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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Best Christmas Present Ever! For My Mom with Alzheimer’s

By Elaine C Pereira
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Christmas Snow

Only with the clarity of vision that 20/20 hindsight affords, can I “see” that my mother had memory problems and uncharacteristic behaviors, later diagnosed as Alzheimer’s, seven years before her passing.

It was 2004, Mom’s personal year from hell, her second actually. The first was in 1951 when her twenty-month-old son was killed in a tragic car accident. Mom had buried her husband of 58 years (my dad) in April 2004 and on December 30, 2004 her remaining son, my older brother Jerry, passed away from cancer.

My husband and I were at Jerry’s side, his hand caressed between both of mine, when he took his last breath. Ugh! I dreaded notifying my mother. Actually I had pre-arranged with my mother’s best friend Shirley that I would call her when the time came and she in turn would tell my mom in person.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

High-Risk Patients Explore Alzheimer's Prevention at Young Age

Alzheimer's disease doesn't just affect the patient, it affects the entire family.

By Alzheimer's Reading Room

High-Risk Patients Explore Alzheimer's Prevention at Young Age

I thought you might find this video from NBC news of interest.

At the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, the hope is that by spotting signs of the disease years before it arrives, patients might be able to change their fate by changing their behavior. It's one of just a few facilities in the country working with patients in a clinical setting to look for early-onset Alzheimer's, and its principle is simple:

"Alzheimer's disease doesn't just affect the patient; it affects the entire family."

Caring for My Mother - I Was Trying As Hard As I Could and it Wasn't Working

Believe it or not in a world filled with Alzheimer's you often have to do one simple thing - the exact opposite of what your brain is telling you to do.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

It finally realized I was acting like the victim. Every time my mother would say -

Get out, I don't need you, I don't want you here

I felt hurt.

Alzheimer's Love

I blamed her for being mean to me. After all I was caring for her 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Why didn't she appreciate me and my effort.

It felt like I was not being given one iota of credit for my effort. My heart hurt, my brain hurt.

I finally realized Alzheimer's was trying to drag me down too. Huh? Yeah, Alzheimer's was trying to ruin my brain. Yikes, I thought.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Undiagnosed Pre-Diabetes Highly Prevalent in Early Alzheimer's Disease

When Georgetown University neurologist R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, began enrolling people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease into a nationwide study last year, he expected to find only a handful of participants with undiagnosed glucose intolerance; instead,  the overall prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance or diabetes was 43 percent - or almost half of the individuals recruited to the study.

By Alzheimer's Reading Room

Undiagnosed pre-diabetes highly prevalent in early Alzheimer's disease

When Georgetown University neurologist R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD, began enrolling people with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease into a nationwide study last year, he expected to find only a handful of participants with undiagnosed glucose intolerance, as all the patients were already under a doctor's care and those with known diabetes were excluded.

But Turner says he was "shocked" by how many study participants were found to have pre-diabetes -- a finding that is triggering important questions.

Turner's study examines resveratrol, a compound found in red grapes and red wine, to see if it might change glucose levels in patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease (AD). Turner says resveratrol is thought to act on proteins in the brain in a way that mimics effects of a low-calorie diet.
"We know from animal studies that caloric restriction prevents diseases of aging such as diabetes and Alzheimer's. On the flip side of the coin, having diabetes increases one's risk of developing AD. So perhaps by improving glucose tolerance, we will prevent or delay both diabetes and Alzheimer's," explained Turner, director of the Georgetown University Medical Center's Memory Disorders Program.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

If It Could Happen To Robin Williams

By Trish Vradenburg

Alzheimer's Reading Room

It was 1978. I had just settled down to catch an episode of “Happy Days,” a funny, sweet TV show – a good escape.

In the episode, The Fonz (Henry Winkler) heard a knock at the Cunningham’s front door. Outside stood Mork from Ork – Robin Williams in his first role.

Mork was an endless barrage of jokes, pratfalls, catch-‘em-if-you-can rejoinders. You could get whiplash trying to keep up. He left me breathless just trying. My husband, who was working late that night, called just after the program ended. “I discovered a star tonight,” I excitedly told him. Apparently twenty million other viewers felt the same way.

Well, who wouldn't love him? He was funny, sweet, generous, a gifted actor and comedian. But his mind – his incredible mind – was working at 78 RPMs in 33 RPM world. He left me both hysterical and exhausted.

No longer on alcohol or drugs, happily married, successful, he had it all – or so we thought.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Good Caregiver, Bad Caregiver

Now I can look back at the "bad Bobby caregiver" and the "good Bobby caregiver."

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Good Bobby the Caregiver Quote

It took more than four years before I finally understood that it is unhealthy and often disconcerting to interrupt a person who is deeply forgetful. It now surprises me that it took so long.

No one likes to be interrupted or disrupted when they are doing something. It is annoying.

Have you ever felt disconcerted, or even angry when someone interrupts you? Can't they see you are doing something?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Special Alert Judge Rules Company Must Continue Selling Original Namenda

The bottom line - Actavis has been ordered by the court to continue selling the original form of Namenda, the top selling medication for persons suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. This is important news for the entire Alzheimer's community.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room


I get asked this question over and over - Can you still buy the original 10 mg Namenda?

A federal judge has decided to block for now an attempt by the drug company Actavis to halt sales of an older form of its Alzheimer’s disease drug Namenda in favor of a newer version with a longer patent life.

So the answer for now is yes!

The attorney general for the State of New York, Eric T. Schneiderman, said in a statement Thursday -

“Our lawsuit against Actavis sends a clear message: 
Drug companies cannot illegally prioritize profits over patients”.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

When A Person Living With Dementia Gets Angry and Confused

When a person living with dementia is left alone it is very easy for them to get angry and confused.

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

They Love Us and Rely on Us So Much

Let me start with the disclosure. I am not a doctor, or a scientist. I am an Alzheimer's caregiver.

In the article, Alzheimer's Caregiver Heartbroken (Kate), I mentioned how Dotty would withdraw, go into her bedroom for 20 hours or more and refuse to come out.

This was gut wrenching and heartbreaking.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Motion Detector for Alzheimer's Patients, Get Some Sleep and Reduce Anxiety

By Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room


We actually received this interesting comment from our reader Beth S under the article - How Alzheimer's Patients Experience Cognitive Decline.
We use a driveway alarm which is much less expensive than the ones sold for medical purposes. It is a motion sensor type of alarm.
I bought mine on Amazon for about $15 but I think you can probably get one at most hardware stores.
We use the sensor units in the bedroom at floor level so that whenever either of my parents tries to get out of bed I am alerted. The alarm unit can be carried around with me or placed wherever it is most useful, preferably not where the sound will scare the patient.
We have also used a "bedcane" with success. Search Amazon to check it out. It wasn't cheap.
I would recommend a raised toilet seat as well as support rails attached to the toilet. These are useful throughout many stages.
I know that where I live, there are organizations who will lend you some of this equipment. You might check that out. Hospice and the local Senior center are good resources.
Good luck!