Here is some of what they’ve been saying recently about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
Mike at Fading from Memory offers transcriptions of some of her father’s repeated phone messages. You might think they were incoherent babble, but there’s a surprise ending: they actually make sense if you know him.
Omega-3 – The Oily Truth About Alzheimer’s Prevention reminds us that fish oil isn’t the only source for Omega 3 fatty acids. They are also found in rapeseed, flaxseed and walnut oil. Not only does it seem to help Alzheimer’s, Omega 3 also helps your arteries.
Linda at God, Mom, Alzheimer’s and Me tells what she’s learned about giving her mother a bath. Bathing is personal. I wish my grandmother had begun using a shower bench years earlier, so she wouldn’t have to struggle to learn something that “ought to be easier” except that it was harder.
I Am an Alzheimer’s Caregiver has good links and resources, and one of them is the story of an activity director at an Alzheimer’s care facility.
Jeannot (she’s originally from Belgium) is going on vacation with her husband, who has Alzheimer’s, and tells a funny story about him, on her blog Life lessons coping with Alzheimer.
Her father died last year, but Gevera Bert Piedmont from the “Had a Dad” Alzheimer’s Blog is thinking about who would care for her if she ever gets Alzheimer’s, since she doesn’t have any children. I sympathize. Personally, I wouldn’t trade my time caring for my grandmother for anything, and maybe some younger person will realize what a treasure Bert is. Studies show that many people think they will be a burden while their children disagree.
Patty McNally Doherty at the Unforgettable Fund Blog writes about her colleagues, eloquently, “They fight for preservation of our personal history, the uniqueness of our lives, our individual meaning. They think they’re curing a disease, I think they’re saving the world.”
About.com reports on a proposal by a newer group, the Alzheimer’s Foundation, to screen all Americans over age 65 for Alzheimer’s. According to the Washington Post, the more venerable Alzheimer’s Association opposes mass screenings. If you’re falsely reassured that you don’t have it, you may not bother to check with your doctor to see if you really do. And if you’re falsely told that you might have it, you worry for nothing. Either way, says one doctor, it wouldn’t change her basic advice for everyone: “eating a balanced diet, exercising and keeping the mind active.”
Liz Lewis at Alzheimer’s Notes lists 20 super brain foods – and none of them are fish.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is using art to help Alzheimer’s patients. Uh, I’m not sure that modern art always makes people less confused.
CareStation has suggestions for daily activities. It’s easy to assume that Alzheimer’s patients can’t do anything they used to do. My grandmother kept offering to do the dishes. One day we realized, “Hey, why not let her?” So she washed, I rinsed and inspected. Even if her disease was more advanced, I’m sure she could still have helped to tear up turnip greens or spinach, even if I had to finish the job.
Kris, who is Dealing with Alzheimer’s herself, explains why she likes email better than phone calls. She says, “Talking on the phone is difficult for me because it is hard for me to follow the conversation.” One of the indications of a tendency towards Alzheimer’s is the inability to jump easily from one subject to another.
Do you wonder why it’s hard to get a doctor on the phone? Trisha at Every Patient’s Advocate says that the American Medical Association now has CPT (billing) codes for doctors to record the time they spend answering patients’ questions – except that insurance companies won’t reimburse them for it. Sadly, dealing with legal and financial red tape is part of Alzheimer’s caregiving.
The Alliance for Human Research Protection quotes the conclusion of a recent medical study: “Antipsychotic drugs should no longer be regarded as an acceptable routine treatment for aggressive challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability.” Drugs such as Risperdal, Haldol and Zyprexa have been used to control aggressive behavior by Alzheimer’s patients, though they aren’t officially approved to treat dementia. Another example of medicine used to make life easier for caregivers, not for patients, which I’ll talk about next week.
And finally, happy 73rd birthday to my father, a model of humility, which can help deal with many uncertainties and difficulties.