Holiday Hints for Alzheimer's Caregivers

Holidays can be meaningful, enriching times for both the person with Alzheimer’s disease and his or her family. Maintaining or adapting family rituals and traditions helps all family members feel a sense of belonging and family identity. For a person with Alzheimer’s, this link with a familiar past is reassuring.

However, when celebrations, special events, or holidays include many people, this can cause confusion and anxiety for a person with Alzheimer’s. He or she may find some situations easier and more pleasurable than others. The tips below can help you and the person with Alzheimer’s visit and reconnect with family, friends, and neighbors during holidays. 


Alzheimer's Is Much More Than Just One Disease, Says New Research

Classifying diseases is much more than a label we slap onto a set of symptoms. It can also help shape the way we perceive and even treat certain conditions.

A new study has called for a new approach to classify patients with Alzheimer’s, arguing it’s not simply one disease and instead can be divided into at least six factions. By splitting up the condition into more subgroups, the researchers hope that medical professionals will be able to deliver better, more personalized treatments for people whose condition doesn't necessarily fit into a one-size-fits-all category.


Contrasting Approaches to Planning for Long-Term Care Needs

In last week’s post, I highlighted a recent article that discussed the advice that caregivers of a family member who has Alzheimer’s disease would share with others who are newly embarking on this labor of love. Much of the advice centered around the emotional and financial challenges that caregiving can present and the need to prioritize self-care.

Coincidentally, a family friend sent me an email last week updating me on her own family’s experiences with caring for her widowed mother-in-law (“Grandma,” as they call her), who suffers from dementia, and I asked her if I might share some of her insights with our blog readers.


Stop Competing for Caregiving Control

Laura had heard the cliché about the primary caregiver of an aging parent who is ignored by neglectful siblings. She just sometimes wished it were true for her. In the excitable and opinionated family of seven in which she grew up, everyone needed to have their say on everything. Little wonder, then, that her siblings now constantly questioned whatever decisions she made for their 88-year-old Italian American mother. Whether it was scheduling medical appointments or home health aides, no caregiving choice appeared too insignificant for them to debate with her and each other. She didn’t begrudge them the right to speak their minds; this was their mother, too. But she grew defensive and weary with the frequent arguments.


Alzheimer's Q&A: What are some gift suggestions for people with Alzheimer's or dementia and their caregivers?

The gift of time is always perfect for someone with Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

People going through this journey appreciate companionship and socialization because they feel isolated most of the time. Some examples of activities include taking them on a car ride, giving a soothing hand massage with scented lotions, involving them in holiday decorating and cooking or looking at photo albums together.


Cold Weather Is Treacherous When You Have Alzheimer’s: 5 Ways to Keep Loved Ones Safe

Do you face an onslaught of snow and ice each winter — or just chilly (or downright cold) temperatures? Wherever you live, if you care for someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you’ll need to help them safely weather those months.

“People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are especially vulnerable to cold weather risks,” says Christine Nelson, BSN, MSN, a geriatric nurse specialist.


How to make your home dementia friendly

A dementia diagnosis is life changing, but it doesn’t mean that you have to up sticks and change everything. Instead, making your loved one’s home dementia friendly will ensure that they can remain as independent as possible, helping with the everyday tasks, as even making a cup of tea can be dauting.

Here are a few tips on how to make your loved one’s home comfortable to create the highest quality of life whilst on their dementia journey.


End-of-Life Care: ER Doctor Answers Our Questions

Emergency-room doctor Kevin Haselhorst had an epiphany while he tried valiantly to save an elderly man who’d been through one-too-many traumas. His book, “Wishes To Die For: A Caregiver’s Guide to Advance Care Directives,” was the first step toward a new advocacy. Dr. Haselhorst continues to work toward helping people understand the importance of healthcare directives and the ability to make their own decisions about end-of-life care. Curious about more of Dr. Haselhorst’s views, the Candid Caregiver contacted him through email for the following interview.


10 Things People With Dementia Wish Their Caregivers Knew

People living with dementia are the only ones who really understand what it’s like to live with their form of the disease, whether it’s Alzheimer’s or another type such as frontotemporal (FTD) or Lewy body (LBD). Sadly, the ability to communicate becomes compromised by dementia. That being said, care partners can, if we take time to search out the meaning behind their words or actions, continue to improve the care provided. Here are some tips that can help you.


A Search For New Ways To Pay For Drugs That Cost A Mint

Researchers expect that three dozen new drugs will come on the market over the next few years with astronomical prices — some likely topping a million dollars per patient.

The drugmaker Novartis has told investors it might be able to charge $4 million to $5 million for one of its potential products, a treatment for a rare disease called spinal muscular atrophy.

Hundreds more ultra-expensive therapies are under development. They could drive up the cost of medicine and health insurance for everyone. So researchers have started to develop strategies to address that coming price shock.


Alzheimer's Disease and the Microbiome

There are more than ten times as many bacteria and other microorganisms in our bodies as there are human cells. Bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms reside within the digestive tract, primarily within the intestines, and play a fundamental role in digestive and immune health.

The microorganisms are primarily ‘good bacteria’ and maintain a symbiotic relationship with the host. A balanced diet and active lifestyle can promote and maintain the number of ‘good bacteria’ in the gut. However, these colonies may become compromised by ‘bad bacteria’ leading to an imbalance in the gut flora (“dysbiosis”) that can lead to many health problems ranging from inflammation to colorectal cancer.