Posts Tagged "alzheimer disease"

Dementia or Normal Aging?

Posted by on Mar 1, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Worried about an elderly person’s behaviour change? How do you distinguish between normal memory changes that occur with aging – and the more serious possibility of dementia, such as Alzheimer Disease?  A few things to watch for: Forgetting things – including peoples’ names and events – is more common as we grow older. But forgetfulness together with confusion could be a warning sign of more serious problems. And forgetting names of family members or familiar places is not an expected change. Here are some other warning signs: Doing or saying the same things repeatedly Difficulty making simple everyday decisions or completing everyday tasks Appearing restless and agitated Withdrawing and doing nothing for extended periods of time Also, look for personality or behaviour change, such as someone suddenly becoming stubborn and uncooperative (as opposed to displaying a longtime character trait). Talking to oneself – for company, or as a long-standing habit – may not be a concern, but noticeably nonsensical monologues could be your tip-off that something’s wrong. If you are worried, seek medical help. Underlying medical conditions can cause these types of changes – and treatment can be effective. For more information, visit http://www.alzheimer.ca   Vol.2, No.1; © ElderWise 2006 You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s “go to” age-smart planning.  Visit us at www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE e-newsletter....

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Dementia, Depression or Delirium?

Posted by on Jan 18, 2011 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Three of the most common mental health problems experienced by the elderly start with the letter D: dementia, depression, and delirium. Their symptoms may, at times, appear similar. Comparing the conditions and highlighting the differences can alert you to when medical help may be needed. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer Disease. Incidence increases with advancing age. It is not curable.  Depression affects about 10% of the general population, can occur at any age, and affects both men and women. Incidence is higher when other medical conditions are present. Delirium is often unrecognized and therefore not treated. To read the complete article in PDF format, open the attachment below. Dementia Depression Delirium...

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Alzheimer Disease: Early Diagnosis

Posted by on Sep 8, 2010 in Health Signals | 0 comments

Alzheimer Disease is the most common form of dementia, or cognitive impairment. According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, 290,000 Canadians over 65 have the disease. More than half of Canadians know someone with the disease and almost one in four have someone with the disease in their family. International researchers have made progress in developing diagnostic tools; however, prevention and treatment remain elusive.  A few years ago excitement grew when it appeared that newly developed drugs might slow the progress of Alzheimer Disease. Many were encouraged when their family member returned to more independent functioning, and became more social again. However, these improvements turned out to be temporary. Eventually, the disease continued to progress. Still, early diagnosis is helpful to both individuals and families. Individuals have the opportunity to express future wishes about care, and treatment options. They can write important documents such as power of attorney and personal health care directives. The family can learn more about the disease, and prepare for the physical, emotional, and social changes that will occur as the disease progresses.  In terms of treatment, individuals can enroll in programs to help retain mental functioning for as long as possible. For more information on dementia and Alzheimer Disease, visit  www.alzheimer.ca   Vol.3, No.1  © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada’s fo-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com and subscribe to our...

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Aging and Memory Loss.

Posted by on Sep 7, 2010 in Health Signals | 0 comments

A group of senior women share comments on the changes they experience as they grow older.  One says:  “I’m tired of others saying that I’m ‘losing it’ “. Another wonders whether she should be alarmed about her “senior moments.” A third reads from a newspaper article: “Memory changes can cause unfounded fears.” Research shows that the human brain functions well even into advanced age.  Normal changes of aging might affect some aspects of memory and processing information, but people can make simple changes in behaviour to adapt and to stay sharp. Some changes do occur in the structure and function of the brain. Actual brain size may shrink and blood flow may be reduced. By age 40, many people report difficulty doing more than one thing at a time or having to search for a word. They might have to work a bit harder to remember “to-do’s” – or to recall people’s names. But these common changes DO NOT signal impending dementia (or Alzheimer Disease). Using new technology, such as neuron-imaging, as well as new and increasingly sensitive psychological tests, researchers have refuted the notion that aging people go into a general mental decline. Instead, they are finding that diverse brain functions decline at very different rates and that these losses vary widely among individuals. Psychologists are finding that older people are not suffering from “memory overload”.  Rather, the changes seemed to be linked to difficulty in encoding and retrieving information.  Distractions and slower processing may interfere with recalling names or dates.  However, even with these changes, most  older adults are still quite efficient at acquiring new information and storing it in long-term memory.  These findings suggest that, as we age, subtle changes in memory are not a sign of impending mental collapse. Reducing our anxiety around “senior moments” in and of itself can help the brain work more efficiently.  It’s also a good idea not to put added pressure on yourself by saying, “but I used to do three things at once and remember everything!” Here are a few things you can do for yourself: Relax: anxiety makes your memory worse Organize: always put glasses, gloves, and keys in the same place Adapt: it’s OK to write to-do list.  Limit distraction, especially when you are trying to recall or to memorize  Challenge yourself: embark on activities that stimulate the brain (e.g., crossword puzzles) Get creative: use memory helpers such as mnemonics or visualization Stay physically active. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain. Learn something new: take a course, volunteer, play a musical instrument Learn more about memory changes at these online sources: Is it Alzheimer Disease?  www.alzheimer.ca Brain Gain: Mental Exercise makes elderly minds more fit http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=9CB7CDCF-E7F2-99DF-3EE815B432D41E98   Vol. 3, No. 22 © ElderWise Inc. 2007. You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO article, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement: Originally published by ElderWise, Canada’s go-to place for “age-smart” planning. Visit us at http://elderwise.memwebs.com/ and subscribe to our FREE...

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