Reasons Why Women Are at Higher Risk for Alzheimer’s Disease

Researchers are finally beginning to get a grip on the imbalance between Alzheimer’s diagnoses in women and men. Currently, as many as 2/3 of those with Alzheimer’s in the U.S. are female, and as scientists begin to understand the particular nuances behind this trend, we can begin to address them.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association’s Director of Scientific Engagement, Rebecca Edelmayer, “Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease as both persons living with the disease and as caregivers of those with dementia. Over the last three years, the Alzheimer’s Association has invested $3.2 million into 14 projects looking at sex differences for the disease and some of the findings today may explain risk, prevalence, and rate of decline for women.”

The longstanding belief has been that women simply have a longer expected lifespan, and we know that Alzheimer’s becomes more prevalent as age increases. Yet the theory has shifted to include the following additional determinants:

  • Biology. Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers discovered that women with mild cognitive impairment had a more accelerated spread of tau (the protein in the brain linked to death of brain cells), as well as a greater extent of tau network connectivity, than that of men.
  • Memory. A study conducted by the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine revealed higher scores on verbal memory tests in women than men, which may contribute to the ability of women’s brains to compensate for cognitive impairments and to the delay of a diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Employment. Memory decline in women ages 60 – 70 who never worked was greater than in women with consistent employment, per the findings of a study conducted by the University of California Los Angeles – indicating that “consistent cognitive stimulation from work helps increase cognitive reserve in women.”
  • Lifestyle. Because a healthy lifestyle, including a lower incidence of stress, helps reduce Alzheimer’s risk, women are particularly vulnerable – as they are most often in the role of family caregiver, a known inducer of stress.

All of these findings highlight the need for women to take good care of their own health and wellbeing, and Generations at Home is here to help. We provide the trusted St. Petersburg senior care that enables family caregivers to take much needed breaks from caring for their loved ones and focus on self-care. Our caregivers are specially trained and experienced in meeting the unique needs of those with Alzheimer’s disease, giving family members the peace of mind in knowing their loved ones are receiving the very best care. Call us at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our Alzheimer’s care services.

Help for This Common Alzheimer’s Care Concern: Resistance to Personal Hygiene

Towel LifestyleOf the many challenges related to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association reveals that the most prevalent difficulty is with personal hygiene, for a variety of reasons: Read more

Flying Solo? Here’s Why It’s Vital to Partner with Professionals for Dementia Care.

daughter visiting her senior mother in hospital

Learn how in-home dementia care from our St. Petersburg home care experts can provide needed respite.

Although millions of older adults are struggling with the challenges of Alzheimer’s disease, a far greater number of family members are struggling with caring for them. Surprisingly, nearly 75% of family caregivers are managing their senior loved ones’ dementia care needs on their own, with only 26% reaching out for professional care assistance.

Unsurprisingly, families want to do all they can in order to satisfy their loved ones’ needs, but dementia caregiving can cause an exceedingly high level of both mental and physical stress. This takes a toll on the caregivers’ own health and wellbeing in the long run, particularly once the disease progresses. And many members of the family assume there’s an all-or-nothing approach: either oversee their loved one’s needs in the home, or confront moving him or her into residential care.

Generations at Home, fortunately, has a solution that is good for seniors with dementia along with their family caregivers: the addition of a professional in-home dementia caregiver to provide as much or as little respite care as necessary. Here is why we believe that dementia care at home is best:

  • Highly trained care. Because our care providers are both skilled and experienced in the many complex facets of Alzheimer’s disease and other kinds of dementia, they will proactively address and more effectively manage even the most difficult of behaviors, including wandering, aggression, sundowning, and more.
  • Enhanced safety. The possibility of accidents is increased for those with dementia. Even something that appears as uncomplicated as assisting your loved one into the shower or onto the toilet can cause a dangerous fall risk. Skilled care providers know how to watch out for and avoid falls, keeping both you and your family member safe from harm.
  • Sustainable aging in place. Very often, family caregivers become so stressed attempting to meet all of a senior loved one’s needs in combination with their own that a change to a residential dementia care facility seems inevitable. However, partnering with a professional dementia care provider opens up the possibility of long-term, beneficial care in the home.
  • Ease of mind. Knowing your senior loved one is in qualified hands enables you to take a breath, relax, and step away from the pressures of caregiving for the much-needed breaks that decrease stress as well as the potential for caregiver burnout and depression.

It’s better to look into in-home dementia care possibilities as early in the disease as you possibly can, to allow for an even more seamless transition and to be sure that your loved one gets the most beneficial care from the very beginning. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 to inquire about a consultation from the comfort of home, where we can create a highly customized plan of care which will increase quality of life for your senior loved one today, and also as needs change in the future.

Dementia Care Tips Caregivers Wish They’d Known Sooner

two senior women hugging

Learn important dementia care tips from the Pinellas County dementia care experts at Generations at Home.

In some cases, the best lessons in life come through experiencing them firsthand; yet the lessons learned by those who’ve walked an identical course before us is priceless. If you’re providing care for a family member with dementia and feeling a bit weighed down in this uncharted territory, the strategies below will help:

  • A brief break will make all the difference. When your senior loved one is struggling with complicated feelings, such as fear or anger, it’s advisable to temporarily stop whatever activity or task she is taking part in, and allow time for a breather. Change the situation by moving into a different area or outside if the weather allows, play some favorite music, look through a scrapbook, or point out different birds and flowers. When peace is restored, you should attempt the task again, frequently with far better results.
  • Let go of rationalizing. Aiming to establish a point or win a disagreement is rarely successful when speaking with someone with Alzheimer’s. Remind yourself that the individual’s brain functioning is changed, and as long as no harm will likely be done, permit the senior to maintain her own personal reality.
  • Address denial. While it may be human nature to want to deny that there’s a challenge, acknowledging signs and symptoms of dementia and seeking medical assistance at the earliest opportunity is recommended to obtain the medical care and treatment necessary.
  • Check medications. The side effects of some prescription drugs have the ability to cause greater confusion and cognitive difficulties than the disease itself. Put together an in-depth listing of all medications (including over-the-counter ones) and review together with the senior’s health care provider to confirm that the benefits surpass any unwanted side effects.
  • Take proper care of YOU, too. Caregiver burnout and depression are significant concerns for loved ones taking care of a senior with dementia. Ensure that you are carving out sufficient time for self-care, socializing, and hobbies which you enjoy. Bear in mind that your family member will benefit from having a caregiver who is in good health and recharged.
  • Recognize that life can be fulfilling with dementia. Even though the person you love is going through some difficult changes, it is beneficial to know that life, while different, can still be meaningful and bring happiness regardless of the disease. Consider various kinds of experiences for the senior to enhance socialization, improve memory and cognitive functioning, and remain physically active.

Generations at Home is always here to provide the encouragement you will need to ensure your loved one with dementia will be able to live life to the fullest. Reach out to us at 727-940-3414 for more information on our highly specialized in-home dementia care for seniors.

Managing It Together When Mom Starts to Show Early Signs of Dementia

An adult daughter and her mother spending time

When a senior parent starts to show signs of dementia or decline, it’s time to have some difficult, but necessary, conversations.

The first signs might be so subtle that many people would not even detect that anything is amiss. Mom is extroverted, pleasant, and conversational while visiting close friends and family and while running errands. However those closest to her have begun to pick up on concerns: being forgetful about the soup cooking on the stove, resulting in a scorched pan. Putting her keys in the cookie jar. Neglecting to pay expenses.

As an adult child of a loved one in the beginning stages of compromised safety or perhaps the capability to make reasonable decisions, it is normally extremely challenging to transition to a greater degree of involvement and assistance – yet it is also essential to take steps sooner rather than later.

Similar to bringing up any confrontational topic of conversation, speaking with your parent with regards to the concerns you are seeing is likely to be met with resistance and defensiveness in the beginning. And yet, it’s essential to detail the particular factors behind your concern, and also the negative consequences if these signs and symptoms continue or become worse.

Generations at Home recommends this strategy:

  1. Be certain that a durable power of attorney has been appointed.
  2. Confirm with your siblings that the problem needs to be addressed, and discuss together what options are accessible for the senior’s care as needs continue to progress.
  3. Remain loving but steady in your approach. Explain the choices you’ve thought through. If she balks at the thought of moving to an assisted living facility, which many seniors do, suggest an in-home caregiver instead, permitting her to stay independent and safe within the comfort of home.
  4. Be aware that it will likely take multiple conversations before the senior accepts the need for assistance – which is why it is important to start the process without delay.

At Generations at Home, we’re experienced in helping seniors to feel comfortable and positive regarding how our services will help enhance safety and overall quality of life and wellbeing. As soon as your family decides the time is right for assistance, we can help with highly personalized care that will meet a wide range of needs, such as:

  • Companionship
  • Meal planning and preparation
  • Housework and laundry
  • Transportation
  • Running errands
  • Highly specialized care for dementia
  • And much more

Whether the need is for just a few hours each week to boost safety and socialization, full-time care, or anything in between, partnering with Generations at Home increases quality of life for seniors and offers peace of mind for people who love them. Call us at 727-940-3414 for an in-home consultation to find out how we can assist.

Holiday Visits Can Help Determine if Dementia Care Is Needed

A happy grandmother with her family on Christmas Eve

Learn the signs of early dementia in this article from the St. Petersburg, FL home care experts.

From the second the door swings open and your senior parent wraps you in a warm hug, through the merry holiday dinner and each timeless family tradition, possibilities abound for not just quality time together, but also to evaluate how your senior loved one is really doing and if any warning flags are observed.

In particular, certain indicators could reveal cognitive issues, including Alzheimer’s disease. Because Alzheimer’s happens to be more and more common in senior loved ones, and because early detection and treatment are key, the dementia care team at Generations at Home suggests monitoring for any of the following common signs of early Alzheimer’s disease during your holiday visit this year:

  • Social differences. As outlined by John Ramsay, CEO of Shift 8,“Dementia can cause people to become closed-off, avoiding any sense of social interaction.” Take note of any indications both in the senior’s behavior and conversations that point to his/her preference for reclusiveness and isolation, particularly if the person has always appreciated socializing.
  • Mood swings. Depression, anxiety, and apathy are all early components of dementia. The illness has an effect on a person’s ability to process and manage emotions, often times the result of the inability to remember what sparked an adverse feeling, leading to additional irritation.
  • Loss of memory. Issues with memory are at the heart of Alzheimer’s disease, notably, short-term memory. Notice whether or not the senior seems to have a problem with recent events, but is able to fully engage in conversations in regards to the past.
  • Problems with altered routines. Identifying a sense of disorientation, anxiety or agitation is not uncommon during the holiday season, with its possibility of disruptions to the normal routine. People with Alzheimer’s tend to depend greatly on familiarity and may also appear out of sorts when deviating from the usual.
  • Physical changes. Take note of any evidence of a decline in hygiene or in the cleanliness and organization of the home, particularly if the senior has previously been thorough in maintaining a sense of order.

Any of these concerns ought to be brought to the attention of the senior’s primary care doctor at the earliest opportunity.

And, it is beneficial to have a trusted senior care partner on hand who is familiar with the intricacies of dementia along with other difficulties of aging, and will provide you with the professional assistance which enables aging parents to stay safe and well. Contact the St. Petersburg FL home care experts at Generations at Home at 727-940-3414 to learn more about our highly skilled, professional dementia care team and for a free in-home assessment to find out how we can help.

What a Herd of Elephants Can Teach Us About Alzheimer’s

Pinellas County dementia care

Can we learn something about Alzheimer’s from an elephant? Learn more in this article.

The old saying is true: elephants truly do have incredible memories, even in their old age. To illustrate, they can remember and return to very particular locations many years after visiting them, irrespective of age. Just what exactly can we discover from elephants that might lead to increasing our own brain functioning as we age?

Surprisingly, older elephants’ brains reveal no accumulation of the amyloid plaques a number of scientists are linking to Alzheimer’s. And even though other specialists tout the need for adequate sleep to permit the brain the opportunity to clear away plaques, elephants are stamping over that theory, sleeping as few as 2 hours daily.

But one factor rises above the rest that just may be the answer: socialization. Scientific studies increasingly point to the link between isolation and cognitive decline, as well as the advantage of retaining reliable social contacts. Elephants remain socially engaged in close family herds for a lifetime, while our human busyness frequently prevents the type of meaningful, sustained relationships we so desperately need.

Investing quality time together with your senior family members is easier with a little assistance from the professional caregivers at Generations at Home.We’re readily available to help with housework, shopping, cooking, personal care needs, and much more, freeing up valuable time for seniors and their loved ones.

We’re also skilled in encouraging aging parents to stay active and engaged in the community around them, and can provide transportation and accompaniment to senior centers, exercise programs, and enjoyable outings, as well as increasing socialization right at home with discussions, games, and pleasant activities.

As we await a cure or at the least, an effective treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease, realize that the care team at Generations at Homeis fully trained and skilled in specialized dementia care. As a result, those impacted by the condition are equipped to live life to their greatest possible potential, and family caregivers are given the support they want in managing a number of the more difficult aspects of the disease, for instance sundowning, aggression, wandering, and more.

Contact us at 727-940-3414to take the initial step in boosting wellbeing for your senior loved one! We’re available for as much or as little assistance as required, from just a couple hours enabling family members to take a much needed break from care, up to full-time, around-the-clock care, and everything in between.

How Concerned Should You Be About Guns and Dementia?

senior aiming a revolver pistol

What you need to know about guns and dementia.

With an impassioned level of debate rivaling the Hatfields and McCoys, it appears insurmountable to come to a resolution around the issue of gun control. Yet in spite of which side of the fence you are on, there’s one little-discussed scenario that will cause all of us to take pause: the frightening mixture of dementia and firearms.

A third of all seniors in the United States report owning a firearm, and an additional 12% are living in the house of a gun owner. Bearing in mind that nearly 9% of those over age 65 have some form of dementia (and that number is anticipated to more than double by 2050), it totals an incredible number of older adults with dementia living with guns. Together with irregular states of confusion, aggression, and other difficult behaviors, having guns in the house sets the stage for possible tragedy.

Within the state of Washington alone, a government study found that tens of thousands of older adults (54,000) reported memory decline and confusion along with access to firearms – and as many as 15,000 of those respondents reported that the firearms they had access to were both unlocked and loaded.

In fact, in one single year alone, a Kaiser Health News report uncovered upwards of 75 reported homicides or suicides committed by people with dementia, in addition to instances of firearms being brandished against those closest to them – family members, neighbors, caregivers. Additionally, the suicide rate for older adults is greater than for any other age bracket, with guns being the most prevalent source for senior men, as reported by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends removing firearms from the houses of those with dementia; however, if that isn’t a choice families are prepared to consider, it is vital that you be certain firearms are stored properly – locked, unloaded, and kept separate from ammunition. A bit of creativity can help as well – as an example, replacing real guns with toy models that allow a person who was an avid hunter to safely maintain his connection to that activity.

For more recommendations on keeping people who have dementia safe, call the skilled dementia care team at Generations at Home. Our fully trained and experienced caregivers are adept in assisting with the more challenging components of dementia, and in determining when a senior might be in crisis and require medical help. Our dementia respite care services allow family caregivers the chance to rest and renew, understanding their loved one is incompetent and caring hands. Call us at 727-940-3414 to find out more.

A Whole New Take on the Cause of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer's disease brain puzzle piece

Pinellas County home care team, Generations at Home shares new Alzheimer’s disease cure theory.

Today, Thomas Edison’s words ring true regarding the race to obtain both the main cause and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Each day seems to bring hopeful news of another clinical trial, followed shortly after by the aggravating news that results failed to meet expectations – and so the cycle persists.

A neuroscientist, Christian Holscher, is indicating that to be able to win the war against Alzheimer’s, we must look past the tried-and-tried-again plaque theory. In fact, he points to the identifier of the disease himself, Alois Alzheimer, who stressed that while certain plaques were found particularly in older brains, there was clearly no conclusive proof that they actually result in the disease. Yet researchers have continually honed in on these plaques as the culprit, and then turn up empty-handed.

Holscher proposes a unique avenue that needs to be explored instead in our mission to eradicate Alzheimer’s: the link between Alzheimer’s and insulin. We realize that those with type 2 diabetes are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s; and, we understand that brain cells require insulin to grow and stay healthy. Could insulin deficits lead towards the type of irreparable neuron damage exhibited in Alzheimer’s?

Studies of brain tissue from persons with Alzheimer’s that are deceased confirmed that insulin’s effectiveness in brain cell growth was destroyed, and surprisingly, it was true in both diabetic and non-diabetic patients – leading scientists to the conclusion that testing diabetic treatment options on those with Alzheimer’s is worth a try. A current clinical trial to check this theory demonstrated promising results, with neuron deterioration ceased in patients throughout the 12-month study.

Generations at Home continues to closely follow any and all developments regarding the continuous quest for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Our care team is highly skilled and experienced in successfully managing some of the more difficult elements of the disease, while helping those impacted to live life to their fullest potential. Whether the need is for just a few hours each week for family caregivers to take a much-needed break from care, full-time, 24-hour monitoring and assistance, or anything in between, Generations at Home is here for support.

Call us at 727-940-3414 to request additional Alzheimer’s disease resources and to schedule a free of charge consultation, right in the comfort of home, to learn more about our specialized dementia care services.

The Alzheimer’s Supplements to Avoid

Senior couple looking at medications

Always obtain your health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new.

As the saying goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That can easily be applied to the recent increase of corporations offering alternative supplements, dietary programs, and herbal concoctions in order to treat, or at the very least lessen, the ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association aims to alert us, however, to go forward with careful attention when investigating treatment options for a loved one with dementia – and always obtain the health care provider’s approval prior to trying anything new. Read more