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Helping Family and Friends Understand Alzheimer's Disease

walking-the-trunk-1314201When you learn that someone has Alzheimer’s disease, you may wonder when and how to tell your family and friends. You may be worried about how others will react to or treat the person. Realize that family and friends often sense that something is wrong before they are told. Alzheimer’s disease is hard to keep secret.

There’s no single right way to tell others about Alzheimer’s disease. When the time seems right, be honest with family, friends, and others. Use this as a chance to educate them about Alzheimer’s. You can:

When a family member has Alzheimer’s disease, it affects everyone in the family, including children and grandchildren. It’s important to talk to them about what is happening. For tips on helping children cope when a loved one has the disease, see Helping Kids Understand Alzheimer’s Disease.

Tips for Communicating

You can help family and friends understand how to interact with the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some tips:

  • Help family and friends realize what the person can still do and how much he or she still can understand.
  • Give visitors suggestions about how to start talking with the person. For example, make eye contact and say, “Hello George, I’m John. We used to work together.”
  • Help them avoid correcting the person with Alzheimer’s if he or she makes a mistake or forgets something. Instead, ask visitors to respond to the feelings expressed or talk about something different.
  • Help family and friends plan fun activities with the person, such as going to family reunions or visiting old friends. A photo album or other activity can help if the person is bored or confused and needs to be distracted.


Herbal Supplements: What You Should Know

pestle-and-mortar-1326016For centuries, people have used herbal remedies as a natural solution to prevent colds, improve memory, and improve their quality of life. Herbal dietary supplements, also know as botanicals, have many benefits, but they are not as strictly regulated as other medications. Though they are processed consistently and required to meet quality standards, they do not need approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before being sold. It is very important to do your research and consult your physician on the pros and cons of taking herbal supplements before adding them to your diet.

Herbal supplements are regulated by the FDA, but not as drugs or as foods. They fall under a category called dietary supplements. The rules for dietary supplements are as follows:

·        Manufacturers don't have to seek FDA approval before selling dietary supplements.

·        Companies can claim that products address a nutrient deficiency, support health or are linked to body functions — if they have supporting research and they include a disclaimer that the FDA hasn't evaluated the claim.

·        Companies aren't allowed to make a specific medical claim. An example of a specific medical claim might be, "This herb reduces the frequency of urination due to an enlarged prostate."

·        Manufacturers must follow good manufacturing practices to ensure that supplements are processed consistently and meet quality standards. These regulations are intended to keep the wrong ingredients and contaminants out of supplements, as well as make sure that the right ingredients are included in appropriate amounts.

·        The FDA is responsible for monitoring dietary supplements that are on the market. If the FDA finds a product to be unsafe, it can take action against the manufacturer or distributor or both, and may issue a warning or require that the product be removed from the market.


How to Safely Pick a Loved One (or Yourself) Up After a Fall

help fallenWhen you or a loved one has fallen, the most difficult part is getting back up again. Depending on the situation, the most important aspect to consider when picking up from a fall is any possible injury. If there is any doubt about the safety of your loved one, call 9-1-1 for help. Caregiver training courses can also provide useful information with picking someone up after their fall. Here are some strategies to use when you are sure that there is no injury involved.

Tips for picking up someone that has fallen

  1. Stay calm and help your loved one to remain calm by encouraging them to take slow, deep breaths.
  2. Examine them for injuries—bruises, possible sprain, broken bones.
  3. If they have a serious injury (e.g. a broken bone), then don't move them. Call 9-1-1, and keep your loved one as warm and comfortable as possible until help arrives.
  4. If they aren't badly hurt and they want to get up, proceed slowly and stop at any point if they become stuck or too tired to get all the way up.
  5. Find two sturdy chairs. Place one next to your loved one's head and the other down by their feet.(Keep in mind, your loved one needs to be the one doing the physical work of getting up. You're just there to help guide them and keep them steady, not lift their weight.)
  6. Help your loved one roll over onto their side, assist them into a kneeling position. If they suffer from sore knees, a towel placed underneath the knees can make them more comfortable.
  7. Move the chair closest to their head directly in front of where they are kneeling so that they can place their hands on the seat, evenly.
  8. Ask your loved one to lean on the seat as they bring one leg forward and place that foot on the floor.
  9. Move the second chair directly behind your loved one, then ask them to use their arms and legs to push themselves up, then sit back into the second chair. You can use your hands to keep your loved one steady, but keep your back upright and make sure they are doing the physical work to lift themselves.
  10. Notify their doctor that they've had a fall.


Preparing for Blood Tests - More Than Just Fasting

reporting all medications to your doctor before blood testsA new survey reveals Americans are not aware of what to report prior to a blood test. Only half (52 percent) believe it is very important to report use of supplements to their healthcare provider before getting a blood test.

With recent interest in the use of supplements like biotin as beauty treatments, it’s especially critical for consumers, doctors and lab personnel to talk before blood tests because very high doses of supplements could interfere with some test results.

The possibility of interference in blood testing is low, but if you’re taking high-dose biotin for hair, skin or nail health, for example, it is best to inform your doctor before a blood test. Just as you may need to fast before certain types of tests, you may need to hold off on taking supplements like biotin for at least eight hours before blood work.

The survey, commissioned by Roche Diagnostics, also found that most Americans (85 percent) expect their physician to provide complete instructions on how to prepare for a blood test.


Sundowning May Cause Increased Symptoms at the End of the Day

sundownDoes your loved one experience anxiety, change in mood, or depression around sundown? He or she could be experiencing sundowner's syndrome, or sundowning, which is marked by mood changes or increased anxiety, depression, fear or anger around twilight each day.   

People with Sundowner's Syndrome may also "shadow" their caregivers, following them around and doing everything they do. They might ask questions over and over or interrupt conversations with someone else. They may lose their full language abilities, and abstract thoughts may become especially difficult for them to comprehend.



Senior guest? How to Prepare Your Home for Older Visitors

Whether it's for a special occasion or just because, hosting an older adult in your home canelderly-guest be a wonderful experience with lots of memory-making potential. However, for a safe and successful visit, you may want to make a few adjustments to your home before they arrive to make it more senior-friendly.

"Spending time with aging parents or grandparents is a wonderful experience for all generations," says Sara Terry, Brookdale Senior Living's senior vice president of resident and family engagement. "Creating a welcoming and relaxing atmosphere is the job of any good host and that is no different when entertaining seniors. Considering older adults' varying mobility and comfort levels, there are a few adjustments you can make to your home to meet their needs."

Whether your guest is staying short- or long-term, Terry offers these six tips to help you transform your home into a more senior-friendly environment so you can focus on what matters most: making memories with your entire family.


A Cup of Tea Can Be the Best Solution for Everyday Wellness

teaBefore medicine and pharmaceuticals filled our remedy box, food and food ingredients were considered healing agents. Hippocrates was wise in his understanding of the special powers of food, beyond satisfying our appetites: “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

There are many cultures that rely on herbal remedies and natural foods for everything from soothing an upset stomach to lifting our spirits when we’re down, to calming jittery nerves and even fending off colds and flu. Many of the best cosmetics tout ingredients to smooth skin, prevent aging, block the sun, reduce inflammation and minimize puffiness. There are four common herbs that have been used by many cultures and that are found in many of our kitchens.