Tag Archives: Dementia

Caregiving Blogs – February 2016 Highlight

Posted by on February 23, 2016 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiver Blog

We have some great caregiving blogs to share with you this month. They’re diverse and each of them is relatable in its own way. And all of them is trying to help out those who may be affected by their diagnosis or provide information in general.

Swallow, My Sunshine

Swallow My Sunshine should be read from the beginning. This blog is written from the perspective of a mom with a daughter whose diagnosis took years to fully determine. The daughter is well now, but there are some scary moments when reading through the past posts. And the author, Debi Lewis, has a wonderful writing style – and she hasn’t even written up to the present day. She takes you on the journey from her medically complex infant who had heart surgery at 13 months, to her now 10-year-old daughter who is living for the first time without medical intervention.

Sharing My Life with Lewy Body Dementia

This blog has a very interesting perspective. It’s written by a man, “Silverfox,” who has Lewy Body Dementia, or LBD. He writes about his difficulties with the nighttime, with having the television on, with keeping his sense of self alive. It can be a depressing read, but at the same time it’s refreshing to learn more about someone who has faced the facts and is simply moving forward.

Huffington Post – Post 50

The Huffington Post is a very popular website – but did you know there’s a section for readers over 50? This “Post 50” section discusses issues relevant to adults in middle age and beyond. The majority of family caregivers are women over 50, and so these articles may just be the right mix. Today, for instance, the top three stories are about dating in middle age, how to find self-identity after the loss of a spouse, and an author’s decision to stop drinking. Keep in mind that it’s still part of the Huffington Post, and so there is a lot of “click-bait” happening, or sensational article titles that attempt to lure readers in. But overall, the articles are thoughtful and interesting.

Caregiving Blogs – January Highlight

Posted by on January 14, 2016 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiver Blog - January Highlight

It’s a new year! Is one of your resolutions to read more? Blogs are a great way to connect to your community and get inspiration. Check out these blogs and sites that provide wonderful stories from various contributing authors:

BLOOM
BLOOM is a Canadian site that is more than just a blog. It’s a magazine, blog, e-letter and speaker series that speaks to parents and caregivers of children with special needs. The new stream of content is fairly steady because those parents and caregivers are often the ones creating the blog posts.

The MIGHTY
There has been some controversy about The Mighty (see The Cute Syndrome’s blog post for more information about the special needs community’s complaints), but clearly its 80 million readers must find it intriguing. This site gives a voice to those living with disabilities, disease or mental illness, and their caregivers.

alz.org|blog
Another platform for caregivers, but this site also publishes contributions from those who have Alzheimer’s Disease themselves. It also provides news about the latest Alzheimer’s research, along with keeping the community up-to-date on fundraisers and studies. While the site is sometimes updated as little as once per month, there is a huge amount of information and a backlog of great blog posts.

Caregiving Blogs – December Highlight

Posted by on December 3, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Caregiving Blogs - December Highlight

As the holidays make everyone busier, it’s hard to find time to just settle in and read a few great blogs. But blogs can be the perfect length to read during a quiet breakfast, or during your public transit commute. Let’s take a look at a few of the blogs we’ve been reading lately:

Fifty Shades of Dementia
This blog is written by two British sisters about their parents, both of whom have had dementia for the past several years. Their mother just passed away in September, which they wrote about in a beautiful post. They manage to add humor into their posts, along with giving good advice while chronicling their journey.

The Cute Syndrome
Hillary is the mom and caregiver to Esmé, a four-year-old medically complex child. The title of this blog comes from Hillary discussing Ezzy’s condition with a friend, and how the doctors were telling her that her daughter had a syndrome. “Yeah, a cute syndrome,” came the response from her friend. Thus was born not only the name of the blog, but also the foundation to help children like Esmé.

Working Daughter
This site is not only a blog, it’s a community. The site is run by Liz O’Donnell, who has balanced being a caregiver with her other roles in her life. There’s lots of different resources on the site, and it is updated regularly.

Series: Alzheimer’s in Other Countries

Posted by on August 27, 2015 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Alzheimer's around the world

This is the fourth post in a series on Alzheimer’s disease in places beyond the borders of the United States.

The “World Alzheimer Report 2015: The Global Impact of Dementia” was issued earlier this week. The report gave a grim view of dementia statistics around the world and called on governments and societies to begin making necessary changes to support older adults.

There is a chance that dementia is becoming less prevalent in high-income countries. Medscape reports:

Despite interest in the possibility that the age-specific prevalence of dementia may be declining in high-income countries because of public health improvements, “the evidence to support this is currently weak and inconclusive,” said the report.

You can find more information in Medscape’s article here.

Alzheimer’s and Incontinence

Posted by on August 20, 2014 under BladderMatters | Be the First to Comment

A restroom a clear path is necessary for those with dementia.

Imagine you’re sitting on the couch, at the end of the day, watching your favorite show. You’re relaxed, you’re in a good place, you’re comfortable.

Suddenly, you experience an unpleasant sensation as warm liquid pools under you, and the liquid quickly cools. How did that happen? You didn’t have to go to the bathroom a second ago, but apparently, your bladder decided otherwise.

This is what it can be like for someone with Alzheimer’s. During the disease, the messages that the bladder sends to the brain to tell it it’s time “go” can get mixed up, misdirected or lost altogether.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the only reason why people with Alzheimer’s can become incontinent. Other factors can include the medications that patients take to deal with anxiety, not remembering the location of the restroom and underlying medical problems that may not yet be addressed.

These issues may not become evident until the moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer’s, but they will have to be addressed. The caregiver can provide support by gently reminding the patient to use the restroom and by making sure the way to and from the restroom itself are easily accessible.

However, sometimes leaks happen. At that point, the caregiver may want to utilize incontinence supplies. These days, adult briefs can be an unobtrusive as the average pair of underwear. Or, if the patient refuses to wear protective underwear, an underpad can be placed on chairs and beds to manage the leak.

Alzheimer’s can be very distressing to both caregivers and patients. Taking the stress of incontinence out of the equation can help.

Dancing Improves Overall Health: Senior Edition

Posted by on June 26, 2013 under Caregiver Corner | Be the First to Comment

Dance Provides Health Benefits for all AgesTotalHomeCareSupplies

” …there is relatively strong evidence that dancing can significantly improve the aerobic power, muscle endurance, strength, and flexibility of the lower body; static and dynamic balance/agility; and gait speed of older adults. “
– Keogh, J.W.L, et al., Journal of Aging and Physical Activity

Whether you think you have rhythm or not, getting up and moving your feet to your favorite song may prove to be more beneficial than you thought. Dance is a form of expression that can bring forth laughter, smiles and happiness. Dance brings people together and encourages social support while encouraging physical activity. The health benefits of dance are undeniable. According to Carol Cummings, BSN, RN, Certified Wellness Coach, there are numerous benefits of dance, including lessening the effects of some chronic diseases:

    • Improved Posture
    • Stronger bones and muscles
    • Reduced Stress, increased joy
    • Confidence

RELATED: Cognitive Decline at 45? Six Ways To Protect Your Aging Brain

Here are some types of dance that my elicit different health benefits:

Ballroom dancing. While dancing is fun and a time to let loose, ballroom dancing takes a certain amount of concentration to remember each step and prevent you from stepping on your partners toes. This experience lessens the risk of dementia in old age by keeping the mind active and focused.

Argentine Tango. This specialized form of partner dance reaps numerous benefits. The tango is a fast paced, intricate dance that includes many sharp movements. These details have proven to show improvements in Parkinson’s disease patients by increasing mobility and balance. Read more here: Washington University in St. Louis.

Waltz. According to a study conducted by the American Heart Association, those with chronic heart disease who participated in dance for exercise showed dramatic increases in functionality and quality of life. The patients were more likely to participate in physical activity because it was fun, which in turn increased their arterial capacity.

Total Home Care Supplies

 

 

 

Food Spotlight: Blueberries and Your Brain

Posted by on April 30, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

blueberriesCould berries be medically-proven brain boosters?  According to several recent studies, blueberries and strawberries – two berries high in flavonoids called anthocyanidins – appear to reduce cognitive decline in older adults.  Anthocyanidins are plant compounds with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.  A long-term study of over 16,000 participants over 70 years old suggests that cognitive aging could be delayed by up to 2.5 years in elderly who regularly consume the flavonoid-rich berries.

In a shorter study, researchers at the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center found the memory function of older adults with early memory decline was boosted by drinking the juice of wild blueberries for 12 weeks.

A much larger long-term study of over 134,000 women and 47,000 men found that those eating at least one serving a week reduce their risk of developing high blood pressure by 10%.  Participants consuming the highest amounts of anthocyanins (found mainly in blueberries and strawberries in the US) were 8% less likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure than those consuming the lowest amounts. The effect was even stronger in participants under 60, and the effect was strongest for those who consumed blueberries as opposed to strawberries.

Curious about how anthocyanins work?  See this in-depth article on antioxidant health benefits. Blueberries are one of the richest sources of anthocyanins, although other contributing sources include blood oranges and orange juice, raspberries, tea, red wine and apples.  Packed with vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber, blueberries get their color from the rich density of anthocyanins.

For more everyday foods that improve memory and boost brain power, see this article on the Five Best Foods for your Brain.  For more health information and useful tips, visit our Resources Blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

Care More.  Spend Less.  Save Now.

 

The Amazing Health Benefits of Antioxidants

Posted by on March 29, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

We keep hearing about how terrific antioxidants are for us, but what exactly do they do?  Antioxidants sound like they can do miracles for our health – but to most of us they’re still a mystery.

BlueberriesAntioxidants benefit your health by cleaning free radicals out of your bloodstream.   Free radicals are electrically-charged molecules of oxygen that accumulate in our blood as we age through a process called “oxidation”.  Don’t worry, oxidation is a natural process – and nature provides abundant ways of filtering them out through our diet!  Antioxidants are found in everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to whole grains, nuts, chocolate and teas.

Coffee and PecansSo if it’s natural to have free radicals in our blood stream, what’s the big deal?  The problems come from too many free radicals accumulating too quickly, and sticking around far too long.  Free radicals can damage other cells by attacking healthy ones, and over time have the potential to cause damage to your cellular DNA.  This damage is linked to a wide range of diseases, including Cancer, Cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Autoimmune diseases, Cataracts, Macular degeneration and more.   Our bodies have natural defenses against free radicals, but those defenses weaken as we age, making us more susceptible to cellular damage over time – which is why many health experts believe a diet rich in antioxidants is key to fighting age-related diseases.

StrawberriesTo add to the mystery, there’s not just one type of antioxidant;  there are many kinds, some of which you’ve probably already heard about – such as the beta carotene in carrots.  Antioxidants have a wide range of health benefits, and different antioxidants benefit different parts of our bodies.  For example, beta carotene benefits eye health, while flavonoids benefit cardiovascular health, quercetin benefits memory, and proanthocyanidins (try saying that five times fast!) benefit the urinary tract, among other things.  Some studies have even shown that a combination of antioxidants can protect your skin from sun damage.  For more information about foods that can help stave off Dementia and Alzheimer’s, try this article on the Five Best Foods for your Brain.

Dark ChocolateAntioxidants have not been proven to treat any medical conditions, however research implicates that antioxidants may be key in the prevention of a number of degenerative, age-related diseases.

So what are you waiting for?  Dig into that fruit salad, enjoy your whole-grain pasta, and reach for the dark chocolate that’s been calling to you!  (within moderation, of course).  See this handy infographic for some of the health benefits of these 12 delicious, antioxidant-rich foods.

antioxidants

Did you know that drinking water in the morning can boost your metabolism and help fight infection?  For more health information or useful tips, visit our Resources blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.

Care More.  Spend Less.  Save Now.

5 Best Foods for your Brain

Posted by on March 20, 2013 under Resources | Read the First Comment

Looking to boost your brain power?  The answer may be in your grocery cart.  Studies show that some powerhouse foods may boost long term and short term memory, as well as stave off dementia and alzheimer’s disease.  Here are our five favorites, and the reasons why:

walnuts

THINK STOCK PHOTOS

1.  Walnuts

Rich in minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, b-complex vitamins and vitamin E, walnuts top our list of powerhouse brain foods.  Vitamin E is a powerful brain booster, essential for maintaining the integrity of cell membranes.  A recent Dutch study showed that people with the most vitamin E in their diets cut their risk of Alzheimer’s by 25 percent – and some of the best sources of vitamin E are nuts and seeds.    Polyphenols in walnuts are also thought to improve communication between neurons.  According to a Spanish study, People who ate a small handful of walnuts every day improved their working memory by 19 percent.

cooked salmon

THINK STOCK PHOTOS

2.  Fish

Fish are filled with vitamin D and B2, rich in calcium and phosphorus, and most importantly — they’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which aid healthy brain function.   Loss of fatty acids EPA and DHA are linked to depression, ADHD, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.  Researchers have found that a protein called beta-amyloid is associated with memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease – in fact, plaques found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients are actually clumps of this substance.  A study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology found that people who consume omega-3 have significantly lower levels of beta-amyloid in their blood!  Omega-3 fatty acids also prevent inflammation and lower blood pressure, making them essential to heart health.

spinach

THINK STOCK PHOTOS

3.       Spinach

Packed with magnesium and folic acid (as well as vitamins E and K), these greens can help dilate blood vessels, boosting blood flow throughout the body and brain, according to Japanese researchers.  Magnesium helps with cell repair, bone and teeth strength and muscle strength, while folic acid builds healthy red blood cells and fights heart disease.  Folic Acid is also believed to protect the brain against Alzheimer’s disease and age-related memory loss.  Broccoli and asparagus are also excellent sources of folic acid.

blueberries4.  Blueberries

Antioxidant-rich and cholesterol-free, blueberries are tiny powerhouses of vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber.  The color of blueberries is caused by a group of flavonoids called anthocyanins, which destroy free radicals – and studies indicate may help prevent cancer, heart disease, stroke and memory loss.  Research suggests blueberries may also reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease because of their anti-inflammatory powers.  Red grapes, cherries and other dark berries are also great sources of anthocyanins.

Red Apple

Image by Abhijit Tembhekar

5.  Apples

It’s true – an apple a day may keep the doctor away!  Apples are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants anthocyanin and quercetin.   Quercetin helps prevent LDL cholesterol from oxidizing and inhibits inflammation.  Over time, inflammation in the brain can cause cognitive decline.  Quercetin also helps prevent dementia by protecting the brain against neurological disorders – as well as decreases cancer risk in your lungs, colon and prostate.  The soluble fiber in apples also decreases cholesterol  levels and contributes to keeping you feeling energized and full.  Quercetin is primarily found in the apple peel, so be sure to eat the peel for maximum health benefit.

For more health information and useful tools, please visit our Resources and Tools Blog on TotalHomeCareSupplies.com.  For brand-name incontinenceostomyurological or wound supplies, visit our Total Home Care Supplies web store.  Fast, Free, Discreet shipping on all orders over $40.

Care More.  Spend Less.  Save Now.

Does Working Past Retirement Keep Us Sharp?

Posted by on February 15, 2013 under Resources | Be the First to Comment

actvseniors

We all know that mental and physical activity is good for our health, but did you know that the more active you are, the longer your life expectancy – and the sharper your mind?

Studies by the Archives of Internal Medicine have shown that sitting unstimulated for prolonged periods of time could reduce your life expectancy compared with your more physically and mentally active peers. In a study of 220,000 people, individuals who sat for more than 8 hours a day were 15% more likely to die within the next 3 years than those who only sat for 4 hours a day.  Another study showed that moderate levels of physical activity increased life expectancy by up to two years – and that high levels of physical activity increased life expectancy by up to four years.

Helen_DanekaMaybe that’s why someone like Helen Deneka is as sharp and active today as she was 40 years ago.  At 87, Helen Deneka could very well be the nation’s oldest working nurse.  Now with over 7 decades of nursing experience, Helen works full-time at the Outpatient Surgical Center of Baptist Memorial Hospital in Covington, Tennessee.  Born in 1925, she gained interest in the field while taking care of family members when they were sick, then enrolled in a nursing program at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, TN, in 1943 – at the ripe old age of 17.

70 years later, she has seen and worked through remarkable changes in professional medical care, including the introduction of penicillin; installation of air conditioners, patient telephones and bathrooms in hospitals; and impressive advancements in medical technology itself.

“Back then, we did everything by hand,” Deneka says. “Checking the pulse, taking blood pressure…We used to wash all the syringes and needles between patients and sharpen our needles with a whetstone.  Now they throw everything away.”

The changes in technology haven’t slowed Helen Deneka down one bit.

“I do the paperwork, then start the patients’ IVs,” says Deneka, describing her daily routine at the outpatient surgical center. “Fortunately, I get them on the first stick 99 percent of the time.”

“She never sits!” says fellow nurse Margaret Green, 66. “She’s going all the time…She’s such a caring and conscientious person.  I can’t imagine her retiring.”

Whether or not genetics play a role, there’s no question that the daily physical and mental stimulation help keep Helen Deneka’s mind sharp and her body fit.  In an era where early retirement is a popular goal – yet health care costs keep going up – perhaps we’re approaching old age the wrong way.  Maybe ceasing to work isn’t the ripe fruit we imagine it to be; maybe we should look at retirement as not so much “stopping working” as shifting to work that stimulates and enriches us, even if it doesn’t pay as well.

As for Helen, does she ever plan to retire?

“I’m thinking about it,” she says, returning to her charts. “But not today. We have a lot of patients coming in.”