Category Archives: Alzheimer’s Disease and related disorders

“After 40 years, the Alzheimer’s Association sees signs of progress against a devastating disease. Is it real?” – STATNews

Alzheimers-AssocA display at the headquarters of the Alzheimer’s Association in Chicago. KRISTEN NORMAN/ FOR STAT NEWS

by Andrew Johnson

“In 1979, a man named Jerome Stone, frustrated with the lack of options and information about Alzheimer’s disease following his wife’s diagnosis, brought together experts and families affected by dementia to launch the Alzheimer’s Association. One of their goals: find a cure for the disease.

“Forty years later, an estimated 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s, with a new person developing the condition about every minute of every day. There is still no treatment that slows progression of the disease, let alone stops or reverses it. There are increasing doubts whether the prevailing theory explaining the foundation of Alzheimer’s is accurate.

“’I would have thought we’d be further along by now,’ Harry Johns, the association’s CEO, acknowledged in an interview at the group’s headquarters here.”

Click here to read this article in its entirety.

 

 

Did you see Google’s Super Bowl “remember” video?

google remember

Yesterday’s Super Bowl featured lots of commercials, but this Google commercial stands out.

“One of the biggest standouts came from Google, which showed that its home assistance service can do more than just set reminders or timers for day to day activities. Google’s Super Bowl commercial touched on a man’s memories of his dearly departed wife and how meaningful every nuance of her was to him over the course of their marriage.

“The commercial clearly resonated with viewers and garnered considerable chatter on Twitter, with one user saying ‘I’m in tears. Good job.'” – Yahoo News

“Google’s lovely Super Bowl ad shows how sad the future will be” MSN

“The dark road of dementia” – Al Jazeera

“On a car ride home, a woman thinks she is being followed, only to find an unexpected driver in the car behind her.”

dark side[Jawahir Al-Naimi/Al Jazeera]

by Amy Doyle

“I have always tried to keep my fears a secret from my daughter. I want her to believe that I am the fierce woman I pretended to be in college. A poster on my dorm wall said, “Don’t be scared; be scary.”

“This prescription, I am learning in middle age, is limiting not just because it does not fit my particular psychology, but because it ignores the unique powers of most women. That is, we are trusted precisely because we are not scary.

“My daughter learned this lesson with me one night while we were driving 30 miles (48km) away to check out a piano we had seen on Craigslist.”

To read the rest of this article, click here.

“Signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s: When not to worry, and when to see a doctor” – The New York Times

alz.jpg“Forgetting where you parked is not reason for concern. ‘The problem is when you start forgetting that you drove your car to work that day.’”

by Elizabeth Gehrman

It’s one of our biggest fears — being gripped by a disease that slowly steals the very essence of who we are. And early-onset Alzheimer’s, defined as striking before age 65, seems even more cruel, coming as it does at what is often the height of career success, perhaps as grown children are embarking on their own exciting paths. Stories like Tom Keane’s remembrance of his late wife Laurie Farrell, who was diagnosed with the disease at just 56, resonate on a visceral level.

“It’s important to remember, however, that Alzheimer’s usually affects much older people. ‘At 56, Alzheimer’s is extremely uncommon,’ says Harvard neurology professor Reisa Sperling, director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. While about 1 in 9 Americans will get Alzheimer’s disease, age is the greatest risk factor: 81 percent of patients are 75 or older, while only 3 percent — around 200,000 people in the US — are under 65. Still, it’s good to know what to watch out for, especially since, as Sperling says, Alzheimer’s ‘may go unrecognized in younger people or be misdiagnosed.’”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times, click here.

“How could my wife have Alzheimer’s? She was only 56.” – The Boston Globe Magazine

early alz 2

early alzTom Keane and Laurie Farrell in 1984, not long before they married. FROM TOM KEANE”

by Tom Keane

“It’s a Sunday morning and my wife and I are arguing about the previous night’s dinner party.

“”No one would let me talk,’ Laurie says.

“‘What do you mean? Of course they let you talk.’

“‘No. They’re all just talking constantly and I never get a chance to say anything.’

“‘But Laurie, that’s what happens at dinner parties. You’ve got eight people fueled by a lot of alcohol and they all are clamoring for the floor. That’s just the way it is.’

‘I didn’t get to speak. I hated it. Why won’t they let me speak?’

I’m puzzled. Laurie was always the life of any get-together: raucous, loud, leading the room from one topic to the next. What was going on?

Continue reading this article at The Boston Globe Magazine, click here.

 

“One man turned nursing home design on its head when he created this stunning facility.” – upworthy.com

This is a 2016 article posted here because it makes sense and is often being used.

old idea

by Brian Porter

“92-year-old Norma had a strange and heartbreaking routine.

“Every night around 5:30 p.m., she stood up and told the staff at her Ohio nursing home that she needed to leave. When they asked why, she said she needed to go home to take care of her mother. Her mom, of course, had long since passed away.

“Behavior like Norma’s is quite common for older folks suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Walter, another man in the same assisted living facility, demanded breakfast from the staff every night around 7:30.

“Jean Makesh, CEO of Lantern assisted living facilities, says he meets folks with stories like these every day. It’s their stories that inspired him to make some changes at Lantern.

“‘I thought I knew a lot about elderly care. The more and more time I was spending with my clients, that’s when I realized, “Oh my god, I have no clue.”’

“Confusion is common in Alzheimer’s patients, but Makesh knew there had to be some way to minimize these conflicts.”

Continue reading this article, click here.


 

“Alzheimer’s Tests Soon May Be Common. Should You Get One?” – The New York Times

alz testCredit … Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

by Gina Kolata

Not long ago, the only way to know if someone had Alzheimer’s disease was to examine the brain in an autopsy.

“That is changing — and fast — with brain scans and spinal taps that can detect beta amyloid, the telltale Alzheimer’s protein.

“There is a blood test on the horizon that can detect beta amyloid, and researchers are experimenting with scans to look for another protein, called tau, also characteristic of Alzheimer’s.

“As this sort of diagnostic testing becomes widespread, more people who fear their memories are slipping will face a difficult question: Would I really want to know if I were getting Alzheimer’s disease?”

Click here to continue reading this article at The New York Times.

“‘You keep loving each other’: A window into dementia at the end of a lifelong partnership” – STATNews

you keep loving

“For Poul Mathiassen, Parkinson’s disease came as a cascade of losses. First, he could no longer control his toothbrush. Then he couldn’t remember his friends’ names. During the four years his granddaughter, photographer Sofie Mathiassen, spent chronicling his experience of dementia, she captured images of his increasing frailty but also of the 57-year relationship he’d built with his wife, Else. These moments are at once difficult and tender, a testament to the tiny, everyday actions that constitute care. Else shaves Poul, keeping him steady with a thumb and finger on the back of his neck. She helps him take a few halting steps, holding his hands as if in a careful dance. You can see more of Mathiassen’s powerful photo essay here.”

 

“New Therapies Help Patients With Dementia Cope With Depression” – The New York Times

“Many patients with cognitive impairment have anxiety or depression, but standard treatments are difficult for people with memory issues.”

dementia mental healthAnne Firmender received treatment for depression through a program called Problem Adaptation Therapy, which is specially suited to people with memory issues.” Credit … Geraldine Hope Ghelli for The New York Times

by Andrea Petersen

“Anne Firmender, 74, was working with her psychologist to come up with a list of her positive attributes.

“’I cook for others,’ said Ms. Firmender.

“’It’s giving,’ encouraged the psychologist, Dimitris Kiosses.

“”Good kids,’ continued Ms. Firmender, who has four grown children and four grandchildren.

“’And great mother,’ added Dr. Kiosses. Ms. Firmender smiled.

Dr. Kiosses typed up the list and handed a printout to Ms. Firmender to take home. ‘When you’re feeling down and hard on yourself, you can remind yourself of your strengths,’ he told her.”

Continue reading this article at The New York Times.

“For millennial caregivers, becoming the ‘parent for a parent’ with Alzheimer’s comes with agonizing challenges” – STAT news

The daily stresses, challenges and situations a caregiver attending to her mother with early onset Alzheimers faces are shown in this video.

alz caregivers

by Megan Thielking

WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Kamaria Moore-Hollis hadn’t even turned 30 when her mother, Mary, was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease. She hadn’t yet started her job in social services for the state, or gotten married, or bought her house — all milestones she would mark after she became a caregiver.

“‘I grieved her loss probably five years ago,’” Moore-Hollis, now 34, said. ‘I don’t have an adult relationship with my mother. I can’t talk about frustrations at work or marriage or you know, just things that happen when you grow up.’”

Click here to read this article and to watch the nearly five minute video.