Improve Your Lifestyle For Alzheimers Prevention
Healthy habits may help ward off Alzheimers. Consider the following steps to help prevent Alzheimers.
Exercise.The most convincing evidence is that physical exercise helps prevent the development of Alzheimers or slow the progression in people who have symptoms, says Dr. Marshall. The recommendation is 30 minutes of moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, three to four days per week.
Eat a Mediterranean diet.This has been shown to help thwart Alzheimers or slow its progression. A recent study showed that even partial adherence to such a diet is better than nothing, which is relevant to people who may find it difficult to fully adhere to a new diet, says Dr. Marshall. The diet includes fresh vegetables and fruits whole grains olive oil nuts legumes fish moderate amounts of poultry, eggs, and dairy moderate amounts of red wine and red meat only sparingly.
Get enough sleep.Growing evidence suggests that improved sleep can help prevent Alzheimers and is linked to greater amyloid clearance from the brain, says Dr. Marshall. Aim for seven to eight hours per night.
Informing Your Loved One About Their Alzheimers Diagnosis
In clinical practice, there has been a tendency among physicians to not inform their patients of their Alzheimers diagnosis. Looking at Medicare data from years 2008 2010 including the data of 16,000 people, and interviewing patients who were being treated for Alzheimers, one study concluded that just 45 percent of physicians told their patients they have Alzheimers. It wasnt that the physicians did not understand the benefits of informing their patients. Rather, they had reasons for not doing so: for example, they might have believed that telling would be too traumatic or too confusing for certain patients.
Perhaps because we live in a time of unquestioned rights to our own information, this finding can come as a surprise. But looking a little further, there are both pros and cons to letting a loved one know they have been diagnosed with Alzheimers, or with other forms of dementia. Relatives of loved ones can be torn about how to handle this. Would you tell your loved one with Alzheimers about their diagnosis? Are there be any good reasons not to?
Tip : Deal With Anxiety And Depression
Depression and anxiety are common among early stage Alzheimers patients. Symptoms such as withdrawal, agitation, feelings of worthlessness, and changes in your sleeping patterns can make dementia symptoms worse, though, and limit your independence. Dont ignore symptoms. As well as counseling and medication, there are plenty of self-help steps that can help you overcome anxiety and depression.
- Learning how to challenge anxious thoughts and develop a more balanced way of looking at your new situation can help you come to terms with your diagnosis and ease anxiety.
- Opening up and talking about your fears and other emotions with someone who makes you feel safe and supported can help boost your mood.
- Exercising regularly, eating well, and improving your sleep are also proven ways to help improve depression and anxiety symptoms.
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How Is Alzheimers Diagnosed And Treated
Doctors may ask questions about health, conduct cognitive tests, and carry out standard medical tests to determine whether to diagnose a person with Alzheimers disease. If a doctor thinks a person may have Alzheimers, they may refer the person to a specialist, such as a neurologist, for further assessment. Specialists may conduct additional tests, such as brain scans or lab tests of spinal fluid, to help make a diagnosis. These tests measure signs of the disease, such as changes in brain size or levels of certain proteins.
There is currently no cure for Alzheimers, though there are several medicines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that can help manage some symptoms of the disease along with coping strategies to manage behavioral symptoms. In 2021, FDA provided accelerated approval for a new medication, aducanumab, that targets the protein beta-amyloid, which accumulates abnormally in the brains of people with Alzheimers. The new medication helps to reduce amyloid deposits, but has not yet been shown to affect clinical symptoms or outcomes, such as progression of cognitive decline or dementia.
Most medicines work best for people in the early or middle stages of Alzheimers. Researchers are exploring other drug therapies and nondrug interventions to delay or prevent the disease as well as treat its symptoms.
Stage : Mild Cognitive Impairment
Clear cognitive problems begin to manifest in stage 3. A few signs of stage 3 dementia include:
- Getting lost easily
- Noticeably poor performance at work
- Forgetting the names of family members and close friends
- Difficulty retaining information read in a book or passage
- Losing or misplacing important objects
- Difficulty concentrating
Patients often start to experience mild to moderate anxiety as these symptoms increasingly interfere with day to day life. Patients who may be in this stage of dementia are encouraged to have a clinical interview with a clinician for proper diagnosis.
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Reasons To Tell A Loved One They Have Alzheimers
Why would we tell a loved one they have Alzheimers?
- Whatever the diagnosis, they have a right to know. It is the honest thing to do.
- Your loved one may suspect something is wrong. Knowing may bring a sense of relief.
- Knowing allows a person with Alzheimers and his or her family to start putting a plan in place for long-term care. This might include advance care planning documents, identifying family or professional caregivers, or a combination of both, and identifying community resources such as local memory care and adult day centers.
These are all possible reasons for telling or not telling one of their Alzheimers diagnosis. If you do opt to explain the diagnosis, also consider how to explain it, so that you give your loved one the support they need.
Medicines For Memory Problems
- Cholinesterase inhibitors treat symptoms of mental decline in people who have mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease. They include donepezil, galantamine, and rivastigmine. Donepezil can be used to help those who have severe Alzheimer’s disease.
- Memantine treats more severe symptoms of confusion and memory loss from Alzheimer’s disease.
Because these medicines work differently, they are sometimes used together .
These medicines may temporarily help improve memory and daily functioning in some people who have Alzheimer’s disease. The improvement varies from person to person. These medicines don’t prevent the disease from getting worse. But they may slow down symptoms of mental decline.
The main decision about using these usually isn’t whether to try a medicine but when to begin and stop treatment. Treatment can be started as soon as Alzheimer’s disease is diagnosed. If the medicines are effective, they are continued until the side effects outweigh the benefits or until the person no longer responds to the medicines.
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Early Symptoms Of Dementia
Although the early signs vary, common early symptoms of dementia include:
- memory problems, particularly remembering recent events
- increasing confusion
- apathy and withdrawal or depression
- loss of ability to do everyday tasks.
Sometimes, people fail to recognise that these symptoms indicate that something is wrong. They may mistakenly assume that such behaviour is a normal part of the ageing process. Symptoms may also develop gradually and go unnoticed for a long time. Also, some people may refuse to act, even when they know something is wrong.
Very Mild Impairment Or Normal Forgetfulness
Alzheimers disease affects mainly older adults, over the age of 65 years. At this age, its common to have slight functional difficulties like forgetfulness.
But for stage 2 Alzheimers, the decline will happen at a greater rate than similarly aged people without Alzheimers. For example, they may forget familiar words, a family members name, or where they placed something.
Caregiver support: Symptoms at stage 2 wont interfere with work or social activities. Memory troubles are still very mild and may not be apparent to friends and family.
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What Is Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia is the name for a set of symptoms that includes memory loss and difficulties with thinking, problem-solving or language. Dementia develops when the brain is damaged by diseases, including Alzheimers disease.
Alzheimers disease is a physical disease that affects the brain. It is named after Alois Alzheimer, the doctor who first described it.
Press play to watch a four-minute video about Alzheimer’s disease:
Can Dementia Be Prevented Or Avoided
There is little you can do to prevent or avoid dementia. If you have a head injury or brain tumor, ask your doctor if there are lifestyle changes you can make. Youll want to take precautions to avoid additional head trauma or concussions. If youre at risk of stroke, talk to your doctor about possible preventions.
Currently, the American Academy of Family Physicians concludes that the current evidence is insufficient to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for cognitive impairment.
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Create Your Life Story
A “memory book” can be a way to stimulate your memory and reconnect you with your loved ones in the future.
Your memory book could include photographs, notes, and keepsakes from your childhood through to the present day. It can be a physical book or a digital version.
You may also want to create a digital or online playlist of your favourite music.
A Named Person To Support You
Your care plan should give you the name of the person who will coordinate all the different support you should get. This named person will be your care coordinator. They will be the main point of contact for you and anyone who is helping to support you. A care coordinator is also sometimes called a care navigator.
Your care coordinator can help you understand what help is available.
Your care coordinator should:
- make sure your health is monitored
- look at your care plan with you at least once a year to make sure you are getting support
- make sure you know about the help you can get
- work with your family or friends to make sure you are getting the help you need
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Making The Decision To Stop Medication
Medication should be reviewed regularly, and continued for as long as the benefits are greater than any side effects. If the person with dementia decides to stop taking a drug, they should speak to the doctor first if possible, or as soon as they can after stopping treatment. The doctor may also advise stopping the treatment if the person becomes unable to take the medicines in the way prescribed, even with support from someone else.
Knowing The Stages Of Dementia Helps You Plan
Even if the stages arent exact and symptoms can still be unpredictable, being able to plan ahead is essential.
The truth is that Alzheimers and dementia care is expensive and time-consuming. Being financially prepared for increasing care needs is a necessity.
On an emotional level, having an idea of what symptoms to expect helps you find ways to cope with challenging behaviors.
It also gives you a chance to mentally prepare yourself for the inevitable changes in your older adult.
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Tip : Pursue Activities That Bring You Meaning And Joy
Having Alzheimers or another dementia doesnt mean your life has to stop moving forward. By pursuing meaningful activities and relationships, you can continue to nourish your spirit and find pleasure and purpose in life.
Even when symptoms advance and certain activities become difficult, you can still find other ways to nurture and enrich your spirit. If you can no longer paint, for example, you may still be able to visit museums and appreciate the art of others. Or if you can no longer cook, you may still be able to devise the menu and help shop for ingredients.
While we all have different ways of experiencing meaning and joy, you may want to:
Pursue your favorite hobbies and interests. Engaging in activities that are important to you can help maintain your identity as well as enrich your life. Try taking a class or joining a club to keep your interest growing or to explore new activities.
Build your legacy. In the early stages of dementia, many people are mindful of how they want to be remembered. Maybe you want to pass on your skills and knowledge to others, or leave a record of your life for your grandchildren to enjoy. You might want to create photo albums, write your memoirs or a how-to book, share your favorite recipes, make a record of family traditions, or research your family history. Or perhaps you simply want to spend time with your closest loved ones to create new memories.
How Is Parkinson Disease Treated
Parkinson disease can’t be cured. But there are different therapies that can help control symptoms. Many of the medicines used to treat Parkinson disease help to offset the loss of the chemical dopamine in the brain. Most of these medicines help manage symptoms quite successfully.
A procedure called deep brain stimulation may also be used to treat Parkinson disease. It sends electrical impulses into the brain to help control tremors and twitching movements. Some people may need surgery to manage Parkinson disease symptoms. Surgery may involve destroying small areas of brain tissue responsible for the symptoms. However, these surgeries are rarely done since deep brain stimulation is now available.
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What Happens In Alzheimer Disease
You probably know that your brain works by sending signals. Chemical messengers, called neurotransmitters , allow brain cells to talk to each other. But a person with Alzheimer disease has lower amounts of neurotransmitters.
People with Alzheimer disease also develop deposits of stuff that prevent the cells from working properly. When this happens, the cells can’t send the right signals to other parts of the brain. Over time, brain cells affected by Alzheimer disease also begin to shrink and die.
Put Your Papers In Order
Make sure all your important papers can be found easily. These might include bank and building society statements, mortgage or rental documents, insurance policies, your will, tax and pension details, bills and guarantees.
Consider setting up direct debits or standing orders for your regular bills. This means they’ll be paid automatically from your bank account each month.
Make sure you’re claiming all the benefits you’re entitled to.
In particular, check whether:
- you’re eligible for Personal Independence Payment or Attendance Allowance find out more on our page about benefits for over-65s
- your carer is eligible for Carer’s Allowance
Other benefits you may be eligible for include Income Support, Housing Benefit, Council Tax Reduction and Pension Credit.
Age UK has more about benefits, and how to claim them.
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Living With Parkinson Disease
These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:
- An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
- High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
- If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.
What Are The Symptoms Of Early
For most people with early-onset Alzheimer disease, the symptoms closely mirror those of other forms of Alzheimer disease.
Withdrawal from work and social situations
Changes in mood and personality
Severe mood swings and behavior changes
Deepening confusion about time, place, and life events
Suspicions about friends, family, or caregivers
Trouble speaking, swallowing, or walking
Severe memory loss
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How Is It Treated
There is no cure for Alzheimers disease. But there are medicines that may slow symptoms down for a while and make the disease easier to live with. These medicines may not work for everyone or have a big effect. But most experts think they are worth a try.
As the disease gets worse, you may get depressed or angry and upset. The doctor may also prescribe medicines to help with these problems.
Take Care Of Your Health
It’s important to look after your physical and mental health when you have dementia.
To stay healthy:
- talk to a GP if you feel you have low mood or depression. This is common in dementia, but there are treatments, such as talking therapies, that may help
Find out more about living well with dementia.
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Finding A Huge Gap In Services And Supports For Younger People
âI unfortunately ran into that brick wall where I was ineligible for just about everything because of my age.â â Faye.
Most social programs and services are designed for older people with dementia. In comparison, the number of programs designed for people living with young onset dementia is sparse.
People living with young onset dementia may not find the programs intended for older adults interesting or beneficial in respect to their needs. They may not feel comfortable in a seniorsâ program. And even if they were interested and comfortable in joining a program, they might be ineligible because of their age!
We have a gap in our knowledge about young onset dementia. As a result, there simply aren’t enough information, support, financial aid and services adapted for younger people living with dementia.
However, this is changing. The Young Onset Gap Analysis Project, initiated through the National Information Support and Education Committee and the Alzheimer Society of Canada , explored the gaps of available learning and support resources for people living with young onset dementia, and sought advice and feedback from those with lived experience.
The information from this report is being used to develop new resources dedicated to education and support for people living with young onset dementia, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.