ACA’s Weekly Email December 18, 2020

Happy Holidays from Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama!

There will not be a Dementia Community Calendar emailed out next week due to Christmas.  Look for us in your inbox on Wednesday, December 30.     

ACA’s 2021 calendar of Alzheimer’s Art is available for purchase.  The calendars are $10 and make wonderful holiday gifts.  See the details at www.alzca.org/calendar/

Zoom Support Groups available online:

Alzheimer’s News:

Renee Harmon offers a blog with suggestions on how to navigate the intersection of dementia, the holidays, and the virus.
https://www.reneeharmon.com/2020/12/16/alzheimers-christmas-and-covid/

With the holiday season in full swing, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is providing tips on how families affected by Alzheimer’s disease can adapt holiday gatherings to make them safe and dementia-friendly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alzheimer’s Foundation of America | Staying Safe and Joyful: Tips for a Dementia-Friendly Holiday Celebration from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (alzfdn.org)

Read the latest from the WordPress blog of Daniel C. Potts, MD, FAAN – Neurologist, Advocate, Thoughts on the Spiritual in Dementia Care.  “The older I become, the more I see dementia care as a spiritual endeavor. Primarily, this is because, in the majority of cases, the people whom I have observed to be living well either as persons diagnosed with dementia or care partners of those with dementia rely heavily on the spiritual for their sustenance and well-being”.  https://danielcpotts.wordpress.com/2020/12/13/thoughts-on-the-spiritual-in-dementia-care/

This year, due to the pandemic, many of us will not be able to gather with family members for the holidays as we typically do. When our loved one is living with dementia and we aren’t able to be with them, finding a way to connect can feel especially challenging. Teepa Snow and Positive Approach to Care® offers suggestions for connecting when you can’t be together in person.

https://mailchi.mp/teepasnow/blog-4-vital-activity-categories-for-people-living-with-dementia-2637750?e=a9ed45b7c9

Daily Caring offers tips to make holiday activities dementia-friendly, help family members know what to say and do, and keep seniors feeling calm and secure, and more.
Keep reading for 5 tips to make holidays more enjoyable for seniors with dementia and less stressful for you »

By signing on with 23andMe or AncestryDNA for a saliva test that may cost as little as $99, consumers can easily discover for themselves whether they are carriers genes that spike their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease during their lifetimes. What many don’t anticipate is the extent to which such a discovery can change their lives.Read 5 stories from the Being Patient community about navigating life with ‘the Alzheimer’s gene,’ with or without an Alzheimer’s diagnosis.” Read some of them here, or share your own. >>

Doctors commonly prescribe drugs to treat agitation, aggression, apathy and other behavioral symptoms that accompany the disease. According to a new report nearly three quarters of people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia are on medications that were not specifically designed to treat their illness.  Among these drugs are antipsychotics, antidepressants, anxiety medicines, seizure medications and pain-relieving opioids.  These drugs act on the brain and nervous system, but they were not designed to treat dementia specifically, nor were they often tested for that indication, and there is little proof that they provide benefits for those with dementia-related behavioral problems. Furthermore, they may lead to potentially serious physical problems and worsen memory and thinking skills.

Three Fourths of Alzheimer’s Patients Are on Risky Medications | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)

“I got the message that I needed to do whatever I could to change my attitude about my Mom. There were many reasons to do this – the most important of which was the fact that I was losing her. She was being stolen from me very quickly.  Before it was too late, I needed to make up for lost time.”  Read Susanne White’s article, “What Happens When We Listen”.  She offers some perspective to comfort, encourage, and guide caregivers and care partners in the moment, as well as over the course of this global pandemic. Read more here.

Being Patient explains why reminiscing is important. There are different methods of memory storage that people living with Alzheimer’s may have trouble forming and storing short-term memories, but can recall certain older memories with ease.  Read about why, here. >>

Watch the NIA’s four-minute video, How Alzheimer’s Changes the Brain, which shows how Alzheimer’s affects the brain and looks at promising ideas to treat and prevent the disease.  how Alzheimer’s disease changes the brain

Explore strategies to help kids understand Alzheimer’s disease on NIA’s website.

AFA’s Teens for Alzheimer’s Awareness College Scholarship Essay Contest is an annual competition for college-bound high school seniors.  Applicants are asked to write a 1,200 to 1,500-word essay that describes the impact of Alzheimer’s disease on themselves, their families or their communities, and what they have learned in light of coping with the brain disorder. The grand prize winner receives $5,000, with additional prizes awarded for runners up. 2021 Essay Submission Deadline: Monday, February 15, 2021. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America | <AFA’s Teen Scholarship Essay Contest> (alzfdn.org)