Monday, April 28, 2008

Acquire Information, It is the Key

As a caregiver the most important thing you can do for yourself is to arm yourself with knowledge.
The more informed you are the better you are able to cope with situations that will arise.
Recently I have been browsing the internet to find resources that are available for caregivers, something I was unable to do when I was a caregiver.
With the knowledge I have now there are many things I would have done differently.
I am giving you this information because I don't want you to make the same mistakes I made.




Alzheimer's Caregiver Support Online
www.alzonline.net


Offers an online training class for caregivers called Positive Caregiving.This site also has message board, chat room ,reading room with excellent articles for caregivers.Also has a resource center that offers forums presented by Alzheimer's experts.

Benefits checkup
www.benefitscheckup.org/

To help people age 55 and over find program that may pay part or all of the cost for prescription drugs, health care etc.


Needymeds
www.needymeds.com/

Links people who need help in paying for medication to charitable programs.
Programs are available for Ad medications like Aricept, Reminyl, Exelon.



CareSsentials
www.caressentials.com

Dedicated to self-care for the caregiver
It also has a weekly free telephone support group for caregivers.


Caregiver
www.caregiver.com/channels/alzheimers/index.htm

Information available on several topics including depression, nutrition, patient's incontinence.
Also hosts a discussion forum and live chat two nights a week.



Alzheimer's Disease Education and Referral
www.alzheimers.org


Information on symptoms, cause, diagnosis and treatment.
Also has live question and answer formats that are available to the public Monday - Friday.


As I find more websites I will post them for you.



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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dealing With Your Emotions

An Alzheimer's Disease patient behavior can drive you up the wall and cause you to react in many different ways.
You may get depressed or angry and frustrated and take your feelings out on them.
if these emotions begin to arise they need to be addressed quickly if not your loved one can begin to react negatively to you and begin to display aggressive behavior.

Depressed people often times have a strong need to be dependent but remember your loved one is depending on you the caregiver.

Depression brings on hopelessness and as a result you lack enthusiasm and sometimes have little energy for doing even the simple things.

Depression also brings on physical illness.Depression tends to suppress the body's immune system and as such you become susceptible to illness and your body is less able to fight diseases and viruses

Depression also causes you to withdraw and suffer from low self esteem,so you escape into a world of daydreams or sometimes you feel like running away from everything.

Caregivers often get angry and frustrated when things don't seem to be working out or they are not getting support from other family members.It seems as though everything has been left upon you and you want to lash out.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nutritional Tips - The Alzheimer's Disease Patient

Keeping an Alzheimer's Disease patient properly nourished is a challenge as the disease advances, they begin to have problems with chewing, swallowing and sometimes choking.
They may lose weight because their sense of smell and taste diminishes and therefore has no appetite to eat.
On the other hand they may gain weight because of their memory even though they might have just ate they may ask for food again.


Serve five or six small meals instead of three major ones. They are easily distracted and tend not to finish their meals.
Do not use any linens on the table that would be a distraction
Focus on simple meals and finger foods that are nutritious yet easy to handle. Avoid junk food which are loaded with either salt or sugar.
Give your patient as much time as possible to eat and don't rush

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After a while your patient will get difficulty in swallowing so you would have to cut their food in small pieces or mash or puree it or even served in liquid form.
Sometimes they forget to chew and you can get them to chew by moving their chin. Also when they are not swallowing you can lightly stroke their throat.You can alternate bites of food with a sip of water or whatever they are drinking.
As their condition worsens you will find it difficult to get them to eat and often times refuses to open their mouths.When this happens you will have to resort to feeding them with a cup with sipper or straws.
Give them lots of water to drink to flush out their kidneys and bladder

Saturday, April 12, 2008

MSG and You

MSG - Monosodium Glutamate has been a public buzzword since it was taken out of baby foods in the late 60s.

Did you know that it's in literally thousands of different processed foods, often under hidden names.

And now, science is showing us that it could be a big part of what's making us so fat.



Your diet could be your brain's biggest enemy. Why?

Consider this: Could the organic yogurt granny eats send her prematurely into Alzheimer's? Could your baby's diet be putting the child on a path toward attention deficit disorder?

Or could your daily soup slam you with migraines?



MSG can directly worsen autism, attention deficit disorder, and hyperactivity.

And MSG can cause the brain to be miswired, especially in the womb and the first few years of life.

That damage to brain connections can mess up nearly any aspect of brain function, from the control of hormones to behavior and intelligence.


Alzheimer's disease

ALS, sometimes called Lou Gehrig's disease

Multiple Sclerosis

Strokes

Parkinson's disease.


Research shows that MSG attacks over 40 percent of the population in some obvious way -- migraines, throat swelling, diarrhea, vomiting, or irregular heartbeats.


But what about the less obvious, even silent damage?

Glutamate receptors on the lungs could explain the rising affliction of juvenile asthma.
It produces worsening of asthma, even fatal asthma.


And don't forget the nasty plague of diabetes affecting tens of millions of Americans. There are glutamate receptors on the pancreas that can lead to diabetes or loss of diabetic control, once the disease is present.


Read the complet reports on MSG by Gailon Totheroh in the articles section

Thursday, April 10, 2008

What is Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia.Although all Alzheimer's Disease patients have dementia, not all dementia patients have Alzheimer's Disease.It is a progressive brain disease that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, eventually even the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

Alzheimer's patients often display one or more of these symptoms:

Forgetfulness and memory problems - Difficulty recalling previous information and learning new ones.Not recalling they already did a chore.Losing or misplacing things more than they used to. Forgetting to bathe


Language disturbance - Difficulty finding the right words, inability to put together a coherent sentence.

Difficulty recognizing everyday objects - Looking at a cup or mirror and can't recall what it is.
symptoms
Difficulty in staying oriented to time, place and location - Getting lost especially in new locations, confusing the days or months or even years.Walking or roaming about at night and forgetting where they live.

Inability to plan, organize, or solve everyday problems - Clean up by putting things in the refrigerator or garbage that's not meant to go there.

Mood problems and personality disturbances - a gentle person may become hostile or suspicious

Apathy - Loses interest in activities they once liked.

Anxious - suddenly can't make sense of anything

As the disease advances patients will begin to exhibit other things like slowness of movement , tremors, agitation,seizures difficulty walking and speaking.

Unpredictable

Having to care for some one diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease gets increasingly difficult as time goes by.

Things become unpredictable, you don't know how the condition will progress, so you live one day at a time and make the most of it.
The truth is you actually lose your loved one long before they die, many of the things you recognize about them slips away.
The most difficult day comes when your loved one no longer recognizes who you are.

Don't become discouraged if they seem afraid of you or treats you like a stranger, its is because they don't recognize who you are any longer and is unsure of your intentions towards them.
Remember it's nothing personal they are acting out of fear and uncertainty.

Dealing with memory loss can become very trying because you will be asked the same questions over and over and they will tell you the same thing over and over.
Try to have patience and be humorous and take everything in stride.

The Caregiver

If you are at home or living close by when a loved one gets diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease, guess what? That's it
You are living your life dealing with your own issues and then suddenly everything gets turned upside down, your plans gets put on hold and suddenly you are spending all day dealing with your loved one's problems.All you are wondering is when are you going to get your life back, when are things going to return to normal.

The good news is that they are many support groups available today, back then I did not have that as a matter of fact I did not have access to the internet.
My time as a primary caregiver was one of trial and error.


Its hard to begin to understand the exhaustion one can experience when one is having to deal with the many responsibilities of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's Disease..
Even though a cure has not been found there are many things you the primary caregiver at home can do to improve the quality of life for your loved one
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Caregiving is hard work and it affects you emotionally,mentally, socially and physically
You come to the place where you have to deal with depression, frustration anger and a myriad of other emotions.
The stress of long term caregiving leads to fatigue which leads to burnout.

If you let yourself go by overlooking your own needs, continually eating a poor diet or not finding the time to eat and is constantly deprived of sleep you will become susceptible to illness
You begin to get caught up in crisis after crisis and begin to forget about yourself .

Constantly bending and lifting and straining leads to muscular injuries,too much of stress makes you a candidate for heart problems.You are also prone to weight gain or loss, anemia blood pressure problems and other health issues.
All of these adverse problems can be solved by taking care of yourself.

Taking care of yourself can be vitally important if you want to continue to take care of your loved one, you actually become a better caregiver because you are more mentally, physically and emotionally alert.
During this time you also learn a whole lot about yourself.