alzheimer’s disease

June Physician Focus: The Other Side of Alzheimer’s: Caregivers and Families

Posted in alzheimer's disease, behavioral health, Caring for the Caregivers, Physician Focus on May 29th, 2015 by MMS Communications – Be the first to comment

Alzheimer’s disease currently affects some 5.3 million Americans, with most of those over 65 years of age, and as our population ages, its incidence is likely to increase: estimates are that by 2025 another two million  Alzheimer'sseniors will be afflicted.

The toll of Alzheimer’s on patients is cruel and tragic, but the effects of the disease go far beyond the patient, to family members and friends who act as caregivers. And that group is large indeed: More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for people with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

To provide some perspective of the impact on caregivers, the June episode of Physician Focus features two health care professionals from Summit ElderCare in Worcester, one of six PACE programs (Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) in Massachusetts.

Guests are Susan Hardy, M.D., (photo, center) a board-certified internist with a subspecialty in geriatric medicine and Summit’s Associate Medical Director, and Brenda King, Psy.D., (right) a clinical psychologist with specialties in health psychology and gerontology and Summit’s Behavioral Health Specialist. Hosting this edition is Bruce Karlin, M.D.

The conversion explores such areas as the many demands required of caregivers and families, the difficulties they face, the emotional and physical toll that caregiving takes, the importance of early recognition and planning, the resources available for help, and how a team approach can enhance care.

Physician Focus, now in its 11th consecutive year of production, is available for viewing on public access television stations throughout Massachusetts. It is also available online at www.physicianfocus.org, www.massmed.org/physicianfocus, and on YouTube.

Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

Posted in alzheimer's disease on January 21st, 2010 by MMS – Comments Off on Living with Alzheimer’s Disease

alzheimer's webinar

How do you help your patients better understand the scope of their disease and its impact on how they will live the remainder of their lives?

How can you encourage your patients to remain productive and vibrant when their future is filled with uncertainty?

This brief video brings to the forefront voices of patients differing in age, education and life experience to share their thoughts on their common bond, living with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Coming Jan. 26

Webinar: Early Recognition of Dementia

The Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association are co-sponsoring the first of two webinars for physicians to promote improved levels of dementia recognition, screening, diagnosis, and service referral.

(The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™)

For more information about the program and to register, visit the MMS website.

Do You Know the Risks of Getting Alzheimer’s?

Posted in alzheimer's disease, webinar on January 12th, 2010 by MMS – Comments Off on Do You Know the Risks of Getting Alzheimer’s?

alzheimer's webinar
Here are the leading risks:

  • Increasing age.
    This is the greatest known risk factor.  Most individuals with the disease are 65 or older. The likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s doubles about every five years after age 65. After age 85, the risk reaches nearly 50 percent.
  • Family history.
    Research has shown that those who have a parent, brother or sister, or child with Alzheimer’s are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. The risk increases if more than one family member has the illness. When diseases tend to run in families, either heredity (genetics) or environmental factors or both may play a role.
  • Genetics (heredity).
    Scientists know genes are involved in Alzheimer’s. There are two categories of genes that can play a role in determining whether a person develops a disease.  Age, family history and heredity are all risk factors we can’t change. Now, research is beginning to reveal clues about other risk factors we may be able to influence.
  • Head injury.
    There appears to be a strong link between serious head injury and future risk of Alzheimer’s.
  • Heart-head connection.
    Some of the strongest evidence links brain health to heart health. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s or vascular dementia appears to be increased by many conditions that damage the heart or blood vessels, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high cholesterol.
  • General healthy aging.
    Other lines of evidence suggest that strategies for overall healthy aging may help keep the brain healthy and may even offer some protection against developing Alzheimer’s or related diseases.   Encourage patients to keep their weight within recommended guidelines, avoid tobacco and excess alcohol, stay socially connected, and exercise both body and mind.

Content adapted from the Alzheimer’s Assocation, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter

Coming Jan. 26

Webinar: Early Recognition of Dementia

The Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association are co-sponsoring the first of two webinars for physicians to promote improved levels of dementia recognition, screening, diagnosis, and service referral.

(The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™)

For more information about the program and to register, visit the MMS website.

The Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s (First of Two Parts)

Posted in alzheimer's disease, webinar on January 7th, 2010 by MMS – Comments Off on The Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s (First of Two Parts)

alzheimer's webinarMemory loss that disrupts daily life is not a typical part of aging. It may be a symptom of Alzheimer’s, a fatal brain disease that causes a slow decline in memory, thinking and reasoning skills.

(Part two of this series will be posted on Jan. 8.)

1.    Memory loss that disrupts daily life
One of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; relying on memory aides (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.
What’s typical? Sometimes forgetting names or appointments, but remembering them later.

2.    Challenges in planning or solving problems
Some people may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
What’s typical? Making occasional errors when balancing a checkbook.

3.    Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, at work or at leisure
People with Alzheimer’s often find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, people may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
What’s typical? Occasionally needing help to use the settings on a microwave or to record a television show.

4.    Confusion with time or place
People with Alzheimer’s can lose track of dates, seasons and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
What’s typical? Getting confused about the day of the week but figuring it out later.

5.    Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships
For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer’s. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance and determining color or contrast. In terms of perception, they may pass a mirror and think someone else is in the room. They may not realize they are the person in the mirror.
What’s typical? Vision changes related to cataracts.

Content adapted from the Alzheimer’s Assocation, Massachusetts and New Hampshire Chapter

Coming Jan. 26

Webinar: Early Recognition of Dementia

The Massachusetts Medical Society and the Massachusetts/New Hampshire chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association are co-sponsoring the first of two webinars for physicians to promote improved levels of dementia recognition, screening, diagnosis, and service referral.

(The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this educational activity for a maximum of 1.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™)

For more information about the program and to register, visit the MMS website.