Super Bowl 2016 Reminder of Alzheimer's Disease Impact on Denver Broncos

Alzheimer's disease, which causes memory loss involving forgetting person, place and time, has been diagnosed in 44 million people worldwide. This month, as the Denver Broncos compete in the Super Bowl, they will strive for their NFL championship as their owner, Pat Bowlen, continues to battle Alzheimer's disease. The Bowlen family did plan ahead effectively and the football team was securely placed in a family trust years before the announcement of Pat's Alzheimer's disease diagnosis.

It was in 2009 that Bowlen's memory loss was first discussed with a newspaper columnist and in 2010 he no longer played a role in the team's business decisions. His family will attend Super Bowl 50 but he will not (he is the father of 7 children).

The cause of Alzheimer's disease is still unknown, and the Denver Bronco's owner certainly engaged his brain in activity throughout his life, as he was also an attorney and involved in other business interests, in addition to having the challenge of operating a successful NFL franchise. 

Recently Congress approved more funding to research Alzheimer's disease, which the Alzheimer's Association estimates costs the U.S. $226 billion in caregiving in 2015 as 5.3 million Americans live with the disease (1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65).

Regardless of which team you are cheering for in the Super Bowl, take the time to learn how you can become more involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. Plan ahead for your senior care needs and if you are interested in becoming a senior caregiver, either part-time or full-time, take an online caregiver training course to begin working as a caregiver as more caregivers are needed to assist with caring for America's growing number of seniors.


Congress Approves $350 Million for Alzheimer’s Funding as part of 2016 Budget

More than 15 million caregivers assist a senior diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. This month, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed into law legislation authorizing a $350 million increase for Alzheimer’s disease research funding in 2016’s budget.

Disease modifying drugs and a cure will be the best way to allow the U.S.A. to be able to effectively care for seniors with the current Medicare and Medicaid benefits. The Alzheimer’s Association supported a research study to find how much money will be needed to adequately care for the growing number of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease, finding Medicare spending will more than quadruple in the next generation to $589 billion annually in 2050. By this time, if no cure or improved treatments are found, more than 16 million Americans will suffer from Alzheimer’s disease.

However, research funding for cures for cancer, AIDS/HIV and heart disease exceed $2 billion each.  As someone in the U.S.A. gets Alzheimer’s disease every 67 seconds, this will also become an even larger economic issue for both American citizens and the government senior Medicare and Medicaid health care programs.

Women over the age of 60 are twice as likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease than breast cancer.

Studying our brains will be the key to more than just a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, which is another reason more money should be invested in this research.

Participation in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease is one step senior caregivers can learn more about along with joining Maria Shriver’s The Women’s Alzheimer’s Challenge to emphasize brain research.  Share your story as an advocate, caregiver and activist for Alzheimer’s disease care and research.

Senior caregivers may obtain caregiver training for activities to engage with seniors with memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease in the digital caregiver certification training program. More caregivers are needed to assist senior's who may need part-time or full-time senior home care. Join Caregiverlist to be considered for caregiving jobs in your area. Anyone with a caring and trustworthy personality can become a senior caregiver.


California Caregivers: Must Know Risks Court Rules

Caregivers for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease must know the risks that come with the job, based on a ruling this month by the California Supreme Court. And knowing there are risks when caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease, seniors no longer need to worry about being liable for injuries they may cause their paid in-home caregivers. The California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the senior in the Carolyn Gregory, plaintiff and appellant, vs. Lorraine Cott, defendants and respondents, lawsuit. The decision ruled in favor of the senior, 5 - 2, verifying that the caregiver could not be compensated for damages.

 

This case and ruling provides all of us an opportunity to realize the advantages of working with a professionally licensed senior care company for senior care services.  And to understand the limitations for compensation for events we cannot control when this disease claims someone’s mind and body. Professional senior care companies maintain certain quality standards and provide benefits for caregivers legally hired as employees.

Here is the story:

In September, 2008, Carolyn Gregory, age 54, provided caregiving services for Lorraine Cott, age 88.  She was hired to assist Ms. Cott who had advanced Alzheimer’s disease. Now for the tough part of this story - just want to warn you - while the caregiver was washing dishes, which included a knife, the elder Ms. Cott came up behind her and began reaching toward the sink.  The caregiver tried to restrain her and in the process, the large knife she was washing fell and sliced into her left hand.  This caused the caregiver, Ms. Gregory, to lose sensation in her thumb and two fingers and to experience considerable pain.

The caregiver, Ms. Gregory, sued the senior for compensation for the damages to her hand, even though she did have coverage for the injury through her employer’s worker’s compensation insurance.  She sued for additional money for negligence.  The good news is that the caregiver did work for a senior care agency and had worker’s compensation benefits.  She wanted more compensation and the California Supreme Court denied this because of a legal doctrine referred to as the “primary assumption of risk.” From the California Supreme Court, when announcing their decision:

 

We have noted that the duty to avoid injuring others ―normally extends to 

those engaged in hazardous work.‖ (Neighbarger, supra, 8 Cal.4th at p. 536.) 

―We have never held that the doctrine of assumption of risk relieves all persons of 

a duty of care to workers engaged in a hazardous occupation.‖ (Id. at p. 538.) 

However, the doctrine does apply in favor of those who hire workers to handle a 

dangerous situation, in both the public and the private sectors. Such a worker, ―as 

a matter of fairness, should not be heard to complain of the negligence that is the 

cause of his or her employment. 

Caring for a senior home care agency client who formerly worked in a bank, we discovered that sometimes, with no prior warning, she apparently thought she was back at the bank counter.  She would swing her arms out from side to side in front of her and we realized, after talking with her family, that this was her way of pretending to count out money.  We found a way to bring her some peace when these moments presented themselves - we gave her a large magazine and guided her to flip through the pages one-by-one until the urge fled away from her.

None of us know what path old age will lead us down.  The road may be smooth, with a sudden end, or bumpy with sharp curves and steep inclines. We just don’t know how our road ends.  But now we know if our mind becomes something we cannot control, we will not be responsible if our actions might hurt a caregiver.

In Alzheimer’s care, caregivers must know what they are confronting.  They must understand that this is a different type of memory loss which progresses at a different speed for each senior. Senior home care agencies, licensed by their state to provide senior care, do provide quality caregiver training and worker’s compensation insurance for caregivers.  This means if a caregiver should have an on-the-job injury, the worker’s compensation insurance provides for the medical care and recovery needs.  This is yet another reason why many states are requiring specific licensing and training requirements for senior home care agencies.

Caregivers working as employees for senior home care agencies receive active care management, training and support when caring for difficult clients.  Sometimes just having someone to vent to enables the caregiver to go back the next day with a fresh attitude and new tools to successfully assist the senior. Alzheimer’s disease delivers so many “moments’ for caregivers  - and remember, family members and professional caregivers often provide care for those with Alzheimer’s disease as it truly is the long goodbye.

I have shared previously that I had the gift of meeting former President Ronald Reagan, after he had Alzheimer’s disease.  He thought he knew me and I played along and winked at him.  I was having brunch at the “leftover tables off the breezeway” at a Santa Monica restaurant because I didn’t make reservations and had a former co-worker who was kind enough to give me a lift to the airport. However, she drove an old convertible car that didn’t have a big enough trunk for my suitcases.  Since we had already convinced the valet guy to just leave the car in the circle driveway, to keep an eye on it, we begged for a table and they told us they didn't normally seat people in this area but if we really wanted a table we could have it.

Funny how coincidences work out sometimes……..and then the former President came in and was seated with his nurse and two Secret Service agents, at the table next to us. I was so busy talking with my friend that I honestly did not notice them come in and sit down.  It was only after the waitress came in and served them a platter of fruit and said, in a really loud voice, while talking slowly, “here you go, enjoy your fruit”, that my friend said, she is talking to them like they are in an old folk’s home.

That is when I looked up and realized who he was, and apparently because of the surprise on my face, he thought he knew me.  He waved at me and then leaned over and told the nurse something and pointed at me.  That is when I winked to let them know I knew what was going on and everything was cool.  And I also held back tears.

We are all the same when it comes to old age.  A president was seated in the leftover area, with Ishtar and I, because we had no reservations, and an old car without a real trunk. His road to the end was 10 years long!  He was going for a walk on the beach each morning with his nurse and two Secret Service agents. And when it was time to go, just like my own grandfather, he did not want to get up and leave.  The agents (kind of cool to say that) told us that they never knew how long it would take before he would be ready. Even a former president would misbehave when it came to Alzheimer's disease and now in California, families and caregivers must be aware of the risks. President Reagan had senior caregivers for 10 years........a reminder for all of us to plan ahead for senior care.

 

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Former President Ronald Reagan  

Words With Friends Encourages Mental Engagement: Caregiverlist Senior Care App Review

Finding new and fun ways to keep your senior clients using their brains can be difficult. Mental engagement in day to day activity is crucial for preventing Alzheimer's disease as well as dementia. The Words With Friends app offers a simple way for caregivers and their senior clients to play a game to exercise their minds. 

Words With Friends reflects the board game Scrabble in that players are provided with letter tiles that they must combine to create words to place on the board. Each word placed on the board must connect with another previously played word by using at least one of the same letters. There are various point values assigned to the letters based on how difficult it is to place them in a word. The player with the most points when the letters run out at the end of the game wins. 

The app features many different play options, which makes it ideal for any situation. Users can find their real life friends on the app and challenge them to a game. The app notifies you of when your opponent has made a move so that you can view the outcome and make your next move. There is also an option to play a random opponent if none of your friends are interested in a game, or the option to "pass and play" which is perfect for senior caregivers and their clients to use and play against one another. The first player makes their move and then hands the device off to the second player to make their move, and this continues back and forth until the conclusion of the game. 

For seniors, unscrambling and rearranging the letters in the game to create the words engages the mind to help keep it sharp as they age. Try playing a game or two with your senior clients, either against one another or as a team coming up with words to play against an outside opponent. 

 

The Words With Friends app is available free for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

Alzheimer's Research Charity: July Quilts

 

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative auctions 27 quilts online each month. Quilts range in size-- 9' x 12' and smaller. Please take some time to view the July quilts for auction the 1st through the 10th. All proceeds from the auction fund Alzheimer's research.

Read more on the Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative

Please look at a few of the quilts for auction below.

Review all July 2013 quilts here.

The Alzheimer's Art Quilt Initiative® is a national, grassroots charity whose mission is to raise awareness and fund research. The AAQI auctions and sells donated quilts, and sponsors a nationally touring exhibit of quilts about Alzheimer's. The AAQI has raised more than $916,000 since January 2006. Ami Simms of Flint, Michigan is the founder and executive director of the AAQI, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit operated entirely by volunteers. She is a quilter. Her mother had Alzheimer's.

Eli Lilly and Co. Study Results: 1 in 5 Patients Diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease Don't Have It

National Dementia Week this week sparks conversation about memory loss and the impact this is having on America's seniors.  The longer you live, the greater your chances for developing some form of memory loss.  The two go together.  But now a new survey by Eli Lilly and Company, released today, shows that not everyone who is diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease actually has this form of memory loss.

Eli Lilly did the survey as a way to help promote their imaging agent, called Amyvid, and to receive Medicare approval for reimbursement of this new product.  Amyvid received U.S. market approval last year and would assist in identifying the deposits of a protein called amyloid which is one of two telltale signs of Alzheimer's disease.  The imaging test is called PET, or positron emission tomography.

Performing an autopsy has been the only way to 100% for sure identify these plaques.  The thinking is that by properly diagnosing all Alzheimer's patients, Medicare may actually save money by properly treating everyone for the right type of memory loss.  Estimates are that 7.1 million people will have Alzheimer's disease by 2025.

Someday, there could also be the possibility for everyone to be tested for Alzheimer's disease at a certain age.  The Harvard School of Public Health found that two-thirds of adults would take a predictive Alzheimer's test.

With Angelina Jolie's New York Time's editorial last week, about her decision to proactively choose to have a double mastectomy because of testing positive for the BRCA1 mutation, being able to identify Alzheimer's disease accurately could lead to more preventive treatments.

Senior caregivers working with senior's with memory loss must have special training to understand all of the dynamics of the disease.  One of the biggest challenges of Alzheimer's disease is that it progresses at a different rate in each person.  However, because of the growth in the number of individuals living longer with memory loss, the demand for caregivers continues as senior care companies hire part-time and full-time caregivers each day.  Apply for a senior caregiving job near you or refer-a-friend and be entered to win prizes weekly on Caregiverlist.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease Author Online Chat May 16th

Senior caregivers assisting seniors with Alzheimer's disease care know the unique aspects of this disease.  Confusing person, time and place can create an added challenge.  A caregiver may arrive one day to discover the senior with Alzheimer's disease thinks the caregiver is their wife or sister or mother.  "Meet them where they are" is a common mantra used when caring for seniors with Alzheimer's.

A popular book for families and caregivers is "The 36-Hour Day", co-written by Dr. Peter Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.  As a member of the AARP Caregiving Advisory Panel, Dr. Rabins will offer an online chat to answer questions about caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's or dementia and discuss ways the caregiver can also care for themselves.

Creating a custom care plan for seniors with Alzheimer's disease is important along with understanding the emotional toll the caregiving can take on the caregivers, both professional caregivers and family caregivers.

My own grandfather suffered from the disease and would read the Wall Street Journal upside down and often confuse all of his family members with other people.  These are the extra heart-breaking aspects of the disease for caregivers.

Join Dr. Rabins on Thursday, May 16th from 2pm to 3pm Eastern Time for an interactive chat session.

Online Chat with Dr. Rabins, Co-Author of "The 36-Hour Day:  A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer's Disease".

Date:  May 16, 2013

Time: 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time

Senior caregivers may also find online caregiver training and apply for a senior caregiving job near them, as more companion caregivers are always needed to assist seniors with memory loss.

 

Hilarity for Charity Raises Money for Alzheimer's Disease: April 25th in Los Angeles, California

Hilarity for Charity, presented by GIV Mobile, presents a variety show in Hollywood tomorrow to raise money for the fight against Alzheimer's Disease.  Actors Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller created Hilarity for Charity after being actively involved in the Alzheimer's community, in order to create awareness about the disease among the younger generation.

Part of the National Alzheimer's Association, money raised from this event will be directed towards assisting families struggling with caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease and assist with funding support groups and research for a cure.

Lauren Miller became involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease after her Mother was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's disease at age 55.  She learned the challenges of caregiving and communicating how this disease impacts families.

Thursday's event will feature performances and appearances by Garfunkel & Oates, Sadie & The Blue Eyed Devils, Seth Rogen, Bo Burnham, John Mulaney and more.

Hilarity for Charity tickets may be purchased by buying a reserved table or an individual party crasher ticket at HilarityforCharity.com.  You also may make a donation to purchase a Hilarity for Charity Double Bracelet for $38.

Seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease will also need to plan ahead for long-term care needs and understand that Medicare does not pay for long-term care.  The Alzheimer's Association programs are helpful in assisting families to plan for senior care needs.  You can learn about nursing home daily costs nationwide on Caregiverlist.  As more caregivers are needed in the industry, remember that many times only companion caregivers are needed for those with memory loss and this can be fulfilling work for anyone with a caring personality.  Caregiverlist's Career Center connects caregivers with part-time and full-time senior caregiver jobs in their area (all with professional senior care companies).

Caregiver training also assists with learning caregiver skills in order to deliver quality care to seniors and you may also take an online caregiver training course.

And in the meantime, cheers to Hilarity for Charity to adding a laugh to the complexities of dealing with Alzheimer's Disease.

  

Alzheimer's and Dementia Responsible for 1 in 3 Senior Deaths, Report Shows

A new Alzheimer’s Association report, 2013 Alzheimer's Disease Facts & Figures, released yesterday, indicates that the disease is now the sixth leading cause of death, taking the lives of 1 in 3 seniors.

And while death from other diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke decline, Alzheimer's deaths continue to rise, increasing 68% from 2000-2010. The reason? According to the report, it is the only cause of death among the top 10 in America without a way to prevent it, cure it or even slow its progression.

The mortality rate for Alzheimer’s and dementia, while certainly increasing as the population ages, isn’t a new phenomenon. However, the reporting of death from dementia and Alzheimer’s may have been previously under-reported, according to  Susan Mitchell, a professor of medicine at Harvard and a scientist at Hebrew Senior Life Institute for Aging Research.

Alzheimer's patients tend to have other health problems as well, she says. Alzheimer’s and dementia lead to the death of nerve cells. In the beginning stages of the disease, the cells damaged mostly affect memory and behavior. As the disease progresses, the brain cells damaged control body functions. For example, a person suffering from dementia may lose their ability to swallow correctly. Food goes down the wrong way, resulting in lung damage and finally pneumonia. And it is that pneumonia which has been listed as the cause of death, and not the underlying dementia from which it stemmed.

From a caregiving standpoint, almost 15% of those caregiving for loved ones are doing it long-distance — living an hour or more away and they pay nearly twice as much out-of-pocket for care as their onsite counterparts. However, the emotional toll is understandably greater for those who must deal with caregiving on their own. “More than 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high; more than one-third report symptoms of depression.” These are the family caregivers who desperately need help in the form of respite caregivers.

Caregiving for Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia requires a special skill set and the need for skilled caregivers is only going to increase. State training requirements vary, but Caregiverlist, along with Terra Nova Films, presents training videos to assist you with understanding how to care for special needs of older adults suffering with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

If you are a certified nursing aide, home health aide, companion caregiver or family caregiver, these videos will help you improve upon your current skills and learn about the latest approaches for successful caregiving.

And read Norm McNamara’s Caregiverlist Diary to gain a better understanding of the daily challenges faced by those living with Alzheimer’s.

Walk to End Alzheimer's During World Alzheimer's Month

Alzheimer’s Disease can be a lonely one — lonely for those who endure it and lonely for the caregiver. In fact, studies show that loneliness increases the chances of getting a clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

September is World Alzheimer’s month and September 21 is Alzheimer's Action Day. Participants are encouraged to “Go Purple”, change Twitter and Facebook profile pictures to the purple End Alz icon, and speak up and share stories of Alzheimer’s in the hopes of eliminating the stigma associated with the disease.

The Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s™ (previously known as The Memory Walk) is an opportunity for individuals and communities to gather together to, according to one call for walk volunteers, “remember, honor, care and fight for the many living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.”

Alzheimer’s is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, according to 2012 statistics. It affects 5.4 million older Americans (or one in eight). And cost for care in the United States for 2012 are estimated to be around $200 billion and doesn’t even take into account the estimated billions of dollars of care provided by an estimated 15 million caregivers.

Walks are scheduled around the nation to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. If your city’s walk occurred earlier in the month, don’t despair; nearby walks could be scheduled well into October.

Consider joining a team, walking as an individual or starting your own team. Share your stories, remember those who you’ve lost or simply provide your support in the Alzheimer’s Association mission: To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

If you are already caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, Caregiverlist has partnered with the leading producer of training videos for the caregiving industry, Terra Nova Films, to assist our caregiving community with understanding how to care for the physical, emotional and psychosocial needs of those suffering from the disease.

 

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