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Alzheimers and Dementia

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Samantha Andersen

on 15 March 2014

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Transcript of Alzheimers and Dementia

Alzheimer's Disease
most common form of dementia
not a normal part of aging
most are 65 and older
approximately 5% experience early onset
between 2.6 and 5.1 million Americans
$100 billion estimated annual cost
memory loss
challenges in planning or solving problems
difficulty completing familiar tasks
trouble understanding visual or spacial
problems speaking or writing
misplacing things/losing ability to retrace steps
decreased or poor judgement
changes in mood and personality
cause of death in 1 in 3 seniors
6th leading cause of death in the U.S.
5.2 million Americans with the disease in 2013
15.4 million caregivers
15% are long-distance caregivers
2013 national cost $203 billion
$1.2 trillion by 2050
family history
risk genes
deterministic genes
amyloid precursor protein
presenilin-1 (PS-1)
presenilin-2 (PS-2)
Samantha Andersen
Cathy Beasley
FAM 653

There is no known cure for Alzheimer's disease.
There are 5 FDA approved medications, called cholinesterase inhibitors, that help with memory loss.
Side effects include nausea, headache and possible liver damage.
only effective in about half of patients
only effective for about 2 years
Alternative Treatments
While not scientifically proven, some people claim that these natural remedies work as memory enhancers
coconut oil
coral calcium
gingko biloba
omega-3 fatty acids
soybased foods
A word of caution
"Because Alzheimer’s disease is so devastating, some people are tempted by untried or unproven 'cures.' Check with your doctor before trying pills or any other treatment or supplement that promises to prevent Alzheimer’s. These 'treatments' might be unsafe, a waste of money, or both. They might even interfere with other medical treatments that have been prescribed".

(NIA, 2012)
So far, studies have not been able to scientifically prove that any method can completely prevent Alzheimer’s disease. However, recent research has shown some possible associations between certain lifestyle characteristics and lowering the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Anti-inflammatory Diet
whole grains
fresh fruits
green leafy vegetables
(Weil, 2005)
Foods to Avoid
saturated fats
refined sugars
processed foods
simple carbohydrates
Some animal studies have actually shown these types of foods to be associated with poor memory (NIA, 2012)
Exercise increases blood flow to the brain.
Exercise increases brain connectivity.
Alzheimer's patients who exercise regularly have lower rates of depression.
Activities should be age appropriate.
Care should be taken to avoid head injuries.
(NIA, 2012; Vital et al., 2012; www.alz.org)
Brain Activities
It is important to keep the brain active by participating regularly in mentally stimulating activities, such as:
learning a new language
taking a class
playing challenging games
doing word and number puzzles
(NIA, 2012; Alladi et al., 2013; Cohen, 2005)
Social Interaction
Social interaction can also contribute to cognitive health in old age.
Close personal relationships, emotional support and cultural activities all have a protective effect against memory loss.
Activities that combine physical exercise, mental activity and social interaction, provide the best results for fighting dementia .
Family Dynamics
There are often relationship changes and new roles and responsibilities for people with Alzheimer's and their family members. The following topics are some of the most common changes and new responsibilities for the family system when an Alzheimer's diagnosis is given.

80 % of Alzheimer's care is provided by unpaid caregivers, usually family members.
Caregiver burden (CB) is "a multidimensional response to physical, psychological, social and financial stressors associated with the caregiving experience" .
Alzheimer's patients whose caregivers experience CB often suffer from weight loss, poor quality of life, and earlier nursing home placement .
CB can be lessened by social support, sharing care giving responsibilities (allowing for breaks), self-nurturing, receiving specialized training, and focusing on the positive aspects of the relationship.
decreased marital satisfaction for caretaking spouses
decline in sexual relationship
strain on adult children in the sandwich generation
This video clip shows one man's perspective on the some of the relationship difficulties of dealing with Alzheimer's in a marriage (www.alz.org).
Alzheimer's and dementia care cost approximately $203 billion in 2013
$34 billion in out of pocket expenses
Loss of income for caregivers
Early financial planning
Alzheimer's patients are vulnerable to financial fraud
(Alzheimer's Association, 2013a; www.alz.org; www.nia.nih.org)
(Alzheimer's Association, 2013a; Bilotta et al., 2010)
(Davies et al., 2012; Harris et al, 2011; Conde-Sala et al., 2010; Keene & Prokos, 2007)
Safety Concerns
60% of Alzheimer's patients will be prone to wandering or getting lost
create a daily routine
ensure basic needs are met
avoid going to busy or confusing places
place locks out of sight
install a system that will signal when a door is opened
provide supervision
keep car keys out of sight
ask neighbors to notify someone if they see the person outside
keep a recent photo and medical information handy
keep a list of places that the person might be likely to go
provide the person with identification jewelry
Safety Concerns
Home Safety

Alzheimer's disease can alter behavior, and impair physical abilities, senses, and judgment. Home safety becomes a major concern for family members.
remove or hide hazardous items
maintain smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
have a working fire extinguisher
keep medications in a locked cabinet
remove tripping hazards
set water heater to 120 degrees to prevent burns
Safety Concerns
Elder Abuse
People with Alzheimer's disease are particularly vulnerable to abuse, including physical, emotional, and sexual abuse and neglect. To protect their loved ones family members should be aware of these warning signs:
unexplained bruising or other injuries
sudden withdrawal from normal activities
bed sores
poor hygiene
weight loss
unexplained aggression or emotional changes
caregiver burden
Legal Issues
Family members will often be responsible for helping the person with Alzheimer's to get organized before the cognitive impairment progresses too far. Some items to consider are:
power of attorney for finances and health care decisions
creating or updating a will or living trust
creating a living will to clarify health care and end of life preferences
This video illustrates the importance of planning ahead for legal matters.
Overcoming Stigma
Finding a cure

Alzheimer's disease is an illness that is often misunderstood and comes with a certain social stigma. Many people suffering from Alzheimer's struggle to overcome these stereotypes and increase awareness about the realities of their disease.
"If we're going to find a cure, and we’re going to get the research and support that we need behind us, we need to have people coming out and not be ashamed of their diagnosis" - Joan U, Alzheimer's patient
This video clip gives a very personal view of the challenges that many Alzheimer's patients face in overcoming the stigma that is associated with Alzheimer's disease.
Overcoming Stigma (cont.)
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet, 2010, p. 1-2
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet, 2010, p. 1-2
Alzheimer's & Dementia, 2013, v. 9, issue 2
Alzheimer's Disease Fact Sheet, 2010, p. 1-2
www.alz.org, 2013
sense of loss
www.alz.org, 2013
Change in number of deaths from 2000-2010
Race/Ethnicity of People 65 and older with Alzheimer's Disease and other demetias
mild cognitive impairment
Full transcript