May is Women’s Health Month, which is a reminder of a startling statistic: two-thirds or 66% of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women. In fact, women in their 60s are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than breast cancer. Women are also 65% more likely to be caregivers to those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
WAM webinar, June 9, 11 am CT. Learn about the powerful gut-brain connection and how what you eat might affect anxiety and mood, increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease, and more. You & Your Brain: The Gut-Brain Connection (yourbrain2022.com)
Glow for a Cure, July 29, Highland Golf Course. Mark your calendar for ACA’s Jr. Board nighttime golf.
In-person and zoom Support Groups:
- ACA’s group with Miller & Vance, Tuesday, May 24, 11 – noon CT. Call (205) 871-7970 or email@example.com. Join us on zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/86450491838
- Pell City group, first Thursdays of the month at 6:30; and the third Tuesdays of the month at 6:30. Contact Bit Thomaston, firstname.lastname@example.org
- CJFS CARES, Mondays at 3 pm, contact Pam Leonard, email@example.com.
- Founders Place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Tuesday’s at 10 am, contact Susan Logan, firstname.lastname@example.org
- West Alabama Area Agency on Aging, Caregiver Support Group, Tuesdays, contact Nikki Poe, email@example.com.
- The Oaks on Parkwood, 4th Tuesday’s, 10:00 am, Contact: Karen Glover, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- CJFS CARES, Tuesdays, 7:00 pm, contact Pam Leonard, email@example.com.
- United Way Area Agency on Aging of Jefferson County, 3rd Tuesday of each month 11:30-12:30, contact Valarie Lawson, firstname.lastname@example.org
- M4A, 2nd Thursday’s, noon – 1 pm. Contact Crystal Whitehead, email@example.com
- M4A, 3rd Wednesday’s 2:00 – 3:00 pm. Contact Crystal Whitehead, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Asbury United Methodist Church1st and 3rd Thursdays at 1:00, contact Maggie Dunaway at email@example.com.
May Webinars from Alabama Lifespan Respite: https://alabamarespite.org/events2/
Aphasia is the loss of access to language due to brain damage, most commonly following stroke but also caused by traumatic brain injury, tumors, or a type of dementia called primary progressive aphasia. It is a frustrating and isolating condition, derailing conversations and impacting relationships with family and friends. ‘I Know That You Know:’ 5 Ways To Help People With Aphasia Communicate – Being Patient
Aside from the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, a person with the disease may experience other medical problems over time. These problems can cause more confusion and behavior changes. If you are caring for a person with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to watch for signs of illness and tell the doctor about what you see. A few common medical problems and signs of each are:
- Dehydration: dry mouth, dizziness, hallucinations, rapid heart rate
- Flu and pneumonia: fever, chills, aches and pains, vomiting
- Incontinence: problems emptying the bladder, leaking urine, soiled underwear and bed sheets.
Learn more about all five common medical problems and the signs of each
Valerie Boyd shared some great advice with her support group at Canterbury United Methodist Church: Remember how we always say DARE, Don’t Argue, Reason or Explain? Well, here’s another one. It is called: CARES:
C- Connect with your loved one. Look them in the eyes. Give them a compliment, hug them, touch them, make them laugh…. find a way to connect with them and to trust you and make them smile or laugh. They feel your energy.
A-Assess the situation and their behavior- Ask yourself, what is my loved one feeling? What are they feeling that they cannot express? Pay attention to their expressions, body language, tone of voice…
R-Respond Appropriately- try and find the best approach based on their behavior, are they frustrated? What are they feeling? Just BE with them in their frustration and help them feel validated in whatever they are feeling? Are they upset but don’t know how to tell you why? Be where THEY are. BE their advocate. Go into their world and make them feel like they matter and that you are with them no matter what.
E-Evaluate what works- Look and see what you are doing that works, what soothes them, what is helping the situation based off your reactions? Remember, they can’t help what they are doing, they can’t process like we do, so see what is working and stick to that.
S-Share with others. Share with anyone else that is on your care team and who is involved in ANY way to care for your loved one. Know and share what makes them happy, what makes them smile and laugh.
Alzheimer’s caregivers have a 50% risk of developing depression, higher than the risk of depression in caregivers for people with cancer or other chronic disorders. But a new study suggests that a novel psychological therapy called mentalizing imagery therapy, or MIT, may provide unique benefits for caregivers of someone with Alzheimer’s disease. The program taught caregivers mindfulness meditation and guided imagery techniques that changed the brain, leading to lower levels of depression and anxiety and boosting caregivers’ sense of well-being. Mindfulness Techniques May Help Ward Off Depression in Caregivers | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)
People living with Alzheimer’s and their loved ones face unthinkable challenges every day, including some very tough choices. Award-winning writer Amy Bloom shares her story in the latest installment of BrainStorm. In this first of a two-part series, Bloom joins host Meryl Comer to discuss the unimaginable choice following her husband’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Bloom sheds light on her husband’s journey and their decision to end his life. Listen to UsAgainstAlzheimer’s podcast for people interested in brain health: Author Amy Bloom – “In Love: A Memoir of Love and Loss” | UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (usagainstalzheimers.org)
Fascinating research is now being done by the Alzheimer Gut Microbiome Project in collaboration with 10 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers and three major diet and lifestyle modification clinical trials. At-home fecal and blood collection kits from more than 3,000 racially diverse participants are being analyzed to help researchers understand gut microbiome changes across the stages of Alzheimer’s disease. The project is also exploring lifestyle and diet impacts on Alzheimer’s disease–related cognitive outcomes and gathering new evidence on the gut-brain axis of communication. Gut-Brain Connection – What It Is and How It Works (prevention.com)
Researchers have shared the first images of alpha-synuclein in the living human brain — a major step toward measuring the onset and progression of Parkinson’s. Visualizing alpha-synuclein — the “Parkinson’s protein” — in the brain will lead to a better understanding of what’s happening before symptoms appear and as the disease progresses. This is a potential game-changer for testing and developing better drugs. Breaking News: Critical Advance Announced in Imaging the Living Parkinson’s Brain | Parkinson’s Disease (michaeljfox.org)
Americans can order free at-home COVID-19 tests from the federal government again. The U.S. Postal Service will deliver 8 rapid antigen tests to any household in the U.S. for free. That means a total of 16 tests have been offered per household so far. To order tests visit: COVIDTests.gov.