The National Parkinson’s Foundation has invested millions of dollars in research to help improve the lives of those with Parkinson’s disease. One focus of the foundation’s research is an international study, the Parkinson’s Outcomes Project, designed to investigate the efficacy of various treatments for Parkinson’s patients and improve care. With more than 8,000 participants across the world, this long-term study is the largest undertaking to date in Parkinson’s research history.
Though most people think of
Parkinson’s as a mobility disorder, the study has shown that depression and
anxiety are the No. 1 factors that most impact the overall health of
Parkinson’s patients. About half of Parkinson’s patients experience
depression at some point after diagnosis. Depression appears to be more common
in Parkinson’s patients than in those with other chronic diseases.
detected and under-treated in this population, having significant negative impacts on overall well-being. The loss of control of facial muscles associated with Parkinson’s makes the face rigid (masked facial expression) and thus difficult to read—our facial expressions are one of the key indications of mood.
In addition, Parkinson’s and depression share some symptoms. As a result, the National Parkinson’s Foundation suggests that doctors screen Parkinson’s patients for depression at least annually. These initial findings also highlight the importance of addressing both the physical and mental well-being of individuals with a holistic approach to care.
Our caregivers provide assistance at any stage of Parkinson’s—helping those with the disease accomplish tasks to function as independently as possible. Our care management team also provides emotional support for the patient and family members and helps individuals stay as active as possible through exercise and regular recreation.
for an aging parent is a complex task, but when dementia is part of the
picture, it becomes even more difficult. Cognitive
and behavioral changes
may occur unpredictably, and parents may resist
care. If you are the caregiver for a loved one who suffers from dementia, the
most important thing is to first understand the disease.
Although Alzheimer’s disease is just one type of dementia, it is the one with the most pronounced stages. Becoming familiar with these stages will help you identify the behaviors your loved one is exhibiting, learn how to address them, and update his or her primary care physician. The National Institutes on Aging defines the three stages of Alzheimer’s disease as:
Mild:The disease begins with memory loss and small changes in personality. The person may forget recent events, the names of familiar people or things and may no longer be able to balance a checkbook. Those with Alzheimer’s slowly lose the ability to plan and organize and may have trouble making a grocery list or finding items in the store.
Moderate:In this stage memory loss and confusion become more obvious. People have more trouble following instructions and may need help getting dressed. They have trouble recognizing friends and family members. They may not know where they are or what day or year it is. They may lack judgment, begin to wander and become restless. In the moderate stages people may make threats, accuse others of stealing, curse, kick, hit, bite, scream or grab things.
Severe (late stage):This is the last stage of Alzheimer’s before death. People often need help with all their daily needs, may not be able to walk or sit up without help. They may not be able to talk and often cannot recognize family members. They may have trouble swallowing and refuse to eat.
Caring for someone with dementia is much more intense than caring for an older adult with other health issues. You can care for the physical needs of your loved one by closely coordinating care with his or her physician. Just as important is the ability to remain a caregiver for the long term. That requires a clear understanding of the role and strategies designed to protect the well-being of you and your family.
1. Caregiving demands will increase over time.As the disease progresses so will the needs of your loved one. By the advanced stages, caregiving will become a full-time job. Knowing this will help you to plan your work/life schedule in a realistic manner and seek help with caregiving responsibilities.
2. Dementia caregiving requires special skills.Caring for someone with dementia may not come naturally. It isn’t intuitive. In fact, sometimes the logical thing to do is the wrong thing. For example, insisting that they eat may be the wrong thing if they have developed swallowing or chewing difficulties. Learn about the disease and its treatment. Consult with your loved one’s physician and ask advice for caregiving.
3: Talk with your family and children about caregiving.Be honest. Children are very intuitive. They will know that their grandparent, aunt or uncle are changing and that their behavior is odd. Explain the disease and that loving the senior loved one is most important. Engage them and empower them to be part of the caregiving process. Younger children may read to the senior or help with chores. The family will be less stressed when the situation is discussed openly.
4. Have regular family meetings.Sit down on a regular basis to talk about how caregiving is impacting the family as a whole. Talk about the impact of the senior’s condition on the family and address stress points and difficulties. Meet with a therapist or case manager if that will help to solve grievances.
5. Pay attention to family needs.Caring for someone with dementia can quickly be the focus of attention for the household. Young children and spouses may feel excluded and left behind. Take time to schedule activities for just the family by asking a family member or professional caregiver to stay with your loved one. Encourage the caregiver to bring special activities so it also is a fun evening at home for your loved one.
Do you care for a parent with dementia? Have you found strategies that work for you and your family? If so, we would like to hear from you. Senior care is a special community. By sharing information, we can help one another to provide meaningful care.
The United States Preventive
Services Task Force recommends that postmenopausal women stop taking
supplemental calcium and vitamin D because there is very little evidence
to support the theory that taking these supplements prevents fractures
in healthy women. Additionally, researchers have found that calcium
supplements can cause heart damage.
While calcium was once
believed to help protect the cardiovascular system, studies conducted at
the University of Auckland found that taking vitamin D and calcium
supplements raised the likelihood of having a heart attack by more than
50 percent. The researcher reanalyzed the data and found that women were
at a 24 percent higher risk of a heart attack when taking calcium with
or without vitamin D.
Before you throw your loved
one’s vitamin D and calcium supplements away, researchers at the Fred
Hutchinson Cancer Research Center say that they found no such
correlation during their seven-year study.
While this one may take
a while for researchers to figure out, one thing is known for sure.
Eating a diet that is high in calcium stops bone loss and may help heart
health. The best choice for calcium continues to be a glass of vitamin
D-fortified milk. Other choices that are high in calcium include yogurt
and calcium-fortified tofu. Some vegetables are also very high in
calcium including kale, collard greens, Brussels sprouts and spinach.
Additionally, some fruits are high in calcium including oranges,
tangerines and dried apricots, which is why Hinsdale elder care providers recommend them for the seniors they care for.
Researchers have agreed for a
long time that the best way to get vitamin D is to go outside for a few
minutes each day. So, take that walk that you have been putting off and
encourage your senior loved one to join you. The body absorbs vitamin D
from the sun, so the best time to go is when the sun is at its highest.
People will need to decide for themselves whether or not they choose to continue taking their supplements, but living a healthy lifestyle is a choice that everyone can make. Help your senior loved one enjoy a balanced lifestyle with help from Home Care Assistance of Chicago. Our highly trained caregivers incorporate the Balanced Care Method (BCM) to help seniors adopt healthy lifestyle choices that consist of nutritious diet, daily exercise and active social lives. BCM is our proprietary care method based on studies centered on the longevity and vitality of seniors in Okinawa, Japan. Call (847) 906-3991 today to learn more about BCM and how it benefits our clients.
There is no doubt that Hinsdale Alzheimer’s caregivers
hope for a miracle cure for the loved ones they care for.
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Biogen announced recently that their
Aducanumab drug might help reduce the amount of amyloid plaque that
clumps together in the brains of those diagnosed with this debilitating
cognitive disease. Before caregivers consult a local doctor about this
medication, be aware that it will be many years before it is available
While the results from this latest drug look promising, Hinsdale dementia
caregivers must remember that the testing phase is still early.
Although participants who took the drug for 12 months showed no signs of
plaque in their brains upon completion of the study, medical experts
warn families that they have been down this road before with other
Alzheimer’s drugs. Major firms such as Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Johnson
& Johnson and Pfizer have all made announcements similar to the one
made by Brogen. Later testing, however, did not show that their early
results were correct.
One of the largest problems faced by
this new drug is that it can cause the person’s brain to swell leading
to even more debilitating problems. The Federal Drug Administration will
never approve a medicine until these safety concerns are addressed and
Furthermore, Biogen also has internal
problems that may hurt the development of this drug. Their Chief
Executive Officer is leaving the company. Their multiple sclerosis
research unit has to cut back on research due to lack of funds.
Unfortunately, while many in the media heralded Aducanumab as a major
breakthrough, investors in the stock market hardly even noticed which
might hurt funding even more.
Before families become too discouraged, however, this is great news that someone is still working on Alzheimer’s research. The disease affects 5.4 million Americans, and that number is likely to rise as America continues to age. With further testing and other adjustments, it’s possible that Aducanumab may revolutionize Alzheimer’s treatment in the near future.
In the meantime, seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are not without hope. Home Care Assistance of Chicago provides flexible Alzheimer’s and dementia home care Hinsdale, IL, families rely on to help seniors age in place with dignity. Call us today at (847) 906-3991 to learn how our compassionate caregivers boost our client’s cognitive and physical wellbeing.
One of the best parts of the holiday season is decorating, which is why Hinsdale, IL, in-home care providers recommend making something with seniors this year. There are so many crafty Thanksgiving centerpieces that you can make with your loved one. Making them together encourages your loved one to be part of the festive atmosphere and you will both enjoy the bonding time. The following centerpiece ideas were carefully chosen based on ease and cost.
There are so many different miniature gourds at stores this time of year. They also happen to make the perfect tea candleholders. Start by measuring the candle and drawing that size circle on top of the gourd. Then, use a sharp knife to cut off the top of the gourd. Use a spoon to dig out the inside of the gourd just like you would a pumpkin. Then, insert your candle. If the gourd is too tall, then stick some paper in the bottom and sit your candle on top of the paper.
Pumpkin Flower Vase
Seniors and their live-in or part-time Hinsdale caregivers can easily make a pumpkin flower vase to serve as a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Start by cutting the top off the pumpkin and hollowing out the inside. Then, stick fresh flowers in the hole. The moisture from your pumpkin will keep the flowers fresh for a long time.
Miniature Pumpkin Tree
A pumpkin tree can be a wonderful centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table. Start with a hurricane vase. Place a stick that has several strong branches inside the vase. Now, fill the vase with popcorn. Alternatively, fill it with birdseed and let the birds have their own feast when you are done. Now, take some fishing string and tie to the top of several miniature pumpkins and tie them to the branches.
Helping your senior loved one make centerpieces this Thanksgiving allows them to be creative and form lasting memories while bonding with you. Research shows that when a person is mentally active and exercise creativity, they do not experience as many health problems. Learn more about activities to do with your loved one this holiday season by calling Home Care Assistance at (847) 906-3991. We provide Alzheimer’s, dementia and Hinsdale, IL, post-stroke care seniors need to manage daily activities and enjoy a more comfortable quality of life. Call today to schedule a complimentary in-home consultation.
Just two days after losing her husband, Miss Norma, a 90-year-old Michigan native, was told that she had a mass in her uterus that was likely cancer. After the doctor carefully explained her options, the 101-pound woman looked the young doctor in the eye and told him that she was hitting the road. Below is her story that has captivated and inspired both seniors and their at-home Hinsdale, IL, caregivers.
Accompanied by her son and daughter-in-law, the woman spent the last 14 months of her life traveling on an amazing cross-country road trip. In fact, she traveled more than 13,000 miles before she finally passed away in early October. The trio parked the RV in 75 different locations in 32 different states. Everywhere they went, Miss Norma’s faithful dog Ringo went too.
During that time, she got to do many things that she had only dreamed of before including riding in a hot air balloon and on a horse. The woman was a special guest on numerous television shows and watched her first NBA game in person as a special guest of the Atlanta Hawks. Along with the big things, she also experienced many little things like getting her first pedicure and eating her first slice of key lime pie. She even was made the honorary grand marshal in a parade when the town did not even know she was coming.
The end came peacefully in Harbor Freight, Washington, just two months after the trio arrived. Her memorial service was held there and a tree planted in the city park in her memory.
Over 482,000 people followed the journey on Facebook where her frequent updates often included an inspirational quote, such as this one from Jacob Nordly, “We wait, starving for moments of high magic to inspire us, but life is a bouquet of common enchantments waiting for our alchemist’s eyes to notice. “ It was her sincere hope that her journey would encourage seniors to openly discuss end-of-life plans with their families and live-in home caregivers in Hinsdale.
Talk to the professionals at Hinsdale, Illinois, Home Care Assistance when you call (847) 906-3991 today. We will customize a unique care plan for your loved one based on his or her individual needs to promote physical and emotional wellbeing in the comfort of home. Schedule a complimentary consultation with a trusted Care Manager today.