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Why people with Alzheimer's need to stay active

Posted by Debby Franklin on Jul 18, 2018 12:03:21 PM

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Finding activities that your loved one with Alzheimer's can still enjoy and participate in is so important to their overall well being. Most will respond positively to things that they had a personal interest in and enjoyed doing before the diagnosis. Set up a planner and create a list of activities that they once were interest in or plan things that may remind them of their previous daily tasks. 

By keeping your loved one engaged here are some of the improved benefits:

  • Improved sleep and less night time wandering
  • A decline in behaviors that are repetitive
  • Less nervous and anxiety
  • An improvement in restlessness and and irritability
  • Less agitation and argumentative interaction
  • Overall improvement in happiness
  • Promotes improvement in memory
  • Improves general health, flexibility, strength and reduces joint pain
  • Better interaction
  • Mental stimulation may slow down the progression of the disease
  • Social activities help decrease isolation and depression

Here are some things to consider when planning the activities:

Musicfor someone who sang, played an instrument, or danced, music will have a very positive stimulation.  Engage in a sing a long of favorite songs.  Offer and encourage the playing of an instrument or have them put on a record.  Take their hand and sway to the music. You will be amazed at the response music brings to someone with dementia and Alzheimer's.  

Mr. Fix ItFor the person who was always tinkering with something, give them an object to take apart and put together. An old toaster, toy car, or just nuts and bolts.

AccountantFor those whose career was spent in banking or a money related industry, set up a work station.  The station might include a calculator, paper and pencil, an old check book or register, stapler, paper clips, or rolling coins.

At Home WifeFor the hard working many who stayed and home and managed the household you can engage in tasks like setting the table, folding laundry, cutting coupons, dusting furniture, matching and rolling socks, making a simple dessert, water plants,or sweep the floor.

Depending on physical limitations, exercise is a must!  Take a walk, work in the garden, throw a beach ball, dance, or simple exercise like lifting small bottles of water repeatedly are great for the mind and body.

Other Activities:

  • Arts and crafts
  • Puzzles
  • Petting or holding a dog or cat
  • Looking through photo albums
  • Organize recipes
  • Drawing or coloring
  • Listen to music
  • Play a game
  • Knit/Crochet
  • Outings and car rides
  • Adult daycare can provide group activities
  • Spiritual interaction, church, prayer and meditation

Physical and mental activities for persons with dementia and Alzheimer's will almost always be a positive approach for both you and your loved one and this can mean a longer and happier life.

In-Home Care for Alzheimer's

Where do you turn when a love one needs more than you can manage on your own? What do you do when some of the care alternatives seem like a complication rather than a solution?  Consult Atlanta's most trusted source for quality Home Care since 1994, Easy Living Services.    Flexible care plans designed to guarantee safety, comfort, and personal care and attention.  Call us at 770-442-8664.

 

Topics: dementia, Memory Improvement, Alzheimer's

9 Easy Ways to Help Improve Your Memory!

Posted by Debby Franklin on May 7, 2014 11:16:00 AM

Memory Loss resized 600Everyone forgets things occasionally, but memory loss is nothing to take lightly. The good news is you can do something to improve your memory! Your brain has the remarkable ability to keep growing at any age with the right health habits!  This can significantly improve the performance of the part of the brain that is responsible for short-term memory.  The human brain shrinks with age and a smaller brain doesn't work as well.  If you can't remember where you put your keys, glasses, or phone, follow these 9 easy steps to sharpen and improve your memory.

  • Eat Brain FoodFoods that have flavonoids, such as deep colored berries and grapes, beets, dark chocolate and cocoa, can boost your brain.  A recent Harvard study showed increased blood flow and better memory performance after participants drank two cups of cocoa a day for one month.  Omega-3 fatty acid found in fish, fish oil and algae can increase the size of the area of your brain that controls short-term memory.  A healthy diet can be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low-fat protein.  Don’t forget to keep hydrated.  Not enough water can lead to confusion and memory loss.
  • Stay Organized You are more likely to forget things if your home is cluttered.  Start with one room by gathering all items that haven’t been used for more than one year.  Donate these items to your favorite charity.  Buy clear plastic storage bins to store the items you will keep.  Not only will you be able to easily see and locate what you are keeping, but the bins are stackable for better organization.  Keep a current to-do list and check off items that are completed.  Record appointments and other special events on a calendar or electronic planner. 
  • Drink in Moderation - Light to moderate alcohol consumption can improve memory.  A French study followed 4,000 people over 65 and found those who consumed 2 glasses of wine a day were 45% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than non drinkers.  However alcohol abuse has a negative effect on the cells of the brain that is related to memory. 
  • Dismiss Stress - Stress and frustration stimulate chemical changes that can shrink the area of the brain that controls memory.  Managing stress is all about taking charge: of your thoughts, emotions, schedule, and the way you deal with problems. Decide to be happy in spite of the circumstances surrounding that surround you.  Take perspective of the stressful situation.  Ask yourself how important will it be in the long run.  Don’t forget to focus on all the positive aspects of your life and to give thanks.  How you think has the most profound effect on your emotional and physical well being.  Laughter is the best medicine; make it a part of your daily life.  Get together with a friend, spend time nature, sweat out tension with a good workout, play with a pet, watch a comedy, or listen to music.  Do something you enjoy everyday!
  • Get Moving When you work out to the point of breaking a sweat, you actually grow new brain cells in the area of your brain that controls memory function.  In recent studies people have increased the size of their brain that controls memory from 1% to 8.6% after three months of aerobic exercise.  The optimal exercise guide is 30 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity with 15 minutes of strength training four times a week.  Physical activity increases blood flow to your entire body, including your brain which helps to keep your memory sharp. 
  • Play It Safe Even a minor fall can cause a microscopic tear in your brain and the scar tissue can cause memory problems.  Be safe and wear head protection when playing any concussion-prone sports.  Wear a helmet when biking, skiing, skating,  playing water sports, riding a horse, and in any situation where a head injury can occur.
  • Keep LearningJust as physical activity helps keep your body in shape, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape and can help keep memory loss at bay.  Take alternate routes when driving.  Eat out at a restaurant not in your neighborhood.  Take lessons; painting, dance, photography, music, anything that you enjoy.  Volunteer at a community organization.  The key to keeping your memory stimulated is to keep learning and trying new things throughout your life. 
  • Be Social Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of these can contribute to memory loss.  Get together with loved ones and friends weekly.  Social interaction requires mental maneuvering and also brings you pleasure, which releases endorphins and other feel-good chemicals, and reduces excess cortisol, a chemical that shrinks the brain.  Studies show that people who find meaning in their lives and pursue their passions, such as religion, time with family and creative expression, have healthier brains especially as they age. 
  • Know You’re Numbers Focus on lowering your blood sugar, blood pressure and belly fat.  People who have diabetes are at increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  Even if you don’t have diabetes but have elevated blood sugar you are at an increased risk for Alzheimer’s.  Having borderline high blood pressure can put you at risk for a stroke.  Having a belly size bigger than half your height increases you risk of stroke and sleep apnea, which can lead to brain shrinkage. 

Follow your doctor’s treatment for any chronic conditions.  The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be.  Just like the muscles in your body, it is possible to assert some control over the health of your brain.  Live life to the fullest and do something you enjoy each and every day!    

 

 

Topics: Memory, Memory Skills, Memory Improvement

Improving Memory Skills & Promoting A Healthy Brain

Posted by Debby Franklin on Aug 24, 2012 1:53:00 PM

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The following advice is how a Harvard Brain Specialist, Marie Pasinski MD, improves her memory skills and keeps her own brain healthy.  Scientists now believe that you do have the ability to remember and learn as you age, infact these skills can actually get better! Here are simple steps that anyone can take to promote a healthy brain and improve your memory:

  • Get together with a friend.  People who have supportive friends and a rich social network have better cognitive function and lower rates of dementia than those who spend more time alone.  One reason is purely mental, the brain is stimulated when you share ideas with other people.  Social engagement lowers levels of stress hormones which is toxic to the brain's memory center.  It also appears to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk for stroke.
  • Change your routine.  Routine creates mental ruts.  The brain uses only preexisting pathways and connections to complete familiar tasks.  It stops growing and improving.  By embracing new experiences, you stimulate your brain to create neurons and forge additional pathways.  Every time you extend your scope of experience and think in new ways the more you challenge your brain and the more its functions improve.
  • Work the underused side of your brain.  If you are someone who relies heavily on the logical left side of your brain do something that works the right side, the imaginative side or vice versa.  The improvements that you get from mental challenges quickly level off as you gain expertise.
  • Have fun.  People who enjoy what they're doing get a mental boost.  Enjoyment triggers the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter that enhances learning and retention of new material.
  • Get physical.  Exercise triggers the release of a growth factor that promotes the formation of new synapses in the brain that are critical for memory and other cognitive functions.  Exercise also increases the size of the brain, the part of the brain that is involved in reasoning, problem-solving and other executive functions.  It also increases the area of the brain that is closely involved with memory.  It improves circulation and helps prevent hypertension and other conditions that increase the risk for dementia.
  • Eat brain food.  A diet with relatively little red meat and lots of fish, vegetables and whole grains, is the best diet for brain health.  People who follow this diet have less atherosclerosis, hypertension and diabetes, conditions that cause inflammation and other brain changes that impair thinking and memory.  About two-thirds of the brain consist of fat.  When you eat cold water fish the omega-3s from the fish are incorporated into brain tissue.  People who use olive oil regularly tend to have lower rates of dementia and better cognitive function overall. 

It doesn't take hard work or complicated mental workouts to improve mental agility.  Have fun, socialize, mix up your routine, exercise, eat right and enjoy life!

 Atlanta Home Care Resources for Seniors

Topics: Memory, Memory Skills, Memory Improvement, Brain Health