Senior Metastatic Melanoma Statistics

Smiling senior man at the beach

 

As aging adults enter their senior years, taking every precaution to protect a body growing gradually more frail becomes an essential course of action for prolonging a senior’s life and health. Skin often becomes even more delicate during senior years, and applying sunblock is a crucial safeguard toward the various types of skin cancer that put seniors at risk.

 

The most aggressive kind of skin cancer is melanoma, and it is also the sixth most common kind of cancer overall. The majority of those diagnosed with melanoma cancer are seniors over the age of sixty, putting adults in their golden years at higher risk for the disease. When melanoma has spread to other areas of the body, it is called metastatic (advanced) melanoma.

 

Once Melanoma has spread from the original tumor site to other serious places in the body (lymph nodes, lungs, liver, brain, etc.), it is identified as being Stage IV Melanoma.

 

How Many Are Affected by Metastatic Melanoma?

 

The American Caner Society has estimated that there are over 75,000 cases of melanoma in the U.S. alone, resulting in under 10,000 deaths per year. Approximately 12% of metastatic melanoma cases end fatally each year.

 

 

Senior Metastatic Melanoma Risks

 

Lack of precaution for ultra violet rays is the leading danger for metastatic melanoma. When sunblock or appropriate clothing covering for hot weather days are neglected, it increases risk of skin cancer.

The risk of melanoma is greatest for seniors who have weaker immune systems, fair skin complexions, spend much time in the sun, or have a family history of melanoma.

 

Senior Metastatic Melanoma Prognosis

 

For Metastatic Melanoma in seniors, the typical 5-year survival rate is about 15-20%, and the ten year survival rate is 10-15%.

 

The severity of stage IV melanoma will vary based on where exactly the cancer has spread to in a senior’s body. The worst place melanoma can spread is the inner organs, but metastatic melanoma is somewhat less severe when it spreads instead to other parts of the skin or distant lymph nodes.

 

Other factors affect the survival rate as well. Older age often leads to higher mortality likelihood with metastatic melanoma, with age 70 and above being the most impacted age range. Also, Caucasian men are prone to be at the highest risk of developing melanoma.

 

Is Metastatic Melanoma Treatable for Seniors?

 

Catching the disease early on provides the best chance of effective treatment. Irregular moles and very bad sunburns may be indicators of melanoma in seniors. Once melanoma has reached stage IV, surgery efforts to remove melanoma are rarely successful. There are drug treatment and biologic therapies available to treat and slow the progression of the disease and better the quality of life for affected seniors with metastatic melanoma.

 

 

 

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Most Common Causes of Senior Vision Loss

Male optician examining senior patients eyes through slit lamp in clinic

 

It is a common affliction brought on by aging for the five senses to gradually diminish in seniors. Eyesight is one of the most prevalent bodily functions to deteriorate in elder years, and it can be a very distressing and alarming issue. Just under 7 million senior Americans over the age of 65 have developed severe vision impairment.

 

Understanding the different vision disorders brought on by age may help seniors recognize problems and seek available treatments more quickly before serious vision damage is done.

 

The three primary vision disorders in seniors are

  • Age related macular degeneration (AMD)
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts

These terrible eye conditions often go undiagnosed and unnoticed for long periods of time because they progress very gradually. These conditions frequently go undetected until serious damage has been done and it become more difficult to treat effectively. Older adults may be wise to schedule moderately routine eye exams, understanding that they as seniors are more susceptible to these disorders.

 

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) – this eye condition slowly damages the retina, leaving peripheral vision mostly intact, but alarmingly making anything you try to directly focus on blur and disappear. The safety risks of AMD are obvious, as reading, facial recognition, and navigating spaces are severely hampered with this type of vision loss.

 

AMD is not currently curable, however, medications are available to slow down its progression considerably. Fortunately, AMD is not physically painful to the body or eyes, nor does it damage or effect any other bodily functions. Seniors developing AMD often seek care in assisted living facilities for help with certain daily tasks.

 

Glaucoma – Symptoms of glaucoma include increased pressure in the eye cavity, causing nerve damage, vision impairment, and even pain in the eye. Glaucoma educes tunnel vision in seniors .

 

Treatments for glaucoma are surgical as well as pharmaceutical, able to slow the progression of the degeneration and reduce pain, however there is no cure for the disorder. Glaucoma is exceedingly prominent in seniors over the age of 70, so vision checks are recommended for seniors in their later years to detect and hinder the progression of this disorder which can also dramatically effect a senior’s ability to live independently and safely.

 

Cataracts – This disorder clouds the lens of the eye by clumping naturally occurring proteins in the eye. Cataracts are the most common cause of vision impairment and blindness in the world. Men and women of all ages can develop cataracts, however cataracts are most prevalent for senior vision loss.

 

Cataracts are relatively easily detected through basic eye inspections. This eye disorder is characterized by blurred vision and fading of color comprehension. Although cataracts do not cause pain, they are capable of deteriorating vision to the point of total blindness, hindering independent living for senior citizens. Cataracts may be treated with drops and these eye clumps may be removed with surgery.

 

 

The causes of these eye disorders are not fully known, however, they are generally able to be detected and slowed in their progression. It is important for seniors to be aware of their higher proneness for developing vision impairment and to schedule semi-regular eye inspections in their later years to ensure prolonged independent living and quality of life.

 

 

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Senior Driving – How To Keep Your License

handsome senior man driving a car

Senior citizens in America often have a stereotypical stigma for poor driving capabilities. However, getting older does not automatically impair your driving skills. The changes brought on by age in senior’s bodies may affect physical and cognitive traits used for driving, but there are ways that seniors can consciously improve their driving skills to keep their license for longer in spite of these changes by being careful.

 

How exactly does age affect senior driving abilities?

 

  • Alzheimer and dementia – As senior Americans enter into their later years, they often become more susceptible to cognitive diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, diseases that affect memory, thinking, and problem solving skills.
  • Eyesight and hearing impairment – Hindrances to vision and hearing brought on by aging can affect senior driving for reading signs and environmental cues. Senior eyesight may become too sensitive to the sun through the windshield or headlights at night as well. Seniors can check their eyesight and hearing at a doctors office to be deemed safe for the road.
  • Arthritis disease – diseases affecting the hands and dexterity can be harmful to senior driving abilities when handling the wheel.
  • Bad joints – Additionally, the joints used in turning the wheel, putting on a seatbelt, and operating a car’s brakes and accelerator can become an issue for senior driving.
  • Reflexes – Certain cognitive impairments can affect the reflexes necessary for making fast reactions to traffic occurrences or responding to traffic signals and signs, or abrupt stops. Aging may result in a shorter attention span and reduced multi-tasking skills needed for navigating a dynamic road.
  • Physical disabilities and pain – Sometimes injuries and health development result in states of pain and discomfort that can become distracting and hazardous to a senior’s ability to focus on the road.
  • Over-cautiousness – Seniors are often aware of their fragility and cognitive problems, but do not want to risk losing their license by making mistake. This results in some seniors being overly cautious and driving dangerously slow (to avoid speeding or accidents) but may put others at risk who are trying to maneuver around them.

 

Seniors viewing loosing their drivers license as equivalent to loosing their freedom in the 21st century world. To make sure that you are still capable of road traveling, a senior may submit themselves for a driver refresher course. Costs for driver refresher courses are often covered by the AARP for senior members.

 

 

Smart Driving Tips to Help You Keep Your License

 

  • Only drive in familiar areas, plan your route ahead of time for new destinations to reduce anxiety and possible confusion
  • Try to make trips to places that are close and easy to reach.
  • Allow for extra time when making a trip or outing, so you are not rushed or prone to make any irrational driving decisions
  • Do not drive when you feel stress or exhaustion. Arrange for a carpool or get a ride when you feel these symptoms.
  • Be aware of the side effects of medicines, and whether or not it is advisable to operate machinery or drive after a dose.
  • Always wear a seatbelt when driving; it is not only critical for safety, but the law of the land.
  • For seniors who use cell phones or smartphones, always be sure not to add the extra hazardous distraction of talking on the phone or texting while driving.
  • Regularly check your mirrors while driving to maintain a sense of your surroundings.
  • For the safety and comfort of others, try not to drive to close behind anyone driving in front of your vehicle.

 

When is it time to give up driving?

 

Pay attention for the exterior signs and indications of when it may be at last time to consider giving up driving for the sake of your health and safety. If you are experiencing:

  • Large amounts of other drivers honking at you frequently
  • Have you been having many close-calls or accidents lately
  • Are you getting lost often while on the road
  • Have members of your family expressed concern

 

Other Transportations Options

 

Retiring your license is not the end of the world. A senior can find many alternative methods for getting around when driving is not longer an option. You may get a ride from members of your family when living at home. Public transportation like buses and cabs are available in city areas. Many senior living facilities offer transportation for senior residents as well.

 

 

doggie car

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.

 

 

incontinence pads

Dementia Care

 

assisted living

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.

 

 

 

arcylic tub

Great Exercises For Seniors

 

photodune-4998995-smiling-woman-standing-on-one-leg-while-doing-yoga-xs-199x300

 

 

Exercise is an activity that even the youngest and healthiest people often neglect to make a habit of doing. But exercise is a secret weapon for a senior to stay healthy and independent for longer into their golden years.  There are plenty of great exercises for seniors that can keep them active and refreshed.

Maintaining fitness and exercising does not necessarily mean lifting heavy weights and undertaking rigorous, intense workout regiments for long times. However, avoiding lethargy and inactivity can boost your general health and make you feel good throughout the day.

The National Institute of Health (NIH) has recommended four basic types of exercise for seniors that accommodate an elder’s pace and promote health.

 

Strength Exercises: For seniors, strength exercises are often condensed down to a manageable lightweight dumbbell workout. The goal is not so much to build mass as it is to stimulate muscles and maintain strength.

Do not exert yourself too much; select a weight that feels just enough to require a little umph. Then use smooth, steady movements to bring the weight or dumbbell into position. Avoid sharp jerking movements or locking your joints. Don’t forget to breathe steadily. Holding your breath for too long while lifting can negatively affect your blood pressure.

If you find yourself exhausted after exercise, then that is a good indicator that you are working too hard.

 

Balance Exercises: Improving and strengthening the lower half of the body will help with balance and reduce the risk of falls among seniors. Falling is one of the leading causes of disabilities among seniors, with over 300,000 elders treated for broken hips every year.

Thus it is crucial to do whatever it takes to avoid such an accident in your older age. Some good balance exercises for seniors may include lowering down to do squats while holding on to a table edge; standing on one foot; walking heel to toe,  back leg / side leg raises.

It is unwise for seniors to use heavy weights for squats.  Balance exercises for seniors can be done at any time as long as their is steady support near by to ensure safety in case of a balance misstep.

 

Stretching Exercises: Stretching loosens up the joints and allows for more freedom of movement for seniors; this allows you to be more active. It is wise to do some light stretching as a warm up before attempting a more intense workout in order to better prepare the body. Never bounce into a stretch because doing so will put unnecessary strain on your joints.

A stretch may be mildly uncomfortable, but should never be painful. Take time to research which stretching exercises are more your pace.

 

Endurance Exercises: Endurance exercises for seniors include activities that raise your heart rate and intensify your breathing. Such exercises include going for a jog, swimming, biking, or even some exerting chores like raking leaves. Although especially intense chores like shoveling snow may prove to be dangerously over-exerting, so it may be wise to give the nice neighbor-boy a few bucks for those grueling undertakings.

Cardio activity is good for improving heart health, as heart problems are very common in older men. Doing about five minutes of cardio at a time will gradually build your endurance and lead to an improved state of health.

How Much Change Is Good For Seniors with Alzheimer’s?

Aging Parents

When a senior loved one has fallen victim to a severely mentally deteriorating disease like Alzheimer’s or dementia, good caregivers often seek to make their living space as safe as possible. Sometimes well-meaning caregivers will change the entire arrangement of a home, swept up in removing hazards and adding locks to avoid accidents. However, caregivers must keep in mind that altering the environment of a senior with cognitive debilitations can also be very disorienting for them as well as helpful.  Not all change is good for seniors with Alzheimer’s.

 

Often times, a senior has lived in the same home for many years, and is still able to navigate through the house with a sort of muscle memory about the layout of their familiar environment. Rearranging the home all together may contribute to some subconscious confusion in addition to their hampered cognition, making it even harder to get around. It may be best to retain a familiar surrounding.

 

Depending on the severity of your loved one’s case, some adjustments may surely need to be made. If a senior with dementia is prone to wander off, then door alarms or other precautions may need to be installed. Also, if a senior generally kept a messy home when living independently, the mess and clutter may add to the confusion as well, and disorient a senior’s sense of space. An untidy environment may also increase the likelihood of trips and falls. So, it will be up to you to gauge the necessary balance between maintaining a comfortable familiar surrounding and reorganizing space for safety purposes.

 

If you feel that changes to your senior loved one’s environment are in fact needed, then it may be best to de-clutter or safety-proof a home gradually. An overnight reconstruction of an Alzheimer patient’s living space can be an overwhelming change; but selectively removing or reorganizing unnecessary items around the home over time can be beneficial.

 

For many seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, routine is the key to sanity. It is often comforting and less mentally exerting to stay in a zone of sameness with fewer surprises.. Whenever you make a change or move something important to an elder in your care, try to be sure that they see you move their cane or bracelet or chair, so that it will register more easily in their mind, instead of coming off as a total surprise to discover later.

 

No one knows your loved one better than you do, so as their caregiver, try to figure out their own personal tolerance level for change when trying to craft an accommodating living space for their cognitive condition

New Saliva Test Will Detect Alzheimer’s Early

Home Nurse Takes Temperature

 

To this day, Alzheimer’s remains an incurable disease that medical scientists do not fully understand. Doctors can determine the difference between healthy and unhealthy brains, but there is at this time no testing method to determine if a person will get Alzheimer’s. But new research may have changed all that.

 

During the 2015 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference held in D.C., a new intuitive testing method for detecting Alzheimer’s disease early was presented.

 

A simple analysis of a saliva sample may be all it takes to detect development of the mental disease. At this point the research is just beginning to find its footing, but it may provide a way to eventually better track the progress of the deteriorating of healthy brains, that we may better understand the disease.

Simply put, this innovative new testing system exams saliva samples, looking for changes in saliva as a way to diagnose the progression of Alzheimer’s.

 

Studies have been conducted by researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, working with saliva samples from 100 people divided into 3 groups based upon their cognitive ability—those with normal aging cognition, those with mild cognitive impairment, and those with cognition severely impaired with Alzheimer’s disease.

 

Research scientists looked to analyze small molecules called metabolites, found in saliva, which are bi-products of chemical reactions in the brain. There were found to be patterns of metabolite molecules in saliva for the groups of test subjects who had more cognitive impairment.

 

Shraddha Sapkota, the neuroscience researcher presenting the study, stated that, “Salivary metabolomics analyses will advance the cause of early detection of Alzheimer’s disease […] and promote our understanding of the mechanisms from normal aging to Alzheimer’s.”

 

The potential for such an easy testing method is great news, as swabbing for saliva is a minimally invasive and cost-effective way to test patients, over expensive brain scanning machinery. Hopefully someday soon this mouth swab will be a standard part of routine health check-ups for seniors and older adults.

 

Fighting this tragic condition has become an ever-increasing priority as cases of Alzheimer’s have been steadily increasing, become the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.

 

However, this conference announcement was more of a way to pitch the possibility of saliva testing, rather than a guarantee of its effectiveness. Only sampling 100 people is not nearly enough to draw any definitive conclusions about the reliability of analyzing these metabolites in saliva. Larger populations must be tested and more research must be done from here before we can be sure about the saliva test for Alzheimer’s. Though this does seem to be a promising step in the right direction toward understanding and hopefully one day effectively treating Alzheimer’s disease.

 

 

Digital Hearing Aid Benefits

Digital hearing aid

 

The five senses all add to the value of life, and when one sense becomes impaired, it may feel like life has lost some worth. One of the most common impairments among seniors is hearing loss. In fact, one-third of Americans age 65 and older report some kind of hearing impairment due to various factors.

 

When your hearing starts to diminish, it can impair your social life, ability to communicate, and your environmental awareness. Hearing actually assists your sense of balance, and damage to hearing can increase the risk of falls among elders, impeding your ability to live independently.

 

Causes of Hearing Loss

 

The sense of hearing naturally diminishes with the aging process, but damage to hearing can be greatly multiplied with chronic exposure to loud noises. Harmful loud noise may include concert events, ear-bud headphones, lawnmowers, etc. Prolonged exposure to such noises can cause irreversible damage to the inner ear, harming tiny hair cells that carry sound to the brain.

 

Another cause of hearing loss that is easier to treat, is when ear wax, fluid build up, or infection obstruct sound to the middle-ear. A qualified otolaryngologist can reverse the hearing loss by removing such obstructions; however if damage has been done to the inner ear, then you may need to see an audiologist to test your ears for more permanent hearing damage, and review your hearing aid options.

 

Best Hearing Aid Options

 

While Damage to the inner ear is permanent, modern hearing aid technology is more affordable than ever. Hearing aids do not restore normal hearing, but can amplify sounds to significantly improve your hearing and allow you to carry out a normal life. It may take a few weeks or a few months to completely adjust a hearing aid to be right with your individual need. There are varying tiers of sophisticated quality models, based on your degree of need.

 

 

Traditional hearing aids merely amplified all sound, including unwanted background noise, which many seniors found irritating and painful to listen to at times. Hearing aid technology has drastically improved in recent years, as newer digital hearing aids have changed the market. In contrast to just amplifying the volume of everything, digital hearing aids use microphones to for transmitting sound to a computer chip that uses discernment to basically moderate the volume levels as well as filter out the unnecessary background noises.

 

Digital hearing aids provide many conveniences for seniors who are still working or have any amount of tech competence. These hearing aids can use Bluetooth to be synced with a smartphone, allowing you to hear calls more clearly through the hearing aid. You may also configure it to hear audio from your television, music player, or computer if you like.

 

Be sure to meet with professional hearing doctors before selecting which hearing aid is best for you. You may find that a very sophisticated model is not necessary for you at this time, or they may be exactly what you’re looking for. The affordability of quality digital hearing aids is increasing rapidly, as each year sees prices fall. Advanced aids that would have cost thousands five years ago may cost hundreds now. Look into how digital hearing aids apply to your budget and your level of need.

 

Personal Sound Amplifiers (PSAPs) are less sophisticated hearing aids intended for people with only mild hearing loss. These products are sold over the counter and do not require a prescription from a hearing doctor. These primarily amplify sound, with less discernment than digital hearing aids. PSAPs are not subjected to the same quality standards as conventional prescription hearing aids by the Food and Drug Administration; so it would be wise to still consort with a doctor before investing in a PSAP as well. These models typically cost anywhere from $25 to $500 depending on the model or seller.

 

 

At first the process of researching your options, going through tests, and understanding the technology for how a hearing aid can improve your life may seem very daunting, but it is worth the investment in order to restore your role as a communicator in your social sphere and to avoid misunderstandings, having to ask other to repeat themselves, and negating the hazard of falling.

Assisted Living Care

supplements for mood improvement

 

A recent study from the University of Bordeaux wanted to determine whether sleeping pills linked to Alzheimer’s. The findings indicated that taking prescription sleeping pills may increase the chances of developing Alzheimer’s by 50%. This study only examined people ages 65 and older, thus isn’t clear how younger people are affected. Strong sedatives using benzodiazepines (like diazepam and temazepam), used to treat severe insomnia and anxiety were studied. These drugs are not prescribed for long-term use in assisted living care because they can cause dependency.

 

Alzheimer’s takes a long time to develop, and the University research showed that taking benzodiazepines for long-term periods (over six months) was a risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s. The study evaluated around 1,500 seniors with Alzheimer’s, analyzing over six years of medical history.

 

The results of this study are not entirely conclusive, as further research is needed. However, this conclusion is in line with what several other studies have found. This is not to scare you off of all forms of sleeping pills, but rather indicates that taking heavy sedative pills, containing benzodiazepines for long periods of time can cause Alzheimer’s in older adults. So be sure to follow instructions regarding the duration of your sleeping pill prescriptions. And ask your doctor about the effects that taking benzodiazepines may have on someone your age.