Creative Ways to Trigger Memories in Dementia Sufferers

memory activities for dementiaAfter a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, many people tend to feel helpless and hopeless, knowing the inevitable future that lies in wait. As their memories start to decline, dementia can cause seniors to withdraw from family and society as a whole, as well as any activities they may have previously enjoyed.

However, helping your loved one maintain their interests and hobbies can actually provide them with a boost in memory and may help reduce some of the worst effects of their cognitive impairment.

Memory Activities for Dementia Patients

Use these memory techniques to help improve quality of life for your loved one:

  • Listen to music. Music has the ability to take us back in time, evoking memories and feelings from the past. Turn on your loved one’s favorite tunes, whether it’s from the big band era or some relaxing classic country music. Music can help not only with cognitive skills, but also with speech, stress reduction, and socialization. Many memory care assisted living communities incorporate music or sing-alongs into their daily activities.
  • Look at photographs. Pull out some old photo albums next time you go to visit your loved one. Point out photos and comment on them, encouraging your loved one to take part in the conversation. Try not to ask specific questions about the photos, however, instead offering commentary that could spark a memory. Things like, “This looks like it was taken in our old backyard” or “I haven’t seen this person since our wedding” could help them recognize places and people on their own.
  • Read a book together. Bring your loved one’s favorite novel with you when you visit and read it to them. Don’t ask if they remember what happens next or how it ends, just keep them engaged as though it was the first time they’ve ever heard the story.
  • Play a game. Keep games simple, like putting together a puzzle or helping them complete a word search or “find and seek” picture puzzle. Allow your loved one to do the majority of the work, but offer your assistance if they begin to show signs of frustration. Or, simply put it away for a later time.
  • Watch old family videos. These days, most people have a large collection of old family videos from days past. Dust them off (you can even consider getting VHS tapes converted to a digital file or a DVD) and watch them with your loved one. Actually seeing these memories right in front of them, much like looking at photographs, could help bring back long-forgotten thoughts and feelings.

The memory techniques that work best will vary depending on the individual. Find the activity that creates that “spark” in your loved one’s eyes and stick to it. It’s important to create meaningful memory activities for dementia sufferers, not just find ways to fill their days and pass the time.

For more information about memory care through Auguste’s Cottage at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com/ac.

The Joys of Downsizing Your Home

downsizing your homeWhile it’s true that some people view moving out of a home they’ve lived in for several years as a bittersweet, somewhat sad moment in time, more and more seniors today are recognizing the joys that downsizing after retirement can bring.  Today’s older adults are looking to live a carefree life, eliminating some of the burdens that home ownership can bring.

If you’re considering downsizing your home and moving into an independent living community, start weighing some pros and cons and we’re confident you’ll see that the benefits start to outweigh the negatives!

The Benefits of Downsizing after Retirement

Here are just a few of the main reasons to consider downsizing your home to transition to a smaller home or independent living community:

  • Your current home requires too much maintenance. As we age, even doing some simple upkeep on our homes can become overwhelming. Yard work, power-washing the exterior and driveway, and cleaning from top to bottom is a lot of work and can take up a lot of your precious time. Plus, some of these tasks might simply become too difficult or dangerous for you to handle.
  • Your current home is too big. Are there certain rooms in your home that you haven’t stepped foot in over the last few months?  After the kids have moved out, you may find that you just no longer need all those bedrooms and bathrooms. This goes along with the first point, that maintaining all that extra space is just too much work anymore.
  • Financial benefits. The cost of living in your current home is always on the rise, even if it has appreciated in value. The cost of upkeep, taxes, and those big ticket repairs when something goes wrong- like a leaky roof- can really add up. In an independent living community, you’ll be relieved of these types of financial worries and can also put your home equity to good use.
  • Reduce your stress. Since you won’t be worried about maintaining your home and some of the financial burden will be lessened, you’ll experience less stress overall. Your new, smaller home will be easier to maintain and keep organized, and you won’t have to worry about all those “do-it-yourself” type of repairs. Let someone else take care of them!
  • Enjoy more free time. Downsizing your home allows you to recapture some of that lost free time and spend it on the things you enjoy doing, whether it’s being with friends and family, traveling, exercising, or learning a new hobby.
  • A variety of floor plan options. Most of today’s retirement communities offer everything from single family homes and townhouses to convenient apartments. No matter what type of residence you choose, you’ll have the ability to come and go as you please, but still have the option to take part in planned social activities and events.
  • Meet people who share your interests. You’ll be able to meet new people and build lasting, meaningful relationships. You certainly won’t have to worry about becoming socially isolated, which can lead to depression in seniors.
  • Feel safe and secure. Not only will you have a full range of services and amenities, but you’ll also have the peace of mind that assistance is available should an emergency occur. You can be as active as you choose to be, knowing that help is usually just the push of a button away.

For more information about independent living at American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

How to Boost Senior Mobility

mobility for seniorsMost seniors understand the value of staying physically active, but some may start to face mobility issues as they continue down the path of aging. The less mobile we become, the more at risk we are for illness and injuries requiring hospitalization, or injuries leading to disability.

You know that old saying: “If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it”? This rings especially true when it comes to mobility for seniors. The less active we are, the more difficult it becomes to complete even some of the simplest of daily tasks. Improving your range of motion with regular exercise will help improve your health and overall quality of life.

How Active Seniors Can Improve Mobility

When seniors stay active, they’ll find increased strength, coordination and balance, all of which are vital in preventing falls. In addition to fall prevention, active seniors experience a wide range of other benefits, such as healthy weight and more energy.

If you’ve already begun experiencing a decrease or limitations in your mobility, the good news is it’s never too late to increase your range of motion! Start getting the blood flowing immediately; it’s been said that exercise is the “ultimate anti-aging medicine”.

Here are a few easy tips to help improve your mobility:

  • Add activity slowly at first. After you’ve consulted with your physician and discussed any limitations you may have, start by being active for at least ten minutes every day. This can mean lifting some light weights or doing some exercises right from your chair, or even just taking a walk around the block. You can add on more activity as you regain more mobility, until you’re able to do a solid 30 minutes of exercise each day.
  • Make healthy food choices. Try eliminating some of the unhealthy foods from your diet, like rich desserts that are high in sugar. Instead, substitute some fruit or high protein snacks when you get a craving. When you eat better, you feel better, which will lead to feeling more active and alert.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Like a healthy diet, a good night’s sleep is vital for seniors to feel refreshed and awake. Without restful sleep, seniors can become more prone to accidents and falls because they can become too tired to stay attentive to their surroundings.
  • Find creative ways to get moving. It’s easy to add some simple mobility exercises into your daily routine! For instance, while you’re sitting on the couch watching television, keep hand weights nearby. Every time there’s a commercial break, do a few exercises. Or, walk around the house when you’re talking on the phone. Ask a neighbor to join you on a daily walk. There are plenty of ways to increase your mobility in ways that don’t necessarily feel like a workout.
  • Keep at it! Once you’ve added more mobility exercises, don’t give up! Even on the days you feel too fatigued, try to complete at least 10 minutes of physical activity. Keep in mind that doing something is better than doing nothing!

American Senior Communities provides physical therapy through the Moving Forward Rehabilitation program offered at locations statewide.  The New Energy Wellness program is designed to improve your current fitness level and give you more energy. For more information, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

What Can I Eat if I Have Diabetes?

food for diabetesAfter you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, you might be worried that you’ll have to eliminate all the foods you enjoy from your diet. But living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean living in deprivation and constantly feeling hungry. It’s still possible to take pleasure from eating a healthy, balanced diet that will also increase your energy and boost your mood.

The first step in proper diabetes management is learning how to take control of your condition. Healthy lifestyle changes are important to help you lose some excess weight; studies have shown that losing just 5-10% of your total weight can help lower your blood sugar. This is especially true for those who have a lot of excess weight around their waists, because this type of fat is most closely linked to diabetes and insulin resistance. Adding daily exercise to your routine is very important (for everyone, not just those with diabetes!), but the foods you choose can have an even bigger impact on weight loss.

Knowing What Types of Food for Diabetes You Can Enjoy Daily

One of the biggest myths about food for diabetes is that you need to completely avoid any kind of sugar at all costs. In actuality, you can enjoy your favorite treats by planning ahead and incorporating them into your meal plans. Your dietary needs are virtually the same as the rest of the world. Eating nutritious foods that are low in fat and added sugar is important for everyone.

Choosing the best food for diabetics isn’t that difficult at all, as long as you are making informed selections. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cut the sugar. As we already mentioned, it’s still possible to enjoy some sweet treats when you have diabetes. The key is knowing how much sugar is contained in the foods you’re choosing, and this can be tricky due to the fact that food manufacturers tend to disguise the word “sugar” in a variety of ways. Read the labels of some of your favorite products; added sugar can appear on the labels as “high-fructose corn syrup,” “maltose,” “dextrose” and many other varieties. If you’d like to add a sweet dessert to your meals once in a while, just make sure to plan for it by cutting out some of the other carbs in your meal to lower the sugar levels.
  • Know your carbs. Carbohydrates have a bigger impact on your blood sugar than fats or proteins, so being smart about the types of carbs you add to your diet is vital. Look for foods that are “whole grain.” A whole grain includes the bran, germ and endosperm or starchy part of the grain, and white flours are usually refined, meaning they only include that starchy part of the grain. Whole grain products include whole wheat bread, tortillas and pastas, as well as brown rice, quinoa, popcorn and much more. When choosing your grains, look for these whole wheats over the refined or enriched wheat products.
  • Be smart about fats. The best fats to choose are unsaturated, which come from plant and fish sources. Avoid damaging saturated fats found in dairy and red meat, and trans fats which are added to foods to help make them less likely to spoil. It’s easy to add more unsaturated fats to your diet by cooking with olive oil instead of butter, eating more fish or skinless chicken, and snacking on nuts and seeds.

Another good tip to finding the best foods for diabetes and managing your diet is to keep a daily food journal. This way, you’ll be able to see what choices you are making and where some adjustments need to be made.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.

Ways to Beat the Heat in Indy this Summer

attractions in indianapolis

Summer is heating up, which means you might be getting stir-crazy sitting inside your air conditioned home all day, trying to avoid the heat. But these warm months are a perfect time to check out some great summer attractions in Indianapolis!

There are even several free options available to give your wallet a break, so there’s no excuse to miss out on these awesome things to do in Indianapolis.

Fun Summer Attractions in Indianapolis

There are both indoor and outdoor attractions in Indianapolis to enjoy throughout the summer, so plan your visits accordingly! On a hot, humid day or a rainy day, enjoy the indoor attractions, and when we get a break from the heat take advantage of it by heading outdoors. After all, we made it through a long, cold winter just waiting for it to warm up, right?

Here are just a few ideas for things to do in Indianapolis over the summer:

  • Visit one of the many museums. Get your fill of culture by touring some of the many museums in Indianapolis. The Children’s Museum is a top tourist attraction and features hands-on exhibits for kids of all ages. Other museums to check out include the Indiana State Museum, which tells the story of Indiana’s history, the Eiteljorg Museum that explores the art and culture of the American West, and the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
  • Enjoy the downtown parks. Enjoy a lovely summer day by relaxing in one of the many downtown parks here in Indianapolis. There are over 200 park properties in Marion County alone, and they all offer an inexpensive way to spend some quality time with family or friends.
  • Discover local art. The Indianapolis Downtown Artists and Dealers Association (IDADA) offers a self-guided tour of over 25 local galleries around the downtown area the first Friday of every month, called the First Friday Art Tour. Discover new local art at this free event every month!
  • Walk or bike the cultural trail. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an eight-mile trail connecting neighborhoods, entertainment amenities and cultural districts while also serving as the downtown hub for central Indiana’s vast greenway system. Walk or bike along this beautiful trail through some of the most popular areas of downtown Indy.
  • Browse around the Indianapolis City Market. The Indianapolis City Market is home to over 25 locally owned and operated small businesses, including the Original Farmers’ Market. The Market features retailers, wine and cheese shops, local eateries and a one-stop shop for fresh produce, meat, fish, dairy and baked goods.
  • Head to an indoor beach. There may not be a lot of real beach options here in Indianapolis, but instead you can head to an indoor beach for some tropical fun! Caribbean Cove Hotel and Water Park, for example, offers 50,000 square feet of indoor water fun. It’s perfect for a rainy day!
  • Wander through the Indianapolis Zoo. Who doesn’t love visiting the zoo during the summertime? The Indianapolis Zoo is one of the country’s finest. You’ll feel like you’re actually visiting the animals’ natural habitats, whether it be a lush green forest or the depths of the ocean. In fact, the Indy Zoo is the only institution to be an accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums as a zoo, aquarium and a botanical garden!

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com/.

Alzheimer’s in the Movies

movies about Alzheimer's
photo courtesy IMBD.com

Over the years, Alzheimer’s disease has been portrayed in the media in books, movies and even some television shows. Because there are more than 5 million people in the United States living with Alzheimer’s, it’s important to explore the journey of those suffering from this disease as well as those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s.

Some of the Best Movies about Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s and dementia storylines have taken center stage in several recent movies, but the topic is not entirely new to mainstream media. Here are some of the most popular movies about Alzheimer’s that properly depict what it’s like to live with this disease:

  • Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me (2014): This documentary about country music legend Glen Campbell debuted in October 2014 and depicted the singer’s struggle with the disease throughout his farewell tour. Campbell was diagnosed in 2011 and publicly fought the disease and its stigma with his family. American Senior Communities is hosting a viewing of this film at the University of Indianapolis on Thursday, July 16th in conjunction with the Alzheimer’s Association and WTHR. The evening will also feature Campbell’s wife Kim sharing her experiences through a Q & A session following the film. All proceeds from the viewing will benefit the Alzheimer’s Association.
  • The Notebook (2004): The Notebook, based on a novel by Nicholas Sparks, might be considered one of the most popular movies about Alzheimer’s in the last several years. This dramatic love story tells the story of a man trying to rekindle memories for his wife of their long history together by reading her stories of their life from his notebook.
  • Away From Her (2007): This movie, based on the short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro, tells the story of a woman with Alzheimer’s disease who voluntarily enters a long term care facility to avoid becoming a burden to her husband. When her husband visits her 30 days later, her memories of him have already deteriorated to the point where she’s grown close to another man at the facility.
  • Iris (2001): This film is based on the memoirs of Professor John Bayley, husband of celebrated novelist Iris Murdoch. The movie depicts Iris’s descent into Alzheimer’s disease and Bayley’s unconditional, unfailing love and support for his wife of 40 years.
  • Aurora Borealis (2005): This movie is told from the viewpoint of a grandson whose grandfather is slipping further into dementia and Parkinson’s disease. The grandson and his grandfather’s home health aide develop a close friendship as the grandfather’s condition becomes increasingly impaired.
  • Still Alice (2015): Probably the most recently released movie about Alzheimer’s disease is Still Alice, in which a linguistics professor is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of 40. The film follows Alice’s decline in health and the struggles she and her family face as they fight to make the most of her remaining time.

These movies about Alzheimer’s disease not only show the despair and heartache that accompany a diagnosis, but also how wonderful it can be to care for the sufferers and enjoy every minute with those you love.

For more information about memory care through Auguste’s Cottage at American Senior Communities, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com/service/augustes-cottage-memory-care/.

Rehabilitation for Hip Replacement Surgery

hip replacement recoveryHip replacement surgeries have been performed since 1960, and they are one of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed. Techniques for hip replacement have evolved since their initial beginning, and surgeons are continually developing less invasive surgical techniques. The goal of these less invasive techniques is to minimize pain and reduce overall hip replacement surgery recovery time.

Hip Replacement Surgery Recovery

Immediately following hip replacement surgery, you may feel some initial discomfort while walking or exercising. That said, many patients are able to get up and walk around the same day as their surgery! The pain you felt in your hip before your surgery should be completely gone, although you of course will be somewhat sore from the operation.  This pain should not last very long, however, especially if you keep up physical therapy.

Physical therapy for hip replacement recovery will usually begin the day after your surgery. Within a few days, you should be able to walk with a cane, crutches or a walker. Some patients will require a stay in a rehabilitation facility for additional therapy before they go home. This stay will generally only last a few days or so and is dependent upon the patient’s needs. The age of the patient and what their home environment is like – for example. Is someone available to assist them at home during the first few days of recovery? Are there many stairs to climb?

Once you’re released from the hospital or rehabilitation facility, you’ll need to continue with outpatient physical therapy in order to help you to continue to progress. Outpatient facilities will utilize exercise equipment to help increase your range of motion, as well as incorporate balance exercises to help decrease your risk of falling, which could damage your hip and increase your recovery time.

While balance exercises will help reduce falls, you should also make sure you safeguard your home to prevent them. Remove throw rugs and get rid of clutter on the floor so there’s nothing you could potentially trip over. Stay as active as you can to help regain the use of your joint and muscles. Use the mobility aid of your choice until you’re able to walk comfortably and be stable on your feet without it.

Some other things you can do at home to help aid in your hip replacement surgery recovery include making some other modifications to your home, like adding a raised toilet seat and a shower chair. You’ll want to avoid bending at the waist beyond a 90 degree angle, as this could cause your new hip joint to become dislocated. Be careful in your movements; no reaching down to pick items up off the floor when you’re sitting down, don’t bring your knee up higher than your hip, and no kneeling on the knee of the leg that had surgery. Avoid strenuous sports like jogging. However, you’ll be able to get back to lighter activities like walking and golf within a few months.

Today’s hip replacements can last upwards of 15 years, as long as you’re following your physical therapy regimen and taking the proper precautions to avoid a fall.

American Senior Communities provides rehabilitation for hip replacement patients and others through the Moving Forward Rehabilitation program offered at locations statewide.  For more information, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com/mf/.

Summer Skin Care Tips

summer skin care tipsSometimes, it can be difficult to resist the pull of the summer sunshine. Everyone loves soaking up some much needed vitamin D and feeling the warm rays on our skin. However, as we age, our skin starts to grow thinner and more fragile, and it needs to be protected more than ever. Damage from the sun is actually the greatest threat to our skin, so we need to make sure we’re taking the proper precautions before heading out on a hot summer day.

Elderly Skin Care in the Summer

It’s important to follow a few summer skin care tips to help avoid those damaging effects of the sun, which can lead to not only a painful sunburn, but also to something as serious as skin cancer.

  • Stay in the shade. If you’re going to be spending some time outside this summer, make sure you pick a shady area to sit, especially if you have to be out during the hottest parts of the day (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Stay under the trees or an umbrella that will block some of the strongest rays of the sun.
  • Wear sunscreen at all times. Any time you’re heading outdoors, apply a good dollop of sunscreen on any exposed skin, especially your face. The sunscreen should be a water-resistant, broad-spectrum product that protects against both UVA (ultraviolet short-ray) and UVB (ultraviolet long-wave) rays, and look for an SPF of 30 or higher. Those harmful UV rays can pass through both clouds and glass, so it’s important to remember to reapply your sunscreen often, especially after sweating or showering.
  • Moisturize often. Elderly skin can be prone to dryness, so a good moisturizer can help replenish your skin. Hot temperatures and sun damage can dry skin out even further, so create a moisture barrier with a high quality skin lotion or cream that will help prevent water loss from layers of skin.
  • Dress appropriately. Keep your skin safe by wearing long sleeves and long pants to block out the sun. Look for clothing that can be worn loosely, but is woven tightly to offer more substantial coverage. Some clothing is even made specifically with UV protection to provide extra sun safety while you’re outside on a walk or gardening.
  • Know your medication side effects. Some medications can cause sensitivity to the sun, making you more susceptible to serious sun damage like sunburn, blisters, swelling or rashes. If you aren’t sure of the side effects your medication may have with the sun, make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist before spending any great lengths of time outside.
  • Improve your skin from the inside. Certain foods can help improve the condition of your skin’s firmness, like those high in omega-3 fatty acids; salmon, tuna and mackerel are all high in omega-3s. Veggies and fruits are high in antioxidants and therefore also great for keeping your skin looking younger and healthier. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water, too. Avoiding dehydration is vital in the summer.

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com.

 

Happy 4th of July from ASC!

4th of July in IndianapolisThe 4th of July is almost here, which means fireworks, picnics, pool parties, parades, and other fun summer festivities. The tradition of celebrating our country’s independence on July 4th dates all the way back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. It’s considered one of our most important national holidays and a symbol of patriotism. Fun fact: did you know that there are 59 places in the United States with the word “liberty” in their names? But there’s only one state that has the word Patriot: Patriot, Indiana, a small town in Switzerland County along the Ohio River.

4th of July in Indianapolis

If you’re looking for some fun thing to do in Indianapolis this 4th of July, you’ll find a plethora of events and activities to enjoy. Here are just a few ways to celebrate the 4th of July in Indianapolis:

  • 4th of July Picnic on Mass Ave: Enjoy a prime spot to view the fireworks display from the Regions Bank Tower on the 800 block of Massachusetts Avenue. You’ll be guaranteed a seat, as well as delicious food from Indiana’s famous Jug’s Catering Service. Also enjoy street performers, magicians, face painters and more! Fun for the whole family!
  • INDYpendence Day on Georgia Street: The INDYpendence Day Concert for Cancer is back for a second year! Last year the event raised over $50,000 for the St. Francis Hospital Patience Assistance Fund and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Indiana. Enjoy a full day of music and fun, all for a good cause!
  • Fountain Square Music Fest: In the days leading up to the 4th of July, enjoy free music on the Fountain Square plaza each evening from 6:30-8 p.m. On the 4th, twelve Indianapolis acts and national acts will play on stages between Prospect Avenue and Woodlawn Avenue. Music lovers don’t want to miss this!
  • Firecracker Run/Walk 2015: Don your best patriotic outfit and lace up your running shoes for the 6th annual Firecracker 6-mile/6K Run/Walk through the streets of downtown Indianapolis. The event supports Hoosiers Helping Heroes, a nonprofit organization that prepares care packages for our troops overseas.
  • Indianapolis Motor Speedway: The Rolling Stones will be stopping right here in Indy at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 4th as part of their 15-city North American tour! Get your tickets and head to the racing spot of the world for a night of music with Mick and the gang.
  • Taste of Indy: If you’re hungry and looking for something to do the day after the 4th of July, this year’s Taste of Indy at White River State Park presents an amazing variety of food from local Asian, Greek, Mediterranean, American and Hispanic restaurants. There will also be live music and fun activities for the whole family to enjoy!

However you choose to spend this 4th of July in Indianapolis, all of us here at American Senior Communities wish you a fun and happy July 4th!

For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com.

The Latest Alzheimer’s Disease Findings

Alzheimer's researchIt’s estimated that more than 5 million Americans may have Alzheimer’s disease. This progressive brain disorder irreversibly destroys memories and thinking skills, and can make completing even the simplest of tasks impossible.

Symptoms usually first appear in adults age 60 or older, and will ultimately lead to death. In fact, according to the National Institute on Aging (NIH) Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, nor is there any way to prevent the development of the disease. However, more Alzheimer’s research is continually being conducted in the hopes that one day Alzheimer’s will be curable as well as preventable.

Alzheimer’s Research and News

Possible treatments for Alzheimer’s are being researched, and one major finding is that it seems as though prevention of the disease may be more possible than actually reversing or curing it. One of the main issues with Alzheimer’s research lies in the fact that for a study to be effective those at risk for developing the disease are required. Individuals at risk can be difficult to identify without expensive procedures like MRIs or PET scans.

Therefore, a first step in new Alzheimer’s research procedures involves studying noninvasive methods of determining who’s at risk. Medical News Today reports that a recent study is looking at 1,000 proteins in the blood of 212 subjects, using a protein biomarker discovery tool that measured a wide range of different proteins. The subjects’ cognitive abilities were assessed by a computerized test previously used for detecting early Alzheimer’s disease-related cognitive changes, which were then compared with the protein levels in their blood. The researchers found one protein marker is lower in the blood of individuals whose cognitive ability significantly declined over a 10-year period.

This was an important study, because if the biomarker can be identified as a factor in cognitive decline, other researchers can recruit these same at-risk individuals in their future studies.

Another recent discovery in Alzheimer’s research involved a study surrounding cognitive decline and an individual’s immune system. A study by a team from Duke University suggested that immune cells could be going rogue in the brain, which could be a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s disease. The team looked at blocking this process by using a drug, which was successful in preventing the formation of plaques in the brain.

Plaques in the brain, called beta-amyloids, are the most visible indication of Alzheimer’s in one’s brain. Most of the drugs tested previously were designed to target the accumulation of these plaques in the hope that if they were removed, symptoms of Alzheimer’s would improve. However, new evidence is suggesting that by the time the plaques have formed, irreversible damage has already been done. This is why more researchers are now turning away from the focus on the visible plaques in the brain, and attempting to learn more about the biological processes that could cause Alzheimer’s disease.

American Senior Communities provides care to people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For more information about Memory Care through Auguste’s Cottage at American Senior Communities, please visit http://www.ascseniorcare.com/ac.

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