Caregiving: Dementia Etiquette

Here’s a helpful blog post on “Dementia Etiquette” with advice on dealing with repetitive questions or questions that will have painful answers from a dementia or Alzheimer’s patient:

So, you’re going to see your mother. She has dementia — maybe Alzheimer’s, maybe something else — but anyway even her doctor agrees it’s dementia. She lives with your sister — about which you feel both guilty and relieved.

When you see her, things hardly ever go well.

“Hallo, Mom,” you say, “How are you?”

“Oh Vera!” she answers. “I’m so glad to see you!”

The enthusiasm is nice, but you aren’t Vera. Vera’s dead. She was Mom’s older sister. Been dead for nearly forty years now. Already you don’t know what to say. Then she makes it worse.

via Dementia Etiquette :

New method improves eating skills of dementia patients

A pioneering international study involving academics from the University of Sheffield has shown for the first time that it is possible to improve the eating skills and nutritional status of older people with dementia.

The study, which was published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and funded by the National Health Research Institutes of Taiwan, tested two separate intervention methods to assess the eating patterns of dementia patients in Taiwan.

via New method improves eating skills of dementia patients.

Signs suggesting the need for a caregiver

A Caregiver gives compassion, care and assistance to those suffering from disorders or very old people who require help in everyday living. Few reasons for hiring caregiver are:

  • Things everywhere in the home are left uncleaned dishes, vacuuming, and laundry.
  • When the senior is suffering from weight loss because they are unable to cook for themselves.

via STEPHAN’S REVIEWS: Few Indicators That Suggest The Need For A Caregiver.

Name that Tune for Those with Dementia

Start by getting a list of song titles from the era most potential participant(s) are familiar with. If you are not familiar with the songs yourself, you may want to purchase a CD or get some from the library to familiarize yourself with the songs. You may want to use these CDs during the

activity if necessary.

via Name that Tune for Those with Dementia – Associated Content –

10 for 10: Feel-Good Dementia Caregiver New Year Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions about how you ought to start another diet and ought to be nicer belong back in the Aughts ’00s. For this new decade, caregivers looking after someone with dementia are better off focusing on tasks that will help them power through another demanding year.The following resolutions may be unexpected, but they’re heartfelt and truly helpful:

via 10 for 10: Feel-Good Dementia Caregiver New Year Resolutions.

Study Shows ‘Name Game’ Hints at Alzheimer’s

Some researchers call it the “Name Game.”

The way our brain responds to hearing the names of celebrities such as Britney Spears or Angelina Jolie may end up telling us whether we’re at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, say experts such as Michael Seidenberg.

Seidenberg, a psychology professor at the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, has spent several years working on research that one day could serve as an early diagnostic tool for Alzheimer’s.

Currently there is none. Nor is there a cure. By the time a patient complains about being confused or forgetting simple details such as knowing what day it is, the disease usually has been present for more than a decade, Seidenberg said .

“If we were able to slow down Alzheimer’s by five years … we would cut in half” the number of people with the disease, he said.

Seidenberg collaborated with three other doctors in the research funded by the National Institutes of Health. They selected about a 100 seniors from Milwaukee ranging in age from 65 to 85 who showed no symptoms of memory loss.

The second round of testing was conducted more than a year ago at the Medical College of Wisconsin, where researchers used a type of magnetic resonance imaging that allows them to see activity in parts of the brain associated with memory.

Volunteers were divided into groups that included those with no memory problems or risk factors for Alzheimer’s and those who either had a family history associated with the disease or had tested positive for the gene that could increase the risk.

While lying inside the scanner, participants watched the names flash in front of them. Using a button, they responded either yes or no to indicate whether they recognized them. The names included Albert Einstein, George Clooney and Marilyn Monroe as well as lesser-known individuals.

For volunteers considered at risk, the results showed a difference in how their brains worked when retrieving the information, Seidenberg said.

“Somehow their brain is working in a different way. It’s showing more activity,” he said. “We’ve come to hypothesize that in order to do the task, the brain is working harder, and other regions of the brain have to come into play to compensate.”

Seidenberg, who will repeat the test next year, hopes that by tracking the participants, researchers eventually can map a relationship that could serve as an early marker to indicate the disease’s presence.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association based in Chicago, as many as 5.3 million people in the U.S. have the disease, the sixth leading cause of death. Health care costs are three times higher for people with Alzheimer’s than for others 65 and older. The number of Alzheimer’s patients is expected to nearly double every 20 years, experts say.

“The combination of tools we would like is an early marker and therapy,” said Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer for the organization.

“We are short on both sides at the moment.”

Via Study shows ‘Name Game’ hints at Alzheimer’s —

ExonHit Announces Availability of Alzheimer Detection Tests

Therapeutic and diagnostic healthcare company ExonHit Therapeutics (Paris:ALEHT) (NYSE:AGN) announced today that AclarusDx Alzheimer’s test (EHT Dx21), its blood-based test for the detection of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is now available as a Research Use Only (RUO) product for pharmaceutical companies and leading academic centres conducting clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease.

The company said that the use of AclarusDx Alzheimer’s test could be a tremendous asset for the pharmaceutical industry as it has the potential to identify populations of patients who might benefit the most from therapeutic advances in AD.

AclarusDx Alzheimer’s test is a reproducible, objective, and non invasive test. A blood sample is all that is required from the patient, so it can be implemented at any recruiting site. No special equipment or medical facilities are required and the procedure is easy, which should enhance volunteers’ willingness to participate in trials.

The launch of AclarusDx Alzheimer’s test as a RUO product is the first step in ExonHit’s commercial strategy in which trial sponsors will send patient blood samples for analysis in ExonHit’s GLP-compliant laboratories in the US.

Simultaneously, the company said that it is preparing the launch of its product in the clinical in vitro diagnostics (IVD) market with partners.

ExonHit is anticipating a CE marking in Q4 2010 for a European launch in Q1 of 2011. Regarding US marketing approval, discussions have been initiated with the FDA to define the exact regulatory path to meet IVD requirements, the company said.

Via ExonHit Announces Availability of Alzheimer Detection Tests

Rewriting the Book for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

A dementia or Alzheimer’s diagnosis can be tough on families and caregivers. Two experts recently partnered to literally re-write the manual for families and caregivers in central Virginia and help them offer a dementia patient the best possible quality of life.

Dr. Barbara Braddock, assistant professor in the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia, specializes in communication and cognitive disorders. Ellen Phipps, with the Alzheimer’s Association is a therapeutic recreation specialist, which uses leisure activities to improve health. They came together to write the connections manual.

Phipps said, “One of the main points is families need to re-learn how to interact with the person with dementia.”

It starts with figuring out what that person enjoyed doing before their dementia set in.

Phipps stated, “You have to discover what is important to one particular person then you have to understand what functional level they are at.”

Dr. Braddock said, “That’s an easy way to connect with someone especially using their old memory and their procedural memory, their how-to memory, in moving through the activity.”

By using the connections booklet, care givers like Beth Czaplinski of Rosewood Village Assisted Living, can find a way to reach patients in a simple way.

Czaplinski stated, “It keeps them active and they are not sitting in front of the TV just watching their lives go by on the screen.”

If you can choose an engaging activity that taps into the patient’s personality, the results are impressive.

Dr. Braddock said, “There is some research that engaging in meaningful activity will actually decrease apathy, disinterest and even behaviors like anger and aggression.”

The two authors say the book is unique because it lets caregivers tailor a fun activity to the dementia patient, instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.

Contact the Western and Central Virginia chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association to get a copy of the connections book.

Via Rewriting the Book for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

SLU Researchers to Test Gammaglobulin for Alzheimer’s Disease

This fall, researchers from Saint Louis University will begin testing an intriguing new approach to slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease using Intravenous Immune Globulin (IGIV), also known as gammaglobulin. IGIV is currently used to treat primary immunodeficiency disorders but is not currently approved for treating AD, which is one of the leading causes of dementia in the elderly.

Investigators will examine whether IGIV, which is made from the blood of several thousand healthy adults and contains naturally occurring human anti-amyloid antibodies, will defend the brain of AD patients against the damaging effects of beta amyloid, the protein that forms the core of plaques in the brain, with the hope that giving IGIV to patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s may potentially slow the rate of progression of the disease.

Via SLU Researchers to Test Gammaglobulin for Alzheimer’s Disease

FDA Approves Abilify for Autism-linked Irritability

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved top-selling Abilify as a treatment for autism-related irritability in children from the ages of 6 to 17, drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. said Friday.

Bristol-Myers and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., based in Tokyo, are collaborators on the development and distribution of Abilify in the U.S. and Europe.

Abilify is Bristol-Myers’ second-biggest revenue generator, with $2.2 billion in 2008 sales.

The FDA’s latest approval allows the drug to be used to treat symptoms associated with autism such as aggression toward others, deliberate infliction of self-injury, tempter tantrums and moodiness.

The companies said in a statement that it was intended to be used as part of a more comprehensive treatment program that includes educational, psychological and social aspects.

via FDA Approves Abilify for Autism-linked Irritability