Posts Tagged ‘health promotion’

Clearing the Fog of Dementia Drugs

Wednesday, February 16th, 2011

Most of us agree that nursing home reform is a critical need in the United States. Many times, difficult behavior from people with dementia is managed by giving them more psychotropic drugs. As a result of these drugs, sometimes people go into a “fog” including lethargy, seem detached from the world,  stop speaking and other negative side effects.

This is a great article about Clearing the Fog at Nursing Homes – how behavioral interventions (and hands-on caring) changed residents from zombies to engaged adults at one nursing home in Two Harbors, Minn.

As the article states, behavioral interventions can be more costly to implement than prescribing, yet in the long run it can save money – not to mention the increased quality of life for the residents and families.

Even if your loved one with dementia is not in a nursing home, there are behavioral modifications you can use at home that might help them live a better life. Caring, and a loving touch can make a bigger difference than you might think.

How Can I Tell if my Dad has Alzheimer’s?

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Does Dad Have Alzheimer’s disease?

“I’m so worried about my Dad. He is forgetting things lately and seems confused. How can I find out if he has Alzheimer’s? And if he does have it, what do I do?”

As a geriatric care manager, I frequently receive calls just like this. Fear of the unknown can be the most troublesome part of caring for someone you love when they begin to demonstrate changes in behavior. The following information can decrease your stress and help you ensure that mom and dad get the best care possible.

Each year a million people start a mental decline called mild cognitive impairment (MCI) with memory loss somewhere between normal aging and Alzheimer’s. Although Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia in the U.S., there are many reasons why someone’s memory can decline. Some of these causes are treatable. Generally, Alzheimer’s disease has a gradual onset of symptoms over months to years and a worsening of cognition. If the memory loss or confusion comes on quickly, this could indicate that something other than Alzheimer’s is going on. You’ll want to ask for a thorough evaluation by someone who specializes in memory impairment as a first step – this could be a psychiatrist, neurologist or a geriatrician.

The evaluation will include testing for conditions that look similar to dementia – but aren’t, such as:

  • Delirium (sudden onset confusion due to infection, medication, acute illness)
  • Depression (which can sometimes include memory problems)
  • Thyroid problems, metabolic abnormalities (abnormal glucose and calcium, kidney and liver failure)
  • Vitamin B 12 deficiency, symptoms of a progressing chronic disease (low oxygenation due to lung disease, anemia or heart disease).
  • Urinary tract infection (the symptoms of which can appear like dementia).

Imaging the brain can also be helpful to check for a tumor, stroke, or increased pressure on the brain. These tests can help determine the cause of memory loss, and if it’s treatable.

Once dementia is confirmed, the next step is to determine whether it is Alzheimer’s. (There are different kinds of dementia, other causes of memory loss and then there are declines that are still considered “normal aging.”) If it is Alzheimer’s, there are medications that might be helpful in slowing the progress of the disease. People with Alzheimer’s may do better in the long term if they have early intervention. And do stay in touch with your loved one. If they exhibit any of the behaviors listed here [], it may be time to consider getting them live-in help or moving them to an assisted living facility.

This may be a difficult time, but there is information and loving support available for you and your loved ones. There are books, support groups, websites, geriatric care managers and others who have gone through this before you to guide you every step of the way.

Remember, take care of yourself!

Spinal-Fluid Test Is Found to Predict Alzheimer’s

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Alzheimer’s Disease promising new research: The presence of three specific proteins in spinal fluid may accurately predict Alzheimer’s disease (AD) prior to the onset of any symptoms:  Read the whole story here or here

This is NOT a cure – this is a way to predict if you might get or have AD.

The question then is: What do you do if the test reveals you have AD or may get it? There are some medications out now that MAY slow the progression of the disease, but much more research is needed in this area. Some people will not want to know if they may get AD.

Good brain health through physical exercise, brain exercises, and healthy diet may be beneficial in reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia.

Take good care!

Swine Flu Prevention Tips

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

6 Steps to Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Stop Germs

1.  Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2.  Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick. You will help prevent others from catching your illness.

3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4.  Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6.Practice other good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

One-stop access to U.S. Government information on swine, avian and pandemic flu: