loss condition.

The partnership has led to a new strategy to help paramedics diagnose and treat sufferers.

via The Weston Mercury – Emergency help for dementia sufferers.

How to find the best adult daycare center for your elderly loved one

The senior years can often be filled with many challenges such as sickness, loneliness and reduced mobility and these sometimes cause frustration and stress for both the seniors and the caregivers. Adult day care is a welcome break and a win/win situation for both the elderly family member and the primary caregiver. It provides your family with a safe, caring and friendly environment to get the needed medical and social attention. In addition, it provides caregivers with a breathing space to do other things and reduces the likelihood of burnout from the 24/7 care, while at the same time knowing that their loved ones are getting good care.

via Adult Day Care, How to find the best adult daycare center for your elderly loved one.