6 Ways To Keep Our Aging Brains Active

We all know that mental functions decline as we age. However, cognitive decline need not be an inevitable aspect of getting older. Below, we discuss six ways to keep our aging brains active.

senior woman doing crossword puzzle at home

Mental Stimulation

Research shows that mental activity stimulates new connections between nerve cells. It may also help generate new brain cells and guard against cell deterioration. In short, keeping the mind active is one way to retain cognitive function as we age. Mentally-stimulating activities include:

  • Reading.
  • Solving crossword puzzles.
  • Crafting.
  • Painting.
  • Woodworking.
  • Learning a new skill.

Physical Activity

Exercising is another way to keep our brains active. This is because physical movement stimulates blood vessels and directs oxygen-rich blood to the brain region responsible for conscious thought. Exercising also generates the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between synapses. As a result, our brains work more efficiently.

Exercise is definitely one way to keep our aging brains active. It also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, balances blood sugar, and reduces mental stress.

Socializing With Friends

In 2007, Kaiser Permanente researcher Valerie Crooks published the results of a four-year study involving 2,200 women. Cooks found that women who enjoyed daily social contact had a considerably lower risk of developing dementia.

Meanwhile, Robert Wilson studied a group of 80-year-old patients at Rush University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center. He found that lonely people had a higher likelihood of developing dementia. Both studies show that building social connections can be an effective means of keeping our aging brains healthy.

Writing For Pleasure

An additional way to get mental stimulation is to write. The act of writing improves our cognitive performance. Certainly, writing need not be an ordeal. You can begin by jotting down your thoughts in a daily journal. If you feel a little adventurous, you can try writing poetry or even a short story. The key is to write consistently.

Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is a vital part of maintaining your brain’s health as you age. A study performed by the Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School in Singapore showed that the less older adults slept, the faster their brains aged. In other words, getting enough sleep helps preserve brain function.

University of Exeter psychologist Dr. Nicolas Dumay found that adequate sleep almost doubles our memory recall abilities. So, getting enough shuteye is one way to keep our aging brains active.

Eating a Balanced Diet

Good nutrition may also improve brain health. For example, foods with antioxidants can neutralize harmful free radicals. You can get these antioxidants by eating fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and spices.

Some researchers even advise a traditional Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, fruits, nuts, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. On such a diet, you will eat moderate amounts of fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy, plus small portions of red meat, processed foods, and desserts. This diet also strongly emphasizes plant-based foods and healthy fats from oily fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados.

At David York, we’re focused on solutions to life’s challenges.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance you need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn.

Ketogenic Diets And Alzheimer’s

The Alzheimer’s Association reports that almost 6 million Americans live with Alzheimer’s. Additionally, someone develops the disease every 65 seconds. There is a dire need for solutions.

 

Particularly, a good support network is crucial to the management of the disease. To date, 16 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s. However, it is important to consider the terrible toll the disease takes on caregivers.

Yet, there is hope in more ways than one. Researchers continue to make new research advancements and to uncover promising developments in treatment options.

The Importance of Insulin

According to Clinical Neurology News, insulin plays a key role in brain function, glucose metabolism, and amyloid beta/tau regulation. Amyloid beta and tau buildup can damage brain cells responsible for memory and cognition. So, insulin plays a critical role in regulating the accumulation of amyloid and tau.

At the 2017 World Congress on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes & Cardiovascular Disease, Suzanne Craft, PhD explained the importance of insulin. After insulin crosses the blood-brain barrier, it binds to receptors and modulates important brain functions. However, it is now known that modulation malfunctions can result in insulin resistance and, ultimately, Alzheimer’s disease.

Today, doctors use intranasal insulin to treat patients with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease. However, a new, non-pharmacological approach has also shown promise – the ketogenic diet.

How A Ketogenic Diet Can Help Alzheimer’s Patients

The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Its benefit are found in how it depletes the body of excess sugar. Many health experts argue that it should be an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Additionally, researchers speculate that the unique diet may be effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Craft’s research team divided 87 middle-aged people into two groups. One ate a high salt, sugar, and saturated fat Western diet. Meanwhile, the other group ate a healthier diet.

Not surprisingly, those on the Western diet showed reduced memory and blood flow after 4 weeks. Meanwhile, participants in the healthy diet showed increased blood flow to several regions of the brain. They also reported improved memory function. The results were significant.

Personalized, Compassionate Care at David York Agency

At David York Agency, we understand the toll Alzheimer’s takes on caregivers. So, if someone you love requires full-time or part-time care at home, contact us. Our healthcare professionals can provide personalized, compassionate care to your loved one. They can assist with everything from meal preparation to companionship.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at (877) 216-7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We aim to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+, or LinkedIn

A Toolkit for Promoting Positive Behavior in Dementia Patients

Toolkit for dealing with dementia

High Risk of Institutionalization

About 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s Disease and 90% of those are abusive.  This is important because this situation puts these patients at higher risk for institutionalization, greater functional decline, and domestic abuse.  Up to this point, the preferred method for managing the Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) has been to prescribe medication to control it.  However, this adds to the already hefty arsenal of drugs currently taken by most senior citizens. Obviously, we should not enter into this lightly since they are often accompanied by significant and dangerous side effects.  Clearly, we need better mechanisms for handling these dementia patients.

Toolkit with Best Practices

An article in January/February 2014 issue of Geriatric Nursing entitled “Promoting Positive Behavioral Health:  A Non-Pharmacological Toolkit for Senior Living Communities” unearths a great find:  a toolkit which was peer reviewed and endorsed by experts and designed to centralize the most up to date best practices for handling these challenging situations.  A team of clinicians assembled data on how to deal with BPSD. They went beyond the parameters of the antipsychotic medications normally prescribed.

The goal is for these methods to be the first course of action in treating dementia.  The toolkit can be accessed at http://www.nursinghometoolkit.com/ and you can navigate through the tabs on top and get to an area of interest.  Searching through the site will yield a plethora of information including non-pharmacological approaches to dealing with dementia.

A helpful graph of approaches can be found in a document entitled “Review of Non-pharmacological Approaches for Treating Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia“.

Additional Approaches

This effort meshes with a program which began in March 2012 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the “Initiative to Improve Behavioral Health and Reduce Antipsychotic Use in Nursing Homes” where it partnered with associations such as the American Medical Directors Association (AMDA)  for a comprehensive approach for limiting the use of dementia controlling medications in this population as part of their overall “Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes”. Please click on these links to explore their work.

As with everything, we need to be advocates for our loved ones. Take time to investigate the latest best practices for dementia patients. This can yield a better quality of life for both the dementia patients. Consequently, those around them will benefit as well. We owe it to our seniors and their loved ones/caregivers to explore any adjunct or replacement treatments. As always, the end goal is to alleviate the often devastating symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia.  This handy tool is worth a look.

David York Agency

Every nurse and administrator on our team reflects our agency’s 33 years of experienced care. For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, please contact us at 718.376.7755. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on TwitterGoogle+, or LinkedIn.

New Alzheimer’s Disease Test Aims for Earlier Detection, Earlier Intervention

Alzheimer's Disease

Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association calculates that more than 5 million American are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease. It is now the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, killing an estimated 500,000 people each year. However, many of these patients are not diagnosed until the symptoms of the disease have already become apparent. Currently, the available medical technology cannot diagnose Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest non-symptomatic stages.

A New Diagnostic Test

One of the most challenging aspects of Alzheimer’s Disease is actually diagnosing the condition. Cognitive disorders can take many forms, and some of them can be mistaken for Alzheimer’s. However, an Israeli biotechnology firm, NeuroQuest, aims to improve on the diagnostic methods for the disease with a new test that it is currently making its way through clinical trials. The company says that its test could be used for early detection of Alzheimer’s, according to the Jewish Press.

The standard test for detecting Alzheimer’s disease is a positron emission tomography (PET) scan. This is an expensive test that is used to identify the plaque in the brain that is indicative of the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

How It Works

NeuroQuest is developing its technology that  is a less expensive and less invasive alternative. Biomarkers in the blood are tested for molecular signatures that are indicative of a disease. The company says that the test was 87 percent accurate in clinical trials in Israelin detecting Alzheimer’s disease. It also diagnosed amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.

NeuroQuest still needs to prove its technology in further human tests. The company will be conducting U.S. clinical trials in 2016 and 2017. The company has already entered into a service agreement with the University of California, San Diego to collect and process 700 blood samples for the trials.

If the NeuroQuest Alzheimer’s diagnostic wins the approval of the Food and Drug Administration, the technology could offer means for earlier detection of Alzheimer’s disease. Most important is could mean earlier treatment for the condition. The NeuroQuest diagnostic still needs to conduct clinical trials, which could take years. However, the potential for this new technology is very promising.

At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that Alzheimer’s disease can bring, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best. Our aim is to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

Halting Alzheimer’s Disease: How Controlling Inflammation Could Be the Key

Alzheimer's Disease

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that approximately 5.3 million Americans are afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. Currently, one in three seniors will die from Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Such staggering statistics may seem dismal, but there is hope on the horizon with recent research findings.

Researchers from the University of Southampton in England have been working with a chemical that reduces neuroinflammation in the brain. This chemical may help protect against the memory and behavioral changes associated with Alzheimer’s.

How Inflammation Plays a Part in Alzheimer’s

It is theorized that an overactive immune system causes chronic inflammation in the brain. Though researchers are not sure, they suspect that the inflammation is a catalyst for the disease rather than the other way around.  Scientists have linked that inflammation to Alzheimer’s in several clinical studies where they have looked at the tissue of a healthy brain versus one afflicted by Alzheimer’s. The brains that suffered from Alzheimer’s showed high levels of immune cells (microglia) and the concentration of these cells were greater as the disease increased in severity thereby suggesting chronic brain inflammation in Alzheimer’s sufferers. The molecules that regulate the number of immune cells clearly became more active as the severity of Alzheimer’s in the brains increased clustering around the amyloid plaques in the brain associated with the disease. The inflammation is believed to not be a result of the Alzheimer’s disease but a key driver of the disease, states a report done by the Huffington Post.

The National Health Service (NHS) reports that mice suffering from symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s experienced improvement when given a drug with the chemical GW2580, which blocked the production of the microglial immune cells that caused brain inflammation. However, the prevalence of amyloid plaques was not diminished.  Research in the mice showed an improvement in the cognitive and behavioral symptoms relating to Alzheimer’s when fed GW2580 thereby inhibiting immune cell production and reducing the inflammation within the brain.

Currently, researchers are very hopeful that controlling inflammation in the brain of Alzheimer’s sufferers, through the use of medication, diet and lifestyle changes, has the potential to significantly reduce memory loss caused by the disease, along with a variety of other Alzheimer’s symptoms.

At David York Agency, we understand the fears and challenges that Alzheimer’s disease can bring, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

New Hope in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

When it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, we really can’t overstate the importance of early diagnosis. There is great value in early detection of Alzheimer’s disease before symptoms actually appear. However, despite this, researchers have struggled to find a reliable method of doing so — until now.

New Method for Early Detection

Thanks to Henrik Zetterberg and Kaj Blennow of Gothenburg University’s Sahlgrenska Academy, there is now hope in a test that measures beta-amyloid proteins in cerebrospinal fluid for early detection of Alzheimer’s. The two scientists recently developed a way to detect Alzheimer’s up to thirty years before any symptoms start to show. The key is measuring this specific protein in the spinal fluid.

Alzheimer's Disease

“If the concentration of beta-amyloid in the spinal fluid is abnormally low, it indicates that the protein is sticking in the brain, which is the earliest sign of Alzheimer’s disease,” says Henrik Zetterberg.

Checking Spinal Fluid

In a healthy person, beta amyloid collects in the brain and immediately goes into the blood and spinal fluid. But with Alzheimer’s patients, a protein called GPR3 is believed to be the reason that beta amyloid plaques develop and stick to the brain. These plaques cause brain and nerve cells to die. This beta amyloid buildup can happen as early as middle age. It can easily go unnoticed for years before the first symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease start to appear. At this point, the disease is too advanced to respond to any type of treatment.

With advanced degrees in gerontological administration, our director, along with our team of medical professionals who have extensive hands-on patient care experience, is fully able to understand and assist with every aspect of care faced by the aged and infirm.

 

At David York Agency, we consider every one of our clients family. We understand how life-changing and scary an Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis can be, not just for the person diagnosed, but for everyone in their life. We hope to provide families with the support and care they need during this particularly difficult time.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 877.216.7676. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best. We would be happy to provide you and your loved one with the assistance they need. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

A Compassionate Caregiver Provides the Help You Need to Keep Your Loved One With Alzheimer’s Safe

“Where’s Dad?” Panic sets in when you realize your loved one with Alzheimer’s disease has wandered off alone.  Dealing with a loved one with this dreaded disease can be very challenging at times, if not downright terrifying.  

compassionate caregiverAn Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis can put a lot of stress on a family. While at first it may seem manageable, unsafe situations can arise, such as the loved one getting lost and not being able to recall where he lives or what his name is, or leaving the fire on the stove lit for hours after forgetting they were simply boiling an egg. These events are alarming for family members who feel helpless in the face of this disease. Furthermore, having to make decisions about that loved one’s ongoing care can catapult the family into uncharted territory. The decreased function and changed behavior of the Alzheimer’s patient is a huge adjustment that must be accounted for.

If the thought of a residential facility doesn’t sit well with you, a compassionate caregiver might be the solution. While many nursing homes are more than capable of caring for an Alzheimer’s patient, keeping your loved one at home has many advantages. A familiar setting often keeps their precious long-term memories close at hand, possibly slowing the rapid progression of the disease. Additionally, moving a patient out of their home can sometimes cause great anxiety which, in and of itself, can speed the progression of dementia.

If you’ve decided you want to keep your loved one home, but you can’t be there 24 hours a day, you will need to set up a situation where they can be both safe and happy. Elderproofing, much as you would for a baby, will be necessary. You will have to keep doors locked with elder-proof devices. You will need kitchen safety knobs on the stove and latches on the ovens. You will need to make sure the bathroom is safe from fall hazards and that the temperature on the hot water tank is set low enough not to burn. You may also want to put a GPS tracking device on your loved one, in case they get out unescorted. The National Institute of Aging has a comprehensive home safety booklet for Alzheimer’s patients that you might find extremely useful.  

In terms of their day to day care, it might be prudent for you to turn to an in-home caregiver, such as a certified home health aide, to help with tasks you cannot manage.  An experienced, compassionate person can come in to help your family member with meals, hygiene assistance, household tasks or simply to offer a little companionship. When your loved one lives far away, this becomes especially essential. However, even when they are close by, a professional caregiver can ensure that family members are not too taxed and that everyone can go on with their normal routine as much as possible.  

If you think an in-home caregiver is financially unfeasible, it’s important to know your options. If your loved one had the foresight to purchase long-term care insurance, then many of our services are covered under those policies. Also, some of the elderly qualify for Medicaid after their assets have declined.

If you live in the New York City area, the David York Agency offers highly-personalized home health care services so that your family member can stay in the comfort and familiarity of their own home, while all of you deal with the stress of an Alzheimer’s diagnosis. Our health care professionals are highly-trained and capable of handling not only medical situations but also the day-to-day running of the home. Many of the families we serve come to see our providers as family members, as they become integrated into the everyday lives of the household.

For more information on David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free consultation can help you decide what services might help you and your loved ones. To hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn. For any of your questions concerning elder care, contact us.

Recognizing the Signs of Dementia & Alzheimer’s Disease

It is important to recognize the signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease as early as possible. It affords family members plenty of time for planning, ensures that a safe living arrangement is set in place and enables the elderly to take advantage of all current and cutting edge treatments available. Unfortunately, both the elderly and their loved ones are ignorant of the signs and can be in a state of denial.

It’s easy to try to deny signs of dementia in oneself and a loved one. It is terrifying for the former and painful for the latter. Often denials sound like this:

  1. Getting confused is just part of getting older.
  2. The irrationality is just part of a mid-life crisis.
  3. Stress and sleep deprivation is causing the forgetfulness.
  4. Everyone forgets things.
  5. Depression is causing the lack of focus.

Then again, you could be experiencing early signs of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource and has compiled the following list:

10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
  4. Confusion with time or place.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps.
  8. Decreased or poor judgment.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality.

If you have a suspicion that the forgetfulness is something more serious, it is time to go see a doctor. The best to find out if any of these signs and symptoms is indicative of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is to get a complete medical evaluation.

Receiving a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease is naturally extremely stressful to all concerned. Anticipating and planning for the eventual outcome of the disease is not easy, but David York Home Healthcare Agency can help. When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly and infirm in their home. A nurse is always standing by and would be happy to discuss your case with you. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

 

Ultrasound Treatment May Improve Cognition in Alzheimer’s Patients

Ultrasound wave treatments given to mice with Alzheimer’s disease resulted in better performance on memory tests and less of the amyloid braid plaque that is typical of Alzheimer’s patients. Though studies in mice are tough to replicate in humans, it does give cause for hope, especially since drugs now in trial have not been successful in improving cognition.

What is new here is that the ultThinkstockPhotos-178438513rasound seems to temporarily open up the blood-brain barrier, not easily penetrated, allowing the protein albumin in to boost the work of the microglia cells that remove toxins from the brain. They can eat up the amyloid proteins that form the plaques on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.

If successful, this has the potential to be much less expensive than many drugs on the market. At the moment, drugs used in treating Alzheimer’s disease can clear amyloid plaques, but have not reversed the debilitating symptoms or the cognitive deficits that wreak havoc on the sufferer’s improving quality of life for seniors .

Since the human skull is much thicker, it might be harder to penetrate with ultrasound waves than those of mice. So, the next step is to test the treatment in larger animals like sheep. This approach was tested as a stand alone, without any drugs.

David York Home Healthcare Agency is well versed in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly and our home health aides and home healthcare team are adept at in home senior care. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 where a nurse is waiting to take your call. You can also visit us at our website www.davidyorkagency.com for more information about our elder care services. You can also like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

New Blood Test for the Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease Blood Test

There is exciting news in the field of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) research with the advent of a new blood test. This Alzheimer’s disease blood test can determine the presence of a key marker, brain amyloidosis. The buildup of amyloid proteins in the brain, as well as other blood proteins is associated with AD. Early detection of the disease can have implications in terms of benefiting from any current and new treatments, joining research trials underway and taking advantage earlier of any support services available.

Available Tests

T181985743he blood test can be administered after a clinical examination uncovers symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease including cognitive impairment such as dementia. This new blood test is safe, affordable and easy to administer in a variety of settings. Currently, the only definitive tests for AD either have major drawbacks or can only be done post mortem. The first method of extracting cerebrospinal fluid requires an invasive spinal tap. Furthermore, it carries the risk of nerve damage. The second is a PET scan testing for amyloids in the brain. It exposes the patient to radiation and is not usually covered by insurance. However, few centers have the technology. Autopsies can reveal brain beta amyloid proteins in the brain, a hallmark sign of AD, but, obviously, has no benefit to the sufferer at that time.

Benefits of the Blood Test

This new test also has the benefit of reducing the stress of not knowing for the patient and their loved ones. An important byproduct of the test is enhancing the integrity of research. It will ensure that only true AD patients are included in any treatment trials. These trials currently have an error rate of about 25% of non-AD patient inclusion.

Receiving a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is naturally extremely stressful to all concerned. Anticipating and planning for the eventual outcome of the disease is not easy. Please remember that David York Home Healthcare Agency can help. When home healthcare becomes necessary, David York Agency provides skilled home health aide services for the elderly and infirm in their home. We would be happy to discuss your case with you. Please call us at (718) 376-7755 or visit our website. Please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.