Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Promoting Activity, Independence and Stability in Early Dementia (PrAISED) — British Geriatrics Society

Article on dementia research worth looking at….

 

Professor Rowan H Harwood is a geriatrician at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, and the University of Nottingham, with particular interests in delirium, dementia and end of life care, who maintains an active portfolio of research. He tweets @RowanHarwood Can exercise-based therapy prevent or delay disability and dependency in those in the early stages of dementia? […]

via Promoting Activity, Independence and Stability in Early Dementia (PrAISED) — British Geriatrics Society

Aging/Gerontology, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Alzheimer’s ‘Checkbook’- A Creative Solution

When a loved one develops Alzheimer’s, the diagnosis can be devastating for both the one afflicted and the family. The progression of the disease is different for each individual, and the tasks one is able to manage or take part in is different from person to person as is the reaction and involvement of the family in taking over tasks. This is when creative solutions to what could be a ‘sticky’ situation are needed to ensure the one with the disease feels they are still contributing members of society.

One article I came across discusses one such solution. The article describes one family creating the ‘phony’ checkbook to lessen the stress that this task was causing to all members involved. In this situation, one daughter became the financial Power of Attorney and in the transition phase, anxiety was invoked due to errors and discrepancies noted that the mother had made over time, along with the frustration the mother voiced and felt in having someone else take over her finances. In a last effort to improve the functioning and outcome of this task for all, the family developed the ‘phony’ checkbook, in which the mother was able to do her finances on ‘closed’ checks, the daughter was able to assist while not correcting, and the bills were still paid.

Creative solutions such as this can reduce frustration and stress, promote validation, allow for the family to ‘just be’ with the parent who has Alzheimer’s and reduce the feeling/need of constant correction or trying to prove a point with one who cognitively cannot understand due to the disease.

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW

*First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2013/04/03/alzheimers-checkbook/

Aging/Gerontology, News, Social Work/Helping Profession/Mental Health

Dementia: A Feared Diagnosis and the Emotional Journey

I attended a lecture on Long Term Care Placement from the Perspective of a Caregiver a few days ago at a local private non-profit Alzheimer’s organization. Even though I am a professional, I wanted to further learn the process from the caregivers perspective. Although the placement process was focused here on the province of Quebec, much of the information shared about the emotional journey, the questions to consider in readiness for placement was for everyone, anywhere.

Someone you know and love has been diagnosed with Dementia. Now what? A plan needs to be created. Caregiving whether informal or formal decided upon by family, friends, public and private sector professionals with the choices of: at home with assistance coming in, a residence or LTC (nursing home).

“Unfortunately, we don’t get a course in school telling us what to do and how to be helpful when an aging parent develops dementia. We may not even be clear about what the word means. A startling reality is that by the time a person is 85 years of age, the odds of developing Alzheimer’s Disease, presenting as dementia, are about one in two” –Carolyn Rosenblatt.

Questions to Consider:
•One question at a time-do the evaluation in stages and start the process early.
•What can the person diagnosed with Dementia still do on their own?
•What do they need help with?
•What is their cognitive state?
•Has their condition deteriorated, health wise?
•Can the person with dementia be part of the process as in what are their thoughts?
•Pay attention to non-verbal cues as well.
•Do you wait until the person who has dementia has progressed to the point that cognitively they do not understand and will not resist placement?
•As a caregiver, what are you values and preferences re: placement?
•For the one with dementia, what are their values and preferences?
•Legalities re: paperwork and who makes decisions needs to be decided, power of attorney or mandate by all involved.

Further Tips:
•For those who are not the official caregiver, avoid criticizing the main caregiver.
•Listen, work as a team to discuss the various wishes.
•Budget cuts and a lack of funding for local health services and what this means for support services like local Alzheimer’s Associations & organizations, support groups, lectures and presentations along with turning to the internet to learn about the disease, what to expect, i.e., symptoms and characteristics of the disease are important.
•Acknowledgement by the family that this is happening and real!

One of the most difficult tasks is for the family whether child, parent or spouse, is to go through your own emotional process or you will have great difficulty in making these future decisions. ‘Losing’ a parent, spouse or child to Dementia has its own grieving process. The person is not who they once were. They cannot do for themselves what they used to do. The memories slowly disappear along with the ability to recognize family and friends-none of this is their fault and is part of the disease, but as an onlooker is hard to witness and be part of.

“It was vital for me to recognise that Alzheimer’s (the underlying cause in Mum’s case), debilitating and horrible as it is, also brings moments of catharsis, laughter and joy. The key was the realisation that the source of my overwhelming sadness had little to do with her. It stemmed from either my comparisons with the past, my anxieties about the future, or my fear over my own eventual frailty. The result was that I was missing being in the present, and upsetting her by lacing our time together with regret and sadness. I was treating her as already incapacitated, not truly being with her even though we were in the same room. She would talk to me, but all I could hear were my own questions: where is the woman I knew so well? What happens next? But when I managed to switch off this destructive internal dialogue and be with her in the “now” (which is what people with difficulty in forming short-term memories do a lot of the time), we actually had a blast.” – Alex Andreou

One could compare their parent to children in some ways, emotionally, verbally, behavior wise. It is a mental switch to see an adult parent as both an adult (because of the size and age) and then see and be witness to the fact that their behavior and needs are more like a childs.

“We love our children unconditionally – regardless of their ability at a particular age, or their relative lack of complex cognitive ability, memories and experience. We recognise the gift that is their near-Buddhist ability to exist in the moment. Why not our parents?” – Alex Andreou

Words to live by…..

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW

*First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2013/02/05/dementia-a-feared-diagnosis/

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases

South Korea Addressing Dementia

Thanks to a fellow social worker, I have this link to share to show how South Korea is addressing Dementia.
Like many other countries in the world, 40-50% of the population will be 65+ and with each year of being in the ‘older adult’ demographic, the chance of developing Dementia rises.
It is definitely worth reading and I think the best way for any country to implement a plan is to look to other countries to see what is being considered, implemented and addressed.

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/04/168615553/south-korea-prepares-the-young-for-a-rapidly-aging-population

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases

Normalizing Dementia

by Victoria Brewster, MSW

AD or Alzheimer’s Disease, a form of Dementia, the one that society fears the most. It robs a person of their memory, their thoughts, their ability to function. It can be a very slow moving disease or it can move quickly. The symptoms start slowly and can begin when one is in their 40′s. This is worth reading from Joanne Cave as it describes her visit home for the holidays and what she saw:

“The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s are complex and not restricted to memory loss. My mom sometimes struggles to solve simple problems, rationalize situations, plan sequences of time, participate in social settings without anxiety or confusion and find appropriate words to complete sentences. On multiple occasions, she has gotten lost in public places, or doesn’t remember where she is or why she went there. Some days, simple daily tasks are near impossible for her to complete independently.”

http://cupwire.ca/articles/54002 for the full story.

This is certainly one disease that needs more education, more attention, more research and more funding.

In Canada, currently, there are approximately 750,000 with some form of dementia and by 2031 the numbers will double to 1.5 million.

In the U.S. currently more than 5 million are diagnosed with dementia. By 2050 that number will double.

Now, fast forward about 10 years when the Baby-Boomers who are currently 65 become 75. The statistics state that after age 65 the risk of developing the disease doubles every five years.

The youngest Baby-Boomer is 46 and the oldest is 66 (those born between 1946-1964).

That is a large segment of the population who are aging and services are not in place for this demographic.

There is stigma associated with the disease. It is not contagious and yet society fears it. Many do not know the symptoms, are afraid to seek medical assistance and contribute the memory loss to normal signs of aging.

The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada has launched a campaign: ‘See me NOT my Disease’ to raise awareness. Mary Schulz of the Alzheimer Society of Canada states:

“The only way to defeat the stigma surrounding dementia is for people with the condition, their family members and friends to stand up and say there is no shame in having the disease.”

Resources:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/01/03/alzheimer-stigma.html

http://www.cdc.gov/mentalhealth/basics/mental-illness/dementia.htm

http://cupwire.ca/articles/54002

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post%E2%80%93World_War_II_baby_boom

* First posted at: http://www.socialjusticesolutions.org/2013/01/05/normalizing-dementia/

Aging/Gerontology, Health Conditions/Diseases

Repost of: ‘Me, My Mom and Alzheimer’s’

AD or Alzheimer’s Disease, a form of Dementia, the one that society fears the most. It robs a person of their memory, their thoughts, their ability to function. It can be a very slow moving disease or it can move quickly. The symptoms start slowly and can begin when one is in their 40’s.
This is worth reading from Joanne Cave as it describes her visit home for the holidays and what she saw:

“The symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s are complex and not restricted to memory loss. My mom sometimes struggles to solve simple problems, rationalize situations, plan sequences of time, participate in social settings without anxiety or confusion and find appropriate words to complete sentences. On multiple occasions, she has gotten lost in public places, or doesn’t remember where she is or why she went there. Some days, simple daily tasks are near impossible for her to complete independently.”

http://cupwire.ca/articles/54002 for the full story…..