Alzheimer's Disease 4A Study Seeking Seniors Age 65 to 85 with Normal Thinking and Memory Abilities

Alzheimer's disease continues to impact us, with the most recent discussions around Super Bowl this week where the Denver Bronco's team owner will not be attending the game due to his battle with Alzheimer's disease. We still do not know how to cure Alzheimer's disease and the only way to get closer to both a prevention and cure for this disease is to study the brains and behaviors of those who both do and do not have the disease. The financial impact of caring for seniors with Alzheimer's disease already is in the billions of dollars, as both our public tax dollars, through Medicare and Medicaid, and private funds go towards caring for these seniors.

You can assist in finding a cure for this disease by spreading the word about the A4 study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, Eli Lilly and Company and several philanthropic organizations. The University of Southern California Alzheimer's Therapeutic Research Institute is coordinating the A4 study and seeking participants who are NOT DIAGNOSED with Alzheimer's disease yet.

Senior caregivers and seniors can learn more about this study and join or refer a friend to join the study.  Visit the website to learn more and find a location near you and just send an email to the contact to begin the application process. The eligibility requirements for this clinical trial for Alzheimer's disease are below.

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Age 65 to 85 years old
  • Healthy (Normal) Thinking Ability and Memory
  • Study Partner with Minimum Weekly Contact with You to Answer Questions Annually
  • Willing to Receive IV Infusions of Treatment or Placebo for 36 Months (36 Monthly Infusions)
  • Agree to Have Health Monitored During Study
  • Health monitoring includes memory and thinking tests, ECG's, PET scans, MRI scans, blood and urine tests

Non-Eligible Seniors:

  • Already Receiving Treatment for Alzheimer's disease 
  • Current Diagnosis with Serious or Unstable Illness
  • Reside in a Skilled Nursing Facility of Nursing Home
Caregivers assisting seniors with memory loss can take an online caregiver training course to learn more about positive ways to manage caregiving for memory loss diseases and learn about the various types of memory loss diseases.


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.


Alzheimer's Disease Treatment has had Little Progress since Dr. Alzheimer Identified Brain Plaques in 1906

Congress recently passed a budget bill in December, giving a few hundred million towards the research of Alzheimer's disease. 

While we are able to identify the existence of the same brain plaques Dr. Alzheimer found back in the early 1900's, we still are not sure why some people develop these plaques while others do not. 

Researcher Sam Cohen shares some of the facts around Alzheimer's disease research.  One reason Congress included research for finding a cure for Alzheimer's is because of the huge costs associated with full-time senior care for those with memory loss. Medicare does not currently pay for ongoing senior care needs but Medicaid, for low-income seniors, does.




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.


Alzheimer's Disease Strikes Chris Graham at Age 39

A rare form of Alzheimer's disease is passed on via a faulty gene, which strikes much before retirement years. Chris Graham's father died when he was just 42 years old and his aunt passed away at age 38. His brother now lives in a nursing home, at the age of 43. Now, Chris knows he is carrying the faulty gene too and will develop Alzheimer's disease.

Chris has decided to make the most of his life now, and has began a 16,000 mile bike ride across the U.S.A. and Canada to fund raise for dementia research. He started the bike ride in April, 2015, after discovering he had the faulty gene in 2010. He has lost four relatives from this disease, all passing away in their 40's.

One of four kids, he knew he had a 50-50 chance of inheriting the gene. He and his brother did inherit the gene while his two sisters did not. You read Chris Graham's blog posts on Alzheimer's Research UK.

As the number of seniors with memory loss continues to increase, as more seniors are living longer, having more professional senior caregivers has become a concern. Learn about how you can become a part-time or full-time caregiver or refer-a-friend to a caregiving job.


Brain Health Index Score Helps Seniors and Caregivers Manage their Minds

Brain health may soon be proved to be the most important component of healthy living and aging, as our brains connect to all the other functions in our bodies. The human operating system is turning out to be greatly impacted by our state of mind. Researchers now say our brains are the most important organ, creating memories, driving emotions and controlling every movement in our bodies. Now you can be proactive about managing your brain health with an online brain check-up tool.

One of our favorite authors, Deepak Chopra, and his pal Dr. Rudi Tanzi, also have a new book coming out called "Super Genes, Unlock the Astonishing Power of Your DNA for Optimum Health and Well-Being", as a follow-up to their book "Super Brain" and you can pre-order it. This book discusses how 95% of disease-related gene mutations are fully deterministic and influenced by diet, behavior and other environmental conditions.

Cleveland Clinic's Six Pillars of Brain Health can help us preserve our memory and lower our risk for brain disease. The recent suicide of actor Robin Williams, who was suffering from Lewy Body dementia, we now know, reminds us how vital it is to be able to properly diagnose our health issues. However, some types of dementia are difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Especially when there is an early onset of Alzheimer's disease, it can be mistaken for schizophrenia, drug abuse and all kinds of ailments that add even more stress to the situation.

Keep Memory Alive is a non-profit organization created to increase awareness and raise funds for the research, management and treatment of brain disorders (they are located in Las Vegas and receive sponsorship money from Caesar's - it's good to know there are gambling dollars going towards something positive). The Cleveland Clinic's Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health is supported by Keep Memory Alive and treats patients with:

  • Alzheimer's Disease
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Fronto-temporal Dementia 
  • Multiple Sclerosis
The Healthy Brains free brain check-up will help you manage your brain health and to be "mindful" of how to best care for your brain. When you take the Cleveland Clinic's free online brain check-up, you can also join their healthy brains research registry which also connects you to a community of people who are willing to participate in clinical research as we work to better understand how to treat illnesses impacting the brain.

6 Pillars for Brain Health
  1. Physical Exercise
  2. Mental Fitness
  3. Food & Nutrition
  4. Sleep & Relaxation
  5. Social Interaction
  6. Medical Health
Clinical trials are necessary to study better ways to treat memory loss. Right now, more than 70,000 volunteer participants are needed for more than 150,000 Alzheimer's Disease and dementia clinical trials. Participants are needed who are both healthy as well as those who already have a diagnosis of memory loss. Find clinical trial openings at Cleveland Clinic. Plan ahead for senior care needs or those of a loved one by learning about what Medicare and Medicaid cover and available care options near you.

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Senior Care Services Evolving as we Begin Accepting "Being Mortal"

America's "Oldest Old' are increasing. This term refers to those who are age 80 or older. Media attention recently has focused on the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Medicare benefit program and how when it was developed in 1965, the lifespan for an American senior was age 75. This is why Medicare benefits begin at age 65. But today age 75 seems rather young.

Our retirement years are going through an evolution as we realize we are more likely to live to be 100 than just age 75. This requires more money to be saved and for a game plan for a fulfilling lifestyle. But a reality of aging is also the fact that the human body was not built to last forever.

Aging is a natural process, for those of us who will be fortunate enough to experience it.

Doctor Atul Gawande, who has written books such as "The Checklist Manifesto", now has written "Being Mortal" to start a conversation on how accepting the aging process and planning ahead for how you would like for your senior care to be, should become as common as creating an estate plan. While Medicare does NOT pay for long-term care, Medicaid, for low-income seniors with few assets, does pay for an ongoing stay in a nursing home for seniors who qualify for this level of care. Understanding the costs of senior care are as important as choosing the type of senior care you would like, since the government program most of us will be on (Medicare) does not pay for long-term care.

Americans currently do not plan ahead for senior care, a fact all caregivers know.

Read "Being Mortal" and share it with those you care for to begin the conversation about how you would like to grow old, while also addressing the realities of changes that will be a natural part of aging. Think about how seasoned travelers prepare for a vacation: a carry-on bag has a change-of-clothes should our bags be delayed, a copy of our passport is in our wallet....

Dr. Gawande is a gifted writer and his book is an enjoyable read, even though it deals with tough topics. Begin the conversation with your loved ones and with yourself about how you picture your screenplay for growing old. Then you and your caregivers will know where the extra change of clothes are located - and if we even want to bother with them.


National Memory Screening Week November 1st through 7th

Memory loss can be both a concern and fear for everyone. Especially for senior caregivers who have witnessed someone experience memory loss. I had the opportunity to meet former President Ronald Reagan after his memory loss had progressed (he thought he knew me, but for sure we had never met). It was a reminder to me that we are all the same when it comes to aging.

This week, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America (AFA) has launched a National Memory Screening Program

National Screening Week is November 1 - 7 of this year.

The AFA is providing free, confidential memory screenings for people that have concerns about their memories. When necessary, individuals will be encouraged to have a follow-up exam by a qualified health care provider and may be directed to appropriate social services and community resources in their area.

The AFA is working toward eliminating the stigma and fears associated with dementia, and providing education for the public about memory problems and how to age successfully. The organization also hopes to alleviate fears for the people who do participate in the memory screening who are not currently showing any signs of memory problems.

Screening sites in your area can be located below.

National Memory Screening Locations 

Memory loss has many forms and Alzheimer's Disease is just one type of memory loss. Now that we know late actor Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body dementia, we can better understand how difficult the changes he was dealing with in his mind were during his last year of life.

Other types of memory loss include:

  • Vascular Dementia
  • Lewy Body 
  • Frontal Love Dementia (FLD)
  • Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)
  • Huntington's Disease
  • Pick's Disease
  • Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
  • Parkinson's Disease
  • Subdural Hematomas
  • Brain Tumors

By identifying the type of memory loss, the senior can then be treated correctly. The progression for some types of memory loss, such as Alzheimer's Disease, can be slowed when treated with medications. Many clinical trials are in progress now, to study ways to better prevent Alzheimer's Disease. 

Meditation is proving to be an effective way to change the structure of the brain and Deepak Chopra and Rudi Tanzi, both medical doctors, are researching how meditation may be able to prevent or slow down memory loss. The doctors co-authored the book Super Brain where they discuss new ways of using our brains to help exercise it more and create new pathways, which, research is showing, just might be a way to prevent memory loss.






Super Better Game Helps You Get and Stay Stronger

“I’m game”!  What thoughts go through your mind when someone says this?  If thoughts of excitement, exhilaration, challenge, friendship and the thrill of winning come to mind, then you are like the majority of people who enjoy playing a good game. All of these positive thoughts have now been studied and confirmed as truly brain changing. 


Jane McGonigal, a senior researcher at the Institute for the Future has developed a game that assists anyone, including senior caregivers, to move into the gaming mindset to feel better and achieve goals in their daily life.  She has a new book, titled Super Better, along with a free SuperBetter App to allow everyone to step into the gaming mindset and enjoy the resulting benefits.

Jane visited Chicago this week to talk about her book, her research and the free Super Better App at her new office in Chicago (just a couple blocks from Caregiverlist, Inc. at the Chicago Merchandise Mart).

If you thought playing games was not a good use of your time, Jane’s research may surprise you. She now has research studies to back up her findings that your brain does change when you are in the gaming mindset.  Her current focus is on those recovering from traumatic brain injuries or experiencing mental illness such as depression or addiction.  Her own experience recovering from a concussion led her to build the Super Better game and the free Super Better App.  

You are stronger than you know.
You are surrounded by potential allies.
You are the hero of your own story.

By being gameful you can combat extreme stress and personal challenge and thrive and this is what both Jane's book and game will teach you how to do.

How does this work?

Have you ever helped lift heavy furniture from one room to the next? When doing so, you are thinking about how to leverage the furniture in conjunction with the other person assisting with the lifting and you communicate on how you will shift the piece of furniture without damaging it or the walls and floor and without hurting yourself or the other person. As you do this, your brains are "in synch". The same thing happens when you are playing a video game with someone else, or any game. However, this is most effective when playing a game with a friend or family member. The brain chemistry, so to speak, truly changes and delivers more positive emoticons, as we might say. The vagus nerve, for instance, connects the mind to many important organs in the body and mediates the relationship between emotions and physical health and is improved when you are immersed in a game.

The SuperBetter App presents a game that will result in the player being able to stay strong, motivated and optimistic, even in the face of difficult obstacles. Playing SuperBetter allows players to become capable of getting through any tough situation and more likely to achieve their goals. Results have been proven by playing for just 10 minutes a day. A nurse shared a story of assisting a patient who was battling depression. After being given a prescription for anti-depressants, the person returned for their check-up visit showing signs of improvement. However, it turned out they were unable to afford to buy the medications and instead played the free SuperBetter App game and said that this had helped them to step out of their depressed state.

McGonigal has organized the ways we think and act when we play games into 7 actions that contribute to post-traumatic and post-ecstatic growth when implemented:

  1. Adopt a Challenge Mindset

  2. Seek out Whatever Makes you Stronger and Happier

  3. Strive for Psychological Flexibility

  4. Take Committed Action

  5. Cultivate Connectedness

  6. Find the Heroic Story

  7. Learn the Skill of Benefit Finding


The 7 Rules to Live By from the SuperBetter Method:

  1. Challenge yourself

  2. Collect and activate power-ups

  3. Find and battle the bad guys

  4. Seek out and complete quests

  5. Recruit your allies

  6. Adopt a secret identity

  7. Go for an epic win


Studies also show that those who are caring for others who are experiencing mental illness also find benefits when playing SuperBetter.  As seniors can be at high risk for alcoholism and depression, senior caregivers can add game playing to their tool kit and now know that research backs up the benefits of being a game player.

Seth Rogen's Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead Donate Alzheimer's Care

Hilarity for Charity and Home Instead Senior Care has partnered to provide more than 6,000 hours of care in-home support for more than 130 eligible U.S. and Canadian Alzheimer's families in need through the Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Relief Grant Program.

Seth Rogen and his wife Lauren Miller Rogen established Hilarity for Charity to raise money and awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among the younger people. Both became involved in the fight against Alzheimer's disease after Lauren Miller Rogen's mother was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s in her 50s.

In a press release, Ms. Miller Rogen said "My family is so fortunate to be able to provide the 24/7 professional care my mother needs. That care allows me to hold on to the precious moments I have with my mother so I can simply be a daughter and not just a caregiver. Our hope is that every family impacted by Alzheimer's disease can have those priceless moments, which is exactly why we created this tremendous program."

Home Instead Senior Care franchise owners pledged more than 37,000 hours of in-home care services, valued at $740,000. Grant recipients will be connected with a Home Instead franchise in their community, which will provide highly-skilled Alzheimer’s CAREGivers. Grants range from short-term in-home care 25 hours to long-term care, based on the needs of the family.

According to the Alzheimer's Association, friends and family of people with Alzheimer's and other dementias provided an estimated 17.9 billion hours of unpaid care in 2014, and nearly 60 percent of Alzheimer's and dementia caregivers rate the emotional stress of caregiving as high or very high.

Until there’s a cure, there is care. Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s other memory diseases can be exhausting and overwhelming. Respite care from a trained in-home caregiver can allow you to take a break and come back to your duties rested and refreshed. But in-home care is not inexpensive and programs like the Alzheimer's and Dementia Care Relief Grant can be a godsend to families who are struggling.

Sylvia Besson and her family received some much-needed respite care for her father. Home Instead CAREgiver Melissa Barnstable is one of the many in-home caregivers specially trained to work with Alzheimer’s patients. “I enjoy bringing clarity, enthusiasm, and kindness into their day.

For more information about the Alzheimer's Care Grant Program, including how you can donate or apply for future respite care grants, visit www.HelpForAlzheimersFamilies.com.

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