Happy 4th of July!
Join ACA for a webinar Alzheimer’s Update with Marissa Natelson- Love, MD,
Associate Professor of Neurology, Thursday, July 6 at 11 am. Marissa Natelson Love, MD, is an Associate Professor of Neurology, Co-Director Research Education Core of the UAB Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. She has 10 years of experience in clinical care and research programs for people with dementia and related disorders. Register here: Webinar Registration – Zoom
There are 2 ways to support ACA’s Lindy Harrell Pre-Doctoral Scholars in Alzheimer’s research:
- Join ACA for our 11th annual Glow for a Cure night golf tournament, July 28, Highland Park Golf Course, Birmingham. Team registration is almost full, but you can purchase a Spectator Ticket and join us for dinner. Our Pre-Doctoral Scholars will be on hand to tell us about their research. https://alzca.org/glow/
- ACA will be raffling a $1,000 Amazon gift card at the golf tournament. Chances are $25 or 5 for $100. You don’t have to be present to win. https://alzca.org/glow-for-a-cure-amazon-gift-card-raffle/
Support Group Meetings:
- ACA’s support group with Miller & Vance, Tuesday, July 11, 11 – noon CT. Call (205) 871-7970 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Join us on zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86450491838
- CJFS CARES, Mondays at 3 pm, contact Pam Leonard, email@example.com.
- St Lukes Episcopal Church on Tuesdays at 10:15. Contact Betsy Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Janis Cole (email@example.com).
- West Alabama Area Agency on Aging, Caregiver Support Group, Tuesdays, contact Nikki Poe, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Oaks on Parkwood, 4th Tuesday’s, 10:00 am, Contact: Karen Glover, email@example.com.
- CJFS CARES, Tuesdays, 7:00 pm, contact Pam Leonard, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- United Way Area Agency on Aging of Jefferson County, 3rd Tuesday of each month 11:30-12:30, contact Valarie Lawson, email@example.com
- Leeds, 1st Tuesday, 6:30 pm. Contact Julie Slagle firstname.lastname@example.org
- Pell City, 2nd Tuesday, 2:30 pm. Contact Julie Slagle, email@example.com
- M4A virtual support group, 3rd Wednesday’s 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Contact Chalane Mims, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Asbury United Methodist Church 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 1:00, contact Maggie Dunaway at email@example.com.
- The Church at Chelsea Park, Wilsonville 1st Thursday of the month. Contact Brooklyn White, firstname.lastname@example.org
July Webinars from Alabama Lifespan Respite: https://alabamarespite.org/events2/
Fireworks, parades, and backyard gatherings are all Independence Day traditions, but they can also create unique challenges for families and friends affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
- Don’t take your loved one to live fireworks displays: Fireworks and loud explosions can agitate someone living with dementia. They can also be triggering if the person is also a war veteran and thinks they are hearing gunshots or bombs. Consider keeping the person in a quiet, indoor area at times when they might hear fireworks.
- Do have a plan prepared. The noise and explosions of nearby fireworks can cause anxiety, fear, or agitation for someone living with dementia, even if your loved one is indoors. Prepare the person in advance by sharing that there may be loud noises. Air conditioners, white noise machines, and other soothing background sounds can help maintain calm even if fireworks are going off nearby. Play familiar, favorite or soothing music. Have favorite items/objects on hand (i.e., blanket, article of clothing, etc.) to provide additional comfort.
- Don’t involve the person in large gatherings: Large crowds can be overwhelming and disorienting for someone living with dementia, so if you’re planning a gathering, keep it small. Consider providing name tags for everyone to help cue your loved one.
- Do be festive and creative: Create patriotic decorations with your loved one: try playing or singing familiar patriotic music, baking 4th of July themed desserts, or compiling a family album with pictures of past Independence Day memories. These festive July 4th activities have the added benefit of being cognitively stimulating, and help your loved one express themselves creatively.
Triple-digit temperatures and heat indexes are especially dangerous for someone with a dementia-related illness such as Alzheimer’s disease, because the effects of dementia can impair their ability to notice if they are developing heat stroke or dehydration.
- Watch out for wandering. Wandering is a common and potentially dangerous behavior for individuals with dementia, as they can get lost or become disoriented, and not know how or who to call for help. It’s even more dangerous in extreme heat conditions, where heat stroke (a serious elevation in body temperature that is sparked by exposure to extreme environmental heat or a mixture of heat and humidity) can develop in minutes. There are many reasons why someone with dementia wants to go outdoors. Being outside may provide a feeling of purposefulness or satisfaction; be a response to excessive stimuli, be triggered by the need to get away from noises and people; or is a response to an unmet need (i.e., hunger, thirst, boredom). Reduce the chances of wandering by identifying consistent and sustainable ways to support these experiences in a safe environment: create walking paths around the home with visual cues and stimulating objects, engage the person in simple tasks, or offer engaging activities (i.e., music, crafts, games). Ensuring basic needs are met can also reduce the chances of wandering. Keep a recent photo and medical information on hand, as well as information about familiar destinations that are currently, or formerly, frequented, that can be shared with emergency responders if the person wanders. This will expedite search and rescue efforts.
- Monitor the person’s fluid intake. Alzheimer’s disease can affect a person’s ability to know when they are thirsty, thus making it critically important for caregivers to monitor fluid intake and encourage them to drink frequently. Avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages, as these drinks may contribute to dehydration.
- Observe the person for heat stroke warning signs. Dementia-related illnesses can make it harder for a person to detect temperature changes, putting them at greater risk for heat stroke. Watch for warning signs such as excessive sweating, exhaustion, hot, dry, or red skin, muscle cramps, rapid pulse, headaches, dizziness, nausea, or sudden changes in mental status. If the person is exhibiting these warning signs, such actions as resting in an air-conditioned room, removing clothing, applying cold compresses, and drinking fluids can all help cool the body. If the person faints, exhibits excessive confusion or is unconscious, call 911 immediately.
- Know where to cool down. Many municipalities will open up air conditioned “cooling centers” so that people who do not have air conditioning can go cool down. These centers can include senior centers, libraries, community centers and other municipal/public buildings. If your person does not have air conditioning, find out if there are cooling centers are nearby.
- Plan ahead. Blackouts and other power failures can sometimes occur during heat waves. Make sure that cell phones, tablets, and other electrical devices are fully charged. Flashlights should be easily accessible in case of a power failure. Have the emergency contact numbers for local utility providers, as well as the police and fire departments, readily accessible.
- Have a long-distance plan if necessary. If you don’t live near your loved one, arrange for someone nearby to check on them. Inform this contact person about emergency contacts, and where important medical information, such as an insurance card, is kept. Make sure your loved one has plenty of water, and has access to air conditioning or other cooling mechanisms.
Cool products to stay cool: 6 Affordable Products Help Seniors Stay Cool in Hot Weather – DailyCaring
Unsurprisingly, the impact of alcohol on overall brain function can play into dementia risk. In fact, the Lancet updated its dementia prevention review in 2020 to add three new modifiable risk factors of dementia: air pollution, traumatic brain injury, and excessive alcohol consumption. Researchers found that consuming more than 21 units of alcoholic drinks per week increases dementia risk by 17%. If you’re looking to enjoy some social time with libations without increasing your risk of dementia and other cognitive issues, less than 21 units of alcohol per week seems to be the magic number and is equivalent to:
- 12 (330ml) bottles of beer or hard cider.
- 9 (440ml) cans of beer or hard cider.
- 7 pints of beer or hard cider with a higher ABV (over 5.5%).
- 10 standard-size glasses of red, white, or rosé wine.
- 7 large glasses of red, white, or rosé wine.
Dr. Shehroo Pudumjee is a clinical psychologist specializing in neuropsychology at Cleveland Clinic. She joined the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement to give a crash course in what the brain does, how it works, and what causes Alzheimer’s disease and how you may be able to prevent it.
The MIND diet, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, takes two proven diets – DASH and Mediterranean – and zeroes in on the foods in each that specifically improve brain health to potentially lower your risk of mental decline. The MIND diet includes eating healthful mainstays – such as leafy greens, nuts and berries – to lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. The MIND diet was developed by the late Martha Clare Morris, a nutritional epidemiologist at Rush University Medical Center, through a study funded by the National Institute on Aging. The study found the MIND diet lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35% in people who followed it moderately well and up to 53% for those who adhered to it rigorously. The MIND Diet: 2023 Guide for Alzheimer’s & Brain Health |U.S. News Best Diets (usnews.com)
Walking several times a week may help to keep memory sharp as we age, even if we don’t start exercising until later in life, according to a new report. The study found that people in their 70s and 80s who started a walking exercise program performed better on cognitive tests and developed stronger connections between areas of the brain critical for memory and thinking skills. What Walking May Do for Your Brain | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)