Category Archives: Caregivers & Coping

Caregiving For Alzheimer’s

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Caregiving for an Alzheimer’s patient is difficult and stressful. Here is a recent essay on a woman’s voyage through that journey as a caregiver, and her joy at recovering her memories of her mother at then end:
Losing My Mom to Alzheimer’s, Then Finding Her Again

Here are twenty-nine well-written articles on aspects Alzheimer’s caregiving:
Alzheimer’s Disease & Related Dementias: Alzheimer’s Caregiving

This is a collection of six valuable tips for caregiving for an Alzheimer’s patient:
Tips for Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregivers

This page provides twenty-five lessons learned by Alzheimer’s caretakers about the caregiving process, and about their own lives:
25 Lessons Learned From Alzheimer’s Caregivers

The stress of Alzheimer’s caregiving can be alleviated by interaction with other caregivers. Here are two links providing access to Alzheimer’s caregiving support groups:
Programs and Support
The 5 Best Emotional Support Groups for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

All links have been added to Alzheimer’s > Coping & Caregivers > Caregivers.

Robot Pets for Dementia

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While dementia assistance dogs (Dogs And Dementia) are growing in use and popularity, live pets are not always possible or appropriate for many sufferers of dementia. In recent years, a number of companies have brought to market animatronic (preset moves and prerecorded sounds) and robotic (supporting more complex tasks) “pets” for use with dementia patients. Principally these “pets” are dogs, some cats, and even a harp seal. They can be held, petted, and brushed by dementia patients, and can produce some sounds and motion. Studies (see below) have shown that use of the robotic pets can reduce the stress and anxiety often suffered by dementia patients, and reports indicate that some patients develop emotional bonds with the pets.

Here are five media articles about the developments:
Therapy Cats for Dementia Patients, Batteries Included
Robotic pets delight patients with dementia
Robotic Pets To The Rescue? Dementia Care Gets Innovative
Is this robotic therapy pet the uncanny valley of dog?
The Second Coming of the Robot Pet

And here are a number of research articles on the use of robot pets for dementia intervention:
Pet robot intervention for people with dementia: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
The Utilization of Robotic Pets in Dementia Care.
How do “robopets” impact the health and well‐being of residents in care homes? A systematic review of qualitative and quantitative evidence
Effect of an interactive therapeutic robotic animal on engagement, mood states, agitation and psychotropic drug use in people with dementia: a cluster-randomised controlled trial protocol
Use of a Robotic Seal as a Therapeutic Tool to Improve Dementia Symptoms: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial
Robotic Pets: A Senior’s Best Friend?

All links have been added to Alzheimers > Coping & Caregivers > Dementia Assist Dogs & Robot Pets

New Coping and Caring Stories

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This week we present new articles on coping with dementia and caring for dementia sufferers. Here are two about coping:
Facing life with dementia and discovering a positive path
‘Why should I stop working just because I have dementia?’

Links to these articles have been added to Alzheimers > Coping & Caregivers > Coping Stories.

And here is one about caring:
‘Eventually I knew she was no longer safe alone’: how do we care for family with dementia?

This link has been added to Alzheimers > Coping & Caregivers > Caregivers.

Catch Up II: Weight Training, A Wedding, History, COPD.

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Here we continue Catch Up I: Dementia Signs, Microbiome & Brain, Processed Foods & More, setting out four brief posts concerning links which either bring up to date earlier posts on Strong Brain, or which are simply of interest in and of themselves.

Weight Training & Brain Health

Add weight training to the list of types of exercise benefitting body and brain (even if the study deals with rats): Serious Exercise May Seriously Defer Aging.

Media articles:
How Weight Training Changes the Brain
Weight Training – Good for the Brain Too?
Research publication:
Resistance-exercise training ameliorates LPS-induced cognitive impairment concurrent with molecular signaling changes in the rat dentate gyrus

Category: Exercise, Aging

Another Bittersweet Wedding.

So sad, yet so sweet: A man descends into dementia, forgets he is married to his wife — who is his caregiver, and who he deeply loves — and pesters her to marry him. Which she does, again:
After Countless Proposals, She Finally Said Yes. Again.

See Coping & Caregiving: Bittersweet Stories for more such stories.
Category: Coping & Caregivers > Coping Stories

History of Alzheimer’s

The History of Alzheimer’s Disease

Category: Alzheimers > General & Resources > General

COPD and Your Brain

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) cuts down on the amount of oxygen supplied by your lungs to all parts of your body, including your brain. It is linked to a higher risk for memory and cognitive problems with older adults with COPD having nearly twice the risk for memory problems:
How COPD Affects Your Brain

Category: Risk Factors

Each group of links has been added to the indicated categories.

Coping & Caregiving: Bittersweet Stories

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Memories — stolen by dementia, saved by family, friends, by caregivers, and by the patient — a writer — in his own essay:

As bittersweet as can be:
Couple Renews Wedding Vows After Husband With Alzheimer’s Disease Forgets He’s Married

Accepting a sufferer’s wonderful, wild story:
A Boyfriend Too Good to Be True

A family struggled to save a pianist’s music before Alzheimer’s could steal it, and a professional musician helped bring his music to life again:

Caring for a patient suffering from dementia means coming to terms with the frustrating paradoxes of memory and language:
The deviousness of dementia {An edited version of:} Hope Is the Enemy

Mothers, fondly and bittersweetly remembered:
Everything my mom remembers: Our love and memories, her Alzheimer’s
My Mother, Lost and Found

Terry Pratchett, fighting back:
‘A butt of my own jokes’: Terry Pratchett on the disease that finally claimed him

All the links are in Alzheimer’s > Coping & Caregivers > Coping Stories.

Public People: Brave Revelations

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Disease of most sorts has always carried a sense of shame, but dementia seems to carry an especially heavy stigma. This has lessened as more has been learned about the disease, including the fact that is indeed a disease! Moreover, this has been aided by the brave disclosures of dementia diagnoses from public figures. Here we’ve collected links to articles about a number of such figures, in no particular order.

Sandra Day O’Connor
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor announces she has been diagnosed with dementia
Sandra Day O’Connor Says She Has Dementia, Withdraws From Public Life
As she faces dementia, Sandra Day O’Connor is a pioneer again

Ted Turner
Ted Turner reveals he has Lewy body dementia
Ted Turner reveals he’s battling Lewy body dementia in exclusive interview

Gene Wilder
Gene Wilder’s widow on what it’s like to care for someone with Alzheimer’s

Glenn Campbell
Glen Campbell: His Courageous Fight with Alzheimer’s Disease (see also Review: ‘I’ll Be Me’ Is Glen Campbell’s Farewell to His Fans and Himself

Ronald Regan
Read Ronald Reagan’s Letter to the American People About His Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

Pat Summit
Fighting Alzheimer’s Disease

Charlton Heston
Charlton Heston has Alzheimer’s symptoms (also Charlton Heston’s Alzheimer’s Announcement and Goodbye)

Terry Pratchett
‘A butt of my own jokes’: Terry Pratchett on the disease that finally claimed him

Malcolm Young
AC/DC’s Malcolm Young has dementia, family says

Kathy Griffin’s Mother
Kathy Griffin reveals mother’s diagnosis
Kathy Griffin Reveals Mom Maggie Has Dementia In Heartbreaking Post

A related article:
Dementia Is Getting Some Very Public Faces

Very Sweet Coping Story

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Here’s the story of an Alzheimer’s sufferer who forgot that he was married to his wife of 38 years. He proposed to her, she (smartly) accepted, and they were married again:

Husband with Alzheimer’s forgot he was married to his wife of 38 years. He proposed, and they married again.

The link is in Alzheimer’s > Coping & Caregivers > Coping Stories

Alzheimer’s Coping Stories Update

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Greg O’Brien was diagnosed in 2009 with early-onset Alzheimer’s. He has written a book about his experiences (On Pluto: Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s), appeared in a short documentary film (see Learning to Live and Progress with Alzheimer’s ) and wrote the following short piece in Nautilis:
     A Look Through the Eyes of Alzheimer’s
The piece Alzheimer’s Bring Other Health Problems With It, from NPR in June of 2017, is an extended interview with Greg describing some of the difficult personality side-effects of O’Brien’s (and most sufferer’s) struggle with Alzheimer’s.

Sandy Bem was a 65 year-old Cornell psychology professor when she learned that she was suffering the onset of Alzheimer’s. This article, The Last Day of Her Life recounts the several year process of arriving at the day she ended her life with a glass of pentobarbital, with all of her family surrounding her.

In 2012, 69 year-old Geri Taylor saw the beginnings of the onset of early Alzheimer’s in herself. This piece,
Fraying at the Edges: Her Fight to Live With Alzheimer’s, follows her for the next 3 years as she finds ways to hold on to pieces of herself and to construct a new way to live.

Steve Goodwin was a gifted pianist and improvisational composer who never wrote down or recorded his compositions. Early onset Alzheimer’s began robbing him and his family of his music. This piece,
Family struggles to save pianist’s music before Alzheimer’s can steal it, describes the ensuing years and how his family and a professional musician friend of his daughter worked to save his music. The effort culminated in a packed public concert of the music.

Sandy’s Story tells the story of Sandy Halperin and the first four years of his early onset Alzheimer’s. After Alzheimer’s diagnosis, ‘there’s still a good life’ updates that story to the present.

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young has dementia, family says announced that Young was suffering from dementia. Sadly,
AC/DC co-founder and guitarist Malcolm Young dies at 64
announced that he has died.

All the links can be found in Alzheimer’s > Coping and Caregivers > Coping Stories

Dementia: Hope & Despair for Patient & Caregiver

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Dasha Kiper has written a remarkable long piece about her year plus caring for a dementia patient. A shorter form was published as The deviousness of dementia while the longer version appeared as

Hope Is the Enemy: Caring for a patient suffering from dementia means coming to terms with the frustrating paradoxes of memory and language.

Links to both versions have been posted on Strong Brain in both
Alzheimers > Caregivers and Alzheimers > Coping Stories

More Links About Coping

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More stories of coping on

Alzheimers > Coping Stories

The new links are:

Everything my mom remembers: Our love and memories, her Alzheimer’s When my hippie, playful mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, our family was what really changed

Slipping Away Jo Aubin has Alzheimer’s. He’s 38.

Tableware designed for Alzheimer’s patients …Eatwell, an assistive tableware set designed specially for patients with cognitive impairments like Alzheimer’s.