Does a Good Night Sleep Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Senior Couple Sleeping In Bed

 

New studies are suggesting that quality sleep can be a big factor in helping to “detoxify” a healthy brain, and keep the development Alzheimer’s in seniors at bay. The obligations of daily living for adults can make it difficult to get the proper amount of rest advised by sleep doctors—a full 8 hours. However, getting a full night’s rest may offer more than just beauty sleep, but also healthy brain sleep to prevent Alzheimer’s in seniors later in life.

 

Research conducted at the University of Berkeley has shown that disturbed sleep and insufficient amounts of sleep may be contributors to the development of Alzheimer’s disease in seniors. By using brain scans on seniors with and without Alzheimer’s, University scientists determined that a lack of sleep caused a build up of what they call “garbage proteins” in the brain that directly affect the quality of mental cognition.

 

Understanding that Alzheimer’s disease was a well-known cause of disturbed sleep, these Berkeley researches set out to determine if the opposite proved true as well—can bad sleep cause Alzheimer’s? Scientists noticed a mysterious toxic protein forming in the brains of seniors with habits for poor sleep. Normally, our body uses sleep to metabolize this pesky protein until it evaporates, ceasing to be a threat. However, when sleep is not allowed to do its job, this toxic protein phenomenon may accumulate over time and do damage to a healthy mind. In other words, when ignoring our need for sleep by trying to be productive, we are inadvertently leaving a mess inside our own minds.

 

When the brains in animals were evaluated before human testing began, similar connections were discovered with sleep deprivation and mental cognition. This garbage protein was found to accumulate in the brains of mice as well, causing their brains to shrink and decay, like Alzheimer’s does to a human mind.

 

These findings are not completely conclusive, and further study is required, however, in understanding the mechanisms and proteins involved in this terrible memory loss disease, we may be one step closer to curing it soon. While it is tempting to ignore your human need for rest in order to fit in more work or recreation into your day, keep in mind that sleep is just as vital to your health as a good diet or exercise. Do your best to hit the pillow early, because a good night sleep may prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

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Adult Care

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While Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are still in their earliest stages in seniors, you may find your senior loved one can still function and perform daily tasks independently. Seniors at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may still effectively socialize, carry out their jobs, and drive. This is the stage where your duties of adult care for your affected senior are the least demanding. But it is no less tragic to know that worse phases of the illness are yet to come, and to watch your aging parent’s behavior and trademark personality slowly change as their mental health deteriorates.

 

Alzheimer’s is a very frustrating disease because it is currently unpreventable and incapable of being slowed or stopped in affected seniors. The best thing you as their caregiver can do is to educate yourself as much as possible about their dementia, so that you can know what to expect and how to handle eventual troubling symptoms as they arise in later stages of the disease.

 

“Early stage” Alzheimer’s is characterized by mild obstruction to a senior’s thinking and learning abilities but can still actively participate in conversation and activities, with a few hiccups perhaps. Alzheimer can often go undetected for a while during the early stages, as elders may conscious enough simply dismiss weak symptoms as “brain farts” or having “a senior moment.” The beginning phase of Alzheimer’s disease may last a few years before worsening to more noticeable and tragic effects.

 

Life After An Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

 

Once you get confirmation from a doctor that a senior loved one has Alzheimer’s disease, your approach to caring for them may be more of a partnership than extensive caregiving duties. You may be helping them remember where they were in the story they were telling, or reminding them to take their medication, without having to heavily involve yourself in every aspect of their daily routine.

 

Being able to go slow at the early stages of disease gives you a grace period where you can work with your aging parent, spouse, or extended family on planning for the long-term care strategy for a senior in later stages of the disease when the effects of the disease worsen. Not every family is in a position to provide the extensive amount of caregiving, monitoring, and medical attention that an advanced Alzheimer’s senior needs. Careers and education can be obstacles keeping an adult child from providing 24/7 round-the-clock care for a senior. Working with your aging parent in the early stages gives you ample preparation time to plan and get family finances in order for arranging the best-fitting senior care coverage.

 

Ways You Can Be Helpful In Early Alzheimer’s Stages

 

As we mentioned before, a senior at the beginning of their struggle with Alzheimer’s may only need some light assistance with daily tasks and obligations. Ways you can be a help to a senior with dementia may include:

  • Keeping track of medicines and reminding when to take them
  • Helping to manage their money or pay bills
  • Assisting with organizing events or outings
  • Finding misplaced items around the house
  • Keeping track of important phone numbers for them

 

Your Caregiving Attitude For Early Stage Alzheimer’s

 

Keeping a positive and encouraging attitude for a senior during early stage Alzheimer’s  is key to their peace of mind and reducing their stress during this rough time. You will have to muster up a greater degree of patience and slow pacing for activities than you are used to when handling a senior loved one’s affairs. As a caregiver, it is important that you remain supportive and do not make them feel like a burden. Then again, if you do not feel you are capable of providing the extent of care they need, and do view your new duties as a burden, it may be best to consider placing your senior in the professional hands of a memory care facility.

 

Not everyone is cut out for caregiving, and if you feel you are not capable of doing it with a loving and sincere attitude, it may be better to leave it to skilled nurses who have made a career out of it. Letting guilt make your decision to be a caregiver against your will can lead to an atmosphere of resentment in a home, which is not healthy for anyone in this rough time.

 

Frustration and stress can be avoided by preparing as soon as possible, and not putting off planning for senior care until it suddenly becomes imperative. Evaluating your options for the best care is not a good decision to rush. It takes time and research to get it right. Ask your doctor any questions you have about how Alzheimer’s disease may affect specific aspects of your family’s unique lifestyle, and make the needed adjustments for a smooth caregiving environment with all the family working together as a team.

 

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What is Alzheimers

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What is Alzheimers, What Are Alzheimer’s Hallucinations? 

 

When a senior has Alzheimer’s hallucinations, that senior may see, hear, feel, smell, taste things that aren’t really there. Sometimes hallucinations terrorize a senior with cognitive disorders, other times hallucinations just confuse or mislead them. Often times, dementia-induced hallucinations take the form of visions of people, images, or objects from a senior’s past.

 

Hallucinations are caused by Alzheimer’s disease as it slowly deteriorates and alters a healthy brain. False perceptions brought on by hallucinations usually don’t develop until the later stages of Alzheimer’s disease in seniors. When you suspect that a senior loved on in your care is having hallucinations, it is important to arrange a doctor’s visit for evaluation to be sure that hallucinations have not been brought on by other possible causes. Other ailments that could potentially bring on hallucinations in seniors include Schizophrenia, dehydration, alcohol abuse, and complications with medicine dosages.

 

How to Treat Hallucinations

 

Scheduling a medical evaluation can determine what stage of the disease a senior is in, and what may be the best medical treatment for an Alzheimer’s senior at that point. Usually, the initial treatment involves a non-drug approach, such as vitamins or diet change. But when these methods fail to alleviate cognition impairment, medications may be prescribed, Doctors can prescribe antipsychotic medications to seniors with developed cases of Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Handling Hallucination Episodes

 

There are strategies for coping with hallucinations for seniors who don’t whose hallucinations do not seem to hinder their ability to carry out daily life. If the hallucinations are upsetting and inhibiting to their comfort, security, happiness, or ability to socialize and interact with others, you may need to come up with a set of calming words or reassuring touches to re-stabilize an Alzheimer’s senior’s peace of mind.

 

Respond to hallucination episodes in a supportive manner and comforting words. When a frightened episode occurs in response to a hallucination, offering up quick distractions may be an effective manner to call attention away from their false sensory perceptions.

 

Modifying a hallucinating senior’s environment may be helpful in restoring peace to their living space. Objects that are prone to set them off might be best hidden or moved. Home items that make loud noises or startling sounds should be relocated to areas where a senior with Alzheimer’s can be better monitored.

 

 

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Dementia Care

 

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When a senior in your care is diagnosed with or is showing symptoms of dementia, it can be a very devastating and frustrating time for everyone in the home, and it is time to look for dementia care.

If you feel called to assume the duties of caregiving for a senior loved one with dementia, we have some helpful guidelines for handling some of the most common areas of difficulty. Here are some suggested solutions for the best types of caregiving for dementia.

 

Aggression

 

Dementia is a disease that changes the brain in many ways, altering emotional responses and perception of events. This can lead to communication difficulties and behavioral problems for a senior with dementia. Symptoms of emotional instability include amplified anger, sadness, confusion, and paranoia. Mood swings and aggressive outbursts may suddenly occur in response to physical or emotional discomfort. A senior with dementia showing violence or hostility may be acting out of fear and desperation in response to a feeling of helplessness.

 

To handle increased aggression from a senior with dementia in your care, try to calmly identify the cause of their aggression, attempt to understand their reasoning for feeling so suddenly angry (even if it does not make sense to you or seem reasonable). Peacefully restoring order to an aggressive situation will require a lot of patience and control on the part of the caregiver. If possible, try to reassuringly shift their attention onto something else besides what has made them upset. Make certain that a confused senior loved one is not threatening or presenting a danger to anyone else.

Whatever you do, don’t respond to aggression with more aggression or aggravation. Don’t attempt to forcibly restrain someone unless there is no choice.  Mitigate the situation with as much respect as possible; avoid acting dominant, barking at them with sharp words like “No!”

 

Confusion

 

A senior with dementia may abruptly lose his or her sense of place, asking a question like “where am I?” or declaring “I don’t live here!” In their minds, they want to return to a place they feel they have control. A senior with dementia may express a desire to go home, even though he or she is already safe at home.

 

Home for them might be some place long ago and far away. But you must do your best to tenderly remind them that home is “here” now. Proving simple explanations or keeping photos on hand can help to explain. Speak clearly, and repeat yourself. Don’t assume you have been understood. Sometimes your explanations for sudden questions like “When can we leave?” can be answered with what is called a therapeutic fib. Sometimes just receiving any answer or reassurance is enough to keep questions of dementia content.

 

It is unwise to always respond to confused questioning with lengthy explanations or reasons to these questions. Your explanations may add more confusion and more questions, further detracting everyone from the current activity. Do your best to not give frustrated responses either. Showing hostility can breed more hostility.

 

Impaired Judgment

 

A senior with dementia may be suddenly prone to unfounded accusations. A senior might go into hysterics claiming someone has stolen some possession that has been gone to him or her for decades. Deductive reasoning and basic math skills may suffer as well. Symptoms like these are part of the unfortunate deterioration of brain cells, affecting their judgment capabilities.

 

A way to assist seniors suffering from poor judgment is to help them become more organized, so that they posses a sense of place and where things belong. If a senior with mild dementia attempts to balance their checkbook or calculate a tip at dinner, it may be helpful for you to check their math when you can. Passively monitoring their behavior can be more effective than accusing them of being incompetent and revoking their privileges to manage their own affairs all together. This may result in an atmosphere of resentment and contention in the home.

 

Assisted Living Options

 

During later stages of dementia, sometimes it is not possible for a family member to offer the degree of caregiving for dementia that a senior loved one needs. Then a senior may require the more specialized care of trained professionals. Assisted living facilities and memory care communities provide a safe environment that cares for a senior’s health and monitoring needs. Research your options for senior care and memory care facilities near you to ensure that your senior gets the care and attention they need.

 

 

 

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Assisted Living Checklist – 14 Questions to Ask

 

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Who Benefits from Assisted Living?

Over a million Americans enjoy the benefits of assisted living as a means to stay active and maintain a degree of independence to increase the quality of life. The purpose of assisted living is to help seniors with certain daily activities, as well as helping seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Choosing an assisted living facility can be one of the most important decisions you make in you later adult life. There are many factors to weigh in when selecting an option for your senior care, and it can be hard to think of everything when researching and asking your questions. Here is a helpful checklist of components to review when choosing assisted living to be sure you are getting the care you personally need.

Did the facility make a good first impression? √
What did your gut instinct tell you when you first came in to visit? It may be important to weigh in the feeling or vibe you got as you walked into the assisted living facility. Did the place look clean—was the staff friendly?

How much care/support is available at all times? √
It is fairly standard now for assisted living facilities to offer 24/7 availability for care and support. So if a facility offers anything less, seek elsewhere.

Is it in your price range / budget? √
Is the assisted living facility in your price range, or does it at least offer a tier of service that you can afford and still meets your needs? Bigger isn’t always necessarily better, and you may not need all the services offered on the higher price tier options.

Are the basic services provided what you need? √
Carefully review all the amenities and services available from each of your prospective assisted living options. The most common services offered to senior care residents are dining services, housekeeping, laundry, recreational activities, and sometimes transportation as well. Look to see what additional services may be offered beyond those basics, such as continence assistance, physical therapy, medications, etc.

Does the facility have a good reputation? √
All assisted living facilities are subject to regulation, inspection, and rating by government agencies. Be sure to check the reputation of any prospective assisted living facility, not only if they meet the bare minimum standards of the government, but also check testimonials from real residents. This information is made available online. If an assisted living facility does not even have a quality web site, that may be a red flag as well.

Is the facility in a good location? √
It is imperative to make sure a prospective facility is located in a good neighborhood, so a resident may feel safe. Also check to see if an assisted living facility is conveniently located near places you may want to visit frequently, like a grocery store, theater, or your family’s home. This may not matter as much if your facility offers good transportation services; but proximity can be a factor in your having access to the commodities you need or being visited as much as you would like.

How’s the view / ambiance? √
It is important to some seniors to have a great view or live in an aesthetically pleasing environment. Look around and investigate if an assisted living facility is well kept with a soothing, organized layout. Is there a garden? Does the place feel warm and inviting? If ambiance matters to you, be sure to ask these questions.

Is the floor plan easy to follow? √
Apart from pretty scenery, check if the floor plan is easy to follow and if hallways and ramps are conducive to seniors with mobility needs. Is there appropriate signage? Many seniors with cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s may get lost in a place with a confusing floor plan.

Is the food good? √
The dining plan may be one of the most important factors. Food brings joy and flavor to life. Be sure to ask the staff what food plans are available, and ask around to get a second opinion of the cuisine quality from online testimonials.

What comes with the room? √
Does the facility offer amenities for television? Are there private bathrooms? Do rooms come with conveniences like mini-fridges?

What is allowed to be brought in (furniture/pets?) √
Make sure you find out whether you may bring in your own furniture or a pet before checking in. Evaluate the space ahead of time so you can have an idea of which of your personal belongings will fit in your assisted living facility.

What is the activity schedule? √
Research what the opportunities are for activities, recreation, socializing with other residents. It can quickly be boring at a place where there is nothing to do and no one to talk to and no way of getting to know each other.

Does the facility take feedback/complaints seriously? √
Find out how easy is it for residents to leave feedback, make complaints, or be heard by the management. Make sure there is an efficient process in place for evaluating and addressing the unique needs of residents as they arise.

Does the facility feel safe? √
Make a note of whether there are locks on the doors, alarms, or 24-hour response system alerts in rooms to call the staff for emergencies? Does the facility do background checks on employees? This will add to your peace of mind and help you feel like you are truly cared for.

 

 

 

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Care Provider

 

Prevent Alzheimer's

Benefits of Routines

 

Starting your duties as a caregiver for a senior loved one can go smoothly with the proper amount of structuring and time management. Maybe you have found yourself overwhelmed by the amount of tasks you have to balance as a care provider and don’t know how to accomplish everything you need to do in order for your caregiving and housekeeping to be successful.

 

Creating a caregiving routine and following through with it is the best thing to do in order to make the best of your time. At first it takes some discipline to stick with a schedule, but once you commit to it, you more often actually carry out all the things you need to do. Without a structured schedule, it can be easy to let the duties and errands you have been meaning to get around to accumulate while little gets done.

 

Routines contribute to the piece of mind for everybody in the home, but for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, a sound routine is the key to sanity. Creating a sense of organization for seniors with cognitive impairment helps them prepare for the events of daily activities without being confused or shaken by unfamiliar surprises. For many seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia, routines are comforting and pleasant rather than boring or monotonous.

 

Work Together In Creating the Schedule

 

You will have to coordinate your routine in congruence with the unique needs of your senior loved one. This organization will help to focus on the matters that are really a priority for your household and the senior in your care. When you both understand the routine, it can help you to motivate each other and keep one another on track regarding daily events.

 

It may not be necessary to concoct an elaborate calendar with a written timeslot for every hour of the day, but it can be very helpful to write out some form of checklist or posted-note reminders for the weekly schedule to assist in making the routine something tangible to follow and monitor progress. Making segmented plans for the day/week can help ensure that the tasks with the highest priority are attended to in their right place.

 

Plan Ahead

 

It is a wise thing to plan ahead when you can. There are sure to be windows where a daughter’s dance recital or an anniversary dinner will require your attention to be called away from your caregiving duties. So be certain to prepare for these special occasions by reaching out and arranging for some trusted help while you can’t be around.

 

Sometimes the unexpected occurs to the caregiving routine, and things happen that aren’t on the schedule. It may be good to insert a little wiggle room in to some parts of the schedule where you may foresee a greater possibility of interruption or delay.

 

 

Flexibility is Okay

 

Creating a routine doesn’t mean making yourself completely subservient to a micromanaged schedule, but should serve as a tool to give you as a caregiver and the senior in your care some relief. Sometimes a plan will need adjustments and flexibility is okay when special moments or unique opportunities arise. However, it is best not to make a habit of veering from the routine and being indulgent, otherwise the schedule loses it its purpose.

 

Make sure that the caregiving routine you create is something that is enjoyable and actually attainable for both of you. Do not simply construct a daunting idealistic schedule that can only work in a perfect world. You will just end up frustrated and exhausted to trying to complete it. Along with meeting the needs of the senior in your care, it is important to schedule time for yourself too and the things that make you happy. This will help you to be in better spirits and carry out your caregiving duties with greater enthusiasm.