Weekly ACA’s Weekly Email March 12, 2021

Upcoming Webinars from Alabama Lifespan Respite Resource Network (alabamarespite.org):

  • There is No Distance in Caregiving, March 13, 10 CT
  • Just enough Grace, March 20, 10 CT
  • Caregiving is Not a Life Sentence, March 27, 10 CT

What are they trying to tell me?  Looking at Behavior as Communication, March 16, noon CT  https://www.alzoc.org/event/what-are-they-trying-to-tell-me-looking-at-behavior-as-communication-via-zoom-03-16-2021/

Understanding and Overcoming the Challenges of an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis (Home Instead, Inc., April 1, noon CT)

Zoom Support Groups available online:

Alzheimer’s News:

180 organizations, including Alzheimer’s of Central Alabama, have signed a statement calling for the United States to adopt a national, measurable, time-bound impact prevention goal to reduce the number of people with Alzheimer’s and related dementias.You can read the statement at this link.  It is time to replace despair and disappointment with determination and hope. It is time to show there are steps that our nation can take to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia, delay onset, and promote brain health. And most importantly, it is time to rally Americans to take action.

WAM Founder Maria Shriver and Us Against Alzheimer’s Co-Founder George Vrandenburg explain what the Biden administration can do in the fight against Alzheimer’s in a TIME op-edREAD MORE.  According to the 2 experts, no president has entered the White House with as clear a focus on Alzheimer’s disease as Joe Biden. The commitment and attention on Alzheimer’s at the highest levels of our elected leadership is long overdue. “If we do not find an answer to Alzheimer’s, then in the next 19 years, every single solitary bed that exists in the United States of America now will be occupied by an Alzheimer’s patient,” Biden said at a campaign stop in Florida last fall. The fact is that Alzheimer’s is already our country’s most expensive disease, and continuing to manage it is more costly than developing a cure.

Cognitive dysfunction syndrome affects approximately 28% of 11- to 12-year-old dogs and 68% of dogs aged 15 to 16. It affects 36% of cats aged 11 to 21. Fifty percent of cats aged 15 and older show behavior changes consistent with CDS.  Many vets use the acronym DISHAAL to assess for cognitive dysfunction. DISHAAL stands for disorientation; alterations in interactions with owners, other pets and the environment; sleep-wake cycle disturbances; house soiling; changes in activity; anxiety and learning and memory impairment.  Read more from Next Avenue.  Dementia in Pets: What You Need to Know | Next Avenue

See the Latest Alzheimer’s Facts and Figures: This annual report reveals the burden of Alzheimer’s and dementia on individuals, caregivers, government and the nation’s health care system. READ MORE

A new study from researchers at the Boston University School of Medicine has linked eating more specific plant-based foods and fewer animal products with a lower risk of heart disease and dementia.  While the study does state that eating more plant-based and limiting foods high in saturated fat (and animal products in general) can help support brain and heart health, they specifically call attention to two groups of superfoods in the plant-based sphere: berries and green leafy vegetables.

One of the most uncomfortable situations for caregivers (or care partners) are sudden, angry outbursts by people living with dementia.  Often taken by surprise, care partners are left trying to figure out how to calm and resolve the situation. Without the proper skills and knowledge, this can be a daunting task.  Read more from Teepa Snow’s blog:  How to Calm Angry Outbursts of People Living with Dementia – Positive Approach to Care (teepasnow.com)

Having a major surgical procedure may speed the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or worsen its progression. New research builds on earlier findings showing that the stress and disruption of major illness and hospital stays can take a toll on the brain.  There is even a name for it, “hospital delirium.” It is particularly common in older patients and in those with dementia, who may experience an exacerbation of symptoms such as hallucinations, agitation and aggression.  The stress and anxiety of undergoing medical procedures in a foreign environment, along with disrupted sleep, painful medical procedures, infections and new medications including the anesthetics used for general anesthesia, likely contribute to the onset of hospital delirium. Afterwards, older patients who experience delirium are more likely to be moved to a nursing home or rehabilitation center.  Major Surgery May Accelerate the Slide into Alzheimer’s Disease | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)

12 Best Apps to Keep Your Brain Busy.  The stress provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic and civil unrest has caused many to experience a constant heightened emotional state that compromises executive functioning and contributes to what has been labeled ‘pandemic fog’.  That’s where apps, which might range from solving puzzles to learning new languages, could make a big difference to your day-to-day life. The Apps, which might range from solving puzzles to learning new languages, could make a big difference to your day-to-day life and improve brain function. READ MORE

Being Patient looks at one doctor, whose family has practiced acupuncture for a millennia, who says acupuncture has been an effective go-to therapy for people living with cognitive decline for centuries. Read more about this topic >>

People with dementia are twice as likely to get Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and 4 times more likely to die of the disease than the general population. Those are the findings from a huge analysis of patients during the first six months of the coronavirus pandemic. For the study, researchers at Case Western Reserve University analyzed electronic health records from 61.9 million American adults — or about 20 percent of the U.S. population. The researchers found that people with dementia were much more likely to contract coronavirus, and to get seriously ill or die from it, than those without dementia.  Blacks with dementia were at particularly high risk. They were nearly three times more likely to become infected with coronavirus than whites with dementia. People With Dementia Are More Likely to Get Covid, and to Die From It | Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation (alzinfo.org)

The Humans of Dementia Storytelling Contest is accepting submissions until April 22.   This year’s contest, for high school or college in the U.S. or Canada is focusing on intergenerational storytelling and will accept written and photo submissions featuring individuals currently living with or who have passed away from Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia.