Alzheimer's Family Caregivers Month

Alzheimer's Month

According to Mental Health America, there are over 53 million Americans who are unpaid caregivers to family, friends, and neighbors. Twenty-seven percent, or nearly a third, of adult caregivers are helping someone with a mental illness. Caregiving can often have a significant impact on the life of the caregiver in more ways than one. It can make maintaining your physical and mental health more difficult and may put a strain on work and social life. It’s important for caregivers to take care of their own mental health. Supporting caregivers with information and resources can help them maintain their mental health and better serve loved ones with dementia.

What are the
signs of Alzheimer's?

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the following are 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease.

  • Memory loss that disrupts daily life
  • Challenges in planning or solving problems
  • Difficulty completing familiar tasks
  • Confusion with time or place
  • New problems with words in speaking or writing
  • Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps
  • Decreased or poor judgment
  • Changes in mood and personality
  • Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships

How to care for
someone with Alzheimer's.

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer's disease or a related dementia, your role in managing daily tasks will increase as the disease progresses. Consider practical tips that can help the person with dementia participate as much as possible and enable you to manage tasks effectively. The following is a list of tips from the Mayo Clinic on caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Schedule wisely. Establish a daily routine. Some tasks, such as bathing or medical appointments, are easier when the person is most alert and refreshed. Allow some flexibility for spontaneous activities or particularly difficult days.
  • Take your time. Anticipate that tasks may take longer than they used to and schedule more time for them. Allow time for breaks during tasks.
  • Involve the person. Allow the person with dementia to do as much as possible with the least amount of assistance. For example, he or she might be able to set the table with the help of visual cues or dress independently if you lay out clothes in the order they go on.
  • Provide choices. Provide some, but not too many, choices every day. For example, provide two outfits to choose from, ask if he or she prefers a hot or cold beverage, or ask if he or she would rather go for a walk or see a movie.
  • Provide simple instructions. People with dementia best understand clear, one-step communication.
  • Limit napping. Avoid multiple or prolonged naps during the day. This can minimize the risk of getting days and nights reversed.
  • Reduce distractions. Turn off the TV and minimize other distractions at mealtime and during conversations to make it easier for the person with dementia to focus.

sings songs
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Stem Cell Therapy for

In recent decades, stem cell therapy has been one of the most promising treatments for Alzheimer's disease patients. The plaques and tangles in the brain of an Alzheimer's patient affect two essential proteins: ‘amyloid beta’ and ‘tau’. Due to the damage to brain tissues, neutrophils are produced in lesser quantities compared to a normal brain, according to News Medical.

Stem cell treatments target to replace the damaged cells with healthy stem cells which can grow on their own, hence creating new, healthy brain cells. Because the transplant is usually autologous (using patient’s own body cells) in nature, there are fewer chances of tissue rejection or immunological reaction. Although stem cells act in similar ways, there are types of stem cells in terms of where they come from: adult stem cells, which are present in the body throughout adult life; embryonic stem cells, which are only found in the embryo; and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), which can be created in the lab from ordinary adult cells and ‘reverted’ back into a stem cell, says the Alzheimer’s Society.

Harvard Stem Cell Institute scientists are developing a screening method using induced pluripotent stem cells directed to become multiple brain cell subtypes in order to examine the effect of potential drugs in the cell types most relevant to Alzheimer’s disease. The new test will be able to examine how compounds act on tens of thousands of individual cells at one time.

Caring for yourself when caring for someone with Alzheimer’s.

  • Get moving. Take a walk. Do an activity you love. Physical activity in any form can help reduce stress.
  • Connect with other caregivers virtually. Caregiving can feel isolating, but you aren’t alone. Talking to others who truly understand can provide comfort and reassurance.
  • Take care of yourself. Visit your doctor regularly, eat well, exercise, get adequate rest, and try relaxation techniques. Find time for yourself to do something you enjoy.

Newborn Stem Cell
Banking for Every Family

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THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. If you have a medical emergency or question, immediately call your doctor or dial 911 for assistance.