Last week, Science Daily reported that University of Manchester researchers have discovered the cold sore virus is a major cause of the insoluble protein plaques found in the brains of those diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease.
This discovery could lead to new medications and vaccinations for treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease. This is welcome news for seniors suffering from memory loss.
The researchers believe the herpes simplex virus is a significant factor in developing Alzheimer’s Disease and could be treated by antiviral agents such as acyclovir, which is already used to treat cold sores and other diseases caused by the herpes virus.
Alzheimer's disease causes progressive memory loss and severe cognitive impairment. It affects over 20 million seniors (average age of on-set is in the 50’s) world-wide, and these numbers rise with increasing longevity.
The underlying causes of Alzheimer’s Disease are still unknown and current treatments only assist in slowing the progression of the disease.
The research found most people with Alzheimer��s Disease are infected with the herpes simplex virus type 1 when they are younger and this virus remains in their peripheral nervous system. The virus causes cold sores in 20 to 40% of those infected with it. Evidence of a viral role in Alzheimer’s Disease would point to the use of antiviral agents to stop progression of the disease.
The team had discovered much earlier that the virus is present in brains of many elderly people and that in those people with a specific genetic factor, there is a high risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
The findings of this research are published in the Journal of Pathology. Professional and family caregivers assisting a senior with Alzheimer's Disease should discuss the findings of this new research with their medical doctor.
senior, caregiving, AlzheimersDisease
You've heard the stories about financial scams targeting seniors through telemarketing. A senior can be the perfect target, especially if they are lonely and suffer from memory loss.
One way you can protect your senior relatives and friends from telemarketing calls is to add their phone number to the national "Do Not Call" list.
Just have the senior call the "Do Not Call" number from their telephone: 888-382-1222. Or, have their Caregiver make the call for them.
Medicare and Medicaid certified nursing homes are required to complete government inspections at least once every 15 months. The government provides information on the results of these inspections on Medicare.gov.
The nursing home inspection information provides a nice starting point for evaluating a nursing home but they do not include information on many violations and incidents of abuse which may be reported. You must visit a nursing home and question staff and family members of other residents to find out more information.
This week, the news media reported a group of teens working at a nursing home in Minnesota sexually abused and humiliated elderly residents with dementia. This information will not be found on Medicare's website of inspection results for this nursing home, for example, yet it is valuable information to know if you are considering placement at this nursing facility. Many caregivers who work for Senior Home Care Agencies have worked in nursing homes at some point in their career. If you know a professional caregiver, ask them about the nursing homes in your area. Caregivers also know other caregivers, expecially if they completed a nursing aide certificate, and can be a valuable resource for letting you know the inside scoop on the care at local nursing homes.
You may search the recent nursing home inspection reports on Caregiverlist's Nursing Home List.
seniorcare, caregiving, nursinghome
As seniors analyze their Medicare options before the end of the year, it may also be a good time to learn more about
President-Elect Obama's positions on health care reform. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, President-Elect Barack Obama announced a comprehensive health care reform proposal and laid out his positions on a number of other key health care issues.
Budget cuts will be necessary with the government's need to budget for the necessary economic booster programs and financial bailouts. At the same time, President-Elect Obama's team has said they will be eliminating some of the government fat and favors implemented for special interest groups. Many critics of the Medicare drug program have indicated that the prescription plans were somewhat out of whack because of the drug company's involvement through lobbying efforts (and when you try to understand why anyone would create a program with a "donut hole" as a term needed to explain coverage when a senior is left out of the prescription plan for a window of time, a red flag seems to go up that perhaps seniors best interests were not the only driver of this Medicare program).
Right now, Medicaid pays for long-term care in a nursing home, but not in the home (except in a few small population states which have recently developed home care programs). Medicare
only pays for caregiving in a nursing home and not in the home, yet statistics show most seniors prefer to stay in their homes for long-term care. And, with the cost of nursing home care being from $150 - $350 per day, and home care costing from $18 - $25 an hour and providing one-on-one care from a caregiver, it may be time to look at how the government is allocating the funds for senior care.
senior, caregiving, Medicare
In only ten minutes time, a mini-mental exam screens seniors for signs of dementia. Referred to in the medical community simply as a "mini-mental", the official name is the Mini-mental State Exam and it is copyrighted by Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR). Geriatric care doctors will give this exam to their senior clients to keep ahead of any signs of memory loss.
The mini-mental test asks questions about the time and place of the test, and incorporates math and language skills to test cognitive and memory abilities. It asks questions like how many nickels are in $1.25 and if you can spell a certain word backwards.
Many times memory loss in seniors can be connected with an illness or with medications. If properly addressed, senior memory loss can be slowed or reversed. Because of age-related diseases, seniors are more at risk for memory loss and should be sure their medical doctor is conducting a mini-mental at their annual check-ups.
If you are a caregiver for a senior, you can also find a variety of memory exercises at the Alzheimer's Store.
One of my Aunts suffered a stroke a few years ago and after being air-lifted to a metropolitan hospital, she received excellent care and made nearly a full recovery. Now she enjoys telling how in the days following the stroke, the doctor would check on her each day and ask her if she knew who the president of the United States was. Each day, she would answer "George Bush". Finally, she told him he needed to ask her something new. He then asked her if she knew what the Gettysburg Address was, and............she began reciting it. She had memorized it in grade school. He told her she indeed knew it better than he did!
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When searching for information on senior care, it is also important, as Grandma would say, to consider the source.
The internet offers a senior care website that is written by folks who launched a baby website and another one by folks who recruited attorneys for a living previously - they are both good enough websites but often miss the boat about the specifics of senior care issues because they just have never really had to swim in these waters for a living. It makes a big difference. This is a reminder of how important it is to make sure you understand the source of information you are reviewing.
Caregiverlist.com was created by professionals with years of experience in the caregiving industry and we provide information on quality senior care options and provide answers to the questions we are constantly asked while working in the senior care industry.
Another great resource, paid for by your tax dollars, which will help you find quality information, is the FTC's website called "Who Cares". The FTC has created this website to help you find reliable sources of information on health topics important to you, whether you’re an older consumer or a family member, caregiver, or friend.
You will learn about quality senior care products and be able to avoid products reported as scams and frauds.
Everyone has their own story of how they discovered a loved one was experiencing memory loss. One of my girlfriends tells the story of a family friend who picked her daughter up from school and said she thought the weather was cooling and it would be a perfect night to make chili for dinner. So they went to the grocery store to buy the ingredients and went home to enjoy a dinner of chili. The next night the Mom picked up her daughter from school and again said the weather was cooling and she thought it would be a good night to make chili for dinner. She forgot they had chili the previous night. When this happened a third time, the family began to compare notes and realized something was not right.
The Alzheimer's Association offers many wonderful educational programs to help seniors and family members understand how to best deal with this disease - knowledge is power, especially when you have the luxury of early diagnosis.
The 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer's Disease, courtesy of the Alzheimer's Association:
1) Memory loss
2) Difficulty performing familiar tasks
3) Problems with language
4) Disorientation to time and place
5) Poor or decreased judgment
6) Problems with abstract thinking
7) Misplacing things
8) Changes in mood or behavior
9) Changes in personality
10) Loss of initiative
senior, caregiving, AlzheimersDisease seniorcare, care, <a rel="tag" href="http://www.caregiverlist.com/blog/julie/memoryloss>memoryloss
Regardless of your political choice for president, you can share in the sadness of Barack Obama's Grandmother passing away just a day before the election. Madelyn Payne Dunham, 86, died peacefully in her Honolulu home on Sunday night, after battling cancer. She chose to stay at home with care provided by a caregiver.
Hospice training teaches that emotionally, it is easier to go through the process of grieving when you are able to plan for the death and say goodbye ahead of time. Barack learned this, he said, when he did not make it to his Mother's side before she passed away. As he did not want that to happen again, he took time off from his historic campaign to visit his Grandmother a couple of weeks ago.
Still, death of a loved one is never convenient or easy, even with knowing ahead of time. While visiting France one summer, I went to dinner at a small country restaurant. The owners were a married couple who made the rounds to all the tables to chat with their guests. Upon learning that I worked in senior care, they told me to be sure to visit the bathroom before I left. There was a mural painted on the bathroom wall that included the 17th Century Nun's Prayer. I later had my Mother write it in calligraphy and framed it for my Senior Care Agency's office wall. Many caregivers who passed through the doors asked about it and requested a copy and now it is included as a resource on Caregiverlist.
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