Blog

Clinton’s Plan to End Alzheimer’s by 2025

Posted by on 5:21 pm in News | 0 comments

Clinton’s Plan to End Alzheimer’s by 2025

Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton says she has a plan that could mean a cure for Alzheimer’s by 2025 — just a decade from now. More than 5 million Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. African Americans get Alzheimer’s at twice the rate of white Americans.  “There’s so much we already know,” Dr. Virginia Lee of the University of Pennsylvania said on the Clinton website. “With additional funding, we could treat patients who are cognitively normal who might be on their way to Alzheimer’s, so they don’t develop cognitive impairment for a long time. We could start combination therapy [targeting amyloids, tangles, and inflammation]. And we could prevent Alzheimer’s from developing in the first place.” Clinton’s plan calls for massive increases in funding for research to the tune of $2 billion a year. Researchers believe that type of commitment is what is necessary to close in on a cure. Further, Clinton promised reliable levels of funding to give “researchers greater freedom to pursue the big, creative bets – including cross-collaboration with researchers in related fields – that can result in dramatic pay-offs not only for Alzheimer’s but for other neurodegenerative illnesses as well,” according to the Clinton campaign website. Read the details here. Additionally, the Clinton campaign said she would: Appoint a top-flight team to oversee this initiative and consult regularly with researchers to ensure progress toward achieving the treatment target. Work with stakeholders across sectors to recruit participants for clinical trials—a tremendous obstacle to developing new therapies. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, when asked at a campaign rally in New Hampshire what he would do to combat Alzheimer’s, said scientists should have made more progress by now on finding a cure for the disease. “Tough. Tough. It’s a total top priority for me. That’s something we should be working on.” Clinton’s plan comes just a month after she unveiled a caregiving agenda meant to provide tax relief to family members who care for ailing parents and grandparents, counting the hours family caregivers put in toward Social Security, expanding access to family caregiver respite, supporting paid family leave for caregivers, and creating a new Care Workers Initiative across the federal government to address the needs of paid caregivers. Under Clinton’s caregiving proposal, she would push Medicaid to cover a comprehensive caregiver session with a clinician plus promote coordinated care among physicians for the family of every newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or related dementias. According to her campaign, Clinton will work with Congress to reauthorize the Missing Alzheimer’s Disease Patient Alert Program—a policy that will ensure that families and caregivers have improved access to coordinated help if their loved ones go missing which happens to one in six people with Alzheimer’s. Clinton’s plan would also direct the Social Security Administration to raise awareness of annual cognitive screening available to seniors along with their annual wellness...

read more

Giving Thanks

Posted by on 6:21 pm in News | 0 comments

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving — and other major holidays when you are surrounded by extended family– is a great time to take an assessment of the elders in your life,  After you’ve gotten in your hugs and settled in for the weekend, take a look around. Is the house in good order? Is there anything off about the food. Sure, grandma’s famous cornpones may not be as light as they once were, but are they really off the mark from what you remember? If seniors are coming to you, take note of their conversation. Can they remember the answer to the question you just gave them? Are they struggling with your spouse’s or children’s names? Do they seem unsteady on their feet? If you live in another city or state and don’t get to see your parents or great aunts that often, you might be tempted to overlook the layers of dust on the furniture or salt, instead of sugar, in the sweet tea or things that are out of sorts. Who wants to bring up unpleasantries at this time of year? But because you’ve been away, you might be the best person to judge changes that a sibling or other close-by relatives may have missed or making excuses for? Sure, a man in his eighties is bound to mix up one of the grandkids’ name, but shouldn’t ask your son every five minutes how old he is. It’s not a senior moment, it could be signs of dementia. After the turkey is eaten and the dishes put away, take time out to have a deep conversation with her or him to find out how they are really doing? Do they get out as often? Are they having problems in the neighborhood? Do they need help of any kind? Deeply listen to what they tell you. If they complain about missing items at home or the bank pestering them about something, it might be that they are losing items at home or are having problems remembering to pay their bills. While all the siblings and cousins, aunts and in-laws are together, talk to them about your concerns and formulate a next step. It could be: Someone going to a doctor’s appointment with the elder to let the family physician know what’s up Getting an evaluation by a neurologist or memory specialist Looking into senior services in the area that can help with house cleaning and running errands Thinking about whether it’s time for the senior to move in with another family member or for someone in the family to move in with her or him Above all, don’t panic. Treat the person with the same respect you always have. Dementia is a disease with symptoms. There also is a world wide community of people whose loved ones are going through the same thing and can provide comfort, direction and...

read more

Culture is Key in Dementia Care

Posted by on 7:44 pm in Care-Giver | 0 comments

Culture is Key in Dementia Care

Culture is important when it comes to dementia care. Elderly people seem to do better when familiar songs or rituals from their past are incorporated into memory care and wellness. This report from the BBC shows how care-givers there are helping Britons of Caribbean descent with music and dance from their youth.

read more

Do You Need a Senior Advisor?

Posted by on 6:53 pm in Care-Giver, News | 0 comments

Do You Need a Senior Advisor?

When I’m around my contemporary friends or colleagues, the conversation often turns to elder care. We are that age when parents and grandparents need extra help with every day living. A friend recently recounted on Facebook how devastated she was when she learned her elderly mother was the victim of multiple scams. Another friend told about the struggle the family had trying to make decisions for her father-in-law when he was battling cancer and, for a time, could not verbalize his wishes. Once he was able to talk my friend jumped into the fray to help him until the end — but at the cost of her job and her plans to go to nursing school. Friends tell harrowing tales of having to drop everything when they get a call that a loved one is in crisis. For those of us who live is cities distant from our parents, it means herculean efforts to scramble for child care or fill-ins at work so we can catch the first thing smoking to be at a loved one’s hospital bed or doctor’s appointment. For those of you with loved ones still living independently — or with financial issues that need sort — you might want to consider a senior advisor to help with some of the logistics. A senior advisor can help you navigate through finding home help or the appropriate community that has the level of assistance your loved one might need. Senior advisors can answer questions on such topics of benefits or how to talk to a doctor about health issues. Single elderly people can tap a senior advisor to discuss important end of life decisions. It can be draining when you are trying to deal with the emotions of watching an aging loved one in need while at the same time being expected to make the right care decisions. The Society of Certified Senior Advisors can help you find a qualified one. On the society’s web page there are free resources that can get you started, such as this guide to creating a help network for people who are aging by themselves with no children or partner to help them or this free download on understanding veteran’s benefits. Senior advisors can direct you to resources in your community and can help jump start your knowledge of the world of elder care and care-giving. They can help provide some of the answers to your dozens of questions and can help relieve some of the stress and allow you to focus on the care. Photos courtesy of Pixabay under the CCO Public Domain...

read more

10 Questions For Elderly Loved Ones

Posted by on 7:25 pm in Care-Giver, News | 0 comments

10 Questions For Elderly Loved Ones

If you had to suddenly step in to help an aging parent after a stroke or heart attack that might leave her unable to speak or think clearly, would you know what to do to help? What if he were in a coma? What would you do first? Would you know her end-of-life wishes or where he keeps the deed to the house? Many grown children – whether out of respect or fear — haven’t raised those issues with their elderly parents and that not knowing could result in irreparable and costly decisions. Maybe mom doesn’t want to be on life support or dad has already made provisions for the family home, but you are clueless. Having to face these decisions in times of trauma greatly adds to the level of stress you will already be facing. Of course, asking your parents or any other elder relative about death and dying is difficult. You don’t want to think about it or maybe they don’t. Or maybe asking those questions brings your own mortality into focus. Here is a guide from A Place for Mom to some of the essential financial questions that you should ask of anyone that you love, especially your aging parents, grandparents or spouse.  Do it before the crisis hits. Do it as a group exercise with the entire family so everybody — including the sibling who tends to get hysterical — is in the loop. Another strategy might be to bring it up in reference to yourself so your parents will know what to do in case something happens to you and then encourage them to share their own thoughts those final days or which drawer or old copy of Ebony Magazine they have the insurance papers stuffed in. Having to be a forensic detective while making nursing home or funeral home decisions is far worse than the awkwardness of a much needed discussion. Photo by Mike_tn under Creative Commons License 2.0 Header photo by Derek Bridges under the Creative Commons License...

read more

The Nutritional Verdict on Salt is In: Guilty as Charged

Posted by on 12:50 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

The Nutritional Verdict on Salt is In: Guilty as Charged

People who regularly eat a high-salt diet – in other words, the typical American – are at a higher risk of high blood pressure, a new study has confirmed. Scientists followed more than 4,000 people who started out with normal blood pressure. After three years, 23 percent of them had developed elevated blood pressure. The study found that those who ate a high-salt diet or increased the amount of salt they consumed were most likely to develop hypertension. Read more about the study on the American Heart Association blog.  Practically speaking, even people who are trying to watch how much salt they add to their foods often fall short of sticking to the recommended 2,500 milligrams a day. Why? Let’s look in your pantry. Or mine. Grab just about any food out of your cupboard or favorite restaurant and chances are one of the most prominent ingredients is salt. A serving of Honey Nut Cheerios contains six percent of all of the sodium you are supposed to be eating in one day. A serving of Oscar Meyer ham lunchmeat will add another 510 mg of salt to your count and two slices of Nature’s Own Honey wheat bread will win you another 248 milligrams of salt.  A serving from that blue box of Kraft macaroni and cheese will get you 710 grams of sodium, or about 30 percent of what you are supposed to be eatingin one day. A six-inch meatball marinara sub from Subway contains 920 milligrams of salt. Add a small package of Lay’s potato chips and you added 170 milligrams of sodium to your diet. One serving of extra crispy KFC fried chicken cotains a whopping 1,140 milligrams of sodium, which is nealy half of what you should be eating a day. A side of KFC baked beans has more than 2500 milligrams of salt, which is the recommended limit for one day. Because we eat like this Americans consume on average 3,500 milligrams of salt a day, which is 1,000 more milligrams of sodium than is recommended by the vast majority of public health groups. Even if you don’t add salt to your food at the dinner table, if you are like most Americans you are getting 75 percent of your daily intake of sodium from processed foods – all those chips, sauces, canned foods, breads and lunchmeats that we don’t think twice about as we are putting food on the table. For African Americans, hypertension is one of the leading chronic illnesses and is responsible for our high rate of heart disease, stroke, obesity and dementia.  High blood pressure is one of the seven major risk factors for cognitive decline as we age. More than 40 percent of African Americans have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association reports. Not only do we get it in higher numbers than white Americans but we tended to get it earlier in life which gives the disease ample time to jack up your body, your organs and your cognitive abilities. So what is a person to do? First, dramatically cut down on the amount of processed foods you are eating and serving your family. Second, cook your own food and limit the amount of salt you put in it. Use other spices – red pepper, smoky paprika...

read more

Spotlight: Elder Abuse

Posted by on 6:41 pm in News | 0 comments

Spotlight: Elder Abuse

Do you suspect that your parents or grandparents are being taken advantage off? Maybe it’s a contractor who has been pestering them to make expensive repairs. Or a distant cousin who suddenly shows up with promises to help with household, including financial, duties. Or, you notice that your mom or dad has bruises or bedsores at the facility that is supposed to be taking care of them. The US Justice Department has an Elder Justice Initiative to help seniors who have been victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation. Victims can find resources on how to report elder abuse. Simply put in your zip code or the zip code of where the suspected abuse has taken place and get a list of local resources that can help. In addition, the website has other help: Prosecutors on the local, state and federal level can find a robust database of sample pleadings and statues Researchers in the field of elder abuse can access a database containing bibliographic information for thousands of elder abuse and financial exploitation articles and reviews Practitioners can get resources to help prevent elder abuse and to report suspected abuse A June 2015 summary of recent studies provided by the Council on Women and Girls finds that elder abuse is a big problem worldwide. “A serious human rights violation that too often goes ignored, elder abuse can include physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; neglect; and financial exploitation. Global data indicates 4 to 6% of adults over the age of 60 have experienced at least one of these types of abuse in the past month alone—a conservative estimate that amounts to 36 million cases worldwide. In a 2010 study, 1 in 10 community-residing older adults in the United States reported experiencing abuse the previous year.” In the United States, elder abuse affects millions of older Americans although as few as one in 23 cases is reported to authorities, according to the U.S. government. Each day, 10,000 Americans turn 65 and senior citizens are the fasting growing demographic in the country. But as they age, seniors increasingly need help with managing daily tasks and finances from others, including family members and outside support. For some elders, their cry for help will be met with financial exploitation and other forms of abuse. If you suspect ill treatment of your loved one by anyone, take advantage of the resources the Justice Department has pulled together and get help for...

read more

Hey Retiree, It’s Your Student Debt Calling

Posted by on 12:38 pm in News | 0 comments

Hey Retiree, It’s Your Student Debt Calling

Can you imagine being 65 or 70 and still being on the hook for student loans? And your Social Security check being garnished to pay it back? Nightmare, right? In 2013, the federal government garnished more than $150 million in Social Security benefits from Americans who still owed Uncle Sam for student loans borrowed during their working years, according to Government Accountability Office. A report on MarketWatch.com said between 2002 and 2013, the number of senior citizens losing a portion of their Social Security to pay back education ebt soard 500% from 6,000 to 36,000 people. The online financial site estimates that the number is expected to grow as more mature Americans take on loans for their own education — to be more competitive in a changing economy — or for their children. More than 3 million Americans ages 50 to 64 are in default on those student loans, which will put them at risk of having their benefits garnished when they apply for Social Security. MarketWatch detailed the story of Naomia Davis, who despite having Alzheimer’s, is still expected to pay back loans she took out 30 years prior to go back to school for cosmetology. The feds each month takes $134 of her $894 Social Security benefit. Money photo, Dreamstime under the RF-LL...

read more

Why Does Alzheimer’s Disease Impact Women Harder?

Posted by on 4:20 pm in News | 0 comments

Why Does Alzheimer’s Disease Impact Women Harder?

The conventional thinking for many years has been that women are harder hit by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia because they live longer and your risk for the disease increases dramatically after the 85th year. However, now we know that if you live to 65, one in six women will get Alzheimer’s sometime in their life as compared to one in 11 men. Why? The answer is complicated. It could be the drop in estrogen after menopause. Or it could be lifestyle issues such as obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol — chronic illnesses that impact African Americans, especially women, at higher rates. Or it could be a genetic predisposition. Women with the APOE-e4 gene, which puts people at a far greater risk for Alzheimer’s, are twice as likely to come down with the disease than men who have have it; their risk factor only goes up slightly. Unfortunately, the test for this genetic marker falls in the $2,000 to $3,000 range. While expensive, it might be worth it to know if you are at greater risk for Alzheimer’s so you can take steps such as losing weight, getting blood pressure and cholesterol in check; quitting smoking and doubling up on exercises for the brain to help lower that risk. Eating a balanced diet based on the Mediterranean model is also thought to lower risk for Alzheimer’s. Remember, Alzheimer’s can be present in the brain 20 years before symptoms — such as forgetfulness, confusion about time and place, personality and mood swings — show up. Watch this video to learn more about women and Alzheimer’s...

read more

Alzheimer’s disease more common in women

Posted by on 12:33 pm in Nutrition | 0 comments

Nearly two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s disease are women. Dr. Scot Ackerman visits The Morning Show to discuss why it’s less common in men. Source: Alzheimer’s disease more common in women

read more