Tag Archive | Age-Related Illnesses Caregiver Support

The Little Things – Mother’s Day 2017

Mama and DaddyIt’s the little things that I think and dream about now that Mama is gone. Some of them are real and some, those in my dreamworld, are reconfigured to how I wished or hoped they had turned out.

As time passes between my parents’ deaths, I find more and more Daddy and Mama are together, the two of them and sometimes with my sisters and and sometimes just with me, but we all seem to be younger, when our lives were more together than they are now and we shared the little things that glued us together.
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The Link Between Brain Injuries and Neurological Disease

There is irrefutable proof that repeated mild-to-moderate traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), single major traumatic brain injuries, and CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) will eventually lead to the development of dementia.

However, new research is showing us what happens in the brain at the genetic level when the brain is mildly injured many times or severely injured one time to cause neurological deterioration over time and the eventual development of dementia. Continue reading

Good Sleep: A Key Factor in Neurological Health

How much sleep and the quality of that sleep plays a key role in the health of the brainSleep – how much and the quality of it – has a profound and lifelong impact on the brain. When we get enough sleep and that sleep is deeply restful, the brain does beneficial housecleaning that sweeps away the toxins and waste products that accumulate in the spaces between brain cells during our waking hours.

Many of these toxins, including the beta amyloid proteins associated with Alzheimer’s Disease, if not removed, are directly responsible for neurological damage and decline, resulting in eventual cognitive impairment and dementia. Continue reading

The Layperson’s Guide to Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA)

Neurological distribution of primary progress aphasia (PPA)Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is a neurological effect specifically associated with certain types of dementia (Alzheimer’s Disease and frontotemporal dementia are the most common underlying forms of dementia in which PPA occurs) that results in linguistic abilities becoming slowly and progressively impaired until they are completely gone.

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Profiles in Dementia: Gene Wilder (1933 -2016)

Gene Wilder as Willy WonkaGene Wilder was a comedic actor best known for his performances in movies such Willy Wonka and the Chocolate FactoryBlazing SaddlesStir CrazyYoung Frankenstein, and The Producers.

Wilder got his start in acting in 1961 in off-Broadway productions, but his acting career began to take off in 1967 when he landed a role in Bonnie and Clyde, which starred Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway.

Wilder’s career peaked in the 1970’s, as he became a household name after masterfully capturing the essence of the title character in 1971’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Wilder’s performance in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory caught the attention of Mel Brooks, a filmmaker well-known for making movies that are farces or comedic parodies (perhaps because I’m too much on the serious side of things, I have never really gotten Brooks’ movies and don’t find them appealing, but they are very popular), and Wilder was featured in starring roles in the string of hit movies that Brooks made in the late 1960’s and throughout the 1970’s.

Wilder’s last movie role was in 1999, after which the actor began a more private life, with rare cameos in television shows and interviews (the last of which was in 2008 with Alec Baldwin in a Turner Classic Movie biography entitled Role Model).

According to statement from Wilder’s nephew, Wilder had been officially diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2013, but had been showing increasingly more obvious behaviors and symptoms of the neurological disease for several years before that.

There have been many critics of Wilder’s desire to keep his diagnosis private because the critics believe that celebrities with a dementia diagnosis will bring more awareness about dementia and will spur more public and political action.

I strongly disagree with the critics and I support Wilder’s desire to keep his diagnosis private.

There is plenty of information – this blog and the books I’ve written with in-depth and practical information about dementia (what it looks like, how to travel through the journey day-to-day with our loved ones, and invaluable information on resources to best facilitate that journey), in addition to other blogs and books that focus on certain aspects of dementia or are devoted to a certain angle of dementia awareness – available to raise awareness.

I also believe that each person, and their families, should have the discretion to choose whether to make a dementia diagnosis and journey public or private.

In my mom’s case, while she was alive, I kept her diagnosis confined to a small group of people whom she and I were close to and who would want to know. I don’t really know what Mama would have chosen (it’s not a question you can really ask), but I knew I wanted to protect her and to maintain her dignity, so I made that choice with no regrets.

Gene Wilder Alzheimer's Disease

It was only after Mama’s death that I chose to make her dementia public, but only because I knew that our journey could help other people and that Mama would have supported that. I haven’t ever given all the details of our journey and I never will (some things just need to stay private).

Gene Wilder died at the age of 83 from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease on August 29, 2016.

 

Polypharmacy: A Dangerous and Potentially-Fatal Threat to Seniors

Polypharmacy poses dangerous and potentially-fatal risks to seniorsSenior citizens, including our loved ones with dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease, are an especially vulnerable part of the human population to the dangerous – and potentially deadly – risks of drug interactions associated with polypharmacy (coexisting multiple prescription medications/supplements/over-the-counter medications use). Continue reading

A Mixture of Degenerative Neurological Changes Drives the Development of Dementia

digital-imaging-brain-going-gentle-into-that-good-nightThis blog stresses over and over that not all dementias are Alzheimer’s Disease (Alzheimer’s Disease is but a single type of dementia), but the Alzheimer’s Association has been quite effective at leading most people to believe that all cognitive impairment and subsequent neurological degeneration is Alzheimer’s Disease.

Not only is this general belief false, but it is also potentially very dangerous to our loved ones with dementia. Continue reading