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Posts Tagged ‘memory loss’

What Assisted Living Residents Need To Know If They Want To Live Past 60

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Every 70 seconds a senior is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. If you intend to live past the age of 60 you need to learn more about Alzheimer’s disease, especially since there is no cure. Today it is the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Our brains change as we age just as the rest of our organs do. Most of us notice some slowed thinking and occasional problems with remembering certain things. However, serious memory loss, confusion and other major changes in the way our minds work are not a normal part of aging. These may be signs that your brain cells are failing. September 21st was World Alzheimer’s Day, when the Alzheimer’s Association joined with organizations and people around the globe to raise awareness about the disease and its impact on families. Today, 35 million people worldwide are affected by Alzheimer’s as well as related forms of dementia and assisted living facilities have realized that this number is rapidly growing. Assisted living facilities are educating seniors about the deadly disease so they are aware of the signs, symptoms and possible precautionary methods.

World Alzheimer’s Day is an opportunity to raise donations and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease. There is a need for more education, support and research on this disease. As a citizen of society you can participate by joining one of the many World Alzheimer’s Day events within your community. Assisted Living Facilities celebrate this day by organizing fundraisers and events to help raise awareness. Memory Walk 2010 is a perfect example. Participants come together and walk in order to change the course of Alzheimer’s Disease. Memory Walk is the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research. Since 1989, Memory Walk has raised more than $300 million for the cause.

What Exactly Is Alzheimer’s Disease?
The human brain is your most unique and powerful organ, yet a healthy brain weighs only about three pounds. It has three main parts:
The Cerebrum fills up most of your skull. It is involved in remembering, problem solving, thinking, and feeling. It also controls movement.
The Cerebellum sits at the back of your head, under the cerebrum. It controls coordination and balance.
The Brain Stem sits beneath your cerebrum in front of your cerebellum. It connects the brain to the spinal cord and controls automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, heart rate and blood pressure.

The real work of your brain goes on in individual cells. An adult brain contains about 100 billion nerve cells, or neurons, with branches that connect at more than 100 trillion points. Scientists call this dense, branching network a “neuron forest.” Signals traveling through the neuron forest form the basis of memories, thoughts and feelings. Neurons are the chief type of cell destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. Signals that form memories and thoughts move through an individual nerve cell as a tiny electrical charge. Nerve cells connect to one another at synapses. When a charge reaches a synapse, it may trigger release of tiny bursts of chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters travel across the synapse, carrying signals to other cells. Scientists have identified dozens of neurotransmitters.

Alzheimer’s disease disrupts both the way electrical charges travel within cells and the activity of neurotransmitters. 100 billion nerve cells! 100 trillion synapses! Dozens of neurotransmitters! This “strength in numbers” provides your brain’s raw material. Over time, our experiences create patterns in signal type and strength. These patterns of activity explain how, at the cellular level, our brains code our thoughts, memories, skills and sense of who we are. Alzheimer’s disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all of its functions.  Alzheimer’s gets worse over time, and is fatal. Visit alz.org to find a Memory Walk event in your area or locate another volunteer opportunity to help end the disease.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care Houston, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

National Alzheimer’s Project Act Signed Into Legislation

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

The fact that the United States Congress voted unanimously on any legislation set before them, sent an extremely powerful signal. The National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), signed by the President on January 4, 2011 turns a concept of need into a law of the land, a coordinated national plan to overcome the Alzheimer’s crisis. Passage of NAPA will ensure the coordination and evaluation of all national efforts in Alzheimer’s research, clinical care, institutional, home and community based programs and their outcomes. The new National Alzheimer’s Project office will be located within the Department of Health and Human Services and will oversee federal research on Alzheimer’s disease to develop a plan to combat the disease and eventually develop a cure. The office will be funded within the existing budget and does not require an appropriation.This is a major victory for the 5.3 million people who live with Alzheimer’s in this country and their nearly 11 million caregivers who take care of them. NAPA will confront one of the most feared and costly diseases that stands to plaque the baby boomer generation as they move into their senior years.

Given the scale of the Alzheimer epidemic and the growing number of Americans directly affected every single day, NAPA will provide an essential framework within the government that recognizes the Alzheimer crisis is no longer emerging, but is already here.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities that are serious enough to interfere with daily life, worsens over time, and is fatal. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging; although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age however. Roughly, 10 percent of people with the disease have early onset Alzheimer’s that can appear when someone is in their 40s or 50s. For a nearly a decade, advocates of the disease have been petitioning for federal involvement to address the crisis.  In 2003, longtime advocate for those with disease, the Alzheimer’s Association was at the forefront of the effort to add early onset of the disease to the Compassionate Allowances List making it possible for victims to receive Social Security Disability and Supplemental Security Income. Inclusion on the SSA’s list was not accomplished until 2010. In 2007, then Speaker Newt Gingrich and AA’s Robert Egge made the case for creation of a federal Alzheimer strategy with an article, Developing a National Alzheimer’s Strategy Equal to the Epidemic.

Written by Egge, it garnered national attention when it was published in The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association. Also in 2007, the association launched the Alzheimer’s Study Group at a Capitol Hill Conference. In 2009, they released their final report calling for federal legislation to attack the challenges of the disease, currently the sixth leading cause of death in the nation. Based on the Alzheimer’s Study Group recommendations and following consultations with the Alzheimer’s Association, controversial former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) and Evan Bayh (D-IN) introduced a measure to create a collaborated system for researching, treating and eliminating Alzheimer’s disease. The measure was introduced to Congress as the first National Alzheimer’s Project Act in July 2009. After various draftings in 2010, the bill progressed through the legislative branch until final congressional approval in December 2010 and the presidential signing in January 2011. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer care, support, advocacy, and research. Their mission is to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Their vision, now supported by the federal government, is a world without Alzheimer’s.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care Phoenix, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Creativity & Alzheimer’s Disease

August 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Alzheimer’s disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. Over time, the brain shrinks dramatically, affecting nearly all of its functions. Alzheimer’s ultimately affects all parts of the brain but each person is affected differently as the disease progresses. In part, this is due to the nature and extent of damage being caused to different areas of the brain. Each section of the brain is known as a lobe; a lobe simply means a part of an organ. Because the portion of the brain that deals with creativity is often one of the last portions of the brain that is affected by Alzheimer’s disease, providing creative outlets for those affected in an important activity. In the earliest stages, before symptoms can be detected with testing, plaques and tangles, which are the hallmarks of the disease, begin to form in brain areas involved in:

Learning and memory
Thinking and planning

In the mild to moderate stages, brain regions develop more plaques and tangles than were present in early stages. As a result, individuals develop problems with memory or thinking serious enough to interfere with work or daily life. They may also get confused and have trouble handling money, expressing themselves and organizing their thoughts. Many people with Alzheimer’s disease are first diagnosed in this stage.

Plaques and tangles also spread to areas involved in:
Speaking and understanding speech
Sense of where your body is in relation to objects

In the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, most of the cortex is seriously damaged. The cerebral cortex is a sheet of neural tissue that is the outermost part of the brain. It plays a key role in memory, attention, perception, thought, language and consciousness. During this stage of the disease, the brain shrinks dramatically due to widespread cell death. Individuals lose their ability to communicate, to recognize family and loved ones and to care for themselves. The right hemisphere of the brain is associated with the creative process. It conveys feeling, imagination, symbols and images in the present and future. It processes philosophical & religious beliefs, special perception, form and abstract thoughts. Alzheimer’s disease has a profound impact on creativity. Alzheimer’s disease attacks the right posterior part of the brain, which enables people to retrieve internal imagery and copy images. Alzheimer’s disease patients may lose the ability to copy images entirely. However, people with Alzheimer’s disease can continue to produce art by using their remaining strengths, such as color or composition instead of shapes or realism.

Dr. Luis Fornazzari, a researcher from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the University of Toronto and clinical director of the Multilingual/Multicultural Memory Clinic believes the association between creativity and mental illness is an area worth exploring.
As part of his research, Dr. Fornazzari began studying the life of an artist who is suffering from  Alzheimer’s disease. Danae Chambers was commissioned to paint portraits of dignitaries around Canada and abroad. Her artwork has been shown in galleries around the world. Because of her disease, Ms. Chambers had a dramatic deterioration of communication, memory and life skills, but she could still paint beautifully. Traditionally, the approach in treating Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias focused on what is not functioning in the patient, such as memory loss and difficulties with daily life and communication. By focusing on abilities instead of cognitive deficits, Dr. Fornazzari is pioneering a new approach in the treatment of Alzheimer disease and related dementia.  “The distinctiveness of Danae Chambers’ story is that while examining her, we concentrated on the positive aspects of what was still functioning in her brain, such as her creative ability,” says Dr. Fornazzari. Many times patients in the advanced stages of the disease are isolated and have no means of any form of communication. The study suggests that quality of life is improved when patients are given the opportunity to express themselves in any form and it provides scientists an avenue to explore brain function.

The artists’ cognitive abilities were evaluated at four years, two years before and two years after the time she was admitted to a long term care facility in Toronto. Dr. Fornazzari monitored how her creativity emerged during the progressive course of the disease, while her other cognitive functions such as attention, working memory, and language ability increasingly deteriorated.  “Ms. Chambers’ case clearly demonstrates that the brain uses separate neural pathways for creative expression compared to neural networks used for speech, memory and attention,” says Dr. Fornazzari. “This is of profound importance to further understand and explore why Alzheimer’s disease preferentially attacks one neural pathway over the other.”  Dr. Fornazzari strongly advocates that creativity in any of its forms, either visual, musical, literary or performing arts should be actively explored in relation to patients with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, especially when their other cognitive functions do not allow caregivers and specialists to communicate with sufferers of the disease. This effort to focus on the preserved creative functions, instead of deficits of the patient, will improve their quality of life and is a rewarding way for caregivers to communicate with them. The findings of this scientific case study are published in the June issue of European Journal of Neurology.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care Dallas, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living Facilities and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

Memory Loss: What’s Normal And What Isn’t

June 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Most of us have moments or glitches when we have trouble remembering something that just happened, like where we placed our keys when we got home, or the name of someone you met 10 minutes earlier. In younger people, there could be a host of reasons why these things happen. There are many psychological and physical disorders that affect memory that have nothing to do with aging. Stress, depression, being preoccupied or just downright tired can cause brief memory glitches. Other causes can include low blood sugar, taking medications such as antidepressants and antihistamines or having an over or underactive thyroid.

According to Dr. De Santi in a recent Ladies Home Journal article, “aging does play a role in memory loss much in the same way you may not run as fast in your 40s as you did in your 20s.” “And while you lose neutrons as you age, your brain makes new ones. There’s a big difference between normal slowing down and serious cognitive impairment,” Dr. De Santi says. How can you tell if your memory problems are serious? A memory problem is serious when it affects your daily living. If you sometimes forget names, you’re probably okay.

Thoughts by *marimochida on deviantART

Problems that aren’t part of normal aging :

Forgetting things much more often than you used to
Forgetting how to do things you’ve done many times before
Trouble learning new things
Repeating phrases or stories in the same conversation
Trouble making choices or handling money
Not being able to keep track of what happens each day
Trouble doing things that requires steps (such as following a recipe)

Another difference between normal memory problems and dementia is that normal memory loss doesn’t get much worse over time. Dementia gets much worse over several months to several years. It may be hard to figure out on your own if you have a serious problem. Talk to your family doctor about any concerns you have. If your memory problems are caused by a certain medicine you’re taking, your doctor can prescribe another medicine that doesn’t have the side effect. If another condition is causing your memory loss (such as depression), your doctor can help you treat that condition. If a loved one has progressed into a state of serious, cognitive impairment and is having difficulty with everyday tasks, you may want to consider an assisted living environment.

800Seniors.com is a leading referral system in the Elderly Healthcare industry. We are located on 5400 Atlantis Court, Moorpark, California 93021. 800Seniors.com provides the perfect match between seniors searching for health care provisions such as Home Care, Home Health, Skilled Nursing, Hospice Care, Medical Supplies, as well as a variety of Assisted Living San Diego and Care Homes nationwide. Take the confusion and hassle out of the search. For more information call 1-800-768-8221, visit http://800seniors.com or fax us your details at (805)517-1623.

About The Author: Gloria Ha’o Schneider is an expert in senior citizen and baby boomer issues. Her topics revolve around Senior Living and Healthcare to provide the latest information to this demographic as well as their families and loved ones.

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