Have You Heard of Weighted Blanket Therapy?

Have You Heard of Weighted Blanket Therapy?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The drug-free therapeutic blanket known as weighted blankets have become the at-home treatment for insomnia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactive disorders (ADHD), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Asperger’s and sensory disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Many seniors, adults, teenagers and children face psychiatric issues that cause insomnia and severe anxiety. Patients with autism and other psychiatric disorders also face extreme anxiousness and the inability to induce calmness within themselves without the use of sedatives or drugs.

 

The combination of behavioral aberrations, and the lack of sleep among these people, have been known to lead to loss of productivity in their daily lives, irrational emotional behavior and out – of – character actions. It isn’t just the problem of not being able to keep their emotions under control, but the issue of lashing out aggressively due to psychological dysfunctions.

 

The root causes of such behavioral issues are anxiety and insomnia, which is usually treated with pharmacological (drugs) and psychological (therapy) methods. However, now with a breakthrough in the study of sleep medicine and psychiatric disorders, we know that the trick to soothing consternation and inducing sleep is much simpler than once thought.

 

The drug-free therapeutic blanket known as weighted blankets have become the at-home treatment for insomnia, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention-deficit hyperactive disorders (ADHD), Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), Asperger’s and sensory disorders.

 

 

Weighted blankets use deep pressure touch simulation (DPTS) to relax the body and make the patient feel safe, guarded and secure, which calms their unease and helps their body go to sleep. The sensory compression methodology facilitates a positive change with the comfort the blanket brings to its user. The weight of the blanket stimulates the receptors on your body which then activates the neurotransmitters in your brain to bring a sense of happiness to the person.

 

 

 

The Poly plastic (Polypropylene) pellets that have been used to fill the compartments of the blanket provide the weightage of the blanket. A quality weighted blanket is quilted, made of either cotton or fleece and weighs about 10% of the user’s body. Using the proper blanket according to the size and the weight of the user will give the optimum calming results.

 

This blanket has shown to be very effective in calming hyperactive children during bedtime, anxious patients in therapy and even adults undergoing chemotherapy. It has also proven to be efficacious in calming people down during anxiety inducing situations.

 

 

Studies Prove the Benefits of Weighted Blankets

 

– A 2008 study showed that weighted blankets are beneficial for anxiety. The study used a 30 lb. blankets on adults. In total, 63% reported a decrease in anxiety, and 78% found it calming.

– A 2015 study used 30 pound blanket on adults during an inpatient mental health hospitalization. 60% of them reported significant decrease in anxiety after use.

– Research on DPTS started as early as the 1950s. One article from 1992 found great benefits of this therapy for patients with autism. It reduces self-harming behaviors in autistic children, as well as produced better sleep. It also relaxes the muscles.

One adult autistic patient has stated, “I need heavy blankets on me to sleep well, or else my muscles won’t calm down.” 

– Weighted blanket were also found to be very calming for babies.

 

 

Therapeutic Benefits of Weighted Blankets

 

 

 

 

1. Weighted Blankets Promote Sleep

 

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that causes habitual sleeplessness. The lack of sleep leads to the over exhaustion of the human body and hampers the psychological well-being of the person. When a person is not able to function well, both physically and mentally, their social well being is affected and they begin to lose productivity in their lives. This leads to depression and other behavioral problems.

An easy solution to this problem is the weighted blanket. The pressure of the weighted blanket reaches deep within the body of the user to provide a comfortable environment for a person to fall asleep in. The sense of being swaddled and the physical connection that the user feels with the blanket makes them feel warm and safe. This helps their mind be at ease and they can be able to relax their body. The state of tranquility will help clear their mind and ensure a good night’s sleep.

According to the ‘Positive effects of a weighted blanket on insomnia’ by the Journal of Sleep Medicine and Disorders 2015 of the SciMed Central, the weighted blankets had improved the sleep quality of people with severe insomnia.

 

 

2. Weighted Blankets Imitate a Warm Hug

 

Research shows that hugs can actually make a person feel at ease. Hugging a person releases the hormone Oxytocin into the blood stream. This chemical reduces your blood pressure, calms your heart rate and provides and overall feeling of relaxation.

Although the blanket does not provide a human connection, your body may perceive the warmth and security the imitation that a hug provides. Both the hug and the blanket use a gentle yet firm pressure that goes deep within the person’s body tissues. This gives the user a sense of repose and allows your body to relax.

 

 

3. Weighted Blankets Provide a Sense of Security

 

Being covered by a weighted and warm blanket will ensure the feeling of calmness in the user. The ‘blanket therapy’ stimulates the receptors present throughout our body, which lessens a person’s discomfort. Once the user feels more comfortable in the blanket, they begin to feel secure as their body begins to relax. The body can only relax when your mind is soothed and your heart rate is calmed. This change in the body will ensure that both your body and mind believes that you are secure and safe.

 

 

4. Weighted Blankets Increase the Production of Serotonin

 

Serotonin is a chemical messenger, also known as a neurotransmitter that your brain and intestines produce for the smooth functioning of your nervous system, which includes the brain and the nerves. This hormone is secreted to promote happiness and the mood of the people. Known as the ‘happy hormone’, this chemical does not only affect a person’s mood but it affects their behavior. The lack of serotonin in the body leads to depression, insomnia and anxiety. That is why the sensory stimulating weighted blankets increase the production of serotonin in the body. The hormone relaxes your body and makes you feel calmer. That sense of calmness leads to pacifying one’s anxiety, which results to inducing sleep in the user.

 

 

5. Weighted Blankets Increase the Production of Melatonin

 

Melatonin, also known as the ‘sleep hormone’ is a chemical that affects a person’s sleep. The hormone is produced with the production of serotonin, as well as the pineal gland in the brain. This chemical is known to ease insomnia and induce sleep, which is possible through the therapeutic benefits of the weighted blankets that provide a gentle yet firm pressure on your body by stimulating your receptors.

 

 

 

6. Weighted Blankets Calm Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorder

 

Autism spectrum disorder includes Asperger’s, Autism, Rhett Syndrome and other unspecified Pervasive Development Disorders. Such disorders include behavioral problems that do not necessarily bode well with the norms of society. The patients suffering from such disorders feel aggression and irritation due to the inability to express or convey their thoughts clearly. Such slow cognitive development makes the patient unable to process information quickly and the change in their surroundings.

 

Patients with such disorders are not able to communicate properly, so they use erratic speech, repetitive actions and turbulent behaviors. During a frustrated outburst, the patient’s heart rate increases, their breath becomes shallow and their blood pressure rises – which further increases their irritability.

 

When the patient is going through such tempestuous emotions and tantrums, it is best to drape the weighted blanket around them or have them lay down with the blanket covering them. This will make them feel more relaxed and comfortable. Once they are no longer acting in a hysterical manner, they will be able to think with a clearer mind and a calmer body. Although communicating with their caretakers might still be difficult, there will at least be an opportunity for the patient to gather more patience and attempt to convey their thoughts in a more serene manner.

 

 

7. Weighted Blankets Help Overcome the Oversensitivity to Touch

 

Some psychiatric disorders make people oversensitive to touch. Patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders usually face such discomfort with the touch of other people but this can be overcome by introducing the weight of the blanket regularly to the affected patient.

 

The pressure of the blanket provides a similar feeling of human touch at a larger scale without actual connection – which can be a stepping stone in helping patients overcome their fear of touch.

 

During the 1990s, a squeeze machine was used to help patients overcome their oversensitivity to touch. Today, with the inception of the ‘therapy blankets’, patients can use the more accessible and less controversial mechanism to help people become more at ease with touch.

 

 

8. Weighted Blankets Pacify Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or OCD drives a person to think repetitively about a certain incident or an object. Such thoughts constantly play across a person’s mind and lead them to neglect their duties and their personal lives. The patient becomes anxious about a particular event and conducts a certain action over and over again. Their thoughts are occupied and their bodies refuse to break out of an obsessive reverie.

A very effective way to ease an OCD patient’s anxiety, and to treat the inability to calm them down from a mind consuming thought is to use a weighted blanket. This blanket allows the patient to feel safe and secure without worrying about the numerous issues that may be present in their lives. The blanket provides a warm environment for the user by helping to relive stress and allow their mind to release the captivating thoughts.

 

 

9. Weighted Blankets Mimic a Massage

 

Draping the weighted blanket over the user’s body distributes pressure evenly throughout their body. This has similar effects of a deep tissue massage. The pressure of the blanket goes deep within your tissues while you use it to fall asleep. A massage is supposed to help our body and mind relax – which can be easily done at home by using a weighted blanket. The physical factor of a massage might provide it’s own intimate yet soothing aspect, but the weighted blanket is proven to give you similar results to an actual massage in the long run.

 

 

10. Weighted Blankets Improve Cognitive Function

 

Taking a look at the overall therapeutic benefits of weighted blankets, we can see that it relieves stress, reduces tension, induces sleep, calms your mind and relaxes your body. These components are very important if you want to live a healthy and happy life.

 

Raised blood pressure, anxiety and lack of sleep are truly killers of productivity and normal behavior. Sleeping with the weighted blanket promotes the users overall well-being by ensuring that they tackle their daily issues with a clear head and a well-rested body.

 

With a clear mind, a person’s cognitive functions are improved. They are able to perform efficiently and effectively without being burdened by psychological issues and behavioral changes.

 

 

 

Weighted blankets can potentially solve sleep issues, panic attacks, anxiety related disorders, lack of concentration and even aggressive behavioral problems that affect the smooth proceedings of one’s daily life.

Successful results of the weighted blanket  can be had without the high costs of therapy sessions, drugs and sedatives that are traditionally used to pacify more tremulous patients. I recommend giving this effective and inexpensive blanket a try.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Use a Weighted Blanket

 

The blanket can be used at night, during naps, or used casually quick calming effect. Studies have used it for as little as 10 minutes and up to 2 hours, but it can stay on as long as you would like. It is the most beneficial to have your whole body covered, but do do not place the blanket on top of the head or face as it can create a suffocating sensation.

 

 

Choosing Your Weighted Blanket’s Weight

 

Use the formula 10% of your weight plus one pound. For example, a 160 lb person should  choose a 16 or 18 lb weighted blanket.

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

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Are Therapy Dolls and Fidget Blankets Good for Dementia Patients?

Are Therapy Dolls Good for Dementia Patients?

 

 

 

 

Therapeutic Baby Dolls for Alzheimer’s Patients

 

A helpful, non-drug way to calm and soothe seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia is to give them a soft, lifelike baby doll to cuddle. These therapy dolls can even be effective in calming older adults with severe agitation or other significant behavioral issues.

 

 

 

 

Why Use Therapy Dolls for Dementia?

 

Therapy dolls help seniors feel useful and needed and give them something positive to focus on. Similar to the effect of soft toys like stuffed animals, hugging something soft helps someone with dementia soothe themselves.

 

 

 

Another reason therapy dolls are helpful is that they bring back happy memories of early parenthood for both women and men.

 

 

 

Wonderful Video:  Baby Doll Interaction with Dementia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having a child to care for can also ease feelings of isolation and sadness. After all, most of us have seen or experienced the way that interacting with real babies can quickly lift spirits and calm nerves.

Many older adults will enjoy rocking and cuddling their doll. Some even adopt the baby as their own and make caring for it part of their daily routine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tips for introducing doll therapy to your senior

 

The best approach is to casually introduce the doll to your senior and let them decide if they like it or not.

 

 

 

If they have no interest in the doll, don’t make an issue out of it. They may change their minds in the future so you could always give it another try in a few weeks or months.

 

A few tips:

 

  • Don’t act like the doll is a doll, refer to it as a baby and treat it like a real child.
  • Get a lifelike doll, but one that doesn’t cry – that could be upsetting.
  • Don’t force it, allow your senior to get to know the doll slowly.

 

 

 

 

Try it out, see how your older adult responds, and be flexible.

 

 

 

Fidget Products for Alzheimer’s

 

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia may show anxiety or agitation through fidgety hands.

Signs include pulling or rubbing at clothes or bedding, rubbing hands together, twisting fingers, wringing hands, and generally keeping hands in motion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sensory therapy or fidget toys are an effective way to reduce anxiety, calm nerves, and provide comfort.

 

 

These are simple touch-based activities that help someone with Alzheimer’s keep hands busy in safe, soothing ways.

 

 

Make A Fidget Box or Basket

 

It’s also easy to make your own fidget box or basket. Pull out the box when your older adult needs something to do and throw everything back into the box when they’re done.

Get a container and fill it with some inexpensive odds and ends you can find in your house, make quickly, or buy at the dollar store.

Gather things in a variety of colors and textures, like:

 

  • Things with zippers or velcro closures

 

 

 

 

  • Brightly colored plastic springs (like a Slinky)
  • A row of buttons sewn firmly onto a ribbon
  • A piece of soft fleece or faux fur
  • Old keys on a key ring 

 

Some seniors are comforted by keeping a familiar item with them, like a purse or wallet. Try filling an old purse or wallet with a few dollars, coins, play money, or faux credit cards so your older adult can rummage through whenever they like.

 

 

 

Are Dolls and Fidget Blankets Controversial?

 

You may have heard from caregivers who say their older adults are much calmer and happier now that they have their own baby doll. They’re relieved to have found a non-drug solution that eases their senior’s dementia symptoms.

Some people, however, are concerned that giving their older adult a doll or a “toy” would be demeaning or patronizing. But when someone has dementia, helping them feel safe and happy in their current reality is the top priority. That’s why we sometimes need to consider unconventional approaches like baby dolls, fidget blankets, and other simple activities and toys.

 

Another Idea:  Coloring Books For Seniors

 

Boredom in older adults can cause problems, including difficult behavior and depression. And, seniors who have moved in with relatives or into assisted living are more likely to be bored because their lives have changed so much.

 

 

Coloring may sound like a simple activity to ward off boredom, but a great coloring book and a set of coloring pencils can actually improve health!

A research study found that adults 65 or older who engaged in creative activities had better overall health, made fewer visits to the doctor, used less medication, and had fewer health problems. Wow!

It’s also an excellent mood booster and de-stresser – making it a perfect activity for caregivers too!

 

 

 

 

 

Coloring is great activity for seniors to explore their artistic side. These fine art coloring books are lots of fun, even for people who don’t enjoy painting or free-hand drawing.

They’ll get the joy of creating a beautiful work of art with no artistic skills required!

I found some inexpensive, non-childish coloring books seniors will love, with subjects which will interest many older adults.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored pencils, crayons, or watercolor paint can be used on the high-quality paper. And don’t forget a good quality pencil sharpener!

The pages in adult coloring books are perforated so they’re easy to remove for display.

Also, the lines in the adult coloring books are gray, so they’ll basically disappear after the pictures are colored in, making it look even better.

Your senior will be proud to display their finished artwork.

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, the decision is entirely up to you since you know your older adult best.

 

If you think a therapy doll, a fidget blanket or activity, or coloring might help them feel better and enjoy life more, why not give it a try?

It’s an inexpensive “treatment” with no side effects.

No matter what the activity or toy, just remember that the goal is to engage your older adult in something fun and keep their hands happily occupied.

There’s no right or wrong way to do it and no specific goal to achieve – whatever feels good to them is perfect!

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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The Angry Dementia Patient

The Angry Dementia Patient

 

 

 

Seniors With Dementia are Easily Frustrated and Stressed

 

 

 

 

Sometimes it seems like seniors with Alzheimer’s or dementia get angry at the drop of a hat. What’s most likely happening is that they suddenly reach a breaking point because of frustrations that build up.  Here are some ways to make everyday life easier and less stressful for seniors with dementia.

 

 

Why Dementia Patients Get Angry

 

When someone has dementia, their ability to function well in the world declines.

Tasks that we consider simple, like brushing teeth, are actually quite complex. To a person with dementia, it can be difficult to remember all the steps and sequence them properly.

 

 

For example, these are the major steps they need to take to brush their teeth:

 

  1. Enter the correct bathroom (the one with their toothbrush)
  2. Find switch and turn on light
  3. Locate correct toothbrush (theirs)
  4. Locate toothpaste
  5. Take cap off toothpaste
  6. Put an appropriate amount of toothpaste on toothbrush
  7. Put toothbrush (with toothpaste still on) in mouth and gently brush every tooth surface
  8. Spit out toothpaste
  9. Rinse mouth thoroughly with water – spit, don’t swallow

 

Once we break it down, brushing our teeth is far less simple than we might think. And, someone with dementia may also have trouble with the smaller steps that make up many of these major steps.

 

 

When even the most basic parts of the day are so difficult and overwhelming, it’s easy for the frustration to build up. When they’re expected to do yet another “simple” thing, they may erupt in anger.

For example, when you’ve had an extremely stressful day, someone coming to you with even a simple request can cause you to lose your temper – it’s the last straw, right?

That’s often what’s happening to seniors with dementia. Because their world is becoming more confusing and difficult to navigate, it doesn’t take much for them to reach that “last straw” feeling and react with anger.

 

 

Taking Steps to Reduce Anger in Dementia Patients

 

 

Accept Their Limitations

Avoid pushing seniors with dementia beyond their limits by expecting them to do things they’ve been struggling with. They aren’t refusing to do things because they’re lazy or refuse to remember.

Their brains are failing and they’re losing the knowledge and abilities they need to accomplish those once-easy tasks. Accept where they are now and work with the skills they have today.

 

 

Reduce Complex Decisions

Making choices about every part of their day isn’t necessary, but there are some decisions your older adult may still want to make.

The goal isn’t to take away their right to choose, but to simplify so making choices is easier – too many options are confusing and overwhelming.

For example, when changing, lay out all the clothes they need, but offer a choice between two shirts – the red shirt or the blue shirt? That way, they are still participating in the process. But they won’t have to find and select all the other clothing items they need.

Similarly, for lunch you could offer a choice between two entrees you know they enjoy – a ham sandwich or split pea soup? That decision is much easier to deal with than a broad question like “What do you want for lunch?”

 

 

Slow Down

We’re used to moving at a “normal” pace, but that’s because our brains are fully functional and can quickly process information and thoughts.

When someone has dementia, those cognitive processes slow down significantly. That’s why your older adult needs more time when thinking, speaking, or taking action.

To reduce stress and allow them to feel successful, don’t rush them through daily life. Take the pressure off and let them move at their own pace – even if it seems really slow.

 

 

Keep the Environment Calm and Quiet

Being in a noisy, bustling environment can overwhelm the senses and make it hard to think, especially when someone has dementia.

Have you noticed that we all need calm and quiet when we’re trying to think? For example, if you’re driving to an unfamiliar location, you automatically turn down the radio so you can concentrate. And, most students seek out quiet places like libraries when they need to learn complex new concepts.

For someone with Alzheimer’s or dementia, everyday tasks have become difficult and require extra thought and concentration. When you add loud noise or lots of people, it’s natural for them to feel frustrated and stressed.

 

 

Treat Them With Respect

Everyone, no matter their age or abilities, wants to be treated with respect. Seniors with dementia are no different. Even if they struggle with decisions or everyday tasks, there are many ways to make things easier while still showing respect.

A good way to do this is to offer simplified choices, like with the red or blue shirt mentioned above. That way, you’re not giving orders and expecting them to follow. You’re helping your older adult make decisions in a way that suits their current abilities.

 

 

Rely on Routine

Routines reduce the amount of thinking and number of decisions that need to be made on a daily basis. We don’t have to remember what time to eat breakfast because we always eat around 9am, after getting up and brushing our teeth.

Routines are especially helpful for seniors with dementia because they reduce the number of things they need to remember or think about.

Having a steady, constant routine is comforting and far less stressful than if each day was unpredictable and they had to go hunting for their toothbrush every time they needed it. Putting objects in the same places and doing the same activities at the same time of day means they know where things are and what will be happening.

 

 

Speak Simply

Alzheimer’s and dementia affect the brain’s ability to process and retrieve information. Short, direct sentences with only one thought per sentence are easier for your senior to understand.

The goal is to give your older adult less to think about and less to remember. If you’re giving instructions, make it one step. If you’re sharing information, keep it to one thought.

Using fewer words and a warm and positive tone will be far less frustrating for your senior.

 

Recommended:

The Validation Breakthrough – Simple Techniques for Communicating with People with Alzheimer’s and Other Dementias

 

 

 

Avoid Fatigue

Getting overtired isn’t good for anyone’s mood, but it can put even more pressure on an already frazzled senior with dementia.

 

 

Just like you’re more likely to snap when you’re exhausted, someone with dementia is more likely to have an angry outburst when they’re fatigued.

 

 

 

 

 

Modify Tasks to Help Them be Successful

When a task is too difficult, it’s frustrating and stressful. The answer isn’t to have your older adult stop doing things for themselves. That will only make them feel worse. Instead, find ways to modify activities so they will be successful.

For example, if they’re having trouble cutting meat at dinner, consider serving more foods where the meat is already in smaller pieces or getting a specialized knife that’s easier to use (like this one).

Or, if your older adult struggles to zip their pants, consider switching to elastic waist athletic-style pants or specialized pants with velcro fastening in place of a zipper (like these). Another idea is to switch to easy, slip-on shoes if they have trouble tying their shoes.

 

For further information, see

 

Bathing is another good example. Similar to brushing teeth, there are many steps involved in taking a bath or shower. It’s much easier to be successful if you help by laying out a towel, comb, and fresh clothes. Then, turn on a heater in the bathroom and start the water running at a comfortable temperature. Now there are less steps for your older adult to manage and bathing will be easier.

 

 

Recommended: The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition

by Nancy L. Mace, M.A. and Peter V. Rabins, M.D., M.P.H.

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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New Spoon for Hand Tremors

New Spoon for Hand Tremors Makes Mealtime Easier

 

 

 

 

Picking up a utensil to feed one’s self is a luxury that people take for granted. For others with neurological conditions causing tremors, this basic activity can be a source of frustration and embarrassment.

 

 

 

 

GYENNO’s ‘Smart Spoon’ tries to eliminate that problem. It’s a stabilization utensil gadget that offsets 85 percent of unwanted tremors for users affected by diseases like Parkinson’s.

The spoon has been in production for almost a year, and was revealed at the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas in early January 2017.

 

 

 

 

While GYENNO’s product is still new to the North American consumer’s market, the technology has been employed in China for a while.

 

The utensil uses sophisticated stabilization control algorithms and motion learning technology to adjust to the user’s tremors, helping the person eat regularly.

 

This video is produced by the manufacturer, and demonstrates how the GYENNO Smart Spoon helps people with hand tremors eat independently:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Smart Spoon is similar to another stabilization utensil from Lift Labs called Liftware, a Google purchase back in 2014.

GYENNO holds a patent for their own spoon’s tech, which they’ve called the best on the market.

 

 

 

 

“The GYENNO uses special PID [proportional–integral–derivative controller] control technology and attitude stabilization technology to make a better performance, higher frequency response and more accurate position control,” said Dehuai Li, marketing officer at GYENNO, in an interview with Motherboard.

 

“That makes [the GYENNO Spoon] 85 percent tremor canceling while Liftware just 75 percent.”

 

 

 

The GYENNO Package Contains:

 

1 Spoon Head

1  Fork Head

1  Intelligent

Hand Shank

1 Power Cable (the fully-charged battery can run for 180 minutes).

 

 

 

The GYENNO Spoon already has hundreds of users who have raved about being able to feed themselves once again, Li said.

 

  • Read Amazon consumer reviews of the GYENNO Spoon.

 

“You want to feed yourself, you don’t want someone else to feed you,” he said. “It improves your confidence and dignity. Many of these diseases have no cure, so we want to improve the quality of life.”

 

Through its cloud-based data collection, GYENNO has created its Medical Chronic Disease Management program to provide physicians and scientists with valuable information and statistics on the progression of symptoms and the disease in general.

 

For example, GYENNO Medical synchs the real-time symptoms of hand movements recorded by the GYENNO Spoon to study how the hand movements and tremors are expressed (frequency and amplitude, speed, accelerated speed and rotation of hand tremor). GYENNO collects data from users to assist scientists and physicians with research on disease progression, utilizing data-mining technology to explore data characteristics to help with early Parkinson’s Disease screening.

 

 

This video discusses everything that comes in the GYENNO Smart Spoon box, and provides a brief review:

 

 

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Ideas for Keeping Your Dementia Patient Busy and Happy

 

Ideas for Keeping Your Dementia Patient Busy and Happy

 

 

 

 

Activities are crucial to well-being. In the past ten years, research has shown that activities play a large part in preventing the progression of dementia.

 

We also know that socializing prevents loneliness, despair and suicidal thoughts.

 

 

 

 

For several years I led recreational activities on weekends at a geri-psych hospital. The activities that took place on any particular weekend greatly depended on the patients in the unit at that time.

 

All of the patients there had dementia and behavior disorders that precluded their being able to remain at home until the behavior had been extinguished. Most patients were on the unit between three to four weeks, while the doctors changed their drugs or the dosages. Some were more alert; others were more physically functional. Some returned home; others returned to a nursing home or entered a long-term care facility for the first time after discharge.

 

There are many activities that are appropriate for people with dementia. The only guideline is to not degrade them by having them do children’s activities. Instead, show your respect by engaging them in pastimes that are similar to children’s activities but suitable for an adult, retaining whatever qualities that make the activity fun.

 

Here are some suggestions for caregivers who have a dementia patient at home.

 

 

Puzzles & Games

 

 

 

 

  • Easy, large print crosswords and word searches that use large type.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Jigsaw puzzles with very large pieces. The images shouldn’t be child-oriented; try scenery or pictures of animals instead. Floor puzzles are good because they typically have large pieces, and there aren’t too many, which can be discouraging. Work on these on a table so you don’t have to struggle getting off the floor!

 

 

 

 

 

  • Reminiscing, a board game which prompts memories of assorted events and fads from 1939 on.

 

 

Photo & Scrapbooking Activities

 

 

  • Sort photos by topic, subject, type or date. Mix them up after you finish so they can be sorted in a different way next time.
  • Assemble a photo collage. Pasting can be fun.
  • Make a scrapbook, pasting photos onto the pages and writing notes about the memory beside the photo. You can also use a photo album with plastic sleeves.

 

 

 

 

  • Label old family photos so you’ll have that information later on.
  • Reminisce about the focus of the photo.

 

       Honoring The Past Scrapbook Page Kit

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Activities

 

Read out loud or simply look through books and magazines that can lead to discussions.

Suggestions:

 

 

  • Old copies of Look or Life magazines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really like the Good Old Days books.  In Hometown Memories, your loved one can remember when hometowns were a great place to be a kid. 

 

Some people say, “You can’t go home again.” But you can! … You can wave to the iceman as you head off to the general store. You can go to the Saturday matinee, and then stop off at the drugstore for a soda.

 

 

Take a stroll down those sidewalks again, and relive those warm Hometown Memories from the Good Old Days.  

 

 

 

 

 

Reminiscing with Memory Books

 

You can find blank memory books in the baby section of a bookstore. These usually pose questions that will prompt discussion. Here are a few suggestions:

 

 

 

Activities Involving Humor

 

The Long, Long Trailer

 

  • Start a humor notebook or scrapbook.
  • Laugh over funny family memories (like the time Mom put frozen rolls on the Thanksgiving table).

 

The Abbott and Costello Show: Who's On First? by Entertainment One

 

 

Housework

 

  • Rake leaves.
  • Fold towels.
  • Clean windows.
  • Cut coupons.

 

 

Gardening Activities

 

  • Pull weeds.
  • Plant annuals in spring and bulbs in the fall.
  • Transplant small plants into larger pots. Have the patient paint pots ahead of time and use these for gifts.

 

 

Seasonal Decorating

 

  • String cranberries or popcorn.
  • Make door wreaths and window decorations.
  • Put up decorations and take them down.

 

 

Sorting & Organizing Activities

 

Sort or organize:

 

  • Nails, screws and other hardware.
  • Nail polish and lipsticks, sorting by color, brand or on a scale of 1–10, in order of preference.
  • Buttons, using muffin tins to sort by color, size or style.
  • Coins, according to date, value or place of origin.
  • The pantry, arranging cans and jars by size, brand or contents.
  • The silverware drawer, rearranging the order of the forks, spoons and knives.
  • Playing cards into decks that match, or into suits within a deck, or by numbers. Tupperware by size or color.
  • M&Ms, using muffin tins to sort them by color. Choose one color to eat!

 

 

Cooking & Activities in the Kitchen

 

  • Make salads, ice cream, Jell-O, pudding (try a hand mixer), no-bake cookies and pies, popcorn balls and other simple recipes
  • Wash fresh produce and put it into bags
  • Grind nuts to use for baking
  • Peel vegetables
  • Copy recipes from magazines onto cards 
  • Make a grocery list of items needed for recipes
  • Sort recipes and find pictures to illustrate them
  • Set the table
  • Fold or roll silverware into napkins
  • Assemble shish-kabobs with fruit or vegetables (use wooden ones with blunt ends)
  • Shell nuts or peas

 

 

The list above is not all-inclusive. Hopefully it will give you some ideas for getting started. Think about the kind of activities the patient has always enjoyed. Those are probably the best ones to start with. I’ll close with a few more ideas.

If the care recipient enjoys building things, try assembling model kits of airplanes or cars. A simpler activity could be making strings of paper clips, using different colors and sizes.

Patients who have an artistic side may enjoy painting or coloring in one of Dover’s many stained glass coloring books.

 

 

 

Musically inclined patients might enjoy singing along to patriotic songs, hymns and old favorites, or playing rhythm band instruments.

 

 

           Big Bands Music From the War Years

 

 

Did the patient used to enjoy sewing or mending? Offer some pants that need hemming or items of clothing that need buttons sewn on. Remember: people with dementia can still derive enjoyment from activities they have always enjoyed. Give it a try!

 

 

Based on an article by Kay Paggi

 

 

Please help our readers by sharing your experience with and suggestions for activities for those with dementia.

 

 

 

 

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Are Therapy Dolls and Fidget Blankets Good for Dementia Patients?

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review of “Our Dementia Diary”

 

Book Review of

“Our Dementia Diary”

 

 

 

Rachael and Irene were supposed to live a long and happy life, retire and travel the world. But a thief called Alzheimer’s visited in 2004 and began tearing apart the lives they had carefully built for a quarter century.

This is a remarkably honest story of the enduring love between two people coping with uncertainty and the eventual loneliness of losing a spouse.

The author, Rachael Dixey, professor at Leeds Beckett University copes by keeping a journal—a way to release her feelings. She ties these entries with “interpolations” to make sense of it all. She wonders if a more appropriate title might be Fifty Shades of Dementia.

 

 

Dixey manages to find strength amidst the tears to take care of herself and find the humor. She hires in-home caregivers for Irene while she works (for sanity). When Irene is hospitalized and then placed in a care home, she visits almost every day and soon realizes the toll it takes when Irene recognizes her and says, “I love you” and the next day, forgets and walks past her in the corridor.

During the nine-years, from Irene’s diagnosis to her passing, Rachael writes of the full range of emotions—from the love she and Irene shared to missing Irene, feeling lonely as a singleton, dating (nothing lasts but gives her strength to be stronger for Irene), and even contemplating Irene’s death. Through it all, she visits Irene regularly, cares for her, feeds her, and feels Irene in every room of their house.

She recounts with humor the folly of dealing with social services. Irene attends adult day services in a county that only covers healthcare and receives healthcare in a county that covers social services such as adult day care. After almost a year, they work it out where she feels assured of not losing their home. Meanwhile, she takes time off periodically. The time away gives her greater appreciation for what she and Irene had despite some funny (in hindsight) foibles during her travels.

She recounts the good times they had going on “epic walks,” camping, exploring the mountains, trees, and sunsets. She misses those quiet mornings together. She struggles to remember the bad unusual behaviors for five years before Irene’s diagnosis at age 57. Home movies help her see the beginnings of Irene’s inexplicable behaviors. She’s able to piece together those embarrassing outbursts when Irene would storm out of restaurants after finding something wrong with her meal. She recalls the desperate cries at home when Irene couldn’t find a piece of clothing she had worn for several days in a row (likely because Rachael removed it for washing). And yet, Irene’s heart-wrenching cry early on returns to her from time to time, “I don’t know who I am anymore. Please help me.”

Written by an author based in the UK gives us Americans a refreshing expression of care between partners. Her writing is characterized as informed humility. We gain greater awareness and knowledge of what it’s like to live with Alzheimer’s while feeling the angst and pain of losing her soulmate. Written by one of a gay couple gives us an endearing portrait of how love among LGBTs is no different than love among (dare I say, traditional?) male-female partners. Oftentimes, because of ongoing discrimination, the bond of their love seems stronger.

I’m glad she chose to write, Our Dementia Diary – Irene, Alzheimer’s and Me and that her and Irene’s story is being shared. The LGBT caregiver’s voice is one that needs to be heard.

 

Based on a review by Brenda Avadian, MA,  who serves as President of The Caregiver’s Voice.

 

 

More information from Amazon:

 

This is a love story from start to finish, Irene and Rachael’s. Based on the diaries of Rachael Dixey who looked after her civil partner Irene after she developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the book opens with the lines: Irene, Alzheimer’s and me – Alzheimer’s came between us. It does that, drives you and the love of your life apart, going your separate ways because you cannot follow.

That’s the story really, that’s it. The end. But it is also the beginning of the story, which shows how life can still be lived despite losing a life partner to dementia, and how to cope emotionally and practically with a disease that robs you of your loved one a thousand times before they die.

 

 

The story charts the daily decline and inexorable loss of Irene to dementia. With the dramatic deterioration in Irene’s health Rachael turns from lover and soul mate to career and, finally, single woman. Eventually, no longer able to cope with Irene at home, she makes the agonizing decision to allow Irene to be put in a care home. There she spent her last six years. When she died aged 66, the couple had spent half their life together.

This book is a powerful and moving account of the progression of dementia, and raises serious questions about how our society cares for those who develop the disease, especially at a young age and in the gay, lesbian community. It also deals with loss and grief, during the illness and afterwards. Their memoir will be invaluable for anyone affected by dementia, those working in mental health and those caring for a loved one with a life-changing and incurable illness.

Our Dementia Diary tells with brutal honesty of love, loss and life with Alzheimer’s and opens up discussion of how dementia can be handled better.

 

 

 

Also Recommended:

The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss

This best seller is the definitive guide for people caring for someone with dementia. Now in a new and updated edition, this best-selling book features thoroughly revised chapters on the causes of dementia, managing the early stages of dementia, the prevention of dementia, and finding appropriate living arrangements for the person who has dementia when home care is no longer an option.

 

 

 

The author, Nancy L. Mace, M.A., is currently teaching dementia care internationally. She has been a consultant to the Office of Technology Assessment, U.S. Congress, and to the Alzheimer’s Association, and she was an assistant in psychiatry and coordinator of the T. Rowe and Eleanor Price Teaching Service at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Book Review of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

A Hospice Reflection

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

Avoid or Slow Dementia By Building Cognitive Reserve

The MIND Diet for Fighting Dementia

First Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, Elevated Cortisol and Your Genes

The #1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

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Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

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FBI Warning: Seniors Getting Scammed!

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

My Review of LifeStation Medical Alert System

Jitterbug Touch3 Smartphone Review

Dealing With Caregiver Anxiety

Managing Dementia Related Incontinence

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

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Managing Dementia Related Incontinence

 

Managing Dementia Related Incontinence

 

Dementia is a devastating disease that affects approximately 24 million people worldwide; its most common form, Alzheimer’s disease, affects more than 4.5 million people in the U.S. according to the Alzheimer’s Association. The disease slowly robs individuals of their memory, cognitive functioning, and eventually renders the person almost completely dependent upon others for their daily care. Though the causes are not completely understood, caregivers feel the strain of the disease daily as they help those affected with dementia to navigate the simplest of tasks such as getting dressed or eating meals.

 

 

 

Urinary and fecal incontinence can also be present in those who are affected with dementia. Though this loss in bodily functioning may be inevitable, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing to the patient and the caregiver.

 

 

Incontinence can be caused by a variety of issues, and it may help to understand some of those causes to help the household cope with it.

The National Association for Continence (nafc.org) relates that most people wait an average of seven years before seeking treatment. This delay in seeking help often exacerbates an already stressful situation for both patients and caregivers.

In its simplest form, urinary incontinence is when someone does not have complete control over when he or she urinates. It may appear due to several reasons, and to make certain which one it is, the patient should be examined by a physician as soon as possible.

 

Stress Incontinence

Women who have had a baby or two may understand this type of incontinence the best. A forceful sneeze or cough may cause urine leakage since the muscles in the pelvic region can be loosened by childbirth. Normally Kegel exercises (tightening and releasing the pelvic muscles several times per day) can provide some strengthening, although it may not work for all women.

 

Urge Incontinence 

The urge to urinate may develop suddenly, resulting in urine leakage. Many people who have this type of incontinence are not given ample warning to get to the bathroom in time before leakage occurs. It is fairly common in the elderly, although it can be a sign of a bladder or kidney infection. If an infection is causing the incontinence, antibiotics can generally clear up the condition within a short period of time.

 

Overflow Incontinence

This type of incontinence is more common in men than women and results from an overfull bladder that does not empty effectively. It results in urine leaking on almost a continual basis. A blockage in the urinary tract system is generally the cause, like an enlarged prostate or other obstruction. A physical exam is a must for this type of incontinence in order to accurately diagnose and treat the condition.

 

Functional Incontinence 

In this type of incontinence loss of bladder control is caused by other conditions. For example, the person who is arthritic and does not move well may develop incontinence due to their inability to get to the bathroom in time. As dementia develops over time, this type of incontinence may be more prevalent and possibly more frustrating to treat since the cause is a symptom of the underlying disease and not easily attributed to an infection or other issue.

 

Bowel Incontinence

This type of incontinence causes a great deal of distress for many persons with dementia and their caregivers. Bowel incontinence can be partial when only a small amount of liquid waste leaks before toileting. Complete incontinence results when the person is unable to control any aspect of the bowel movement.

 

 

 

Dementia Related Incontinence

 

A person with dementia is more likely to have accidents, problems with the toilet or incontinence than a person of the same age who doesn’t have dementia.

 

 

 

 

 

The reasons for this can include:

 

  • not being able to react quickly enough to the sensation of needing to use the toilet
  • failing to get to the toilet in time – for example, because of mobility problems
  • not being able to tell someone that they need to go to the toilet because of problems communicating
  • not being able to find, recognize, or use the toilet. If someone becomes confused about their surroundings, they may urinate in an inappropriate place (such as a wastepaper basket) because they have mistaken it for a toilet
  • not understanding a prompt from someone to use the toilet
  • not being able to, or forgetting how to, perform the activities of using the toilet, such as undoing clothing and personal hygiene
  • not letting others help with going to the toilet, perhaps due to embarrassment or not understanding an offer of help
  • not making any attempt to find the toilet – this could be due to depression or lack of motivation, or because the person is distracted
  • embarrassment after an accident, which the person unsuccessfully tries to deal with. This may lead to wet or soiled clothes or feces being put out of sight. For example, they may be wrapped up and put at the back of a drawer to be dealt with later, only to be forgotten about.

 

For some people, incontinence develops because messages between the brain and the bladder or bowel don’t work properly. This may mean people don’t recognize that they have a full bladder or bowel, or have the control needed to empty them. However, this is not a common cause of toilet problems and incontinence in people with dementia. It usually only occurs when the person’s dementia is more advanced.

 

 

http://mychaoticbliss.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/ID-100240967.jpg

 

Things to Try

 

If you can find a reason for the accidents, it becomes easier to find an approach that will help prevent them in the future. If, despite your best efforts, you are not able to determine a specific reason, try the following strategies:

 

 

 

 

Toilet Decal – Comes With Glow-in-the-Dark Switchplate Decal)

 

Around the house

 

  • Make the toilet easy to find. Clearly mark the path on walls and/or floors; ensure that there are no obstacles; label bathroom doors with words or pictures or both. Use nightlights in dark areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Colored masking tape around the perimeter of a toilet or colored water may prevent accidental misses due to perceptual or visual losses.
  • See if the mirrors in the bathroom are a problem: she may feel like someone else is in the room.
  • Remove any obstacles in the way in the bathroom, for example, plants or wastepaper baskets, so he can get straight to the toilet.
  • Leave the door open to the bathroom when not in use.

 

 

What the caregiver can do

 

  • Watch for visible cues that the person needs to use the bathroom. For example, the person may get restless, make unusual sounds or faces, or pace around the room.
  • Give her simple instructions.
  • Give reminders to go to the toilet regularly, e.g., every two hours, in the morning upon getting out of bed, at bedtime or before going out.
  • Choose easy-to-remove clothing, such as Velcro closings or elastic waists.
  • Direct him to the front of the toilet before removing clothes.
  • For men, try putting a decal inside the toilet bowl to have something to “aim at.”
  • Give a cue to get started, such as running water or certain words. Try to ensure that the bladder is completely emptied.
  • Leave her alone if she prefers, but stay nearby. You can tell her that you are “just outside the door if she needs anything.”
  • If staying seated is a problem, distract him with favorite items to look at or hold.
  • If incontinence during the night is a problem, make sure she doesn’t drink too much just before going to bed. But do not withhold fluids during the day.
  • Make sure he uses the toilet before going to bed.

 

 

For safety’s sake

 

If Accidents Continue

Once you’ve determined that there are no medical or medication problems causing the accidents, some of the above ideas might keep her dry and clean. If accidents continue to occur, products such as disposable underwear, incontinence pads, panty liners (for women) or protective bedding might be helpful. These may be useful at certain times or in specific situations. Use them only if necessary. Even when wearing pads, take him to the bathroom on a regular basis.

 

 

Hygiene

Incontinence can lead to skin irritation and make him feel uncomfortable. If clothing becomes wet or soiled, help him to change right away, wash with mild soap and warm water and dry afterward. Then provide dry clothes.

 

Day to Day

In the event of an accident, it is important not to get angry or draw attention to what has happened. This can cause embarrassment or more upset. Cleaning up after a parent or spouse is not pleasant.

 

Remember that accidents are caused by the disease; they are not his fault. He may be as distressed as you. Try to maintain his dignity with encouragement. Remain calm. It is important to remember that you are doing the best you can.

 

 

Seeking Treatment

 

In order to understand why someone has developed incontinence, a medical exam is definitely in order. Since there may be special complications due to dementia, it is best to start with the patient’s primary physician since he or she is most familiar with the patient and their health history. He may order a visit to a urologist, a specialist in urinary conditions for men and women. It is important to remember, however, that a urologist is a surgeon and may not focus on non-surgical solutions, like the ones that will be discussed later.

 

When visiting the doctor, bring a description of how incontinence is affecting the patient’s life, including an overview of their daily routine. Some doctors recommend keeping a continence diary to provide a four or five day “snapshot” of what is happening at home. Be prepared to answer questions like the ones suggested by the National Association for Continence.

 

The questions below are only a few from their suggestions.

 

  • How much water does the patient drink every day?
  • What foods is the patient eating?
  • Does the patient have any control over urination?
  • Is the problem better or worse during the daytime or at night?
  • Is it linked to a physical condition (inability to move quickly, for example)?
  • When did the incontinence first appear?
  • Is the patient upset by their incontinence?
  • How many episodes does the patient have and in what time period?
  • Does the patient understand the signal or urge to urinate or are they unaware of the need?
  • Is there a burning or painful sensation when the patient needs to urinate?

 

 

Treatment Options

 

If the incontinence is due to an underlying medical condition, such as a urinary tract infection or a bowel obstruction, treatment can range from antibiotics to surgical intervention. The decision, of course, will be based on the severity of the condition and the best course of action for the patient. It is important to remember that incontinence is not a disease, but rather a symptom of an underlying issue that has developed with the patient.

 

If a medical condition is readily ruled out, the doctor may move on to other options like medications that treat the bladder’s urge to urinate or the frequency with which the bladder sends the “alarm” to the body that urination is about to occur. These medications are generally anticholinergics and have the effect of reducing frequent urges to urinate when the patient is unable to make it to a toilet fast enough. These urges may be made worse by the dementia since the signal that urination is about to occur may be misunderstood or misinterpreted by the patient.

 

Recently, however, researchers with the Wake Forest University School of Medicine uncovered a serious problem with older anticholinergic medications and medicines that are used to lessen the mental decline in cognitive functioning in some dementia patients. In many patients, the anticholinergic medications that treat incontinence interfere or counteract the medications that are also treating dementia. In other words, patients with dementia may experience a more rapid decline in mental functioning while taking anticholinergic medications. For these patients, treating the incontinence with medication is worse than finding alternative solutions for working with the issue. There are newer anticholinergic medications that were developed since the study’s original test results in 2003 and 2004 which may or may not have this effect. This is perhaps the best reason to discuss any medications that a dementia patient takes with their primary doctor before starting a new treatment course.

 

There are other non-medication or surgical methods that can be used to treat incontinence at home. Adaptive clothing may be able to help if functional incontinence is an issue.

 

Replacing hard-to-manipulate buttons and snaps with Velcro and zippers may be a quick fix if it appears that the patient is aware of the incontinence and wants to correct it without too much intervention on the part of the caregiver. This approach gives the patient more control over their environment and encourages independence. It also affords the patient the most privacy which is often a serious source of angst for many patients.

 

There are also incontinence products for all ages and sizes that may be helpful, although the patient may have difficulty understanding their use and disposal. Communicating the need for these products may be a challenge, and the caregiver may need to explain their use more than one time in order for the patient to understand.

 

Other methods may be home modifications or adding a portable toilet chair (commode) to the room(s) where the patient spends most of his or her time.

 

This method is relatively easy to implement, although it may need some additional explanation since patients with dementia wonder why the caregiver is altering the living situation or the layout of a particular room. Any approach that changes the daily routine of a dementia patient drastically should be undertaken thoughtfully and with as much input from the patient as possible.

 

 

The doctor may also recommend changes in diet, both fluid and foods, that can help treat incontinence. If bowel movements are not regular or consistent, then changing foods in the diet may make a significant improvement within a relatively short period of time. The patient may or may not resist such changes, especially if he or she has developed a resistance or affinity to particular foods due to dementia. It is important to discuss dietary changes with a physician or dietician so the patient is still eating balanced meals and snacks. Fluid intake should also be closely monitored.

Caregivers of dementia patients should understand that incontinence may be an inevitable part of the overall cognitive decline. As a person loses awareness of their surroundings, lifestyle, and loved ones, it is not surprising that loss of bodily functioning will also occur. It may be a tremendous source of frustration for both the caregiver and the patient.

Communicating the incontinence issues early with the patient’s healthcare team can help reduce some of the frustration that the household may have with the issue. Even though it can be an uncomfortable subject, it is important that the full needs of the patient be addressed. The sooner incontinence is addressed, the quicker the patient and the caregiver can begin to work with options that may reduce the frustration or embarrassment that is involved.

 

If you are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s Disease, there are two terrific books available on Amazon which I think you’ll find extremely helpful:  Surviving Alzheimer’s by Paula Spencer Scott and The 36-Hour Day by Nancy Mace and Peter Rabins.

 

Surviving Alzheimer's: Practical tips and soul-saving wisdom for caregivers by [Scott, Paula Spencer]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Caregiver’s Guide to Coping With Incontinence

How To Buy Adult Diapers

Top Adult Diaper Products Reviewed

Incontinence Protection Products for Home, Car and Bed

How to Buy an Elevated Toilet Seat

Your Guide to Shower Chairs and Bath Benches

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About Me

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Melatonin Helps Sundowning and Other Sleep Disorders

 

 

Melatonin Helps Sundowning and Other Sleep Disorders

 

 

For many elderly people who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, sunset can be a time of increased memory loss, confusion, agitation and even anger. 

 

Sundowning is a dementia-related symptom that refers to increased agitation, confusion and hyperactivity that begins in the late afternoon and builds throughout the evening.

 

For family members who care for those with dementia, witnessing an increase in their loved one’s symptoms of disorientation at sunset can be nothing short of troubling, if not also painful, frightening and exhausting.

 

 

 

Scientists don’t completely understand why sleep disturbances occur with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. As with changes in memory and behavior, sleep changes somehow result from the impact of Alzheimer’s on the brain.

 

Some studies indicate as many as 20 percent of persons with Alzheimer’s will experience increased confusion, anxiety and agitation beginning late in the day. Others may experience changes in their sleep schedule and restlessness during the night. This disruption in the body’s sleep-wake cycle can lead to more behavioral problems.

 

 

Factors that may contribute to sundowning and sleep disturbances include:

 

  • End-of-day exhaustion (both mental and physical)
  • An upset in the “internal body clock,” causing a biological mix-up between day and night
  • Reduced lighting and increased shadows causing people with Alzheimer’s to misinterpret what they see, and become confused and afraid
  • Reactions to nonverbal cues of frustration from caregivers who are exhausted from their day
  • Disorientation due to the inability to separate dreams from reality when sleeping
  • Less need for sleep, which is common among older adults

 

 

 

Circadian Rhythms and the Biological Clock

 

Although most people tend to think that manifestations of body function such as temperature and blood pressure are constant throughout the day, the fact is that many functions change in cyclic patterns—especially those that are affected by hormones, such as cortisol.

These daily fluctuations, or circadian rhythms (from Latin: “about one day”), are fundamental to all organisms, from bacteria to human beings. Circadian rhythms help coordinate and synchronize our internal body functions, as well as our interactions with the external world.

 

 

 

Scientists are still learning about how the body maintains this synchronicity with its environment. Here is some of what they’ve found.

 

 

 

Deep within the brain, in the anterior hypothalamus, lies the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), a dual cluster of thousands of nerve cells. This is the body’s circadian pacemaker, popularly known as the biological clock, which is powered, in a sense, by light.

 

 

 

The SCN receives signals from the outside world via the retina of the eye (the back inside lining of the eyeball, analogous to the film in a camera). When light strikes the retina, bioelectric signals are generated and sent to the SCN via a neural pathway called the retinohypothalamic tract. Signals are also sent, of course (via the optic nerve), to the visual cortex, where the sensation of vision is produced.

 

 

 

Melatonin—The Biological Clock’s Hour Hand

 

The signals that reach the SCN are processed and forwarded to a small number of other hypothalamic nuclei and to the destination of primary importance, the pineal gland. This is an endocrine gland whose pea size proves that, at least in terms of physiological importance, size doesn’t matter. What makes the pineal gland so important is the hormone it secretes: melatonin. This compound is the end product of a biosynthetic pathway that begins with the nutrient amino acid tryptophan.

Through a series of enzyme-catalyzed reactions, tryptophan is partially converted to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is partially converted to serotonin, which is partially converted to melatonin. (How “partial” each of these conversions is depends on many factors governed by prevailing chemical conditions in different parts of the body.)

 

 

 

Lights Out = Melatonin On

 

The relationship between light and melatonin is inverse. When the SCN is stimulated by daylight signals from the retina, it instructs the pineal gland to suppress melatonin production (though not entirely). Then, when daylight fades in the evening, the SCN’s lack of stimulation is signaled to the pineal gland, and melatonin secretion is increased many times over, creating a physiological condition of “biological night” in the person.

The circadian rhythm of melatonin secretion is so tied to the day/night cycle that the daily duration of the secretion (at high levels) is shorter during the summer, when the nights are short, and longer during the winter, when the nights are long.

By directly controlling the pineal gland’s melatonin secretion, the SCN indirectly controls many of the body’s circadian rhythms, including those affected by jet lag. Consequently, many physicians recommend supplemental melatonin for relieving the symptoms of this condition.

Studies have shown that melatonin is effective in phase-shifting human circadian rhythms either forward or backward, giving long-distance travelers welcome relief from both the physical and psychological effects of jet lag.

 

 

Melatonin Is Good for Insomnia

 

Melatonin has also been used successfully for treating insomnia. In a newly published meta-analysis on the effects of supplemental melatonin on sleep, the authors analyzed the data from 17 previously published studies and concluded that melatonin can significantly decrease sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and increase sleep efficiency and sleep duration.1

The fact that melatonin can be used for treating insomnia is especially relevant to the elderly. As people grow older, sleep problems, including difficulty in falling asleep and staying asleep, become common. This is probably because a general disruption of circadian rhythms associated with declining melatonin production is characteristic of the aging process.

With melatonin levels declining as we age, it makes sense to think that melatonin supplements (taken in the evening, of course) may be able to help us achieve a good night’s sleep.

 

 

Melatonin Deficiency May Cause Sundowning

 

There is evidence that melatonin may also be able to help relieve some of the symptoms of an emerging twenty-first-century epidemic: Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

First described clinically in 1906, AD is the most common cause of dementia in those aged 65 or older. With the rapidly aging population in the United States (it’s estimated that 30% of the population will be 65 or older by the year 2050), projections are that 14 million people will develop this devastating disease during the next four decades.2,3

 

https://www.senioradvisor.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/What-is-Sundowning-350x350.png

You may notice big changes in how your loved one with Alzheimer’s act in the late afternoon or early evening.  Fading light seems to be the trigger. The symptoms can get worse as the night goes on and usually get better by morning.

Disruption of the sleep/wake cycle is highly characteristic of AD, and a commonly observed problem in AD patients is a phenomenon called sundowning. This is a worsening (during the evening hours) of a constellation of cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with the disease.

 

 

When someone is sundowning, they may be:

  • Agitated (upset or anxious)
  • Restless
  • Irritable
  • Confused
  • Disoriented
  • Demanding
  • Suspicious

 

 

They also may:

  • Yell
  • Pace
  • Hear or see things that aren’t there
  • Have mood swings

 

 

Up to 1 out of 5 people with Alzheimer’s get sundown syndrome. But it can also happen to older people who don’t have dementia.

Although there is no clear answer as to why this occurs, many researchers are coming to believe that declining melatonin levels may play a significant role.

 

 

 

A study in Current Neuropharmacology shows that Melatonin secretion decreases in Alzheimer´s disease (AD) and this decrease has been postulated as responsible for the circadian disorganization, decrease in sleep efficiency and impaired cognitive function seen in those patients.

Studies also show that Alzheimer’s patients with disturbed sleep-wake rhythms not only exhibited reduced amounts of melatonin secreted, but also a higher degree of irregularities in the pattern of the melatonin rhythm. 

 

 

According to scientific research, melatonin replacement has been shown effective to treat sundowning and other sleep wake disorders in AD patients.  Numerous controlled trials found improvement in such objective characteristics of sleep quality as total sleep time, sleep efficiency, and wake time during sleep as a result of melatonin treatment, as well as a trend toward decreased sundowning and improved sleep quality.  Several recent studies which reflect use of melatonin specifically in patients with dementia, demonstrated that melatonin reduces sundowning behavior, nocturnal activity, decreases sleep latency, and improves quality of sleep.

 

 

 

Melatonin May Help Alleviate Alzheimer’s Disease

 

A recent review by scientists at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research in Amsterdam explains that declining melatonin production in the aged can not only affect their circadian rhythms but also play a role in the development and characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease itself.4

The authors cite research showing that aging is characterized by a progressive deterioration of circadian rhythms, due at least in part to degenerative changes in the SCN and the pineal gland, which result in diminished melatonin production.

They go on to cite studies showing that, in AD patients, the biological clock (SCN) is severely impaired, and the resultant degree of impairment of melatonin secretion is related to the severity of the mental impairment caused by the disease.

They state, “AD patients with disturbed sleep-wake cycle possess melatonin secretion rhythm disorders, and the disappearance of daily melatonin rhythm in AD patients is consistent with clinical circadian rhythm disorders, such as delirium, agitation, and sleep-wake disturbance.”

While it’s common in mainstream medical practice to use sedatives such as benzodiazepines, and antipsychotics such as haloperidol, to try to ameliorate the sundowning and sleep disturbances so commonly seen in Alzheimer’s patients, these drugs do little or nothing to help, and in some cases they may even exacerbate the problems.

This makes the use of melatonin supplementation seem all the more attractive by comparison, especially since it’s designed to rectify the very deficiency that caused the problem in the first place. The Dutch authors go on to state,

 

In AD patients, melatonin [supplementation] has been suggested to improve circadian rhythmicity, decreasing agitated behavior, confusion, and ‘sundowning’ in uncontrolled studies. Melatonin has also been suggested to have beneficial effects on memory in AD, possibly through protection against oxidative stress and neuroprotective capabilities.

 

 

Melatonin Is an Antioxidant and Neuroprotector

 

Oxidative damage to the brain caused by free radicals is thought to play a significant role in the cognitive impairments characteristic of Alzheimer’s, a disease in which free radicals are produced in much greater amounts then normal. These excess free radicals are known to cause significant damage to the brain, including the actual death of many neurons.

A review paper in 2000 reported that, in the autopsied brains of Alzheimer’s patients, there were many hallmark pathological changes caused by free radical activity, including oxidative damage to DNA, proteins, and lipids.5

Melatonin has significant antioxidant and neuroprotective properties, and it is believed that they may be important with regard to its role in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. It is intriguing to note that the precursor molecule 5-HTP (which can be taken as a supplement for the purpose of boosting serotonin levels) has recently been found to have a much higher antioxidant activity than melatonin.6

 

If your loved one experiences sundowning, it’s certainly worth trying a nightly dose of melatonin to see if it helps re-set their body clock. 

 

Experts also suggest these lifestyle tips to help minimize sundowning behaviors:

  • Try to maintain a predictable routine for bedtime, waking, meals and activities.
  • Plan for activities and exposure to light during the day to encourage nighttime sleepiness.
  • Limit daytime napping.
  • Limit caffeine and sugar to morning hours.
  • In the evening, try to reduce background noise and stimulating activities, including TV viewing, which can sometimes be upsetting.
  • In a strange or unfamiliar setting, bring familiar items — such as photographs — to create a more relaxed, familiar setting.
  • Play familiar gentle music in the evening or relaxing sounds of nature, such as the sound of waves.
  • Talk with your loved one’s doctor if you suspect an underlying condition, such as a urinary tract infection or sleep apnea, might be worsening sundowning behavior.

 

When sundowning occurs in a care facility, it may be related to the flurry of activity during staff shift changes or the lack of structured activities in the late afternoon and evening. Staff arriving and leaving may cue some people with Alzheimer’s to want to go home or to check on their children — or other behaviors that were appropriate in the late afternoon in their past. It may help to occupy their time with another activity during that period.

 

Do you have any tips to help sundowning?  Please share your thoughts and experience below.

 

References

  1. Brzezinski A, Vangel MG, Wurtman RJ, et al. Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: a meta-analysis. Sleep Med Rev 2005;9(1):41-50.
  2. Grundman M, Thal L. Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurol Clin 2000;18(4):807-28.
  3. Mayeux R, Sang M. Treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. New Engl J Med 1999;341:1670-9.
  4. Wu YH, Swaab DF. The human pineal gland and melatonin in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. J Pineal Res 2004 Dec 21 (online pub date).
  5. Christen Y. Oxidative stress and Alzheimer’s disease. Am J Clin Nutr 2000;71(2):621-9.
  6. Keithahn C, Lerchi A. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is a more potent in vitro hydroxyl radical scavenger than melatonin or vitamin C. J Pineal Res 2005;38:62-6.

 

 

 

Recommended: The 36-Hour Day, 5th Edition

Originally published in 1981, The 36-Hour Day was the first book of its kind. Thirty years later, with dozens of other books on the market, it remains the definitive guide for people caring for someone with dementia.

Now in a new and updated edition, this best-selling book features thoroughly revised chapters on the causes of dementia, managing the early stages of dementia, the prevention of dementia, and finding appropriate living arrangements for the person who has dementia when home care is no longer an option.

 

 

 

 

Recommended: Surviving Alzheimer’s

Practical tips and soul-saving wisdom for caregivers

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Avoid or Slow Dementia By Building Cognitive Reserve

The MIND Diet for Fighting Dementia

First Signs of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s, Elevated Cortisol and Your Genes

The #1 Alzheimer’s Care Tip

Preserving Alzheimer’s Patients’ Dignity

Stop Alzheimer’s Wandering

Amazon Echo Great Help for Dementia Patients

Caregivers Can Help With Aphasia

Dementia-Proof Cooking with Fire Avert

Should You Get a Medical Alert System?

The Right Lighting Prevents Falls

Practical Shoes for the Elderly

Jitterbug Touch3 Smartphone Review

Help for Low Vision

Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

Blue Emu and Australian Dream – Which One is Better?

Easy Home First Aid Kit

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Review

Convincing Your Parents to Transition to Assisted Living

Preparing For Your Elderly Parent to Move In

About Me

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Dementia Toileting Tips For Caregivers

Dementia Toileting Tips For Caregivers

 

 

 

Someone with dementia is more likely to have accidents, problems with the toilet or incontinence than a person of the same age without dementia.

There are many reasons.

 

 

Causes of accidents and problems can include:

 

  • not being able to react quickly enough to the sensation of needing to use the toilet
  • failure to get to the toilet in time, sometimes due to mobility problems caused by other conditions such as arthritis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures & Words Communication Flip-Chart for stroke, ALS, dementia, Alzheimer’s, expressive aphasia, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, speech impaired talking disability patients at home/hospital

 

 

  • inability to find, recognize, or use the toilet; if someone becomes confused about their surroundings, they may urinate in an inappropriate place (such as a wastepaper basket) because they have mistaken it for a toilet
  • not understanding a prompt from someone to use the toilet
  • not managing the personal activities of toileting, such as undoing clothing and personal hygiene
  • not letting others help with toileting – perhaps because of embarrassment or not understanding the offer of help
  • not making any attempt to find the toilet – this could be due to lack of motivation or depression, or because the person is distracted
  • embarrassment after an accident, which the person unsuccessfully tries to deal with. Wet or soiled clothes or feces may be put out of sight (for example, wrapped up and put at the back of a drawer) to be dealt with later, but then forgotten.
  • In some people incontinence develops because the nerve pathways that tell the brain that the bladder or bowel is full, and also control emptying, are damaged. However, this is an uncommon cause of toilet problems and incontinence in people with dementia. It typically occurs only when dementia is more advanced.

 

 

Tips for Caregivers: The Importance of a Healthy Bladder and Bowels

 

Keeping the urinary tract and bowels healthy is a good first step to preventing toilet problems and incontinence.

 

It can be helpful if caregivers can work with the person with dementia to ensure the following:

 

  • The person should drink six to eight glasses of fluids each day – more if they have hard stools. Cutting down fluids or not drinking them for long periods of time (for example to avoid the need to urinate at night) can cause urinary tract infections and constipation.

 

  • They should eat a balanced diet with at least five daily portions of fruit and vegetables, and enough fiber to ensure a regular bowel movement.

 

  • The person should keep as mobile as they can. If they are able, walking every day helps with bowel movements.

 

  • Ensure a regular time, and allow enough time on the toilet, to empty bowels. There are biological reasons why trying to go a few minutes after a meal works – many people favor going after breakfast.

 

  • If a health professional has suggested the person might have an overactive bladder, they will also advise replacing drinks which irritate the bladder (eg tea, coffee, cola or alcohol) with water, herbal teas, squash and fruit drinks.

 

  • Women with mild dementia and urinary stress incontinence sometimes learn pelvic floor exercises, with the support of specialist continence nurses or physiotherapists. These exercises can cure stress incontinence caused by weakness of the pelvic floor muscles due to childbirth or aging.

 

 

Constipation

 

Equate - Fiber Powder, Clear Soluble, 125 Servings, 16.7 oz (Compare to Benefiber)

Laxatives are widely available over the counter for people with constipation. However, they should not be used for long without seeking advice from a GP or pharmacist, as the symptoms may mask another condition. 

 

Suggestion:  Equate Fiber Powder – Clear, Soluble (this product isn’t fancy, but it’s effective and gentle, as well as inexpensive).

 

If constipation is the cause of fecal incontinence, caregivers can learn to massage the person’s abdomen to relieve the blockage. Specialist continence nurses can train carers in this technique, though it requires co-operation and is not to everyone’s liking.

 

 

 

Tips for Caregivers: Helping to Reduce Accidents

 

 

Help with using the toilet at home

 

The following ideas may help someone to find, recognize and use the toilet more easily:

 

  • Help the person identify where the toilet is. A sign on the door, including both words and a picture, may help. It will need to be clearly visible, so place it within the person’s line of vision and make sure the sign is bright so it’s easy to see. Help the person know when the toilet is vacant; leaving the toilet door open when not in use makes this obvious. Check the placement of mirrors in the bathroom. The person with dementia may confuse their reflection for someone else already in the room, and not go because they believe the toilet is occupied.

 

  • Help the person make their way easily to the toilet. Move any awkwardly placed furniture or prop ajar any doors that are hard to open. The room and the route to the toilet should be well lit, especially at night. Movement sensor lights in the bedroom and bathroom can help at night.

 

 

 

These decorative night lights are great for added safety in your bedroom, bathroom or hallway; they detect motion up to 25 feet within a 100-degree-wide zone, and will auto shut-off after 90 seconds.  Their light sensor prevents the light from turning off during daylight hours or when you have the lights turned on.

 

 

 

 

  • Make using the toilet easier for people with mobility problems. Aids such as handrails and a raised toilet seat may help. Occupational therapists can give free advice on these, or you can ask someone at a local independent living shop.

 

For more help, see

 

  • Help the person identify and use the toilet. A contrasting color (eg black seat on a white base) can make it easier to see. Some men who have poor mobility or balance, or who can no longer direct their penis when urinating, may find it easier to sit rather than stand.

 

  • Help the person undo, remove and replace clothing easily. Trousers with an elasticated waist (tracksuit bottoms) are often easier than zips. Some people find Velcro™ fastenings easier to use than zippers or buttons.

 

Shop for

 

  • If getting to the toilet becomes too difficult because of mobility problems, an aid such as a commode may be useful. Using this will require the person to recognize the commode, be willing to use it, and find it an acceptable piece of furniture.  commodes and other aids can be very helpful.

 

  • The person should have privacy in the toilet, but make sure they don’t have difficulty managing locks. Some people with dementia struggle with this. To avoid the person locking themselves in, disable locks or ensure you can open them quickly from the outside.

 

 

 

Out and About

 

There are several ways to make traveling or being outside easier for the person with dementia. Being more confident and able to cope with accidents is important, because toilet problems can lead to giving up activities or becoming isolated.

 

  • Plan in advance. Find out where accessible toilets are.

 

  • Go prepared. Fit a light pad (the kind that attaches to underwear) and carry spare clothing and pads, as well as a bag for soiled items.

 

For more help, see

 

 

Remembering to Use the Toilet

 

  • Giving regular reminders about using the toilet is a common approach to help with accidents. For someone with urinary incontinence, the caregiver asks regularly (every 2-4 hours) whether the person needs the toilet. The person is given encouragement and assistance with using the toilet if they ask for help. It is important to check that the person has used the toilet, and not forgotten or become distracted. There is evidence that, over time, this can help some people reduce the number of accidents.
  • Prompting needs to be done sensitively, to avoid patronizing or annoying the person with dementia. Watch discreetly for signs that the person wants to go to the toilet, even if they cannot communicate this directly. These signs may include fidgeting, pacing, getting up and down, or pulling at their clothes.

 

 

Scheduling Toilet Use

 

  • For someone who is regularly wet it may be better to develop a timetable to offer help or reminders for going to the toilet, for example when they wake up, before each meal, at morning and afternoon coffee or tea, and before bed.
  • For fecal incontinence, it is often possible to re-establish continence by going to the toilet at a set time each day and helping the person stay long enough to have a bowel movement.

 

 

Night Time

 

Many older people wake during the night to urinate. A person with dementia may wake disorientated and unable to act quickly enough to find (or get to) the toilet. Ideas that might help include:

 

  • light motion sensors and/or night lights in the bedroom, passage ways and bathroom

For more help, see

 


 

 

Suggestion: as you can see, I am a big fan of night lights; these small, inexpensive items make a huge difference in your home’s safety!  

These automatic LED night lights are small, low-maintenance, and bright.  They will turn on automatically in low light and remain on until morning light.  This way, you “set it and forget it.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • a urinal bottle (designed for men and women) or commode next to the bed at night.  Many people don’t realize these products exist, but they can be really helpful, especially for nighttime toileting.

 

 

 

 

  • not having drinks for two hours before going to bed, but remember that the person should still drink enough during the day to avoid becoming dehydrated.

 

 

For more help, see:

 

 

 

Dealing With an Accident

 

Hygiene is a very personal issue. From a young age, people are trained to control urges to go to the toilet, so having problems or being incontinent can make a person feel like they are losing control. This can affect their sense of dignity and self-esteem. Many people find it very hard to accept that they need help from someone else in such an intimate area of their life, even (or sometimes, especially) if the help is from someone very close to them.

Every individual will react differently to the experience of incontinence. Some people find it very upsetting, while others find it easier to accept. Approaching the problem with understanding, matter-of-factness and humor can help to improve the situation for all concerned.

 

If someone has an accident, it is important for carers and friends to:

 

  • remember that it’s not the person’s fault
  • try to overcome any embarrassment or distaste they may feel
  • avoid being angry or appearing upset.

 

This may not always be easy. If as a caregiver, you find feelings about incontinence difficult to handle, it is a good idea to talk things through with a health professional. This could be the GP, a community nurse or a continence adviser (a nurse with specialist training in management of incontinence). It is important to try not to let dealing with incontinence get in the way of your relationship with the person you are caring for.

 

 

For more help, see

 

 

 

Ensuring Good Personal Hygiene

 

Incontinence can lead to skin irritation and a general feeling of discomfort. After an accident, it is important to act quickly to make sure the person feels comfortable again and to ensure good hygiene.

 

  • If someone has become wet or soiled, they should wash afterwards with mild soap and warm water, and dry carefully before putting on clean clothes and fresh pads, with assistance if necessary.

 

  • Soiled clothes, reusable pads or bedding should be washed immediately, or soaked in an airtight container until they are washed.

 

  • Used pads should be stored in an appropriate container and disposed of as soon as possible.

 

  • Moist toilet tissues may be suitable for minor accidents, but be aware that some can cause an irritating rash.

 

 

Professional Support

 

It can be hard to seek professional help for incontinence. Many people do so only at a point of crisis, as it may feel like a loss of dignity for the person with dementia. Some may see incontinence as inevitable, but for many people with dementia, given the right advice and patience, accidents and incontinence can be managed or sometimes even cured

The GP should be the first port of call. The doctor should review the symptoms and any underlying medical conditions (urinary tract infection or constipation), diet or medications that might be causing the problems. The doctor may do an internal examination of the bowel.

If this assessment is unable to resolve things, ask to have the person referred to a continence adviser. You may have to be persistent here you may have to push to see someone who understands incontinence in people with dementia. There may be a wait for these services.

The continence adviser will assess the problems and how they are affecting quality of life for the person and any carer. It is common to be asked to keep a chart of toilet habits.

After a thorough assessment the continence adviser will write up a continence care plan tailored to the individual. The plan should include things that the person with dementia and any caregiver can do to help. It should also describe the support that professionals should provide, as well as follow-up and next steps.

The goal – agreed with the person with dementia and carer – should be to cure toilet problems or incontinence wherever possible. In many cases, identifying and addressing practical issues, changing medications or making simple changes to lifestyle (diet, fluids, exercise) are sufficient to achieve this.

In a few cases referral to further specialists such as a geriatrician or urologist will be needed. For some people, advice will focus not on cure but on containing the incontinence as comfortably as possible using aids.

 

 

Incontinence Aids

 

It may be that everything has been tried and toilet problems and incontinence persist. In this case, use of aids can help ensure greater comfort and protect clothing, furniture and bedding. The main aids are:

  • Incontinence pads and pull-up pants. These can be worn day and night, or during the night only, to draw fluids away from the skin. It is important to find the right type and absorbency for the individual: they should be comfortable without chafing or leaking. They should be changed as often as necessary.
  • Male continence sheath. This is a silicone condom which drains into a bag attached to the leg. It may be especially helpful when worn at night.
  • Waterproof mattress protector. This is often used in combination with an absorbent bed pad. The protector should not come into contact with the skin, as it may cause chafing and soreness. You can also buy special protective duvet covers and pillowcases.

 

 

For more help, see:

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

 

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Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

Does Prevagen Actually Help Your Memory?

 

 

 

At the age of about 40 our brain starts to fail sometimes, and naturally, many of us consumers start to look for something to support our brain health. Prevagen is a fairly new product in the market that has been advertising aggressively, and promises to improve a person’s memory within 90 days.

 

If you haven’t been able to recall where you have put your keys or a purse or names of your new acquaintances, the Prevagen ads may have piqued your interest.

 

The manufacturer of the product claims that it has been clinically tested, but let’s find out whether this supplement is really so effective.

 

 

 

Prevagen is manufactured by a relatively unknown US company, Quincy Bioscience, which claims that Prevagen promotes healthy functioning of brain,  a sharper mind, better memory and clearer thinking within 90 days. The Prevagen website is attractive, but fails to offer data on major questions such as the full list of ingredients of the supplement and its possible side effects.

 

The Prevagen website mentions that the supplement contains only one active ingredient – the apoaequorin protein.  Apoaequorin is said to improve cognitive function that is especially important for older adults.  The company does not state how much much apoaequorin is actually in the product.

 

According to the Prevagen website, it is believed that apoaequorin can improve the ability to recall information by enhancing calcium homeostasis (which is thought to become dysregulated in the early stages of dementia).  However, it is not known what dosage of apoaequorin could be effective (nor do we know how much of the substance is in Prevagen).  Studies in this area show only a loose association, and I can’t see how it can be assumed that apoaequorin would help if being taken prophylactically by the average person, especially since the effective dosage and product dosage are unknown.

 

One could hope that

 

  • if the apoaequorin protein regulates calcium homeostasis,
  • and if it is taken in the right dosage,
  • and if one is in the early stages of dementia, Apoaequorin could positively influence  people with mild impairment;

– but based on the theory of how apoaequorin works, it doesn’t look promising for the treatment of people suffering from mild dysfunction to frank dementia.

 

The manufacturer gives no information on possible side effects of Prevagen, which is concerning.

 

The manufacturer also claims that Prevagen is non-allergenic.  This is a bold supposition,  since a lot of people are allergic to seafood, and this product contains a protein derived from jellyfish.  The company claims that the product is safe and is well tolerated by the human body, but there is no proof to back up either the non-allergenic or safety claims.

 

In January, 2015, a class-action suit was launched against Quincy Bioscience (QB) LLC,  the manufacturer of Prevagen.

 

The company claims that the product works by re-supplying memory-related proteins that decline as people age.

 

 

The Lawsuit Charges:

 

 

• The product cannot work as advertised because its only purported active ingredient, apoaequorin (a protein), is completely destroyed by the digestive system and transformed into common amino acids no different than those derived from other common food products.

• The amount of amino acids Prevagen adds to the user’s intake are trivial in comparison to normal dietary intake.

• Claims that clinical tests demonstrate that Prevagen will improve memory and support healthy brain function, sharper mind, and clearer thinking are false. (Note: QB’s “clinical trials” were conducted in-house and did not have independent verification.)

• Studies touted in Prevagen’s marketing campaign “if they exist at all, are, on their face, so seriously flawed that they demonstrate nothing regarding Prevagen.”

 

 

 

Side Effects Reported, Then Ignored

 

 

In a warning letter, the FDA accused the company of not reporting to the government “adverse events like seizures, strokes, and worsening symptoms of multiple sclerosis that had been reported to your firm as being associated with the use of Prevagen products.” Reports about the supplement to the company have also included chest pain, tremors, fainting and other serious symptoms, the FDA says.

 

In fact, the company received more than 1,000 incidents and product complaints about Prevagen between May 2008 and December 1, 2011, and only investigated or reported two events, the letter says.

 

So, to recap my concerns:

 

  •   Prevagen isn’t FDA approved.
  • Unfortunately, the website concealed side effects that may occur as a result of the treatment. The supporting studies described on the website were very limited, and are not independently verified.
  • The evidence supporting the supplement is not quantitative and mostly anecdotal.
  • Claims that apoaequorin users experience  improved mental clarity and enhanced memory haven’t been confirmed by the FDA.

 

 

Based on my research I do not recommend that my readers purchase or use Prevagen, at least until further research is conducted on the active ingredient and the efficacy of the Prevagen formula.

 

 

 

 

In my research , I came across a product that I do recommend with confidence.

 

Building up cognitive reserve is a known factor in preventing or slowing the development of dementia, and I found a product which is particularly effective for doing just that.

 

To understand the importance of building up your cognitive reserve in the prevention or delaying of dementia, read my report Avoid or Slow Dementia by Building Up Cognitive Reserve.

 

 

My Recommendation: Genius Brain Power

 

Why Genius Brain Power Is Your Ultimate Self Mastery Tool Kit

The highly advanced entrainment technology used in the Genius Brain Power system is far more effective than offerings in much higher priced products, mainly because other companies use a very old type of Brainwave Entrainment that was discovered 150 years ago, called binaural beats.

Those less effective binaural beats send differently pitched frequencies into each ear to get your brain to “do math” and entrain to the difference between the two pitches.  Binaural beats were a great discovery, but many people don’t respond very well to this method of entrainment. 

 

Genius Brain Power uses a far superior, much more modern brainwave entrainment technology.

 

Brain Wave Entrainment Increases Intelligence

 

Utilizing computer generated, rhythmically pulsed beats (known as Isochronic beats), Genius Brain Power easily guides your brain into optimal frequencies for rocketing your IQ, deep relaxation, peak mental efficiency and much more…

The biggest of many advantages Genius Brain Power (GBP) has over binaural beats is that the brain doesn’t adapt to GBP’s rhythmic tones over time and ignore them, like it does with binaurals. This means GBP will continue to give you results for years, so you can keep improving your brain without having to buy more products.

Rhythmic frequencies are the basis of how the brain operates, so your brain is guaranteed to respond to Genius Brain Power’s pulsed brainwave rhythms. 

With these audible, computer generated pulsed tones, the brain is safely, gently and effectively guided to entrain to your most optimal brainwave frequencies.  These tones need to be audible, so you will hear them along with the music in the Genius Brain Power package.

 

Brainwave entrainment lights up your brain

The main thing you should remember here is that rhythm is one of the most basic functions in the human brain, so everyone’s brain responds to rhythm, including yours.

The brain’s natural response to “follow” or “entrain” to certain types of rhythms, coupled with my years of experience creating brainwave entrainment audio tracks has led to this breakthrough technology that I could only be  called “Genius Brain Power” because no other description really comes close.

 

 

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