Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Enjoy the Little Things

When Alzheimer's affects your loved one, it's much too easy to get trapped into a negative mindset and swept away in the drama of it all. There are ways, however, that you can combat the darkness that inevitably follows such a taxing disease. After all, spring is well on its way and there seems to be new life all around us! Try these tips to be happy ... NOW.

Start simply. A great rest tonight puts you exactly where you need to be to have a better tomorrow. So, tip #1 is, Go to bed at a decent hour. A consistent bedtime will rejuvenate your mind and body, preparing you for whatever lies ahead. Keep yourself healthy!

Expressing anger related to minor, fleeting annoyances just amplifies bad feelings, while not expressing anger often allows it to dissipate. However, that's not to say that we don't need a shoulder to lean on now and then. Consider joining a support group where you can spend some time with people who understand your daily challenges and struggles because, well, they're struggling with them too.

Exercise is one of the most dependable mood-boosters. Now that the weather is warming up, commit to spending some time outside. Whether you take a 10 minute walk around the block or work in the garden, you’ll give yourself a boost with each inhale of that sweet spring air.

Happiness lies in the little things. It's about enjoying each smile you get from your loved one. It's about appreciating your time spent with them. It's about finding the silver lining to each situation. So, are you ready?

It's time to commit to happiness.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Celebrate Brain Awareness Week

Brain Awareness Week, March 16-22, is here! To fully engage in this global campaign, we invite you to explore the brain with us. As an advocate educated in how Alzheimer’s affects the brain, you’ll have more power and your words will carry more weight. What do you say?

What do we know today?

Your brain is your most powerful organ, yet weighs only about three pounds. Alzheimer's disease leads to nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. As the brain shrinks, all of its functions, from hearing words to problem solving, are stifled. Take a guided, interactive tour of the brain to learn more!

While scientists now know that Alzheimer’s is linked to progressive cell failure in the brain, the reason for this cell failure remains unclear. There have, however, been a number of risk factors identified, including age, family history, and genetics. Take a closer look here.

What is your role in all of this?

As an advocate, it is important to keep your brain healthy and active while educating your loved ones on how to do the same. Here’s just one way to do so: Stay mentally active. Mentally stimulating activities are shown to strengthen brain cells. Try a crossword puzzle every now and then!

The future of Alzheimer’s is in our hands and Brain Awareness Week is a great way to take advantage of that knowledge!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

3 Tips To Help This March

Spring is coming! Regardless of what the weather may suggest, the first official day of spring is on March 20th. For those of us who started the countdown at the first sight of snowflakes, it has been a long winter.

Now it's on to some spring cleaning! When you’re de-cluttering your bookshelves and tossing out clothes that have been sitting at the back of your closet, consider getting back to the basics when it comes to your caregiving routine too! Here are a few tips that are important to remember no matter what stage of Alzheimer's you and your loved one may be experiencing:

1. Create a daily plan: Structured activities for those living with Alzheimer's can often reduce agitation. Consider your loved one's likes, dislikes, strengths, and abilities while taking into consideration how they used to structure their day! It's also crucial to get out and move. Spend some time with the sun on your face today!

2. Communication is key: While communication may become increasingly more difficult through the various stages of Alzheimer’s, there are ways you can help your loved one to express him or herself. AVOID arguing, criticizing or correcting, and distractions. DO focus on feelings and not facts, offer a guess as to what they’re trying to communicate, and offer comfort.

3. Nutrition, nutrition, nutrition: Remember that, for a person with Alzheimer's or dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss. Encourage fluids and offer a balanced diet.

Alzheimer's is a difficult disease that often times takes patience and experience to maneuver. Starting with a clean slate this spring will make for a strong start to the year!