Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Story: Coaxing memories out of the fog of dementia

Thanksgiving is often a difficult time for persons living with dementia and their families. Does it have to be this way?

By Alzheimer's Reading Room

Happy Thanksgiving

Caring for a loved one with dementia “is really all about communication,” says Anne Basting, professor of theater at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

I wanted to bring this wonderful and fascinating story that appeared in the Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel to your attention and awareness.
Carol was frantic. 
"I simply can't fix Thanksgiving dinner anymore," she told Charlie. "I've got to look up a bunch of stuff — meals I've been doing for years." 
Charlie tried to reassure his wife. 
"We're all getting old," he joked, a bit concerned. "We all have those problems; don't worry about it. I'll make Thanksgiving dinner!"
Trying to be helpful, he was taking something away from Carol that she had cherished. But after 40-plus years of caring for home and family, she simply couldn't pull together Thanksgiving without his help.
That was nearly a decade ago.
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Saturday, November 22, 2014

How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s Disease, and How Understanding This Could Help You

“First in, last out ... Last in, first out”
I learned a while back how the expression “first in, last out and last in, first out” describes how the loss of memory works in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

By Carole B. Larkin
+Alzheimer's Reading Room 

How the Loss of Memory Works in Alzheimer’s Disease, and How Understanding This Could Help You
How Alzheimer's Spreads Throughout the Brain
The expression, First in, last out ... Last in, first out, is a short way of explaining that the things we learned long ago, like in childhood or when we were young adults, stay in Alzheimer’s patients’ memories longer than things they learned or experienced recently.

I never knew how this occurred, just that it did occur with persons suffering from Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Alzheimer's - Molecular signals cause brain cells to switch into a hectic state

The research team showed that the pathological changes of the astrocytes can be mitigated by pharmacological treatment in Alzheimer's disease.

By+Alzheimer's Reading Room


  • The triggering molecules turned out to be energy carriers of the cell such as ATP: These molecules can induce the astrocytes to switch into a hyperactive state, which is characterized by sudden fluctuations in the concentration of calcium. 
  • As the researchers describe in the scientific journal Nature Communications, their study suggests a novel potential approach for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.
  • In a way, the brain resembles a large symphonic orchestra, whereby although the various instruments play together, each assumes a special part. 
  • Accordingly, the brain consists of nerve cells, also called "neurons", that are woven into a network in which they relay signals to one another. 
  • On the other hand, so-called glial cells are also equally important for brain function. These cells were once regarded as mere connective tissue of the brain. 
  • However, it is now known that they assume tasks that are far more complex than previously thought. One prominent member of this versatile family of glial cells are the astrocytes.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Empathy Leads to Compassion Then Joy for the Alzheimer's Caregiver

I am sitting here thinking about the role of empathy in Alzheimer's care giving.

Bob DeMarco
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Empathy and compassion, married with love, make care giving meaningful and Joyful, not burdensome

I am sitting here thinking about the role of empathy in Alzheimer's caregiving.

How does empathy apply in the carer - caree model?

Empathy I believe starts with understanding. Learning to understand how a person who is deeply forgetful might be feeling at any given point in time.

This includes being sensitive to the actions that might be taken, and the cause effect of these actions.

The caregiver begins to acquire empathy by asking how, why, what. How is the person who is deeply forgetful feeling? Why is the person who is deeply forgetful acting this way? What do they need?

Will You Allow Yourself to Feel the Joy of Caregiving

There is a continuum of Alzheimer's caregiving that runs from Burden to Joy.

By Bob DeMarco
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Reading Room
  1. Can how you think effect your Alzheimer's caregiving effort?
  2. Can how you act effect your caregiving effort?
  3. Can how you talk and the words you use effect your caregiving effort?
  4. Can how you speak to a person living with Alzheimer's effect how they feel and act?
You bet it can.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

4 Ways to Communicate More Effectively with a Person Living with Alzheimer's

85% of all communication is nonverbal and with this information in hand Alzheimer's caregivers can learn how to communicate more effectively with persons' living with dementia.

By Carole Larkin
+Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Reading Room

Not long ago I went to a lecture on the Art of Active Listening given by David Overton, LCSW of Vitas Hospice Care. Part of the lecture was on non verbal communication, and that’s the part I want to focus on here.

It’s been said that one of the main frustrations of care partners in dealing with people with Alzheimer’s is the person’s decreasing communication skills throughout the disease. I think that most of us can agree with that statement. But, if you think about it, that statement really only applies to a person’s verbal skills.

We know that words begin to lose their meanings to people with Alzheimer’s at some point during the disease. This is part of the process of “unlearning” that takes place during the course of the disease. 

The “unlearning” is the opposite of the learning that takes place as a child grows and develops into an adult. A word can be “forgotten” but the meaning of that word is “unlearned in Alzheimer’s and related diseases.

That is one reason why deep into the cognitive diseases, that emotions are understood, but ideas and concepts fade away.

Emotions are instinctual and hence are also non verbal, but ideas and concepts are learned and are verbal. That is why emotions last throughout the diseases, but thoughts go.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Alzheimer's Society says, "Let dementia sufferers find new love in care homes"

Alzheimer's Society says that new lovers should not be separated in care homes as their bonds provide comfort and support when they are dealing with a scary illness.

By Alzheimer's Reading Room

Alzheimer's Care

I wanted to bring this interesting article written by Georgia Graham in TheTelegraph to your attention.
, Director of Operations at the Alzheimer’s society, said that couples were separated “quite frequently” by staff who believed that they were “obliged” to put an end to the relationships. 
The charity is calling for widespread training and support for staff to make sure that carers are “respecting the dignity of the individuals involved and their rights to a human relationship."
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