About Alzheimers

AFA’s National Memory Screening Program provides free, confidential memory screenings–administered by qualified healthcare professionals–to individuals across the country.

A memory screening is a simple and safe “healthy brain check-up” that tests memory and other thinking skills. The memory screening is a series of questions and/or tasks that takes approximately 10 minutes to complete and can indicate if someone might benefit from a comprehensive medical evaluation. It is not used to diagnose any particular illness and does not replace consultation with a physician or other clinician.

  • Memory screenings are a significant first step toward finding out if a person may have a memory problem. Memory problems could be caused by a number of medical conditions, including vitamin deficiencies, thyroid issues, and depression, as well as dementia-related illnesses including Alzheimer’s.

  • Some memory problems–such as those caused by vitamin deficiencies or thyroid problems– can be readily treated. Other memory problems might result from causes that are not currently reversible, such as Alzheimer’s disease. In general, the earlier the diagnosis, the easier it is to treat one of these conditions.

  • Early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) may afford a person the opportunity to take advantage of treatments that may slow the changes in memory and thinking skills or participate in a clinical trial.

Early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can improve one’s quality of life. Individuals with Alzheimer’s disease can learn more about the disease, including available and emerging medical treatments; get counseling and other social services support in their community; address legal, financial and other planning issues; and have more of a say in decision-making. Caregivers and other family members can take advantage of community services, such as support groups, which can help them feel better–physically and emotionally. They can discuss treatment, future care and other issues with their loved ones, rather than having to make decisions on their own.

It is very important to identify the disease or problem that is causing memory loss. That is why a person should follow up for a complete checkup with a qualified healthcare professional.

AFA has screening sites throughout the country which provide free, confidential memory screenings. Additionally, many physicians perform memory screenings.  Memory screenings are covered by Medicare as part of the Medicare Wellness Program, and are often covered by insurance companies as well.  Check with your doctor for more information.

To learn more about our professional at home services for seniors experiencing memory loss, click here.

Alzheimer’s information courtesy of the Alzheimer’s Association.

For Alzheimer’s screening information, contact your doctor.

Here are three ways you can make sure your body can stay in motion for a long time to come:

  1. Stretch every day

Simple stretching can increase your range of motion and decrease pain in conditions like rotator cuff tendinopathy. The great thing about stretching is that you can do it anywhere, and it only takes a few seconds to a few minutes.

There are three types of basic stretches. You can choose to focus on increasing flexibility or you can work on mobility, too.

 

Static stretching — You probably learned this style in middle school. (Think standing toe touch and thigh stretch.) Static stretching increases flexibility by putting light tension on a muscle and holding the position for 30-60 seconds. Be sure not to bounce. It's best to warm up first before attempting this type of stretch.

 

Isometric stretching — In this type of stretching, you get into a static stretch position, then gently contract the stretched muscle. Keep the length of the muscle and the angle of the joint steady. Hold for 10-15 seconds then relax your muscle for about 20 seconds or more, then repeat. Isometric stretching increases strength and flexibility.

 

Dynamic stretching — When you roll your neck, do walking lunges or arm windmills, you're doing dynamic stretching. A dynamic stretch takes a specific movement and allows the joints and muscles to move through their full range of motion.

Dynamic stretching is controlled and smooth. It's a great way to warm up before exercising and helps increase range of motion.

 

When beginning a stretching routine, remember to take it slow. Stretching too quickly and too far can trigger your body's defense mechanisms to protect itself from tearing joints and muscles. Stretch just until you feel tension. If you feel pain, you've gone too far.

 

2. Discover foam roller self-massage.

They cost as little as $10 and come in many lengths and densities. A foam roller is an easy and convenient way to release tension in muscles and connective tissue, which helps increase flexibility and improve mobility.

For beginners, a medium foam roller may be most comfortable.

3. Use your body's natural movement

Using your body's natural movements can increase your mobility, stability and balance. Plus, it adds a little playfulness into your day. One example of a "natural movement" activity is crawling. Getting down on all fours strengthens and mobilizes just about every muscle and joint in your body. Climbing, carrying, throwing and catching (safely and gently, of course) are other ways to keep yourself supple.

 

However you choose to move, remember to breathe freely, start slow, be gentle, and don't bounce.

 

Perhaps most important: Find stretches and other activities you actually like to do that fit into your daily routine. That's the best way to guarantee you'll stick with a more flexible way of life.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

How to Strengthen Brain Power as You Age

"I completely forgot what I was saying. I'm really getting bad."

It's scary to think our forgetfulness is a symptom of approaching dementia. Thankfully, cognitive decline is a normal part of aging that doesn't necessarily foreshadow mental collapse. If you'd like to strengthen your brain power, follow these important steps:

1. Stay curious - and cautious. Research shows that seniors who approach potential scam calls as potential scams are on track for mental acuity far into their golden years. It's when seniors assume every call is legitimate that they get into trouble. Not only that, but research shows that seniors preferring not to know about how to identify scams is a common characteristic of those who are on the road to significant cognitive decline.

2. Be careful about self-medicating with alcohol.
From "A Well-Aged Mind" by the NIH:

Alcohol poses risks for the older brain. It can take less alcohol to alter judgment, coordination, balance, or sleep patterns in an older adult. Older adults may change their drinking habits to cope with the death of a partner or other loved one, or because they’re lonely.But drinking can also be part of social activities for older adults, explains Dr. Edith Sullivan, an alcohol researcher at Stanford University.

 

“Older adults might feel that ‘well, I’m old now, it’s OK for me to drink,” Sullivan says. But older brains and bodies are especially vulnerable to the effects of alcohol, she adds.

 

A recent study by Sullivan and her team used brain imaging to see how alcohol affects the brain. They found that older adults who misused alcohol had greater loss of brain tissue compared with their peers who didn’t drink.

The good news, she explains, is that some problems with thinking or memory caused by medications or alcohol misuse can be reversed. “That’s different from classical dementia, which is a one-way street of decline,” says Sullivan.


3. Be careful about prescribed medications, too. Even if you're not suffering from alcohol abuse, you can still suffer dangerous repercussions from medication errors due to physicians being unaware of what all you're taking. Make sure to keep a detailed list of all your meds, and give it to any physician who treats you. Both your brain and your doctor will thank you!

4. Focus on your strengths. Older adults have a great deal of wisdom that younger generations lack. According to NIH aging expert Marie Bernard, "Older adults have greater verbal ability than younger adults. They’re better problem solvers. And accumulated experiences are very helpful."

While it can be tempting to bemoan the younger generations' lack of respect or interest in your experiences, remember that life is relationships. Gaining the right to speak comes with time, so now's the time to get involved in multi-age activities where you can build relationships with those who need your stories. Volunteering at libraries, afterschool programs, and similar activities in your neighborhood on a regular basis are all ways to gain access to younger ears who need your strong brain. And as you see the need, you'll be inspired to strengthen your brain!

For Cura for Care services, click here.

​To learn more from the NIH about brain health, click here.

Talking with Your Doctor

You only have 18 seconds - that's the average time a doctor waits before interrupting a patient. As a patient, it is important you are able to obtain, communicate, process, and understand basic health information. 

Be prepared for your visit:

  • Make a list of concerns in order of their importance to you.

  • Write down all of your medications, vitamins, and supplements.

  • Note all health and life changes since your last visit.

 

For Cura for Care services, click here.

To learn more from the NIH about talking with your doctor, click here.

Ten Tips for Aging: A Refresher!

We have all heard and read about the things we need to do to stay happy, healthy and active as we age.  Here’s a great list to remind us, from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, U.S. News & World Report’s #1 Ranked Hospital.

Maintain Your Brain

Never stop learning and challenging your mind! Take dance lessons, learn a new language, attend lectures at a local university, learn to play a musical instrument, or read a book.

 

Take Charge of Your Health

You are your own best advocate. Bring a list of your current prescription and non-prescription medications, including supplements; keep a list of your health concerns; and, ask questions!

 

Reduce Stress

Long-term stress can cause memory loss, fatigue, and decreased ability to fight off and recover from infection. Take care of yourself when you are stressed by getting enough sleep, exercising, and eating nutritious foods.

From getting enough sleep to cultivating relationships, from eating nutrition-rich foods to living an active life, these are all reminders that healthy aging is attainable.

Learn More!

For Cura for Care services, click here.

For more from Dartmouth-Hitchcock, click here.

The Connection Between Menopause and Alzheimers

New research has uncovered links between menopause and Alzheimer's in women. According to Lisa Mosconi, a researcher who's devoted her entire career since she was 20 to exploring and obliterating Alzheimer's Disease, hormonal factors play a huge role in brain health.

Mosconi has written extensively about how women can prevent onset of Alzheimer's, digging deep into issues like hormone replacement therapy and how "false" estrogens derived from pesticides and plastics can do more harm than good.

Included in her research is an attempt to educate younger women on behavioral steps they can take to protect their brains throughout premenopause, perimenopause, menopause, and post-menopause using natural hormone-producing sources. She says, "Many foods naturally boost estrogen production, including soy, flax seeds, chickpeas, garlic and fruit like apricots.

 

"Women in particular also need antioxidant nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E, found in berries, citrus fruits, almonds, raw cacao, Brazil nuts and many leafy green vegetables."

Mosconi advocates a heightened interest in women's brain health. "Perhaps in the next decade it will become the norm for middle-aged women to receive preventive testing and treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, just as they get mammograms today."

To read more of her research, click here.

Enjoy Independence Day Safely

Are you planning a 4th of July event that includes senior family members and friends? Remember a few tips to keep things comfortable for everyone:

1. "Bring your own chair" event? Make sure to have an extra handy, especially one that's not too low to rise from easily.

2. Dehydration is always an issue for seniors in the summer. Make sure cold water is readily available, as well as adequate shade.

3. Always plan for the unexpected, making sure there's a clean restroom nearby as well as having emergency preparations in place.

4. Consider moving the celebration to your loved one's residence. Board games, movies, charades, or even stories of long ago with photo album marathons are great ways to enjoy a special day without mosquitoes and sunburn.

5. If your loved one lives in a retirement community or assisted living center, make sure you check on dietary requirements as you plan the menu.

Beating Bursitis

Almost everyone has joint pain at some point in life. It can flair up suddenly. Or it can start off mild and get worse over time.

A common cause of joint pain is bursitis. Bursitis happens when a bursa in a joint becomes inflamed.  A bursa is a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between bones and other moving parts, such as muscles, tendons, or skin. They keep joints such as your shoulders, knees, and elbows working smoothly. But they can be hurt by sudden or repetitive forces. 

 Bursitis often flairs up because of another injury, explains Dr. Jeffrey Katz, a joint specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard University. When an injury causes someone to move their joint differently than normal, it can irritate a bursa. 

 

“For example, if you have a foot injury, it can change the way you walk. Maybe you don’t even notice it, but you limp a little,” Katz says. “And that changes the way that forces from muscles and tendons pull on the bones. That subtle change can give rise to some inflammation in the bursa.”

 

Bursitis can also be caused by putting pressure on a joint for too long, such as kneeling or leaning on your elbows. Activities that require repetitive motions or place stress on your joints—such as carpentry, gardening, playing a musical instrument, or playing a sport—can sometimes trigger bursitis. Rarely, a bursa may become inflamed due to an infection.

 

Fortunately, treatment for most simple cases of joint pain is similar no matter what’s causing it, Katz adds. This may include rest, over-the-counter drugs that suppress inflammation, and gentle stretching and strengthening exercises.

 

Physical therapy may help if bursitis has reduced your ability to move your joint or if it results in muscle weakness. If your bursitis is due to an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Bursitis and other causes of joint pain can be prevented by paying attention to how you move and perform daily activities. preventing bursitis.

 

Bursitis is more likely to occur the older you get. To help prevent bursitis as you age, try to stay as active as possible, Katz says. “The best way to stay out of trouble with these joint injuries is to try to stay flexible and strong,” he concludes.

Home Modifications Matter

Falls are the most common cause of injury and death among seniors, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In fact, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) projects falls will kill 40,000 seniors and cost $60 billion in 2020.

Secondly, at-home care providers could soon be reimbursed for certain home modifications. For example, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced Medicare Advantage (MA) plans would have permission to cover an expanded set of supplemental benefits in 2020.

Cura home care offers a safe home assessment as part of the initial care assessment and we have helped clients make affordable improvements to their home and ensure their continued safety.

For a no-cost, no-obligation safe home assessment, click here.

To read more about how your home can be improved according to these new guidelines, read the full article by Bailey Bryant here.

What's Fact and What's Fiction?

According to the experts at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, you might be surprised at their findings.

A healthy diet looks the same for everyone: FICTION!

 

“Genetic differences can mean that diets affect people differently," says dietitian Cary Kreutzer, USC Leonard Davis associate professor and director of the Master of Science in Nutrition, Healthspan and Longevity program.

Our genetic makeup affects and influences how we metabolize food. And because we metabolize substances at different rates, this can affect what we eat, drink and even the vitamins we take. And this is why a healthy diet for one person might not be the right diet for their spouse or loved one.


Learn more about the rest of the findings from the USC School of Gerontology by visiting them here.

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