Friday, May 4, 2012
Friday, April 27, 2012
Communicating with someone who has Alzheimer’s
Learning about Alzheimer's, how it progresses and how it is managed is critical to understanding how best to interact and communicate with a person who has Alzheimer's disease. In the process you will learn many tips and strategies for coping with the cognitive and behavioral symptoms of the disease. These symptoms will change as the disease progresses, and you may need to continually adapt strategies in accordance with your loved one's level of function and symptomatic behaviors.
One successful approach to reducing inappropriate behaviors is to communicate within the affected person's frame of reference. Consider how your loved one sees the world and interact with respect for that "reality." It can also be helpful to engage the person in reminiscing about happier times by sharing memories and old photos; interactions that are focused on past times that the person might be able to recall may be less stressful than trying to communicate about current or recent events, which may not be accessible to the person.
What are some tips for communicating better?
Here are some other tips that might be useful in interacting with a person with Alzheimer's:
- Try to anticipate and address needs or concerns proactively.
- Listen and communicate patiently; try to reduce the frustrations the person may feel from not being able to communicate effectively.
- Use memory cues - verbal, visual, auditory - to help the person stay on track during conversations or day-to-day tasks. For example, place clothes prominently in plain sight, in the order in which they should be put on, or visually guide the person during dressing.
- Write notes to the person to remind him/her to do routine tasks, and provide clear, written directions for accomplishing tasks.
A number of specific communication techniques have been shown to be effective in reducing problematic behaviors and improving day-to-day functioning of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias:
- Reality therapy: Interact with the afflicted person within his or her own frame of reference for the world, even if it has little to do with reality.
- Validation therapy: Don't correct or contradict the person's view of reality; rather, encourage and validate it by really listening and asking questions.
- Redirection: Be creative in redirecting conversation without contradicting or denying the person's statements. Use any opportunity possible to try to elicit fond memories or remind the person of tasks or appointments.
- Memory cueing: Use words and visuals to cue old or recent memories. For example, play videotapes of family events; place reminder notes in plain view; color code or number things in the order they should be done.
In later stages of Alzheimer's, aggressive or agitated behaviors may become common and may make it increasingly difficult to care for a loved one at home. Though generally viewed as symptoms of the disease itself, some experts believe that such behaviors may in part be reactions to the actions of people around them. For example, talking too loudly or too fast or contradicting the afflicted person's perceived reality might cause agitation. A growing body of research is showing how certain techniques for communicating and interacting with a person who has Alzheimer's can help reduce disruptive behaviors.
If your loved one is agitated or disruptive, examine how your own actions may be influencing that person's behavior. Try to determine if something you have done (or have not done) might be triggering an agitated response and change that behavior in subsequent situations. Certain social situations, such as a holiday reunion of family with noise, kids, pets, etc., may trigger agitation. In such instances, it may be helpful to remove the person to a quiet area away from large groups of people until they calm down.
10 warning signs of Alzheimer's:
|Memory loss that disrupts daily life|
| One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own. |
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.
|Challenges in planning or solving problems|
| Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.|
What's a typical age-related change? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.
|Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure|
People with Alzheimer's often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What's a typical age-related change? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a
|Confusion with time or place|
| People with Alzheimer's can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there. |
What's a typical age-related change? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.
|Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships|
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
What's a typical age-related change? Vision changes related to
|New problems with words in speaking or writing|
People with Alzheimer's may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes having trouble finding the right word.
|Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps|
A person with Alzheimer's disease may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
What's a typical age-related change? Misplacing things from time to time, such as a pair of glasses or the remote control.
|Decreased or poor judgment|
| People with Alzheimer's may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean. |
What's a typical age-related change? Making a bad decision once in a while.
|Withdrawal from work or social activities|
| A person with Alzheimer's may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced. |
What's a typical age-related change? Sometimes feeling weary of work, family and social obligations.
|Changes in mood and personality|
| The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends or in places where they are out of their comfort zone. |
What's a typical age-related change? Developing very specific ways of doing things and becoming irritable when a routine is disrupted.
Copyright © 2009 Alzheimer's Association®. All rights reserved.
Signs of Alzheimer's
Typical age-related changes
|Poor judgment and decision making||Making a bad decision once in a while|
|Inability to manage a budget||Missing a monthly payment|
|Losing track of the date or the season||Forgetting which day it is and remembering later|
|Difficulty having a conversation||Sometimes forgetting which word to use|
|Misplacing things and being unable to retrace steps to find them||Losing things from time to time|
10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's in yourself or someone you know, don't ignore them. Schedule an appointment with your doctor.
Get the maximum benefit from available treatments – You can explore treatments that may provide some relief of symptoms and help you maintain a level of independence longer. You may also increase your chances of participating in clinical drug trials that help advance research.
With early detection, you can:
Learn more about treatments.
Learn more about clinical studies.
Have more time to plan for the future – A diagnosis of Alzheimer's allows you to take part in decisions about care, transportation, living options, financial and legal matters. You can also participate in building the right care team and social support network.
Learn more about planning ahead.
Help for you and your loved ones – Care and support services are available, making it easier for you and your family to live the best life possible with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Learn how the Alzheimer's Association helps families.
- Researchers seek paths to earlier diagnosis
Information on the scientific studies researchers are pursuing to earlier diagnosis
- Video: Alzheimer’s Association Chief Medical and Scientific Office Dr. William Thies discusses the benefits of early detection
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When you see your doctor
"It took my mother having a stress-related heart attack before we quit dismissing my father's progressing dementia to 'senior moments' and got him a proper diagnosis of Alzheimer's. Had we paid attention to the warning signs of this disease, a lot of prevention could have been in place."-Brent
- Neurologist – specializes in diseases of the brain and nervous system
- Psychiatrist – specializes in disorders that affect mood or the way the mind works
- Psychologist – has special training in testing memory and other mental functions
- Geriatrician – specializes in the care of older adults and Alzheimer's disease
For your doctor’s visit, 10 Warning Signs ChecklistDownload our free 10 Warning Signs Checklist and list any concerns you have. Take this sheet with you to the doctor.
A PETITION FOR A STRONG NATIONAL ALZHEIMER'S PLANFamilies Facing Alzheimer's Disease Can't Wait
We, the undersigned, call on the President to issue a strong National Alzheimer's Plan to help the millions of Americans now affected by Alzheimer's disease, and the many millions more at risk.
Alzheimer's won't wait.
Today, more than 5 million Americans are facing the challenges of Alzheimer's. This number could rise to 16 million by 2050 if we do not act.
Right now, nearly 15 million Americans serve as caregivers, and this is projected to soar to 45 million in that same timeframe.
The cost of inaction is too high. Alzheimer's will cost the nation $183 billion this year. This will rise to $1 trillion by 2050, bankrupting families and our health care system.
Alzheimer's is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the only one among the top 10 without a way to cure, prevent or even slow its progression.
We urge the President to take the next bold step forward in the fight against Alzheimer's, fulfilling the promise of the National Alzheimer's Project Act passed unanimously by Congress more than a year ago. Now is the time to create a world without Alzheimer's.
Families won't forget.
Friday, March 16, 2012
What is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is also called manic depression, it is a mental illness that is characterized by severe mood swing, repeated episodes of depression, and at least one episode of mania. Bipolar disorder is a kind of mood disorder that afflicts more than 1% of adult in the United States, up to as many as 4 million people. Here are some additional statistics about Bipolar disorder : A) Bipolar disorder is the fifth leading cause of disability worldwide. B) Bipolar disorder is the ninth leading cause of years lost to death or disability worldwide. C) the number of individuals with Bipolar disorder who commit suicide is 60 times higher that of the general population. D) People with bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of also suffering from substance abuse and other mental health problems. E) Males may develop bipolar disorder earlier in life compared to females. F) Black are sometimes diagnosed more often with Bipolar disorder compared to whites. This disease was conceptualized by Emil Kraeplin more than 100 years ago at which time he described it as manic-depressive insanity. ( source, MedicineNet.com)
In order to qualify for the diagnosis of Bipolar disorder a person must experience at least one manic episode. Symptoms of mania must last at least a week ( unless it is a mixed episode) and include : A) elevated, expansive, or irritable mood. B) racing thoughts. C) pressured speech ( rapid, excessive speech) D) decreased need for sleep. E) grandiose beliefs ( for example, feeling like one has super powers or superlative talents or faults.) F) tangential speech (repeatedly changing topics to topics that are hardly related.) G) increased goal directed activity. H) impulsive and poor judgment.
Symptoms of the manic episodes of early onset bipolar disorder tend to include outbursts of anger and rage, as well as irritability, as opposed to the expansive, excessively elevated mood seen in adult. The adolescent with bipolar disorder is more likely to exhibit depression and mixed episodes, with rapid changes in mood. Despite, differences in the symptoms of bipolar disorder in children and adolescents compared to adults many who are diagnosed with certain kinds of bipolar disorder before adulthood continue to have those symptoms as adults.
Saturday, February 11, 2012
Alzheimer is a type of dementia that causes memory problems, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily task. Many people have trouble with memory, this does not mean they have Alzheimer’s. there are many different causes of memory loss. Majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older, however it’s not just a desease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the desease have early onset Alzheimer’s, which often appears when someone is in their 40’s and 50’s.
Dementia: general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. It is not a specific desease, it’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms…