In spite of decades of intense and costly research, Alzheimer's disease cannot be prevented, its inevitable progression cannot be halted, and even its symptoms cannot be dramatically improved. Research continues however, though this past year has seen a large number of very notable treatment failures, with drugs, vaccines and non-drug interventions.
The premise of a microbial-brain link suggests restoring gut microbial balance might be able to improve a healthy brain. Yet, figuring out the best method to accomplish this goal has been a challenge. One of the more promising routes involves fecal transplantation. Yet this method has yet to gain significant approval and has not been tested in regards to Alzheimer's disease.
Placement in long-term care is one of the more difficult decisions facing caregivers of patients with dementia. Let me start by stating that my personal bias is to try and keep my patients at home as long as possible, assuming that their safety and health, as well as the caregiver's health, is compatible with this goal.
While the heat shouldn't prevent you from taking your loved one out for some exercise or fun, it is worth noting that many factors make seniors more prone to heat-related illnesses. Heat stroke can be deadly, and dehydration can worsen dementia symptoms such as confusion, irritability and dizziness.
When Carol and Theresa's mom was diagnosed with early-stage Alzheimer's and their dad's vision started failing, the news was met with some denial -- and their parents' groaning aversion to leaving their home of over forty years. The sisters, one of whom is my mother-in-law, came to realize that they are now parenting their own parents. In coming to terms with this they also realized that they each need support too. The result is an inspiring and positive arrangement. They've become "co-caregivers."
It is important to correct the person with dementia when they say things that are not true - FALSE. The cardinal rule is "never argue with a person with dementia". A person with dementia is simply taking files from their memory bank that come from another place and time. They are sure they are telling the truth.
It is deeply hurtful to even remotely consider that someone from your most trusted group of allies could be intending to take advantage of you when you are most vulnerable, but avoiding this issue only leaves you more vulnerable. Your best line of defence is to increase your awareness on some of the more typical financial threats.
Daniel Roebuck's tenderly nuanced performance as his wife' primary caregiver is such a perfectly balanced blend of heartache and hopeful longing, weariness and worry, unconditional love and utter loneliness that his character comes across so authentically, you forget you're watching a movie rather than visiting with a fellow family member impacted by Alzheimer's or dementia.