Tag Archive | Dementia

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

Remembering My Beloved Mama: Muriel June Foster Ross

mama mother's day

I originally wrote this as a “Profiles in Dementia” tribute to my mama, but it’s appropriate as a remembrance of her birthday too.

Today would have been Mama’s 88th birthday. I miss her – and my daddy – terribly, but I’m glad her suffering – and his – is over.

I hold you both close in my heart and my love, and most importantly in my memories of thankfulness and gratitude for the blessing of both of you in my life.

Until we meet again.

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Hospitalization, Delirium, and Dementia

Hospitalization for our elderly loved ones can begin or deepen cognitive impairment and dementia and this is linked to deliriumFor our elderly loved ones who are hospitalized, one of the frequent but often unexpected results is delirium. The onset of delirium can occur within hours of hospitalization, or it can emerge gradually throughout the length of the hospitalization.

As medical advocates for our elderly loved ones, we need to be aware of and understand all the possible causes of delirium resulting from hospitalization because delirium can either initiate permanent cognitive decline – dementia – or it can exacerbate cognitive decline in cases where cognitive impairment already exists. Continue reading

Profiles in Dementia: Helen French Garrison (1930 – 2017)


Helen Garrison as a young womanOne of my best and closest friends, who is a sister to me and I to her, lost her mom, Helen French Garrison, to dementia on Sunday, January, 29, 2017.

While my friend shares many traits and characteristics with her dad, she shares just as many with her mom, including, to name a few, her mom’s Southern charm, her grace, her kindness, and her generosity.

Helen Garrison was a beautiful lady inside and out. I’m thankful that both Mama and I had the honor of calling her both family and friend.

In tribute to Helen, and with the family’s permission, this profile in dementia is written by my friend about her mom and her dad, who faithfully and lovingly kept his in-sickness-and-in-health promise as Helen’s primary caregiver during her long journey through dementia, and their lives together as husband and wife.

Lloyd Helen Garrison wedding day“I’ve always been so thankful for the blessing of my devoted, loving, godly parents. And this week I’m thankful to have been with them for the final days of my mother’s life. In the past few days my dad has been recalling and sharing so many stories and memories of their life together. They were a very special couple who worked together to keep their promise of for better or worse, til death. Together they brought up two children and are the grandparents of six and great grandparents of nine. Now my dad is trying to figure out where to go from here. After 64 ½ years of marriage, he has to change his mindset from “we” to “I” – quite a challenge for him at age 87.

My mother was born February 20, 1930 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. At the age of twelve, she moved with her parents and sister Blondie to Sheffield, Alabama where she finished her schooling. In 1952 she graduated with every honor from Florence State Teachers College, now the University of North Alabama, with a teaching degree.

Three months later she married Lloyd Garrison, and they moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming where he was stationed at the Air Force Base. When he was discharged, they returned home to Alabama where my brother and I grew up.

Mother taught elementary school for decades and was much loved by her students and their parents. After retiring from teaching, she ran the office for the very busy Garrison Electric Company which my dad started. She was energetic and full of life, love, and joy which she radiated to her family, students and friends. Also, she was an amazing hostess and cook, and she thrived on having groups of friends and family over for meals and fun. She hosted many family Thanksgiving, Mother’s and Father’s Day and anniversary events! For our pre-wedding dinner for family and wedding party members, she killed, skinned, and cooked a dozen chickens in addition to all the side dishes and dessert!

Interestingly, my mother’s many strengths and talents were my dad’s growth or challenge areas, and conversely, my dad’s many outstanding talents were my mother’s growth areas. They relied on each other, and together they made the complete package!

Lloyd and Helen Garrison in their golden yearsOf course this is a bittersweet time for our family — the bitterness of the loss and void, and the sweetness that finally Mother is at peace, no longer struggling and suffering. We are focusing on the many cherished memories of life with such an outstanding loving and beautiful lady. And we rely on our faith in the promises of God that we will see her again.

Helen French Garrison died on January 29, 2017.”

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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Daylight Savings Time and Its Effects on Health, Sleep, and Our Loved Ones with Dementias and Alzheimer’s Disease

Daylight Savings Time Increases Health Risks Physically and NeurologicallyHere in the United States, most of the country ended Daylight Savings Time (DST) at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 5, 2016, which moved our clocks back an hour.

Both the beginning and end of DST are tough changes on even the healthiest among us. For someone like me who has had hardwired sleep challenges all my life, both the beginning and end of DST are particularly hard for me for about a week until my body and brain adjust to the change. Continue reading